KUNDUZ, Afghanistan -- Six village police officers were poisoned and then shot to death Thursday night at a remote outpost in northern Afghanistan, the deputy governor of Kunduz province reported Friday.
A seventh member of the Afghan Local Police unit is missing. An investigation has concluded that the officer conspired with insurgents to poison fellow officers and then flee, said Hamdullah Danishi, the deputy governor.
The killings took place in the Dasht e Archi district in northeastern Kunduz, about 180 miles north of Kabul, the capital.
The incident was one of several in recent months in which insurgents have infiltrated Afghan security force units or recruited police or soldiers to poison or attack their comrades. In one instance, Afghan security force members were shot as they slept at an outpost.
The six officers in Kunduz were members of the Afghan Local Police, a village-based protective force created and trained by U.S. military units in conjunction with the Afghan government. The ALP, as it is known, was created in 2010 to protect villages and districts where Taliban insurgents are active and where the Afghan National Police or Afghan National Army have no significant presence.
In a September 2011 report, Human Rights Watch concluded that some ALP units had engaged in “abusive and predatory” behavior toward civilians and were not properly vetted or supervised. The ALP is considered a defensive force and does not have law enforcement powers.
In an unrelated incident Friday in southern Afghanistan, 45 civilians were reported killed and 10 injured in a fiery bus crash in Kandahar province near the border with Helmand province.
The Associated Press quoted local officials as saying Taliban insurgents had attacked an oil tanker truck and left the wreckage blocking a highway. The bus slammed into the tanker, creating an inferno.
However, Jawed Faisal, spokesman for Kandahar’s governor, said in a telephone interview that the bus crashed into a privately owned tractor-trailer parked on the side of the highway with mechanical problems.
Many victims were burned beyond recognition, local officials said. The bus was en route from Helmand to Kabul when it crashed in the Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province.