Insider attack targets Afghan police officers

Eleven police officers killed in early morning attacks in western and southern Afghanistan

Eleven Afghan police officers were killed in early morning incidents Monday, including an apparent insider attack carried out by Taliban insurgents in the southern province of Kandahar.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on a police checkpoint in the Maiwand district of Kandahar. Samim Khplawak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said seven Afghan National Police officers were killed after the fighters and police traded gunfire.

According to local media reports, two Afghan police officers colluded with the Taliban to carry out the attack in Koka Dasht village.

For years, Afghan security forces have suffered the greatest number of casualties in so-called insider attacks, in which Afghan soldiers and police turn their weapons on comrades. The attacks have also targeted Westerners working with the Afghan forces.

Last Friday, three U.S. contractors were killed in a Taliban attack at the military facility at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Media reports said the victims -- two from South Carolina and one from North Carolina -- were Pentagon contractors who were training members of the Afghan security forces.

In a separate incident in the western province of Herat, four police officers were killed and three wounded when a group of fighters attacked a police checkpoint in Chesht district. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, although local officials blamed the Taliban.

Ghulaam Rasoul Khan, district police chief, said one of the police officers escaped with the fighters following the attack.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

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