4 Threat Matrix: Insider attack kills 6 Afghan policemen in Helmand



Written by Lisa Lundquist on October 20, 2012 10:33 AM to 4 Threat Matrix

Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2012/10/insider_attack_kills_6_afghan.php


The latest insider attack on Afghan security forces took place Friday in the Gereshk district of Helmand province. The Taliban have already claimed the attack.

In Friday's incident, a chef who worked for Afghan forces and an Afghan policeman shot two Afghan policemen at a checkpoint in Gereshk. The shooting was followed by an insurgent attack on the checkpoint, in which four more policemen were shot dead, according to Reuters.

A provincial police spokesman said that the attacker, a chef, had first tried to poison his colleagues by preparing poisoned food for them, "and then he joined the Taliban and decided to shoot them instead."

A slightly different account was provided by another provincial official, who said that the chef and the rogue policeman had first poisoned the policemen, who were then shot while they were unconscious from the poisoning, according to ToloNews.

The chef was still at large but the rogue policeman had been captured, ToloNews reported.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed soon after the incident that the attacker was a "mujahid who had infiltrated and penetrated the police ranks." The Taliban also claimed that eight policemen had been killed and their weapons had been taken.

Helmand province remains volatile, as NATO forces continue to draw down and increasing pressure mounts on Afghan forces to maintain security. Earlier today, insurgents shot and killed two pro-government tribal elders from the Sangin district social council in an ambush in the Nasozai area, Pajhwok News reported. The two men, who were supporters of the Afghan police and military, had just returned from the opening ceremony for a security checkpoint. According to Pajhwok, insurgent attacks have already killed 24 members of seven district social councils.

The Gereshk district in Helmand was the scene of a recent insider attack on Coalition security forces. On Sept. 15, a member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire on a group of British soldiers in the district, killing two soldiers and wounding two more. The attacker was killed in return fire from another British soldier. The Taliban later claimed that the attacker was an Afghan soldier named Gul Agha, who "work[ed] in the occupier's base in the area of Maljir in Naqilo."

According to LWJ's special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data, there have been 16 attacks by Afghan security forces on Coalition forces in Helmand province since January 2008. The LWJ special report does not attempt to track insider attacks such as today's, in which Afghan forces are the only targets of the attack.

On Sept. 30, the Associated Press reported that although the Afghan government has not released data on insider attacks on its forces, US military statistics showed that at least 53 members of the Afghan security forces had died in insider attacks this year between January and the end of August, and that at least 135 Afghan policemen and soldiers had died in insider attacks since 2007, a number slightly higher than NATO's figure for foreign soldiers killed in insider attacks during the same time period.