16 Sep 2012

Eight dead in separate rogue attacks in Afghanistan

Four US soldiers are killed in an attack at a remote checkpoint by suspected Afghan police in southern Zabul province, following the deaths of two British soldiers in similar circumstances.

At least one Afghan police officer turned his gun on Nato troops at a remote checkpoint in southern Afghanistan before dawn Sunday, killing four American service members before escaping, according to Afghan and international officials.

Later, it emerged that eight Afghan women had been killed in Nato air-strikes aimed at insurgents.

Sunday’s attack was the third by Afghan forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms against international forces in as many days, killing eight troops in all, including two who died on a Taliban attack on a Nato base on Friday evening.

On Saturday two British soldiers were shot dead in Afghanistan by a man wearing the local Afghan police uniform, the Ministry of Defence said. The soldiers, from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, were killed at a checkpoint in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand province.

The deaths follow that of a soldier from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. He was killed when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He has been named by the Ministry of Defence as Lance Corporal Duane Groom.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce the death of two soldiers from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment on Saturday 15 September 2012.

“The soldiers were shot and killed by a man wearing the uniform of the Afghan Local Police at a checkpoint in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.”

The soldiers’ next of kin have been informed, the MoD added. The latest fatalities bring the number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 to 430.

14 insurgents killed

The MoD said the deaths were unrelated to the attack at Camp Bastion in which two US Marines were killed after the Taliban breached Nato’s logistics base on Friday night.

More details have been released of the assault on the base where Prince Harry has recently been stationed.

It has emerged that 15 insurgents wearing US Army uniforms destroyed six Harrier jets, three refuelling stations and damaged a number of aircraft hangars.

As well as the two US marines who were killed, nine coalition staff were wounded in the attack, Isaf, the International Security Assistance Force coalition in Afghanistan, said.

Coalition forces killed 14 insurgents and wounded one other, who was then taken into custody.

The attack happened shortly after 10pm on Friday when Taliban fighters, organised into three groups and armed with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests, breached the camp’s perimeter.

Insurgents were “well-rehearsed”

The offensive took place near an airfield on the north-east side of the base, which houses American forces in Camp Leatherneck. An Isaf spokesman said: “The insurgents appeared to be well equipped, trained and rehearsed.

“Dressed in US Army uniforms and armed with automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests, the insurgents attacked coalition fixed and rotary wing aircraft parked on the flight line, aircraft hangars and other buildings.”

Khost (Reuters)

The official said the six Harrier jets destroyed were US marine aircraft and that two others were significantly damaged. Six aircraft hangars were also damaged.

The nine personnel who were wounded included eight military and one civilian contractor, Isaf said. None of the injuries is thought to be life-threatening.


There were also protests across Afghanistan in response to the US-made film the “Innocence of Muslims”, wehich depicts the Prophet Mohammad as a womaniser and child molester. In the Khost province American flags were burnt as crowds chanted anti-American slogans (pictured).

Jalalabad (Reuters)