KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) — A man wearing an Afghan police uniform attacked foreign troops in southern Afghanistan on late Sunday, killing three British service members and injuring another, officials said on Monday. The suspected gunman was later taken into custody.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the attack happened when members of an Afghan Police Advisory Team were leaving Kamparack Pul checkpoint in Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province, which is located in Afghanistan’s south. They had been to the checkpoint to conduct a shura (consultation).
Task Force Helmand spokesman Major Ian Lawrence said two soldiers serving with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and one serving with the Royal Corps of Signals died at the scene of the attack. “Their loss will be felt deeply across Task Force Helmand,” he said. “However, this will be nothing compared to the grief experienced by the soldiers’ families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the attacker, an individual wearing an Afghan National Civil Order Police uniform, was later taken into custody. “The suspected perpetrator is in custody and we will do everything in our power, with the Afghan National Security Forces, to ensure that justice is done,” he said. “This tragic incident again demonstrates the very real risks that our brave soldiers face every day.”
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond condemned the attack, calling it a “cowardly act” by the suspected Afghan police officer. “An investigation is now under way; we are determined to get to the bottom of exactly what happened yesterday at Checkpoint Kamparak Pul, and to pursue those who are responsible,” he said.
If Sunday’s shooting is confirmed to have been carried out by an Afghan police officer, it would add to an increasingly frequent series of attacks by Afghan security forces against foreign troops. At least 26 coalition service members have been killed by Afghan security forces this year alone.
Also on Monday, the Australian Department of Defense confirmed an Australian soldier was injured and a military dog was killed during an operation in southern Afghanistan on June 25. A statement from the department said a soldier suffered a minor fragmentation wound while the four-year-old dog was shot dead by insurgents.
There are currently more than 130,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, including some 90,000 U.S. troops and more than 9,500 British soldiers. U.S. President Barack Obama previously ordered a drawdown of 23,000 U.S. troops by the end of this summer, and foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.