Two US Soldiers Killed By Afghan Police Officer

An Afghan police officer killed two US soldiers and two fellow Afghan police officers in a surprise attack Monday morning. The shooter died in the resulting firefight.

An Afghan police officer stood up in the back of a police pickup truck with a machine gun and opened fire upon US special forces and Afghan policemen stationed a joint military base in the Wardak Province. A firefight ensued, and, once the bullets stopped flying, two US soldiers and three afghan police officers lay dead, including the attacker. At least four others were wounded. The Washington Post reports that the number of wounded may be over five times higher.

Insider attacks have plagued coalition forces for years now. This is the second insider attack in three days and the third this year. On Friday, three men in Afghan military uniforms killed a civilian and two Afghan soldiers in Kapisa Province.

By this time last year, eight insider attacks had taken place. In 2012, 64 coalition soldiers died in 46 insider attacks. In 2011, 35 died in 21.

The number is lower now in part because fewer joint patrols are taking place. At the same time, Afghan security forces are better vetted and more closely observed. US and Afghan forces are divided, even when stationed at the same base.

Today’s attack came a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s deadline for US special forces to withdraw from the province. US officials said they were working with Afghan counterparts in increase security in the region.

The US plans to transition out of the country entirely in 2014. US forces entered Afghanistan in October 2001, and the war has since become America’s second longest war after Vietnam.

Wardak Province is a Taliban stronghold southwest of Kabul often used for staging attacks against the capital. The death of two US soldiers and three afghan police officers is a sign of the tension festering in the region.

[Image via ShutterStock]