Attacks on rural police in Afghanistan kill at least 10
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REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Attacks in northern and western Afghanistan killed at least 10 members of the Afghan Local Police force Thursday, further exposing the vulnerability of a controversial, American-trained security force formed to help villagers defend themselves against insurgents.
In one attack, a suicide bomber walked up to a group of Afghan Local Police members near a girls’ school in the Kishim district of Badakhshan province in the far northeast and detonated his explosives, said Marouf Rasikh, spokesman for the Badakhshan governor’s office. The explosion killed the force’s district commander, Nazek Mir, and his bodyguard, Rasikh said.
Sixteen other officers and civilians were injured, eight of them critical. Rasikh said Mir was the apparent target.
In a second attack, a team of insurgents stormed an Afghan Local Police outpost in the Khaki Safid district of the western province of Farah, killing eight police officers, said Naqibullah Farahi, spokesman for the Farah governor’s office. The gunmen first shot a guard outside of the compound, then rushed in and opened fire on those inside. The insurgents then fled in a police vehicle.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Farah attack.
The attacks came less than a week after nine Afghan Local Police officers were shot to death by one of their own members in the eastern province of Paktika. Afghan officials said the officer was believed to have switched over to the Taliban and was acting at the behest of the insurgent group.
Earlier in March, a member of the Afghan Local Police shot and killed an American soldier approaching a checkpoint.
The Afghan Local Police was formed with U.S. support to expand the reach of law enforcement into remote areas where the Afghan army and police presence is spread thin. Recruits are usually drawn from the villages and districts the police units cover. However, it remains largely unregulated, and has been vulnerable to infiltration by insurgents.
-- Aimal Yaqubi in Kabul and Alex Rodriguez in Islamabad, Pakistan