At Least 30 Afghan Police Officers Killed in Attacks Over 2 Days

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan officials announced Thursday that at least 10 policemen had died in two different attacks, bringing the number of killed officers to at least 30 in just the past two days.

In the latest attack, a series of improvised explosive devices in eastern Kunar Province killed eight members of the Afghan Border Police as they traveled through a village in the Dangam district on Thursday evening, according to the district governor, Hamisha Gulab Shinwari.

The government also said that two members of the Afghan Local Police in Helmand Province had been killed the day before, shot by two new recruits said to be loyal to the Taliban. The details of the latest attacks added to an already steep death toll on Wednesday, when 17 local police officers on duty in Ghazni Province were drugged and killed by Taliban infiltrators. The same day, another officer that the Taliban claimed was one of its supporters gunned down three fellow policemen in Kandahar Province.

Thursday's attack in Kunar was the work of a series of improvised explosive devices planted in the village of Deraki. An initial blast around 4 p.m. wounded four officers traveling by truck through the village, Mr. Shinwari said.

After the injured were placed in a civilian truck by four comrades, all eight men set off for medical treatment in Asadabad, the provincial capital. Shortly after, a second mine exploded beneath the car, killing all eight, Mr. Shinwari said.

"They were only few hundred meters away from the first blast site when the second explosion happened," said Mr. Shinwari, who condemned the attack.

The Afghan Border Police are tasked with safeguarding the nation's porous borders, often areas of high insurgent traffic, particularly along the northeastern boundary with Pakistan.

In the Helmand attacks, which took place on Wednesday around 6 p.m., two newly recruited Afghan Local Police officers wrested guns away from two colleagues and killed them as they walked to their security check post, according to Abdul Latif, the district police chief of Musa Qala.

Mr. Latif said that the commander of the local police post had recruited the men and believed they were reliable. He even helped them obtain national identity cards issued by the government by vouching for them, he added.

Screening police recruits has been a persistent issue for the Afghan government, as well as its American advisers. Vetted and trained under the guidance of American Special Operations troops, the Afghan Local Police force is seen as a critical part of the plan to secure the country, patrolling villages and remote areas where the national police and army are scarce. But the local police militias have been controversial in some areas of the country, troubled by accusations of corruption and human rights abuses.

The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks against the officers in the Musa Qala district center, Landai Nawa, and said the attackers actually killed four officers, absconding with their weapons and a Toyota Corolla to join the Taliban.

"We welcomed them, their lives are secure, and they promised they will fight for the Taliban against the Karzai government," he said, referring to President Hamid Karzai.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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