KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Two recently rehired Afghan police opened fire on their commander at a checkpoint in a remote district in the country's south, killing him and six of his men, officials said Tuesday.
It was the latest in a string of so-called "insider attacks" in which Afghan forces open fire on their comrades or international forces. The attacks threaten to shake the confidence of the two sides as the 2014 withdrawal of most of the international troops approaches.
The police chief of volatile Kandahar district said that the two attackers were former policemen who had rejoined the force only two days previously. Gen. Abdul Razaq said they fled in a police vehicle with their dead comrades' weapons after the attack in the remote district of Arghistan late Monday.
"We found the weapons and the vehicle today, and now we are searching for the two policemen," Razaq said.
Taliban insurgents have warned they would infiltrate Afghan security forces to carry out insider attacks. There have been several such attacks in the past year, including officers poisoned while eating.
The most recent such attack was May 5, when an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on two U.S. Marines he was working with and killed them.
In March, an Afghan policeman opened fire on his comrades, killing four Afghan security personnel and two American troops.
The Taliban claims most of the insider attacks, but the international coalition has said some of them are sparked by personal disputes.
Also Tuesday, a roadside bomb under a bridge hit an Afghan lawmaker's convoy on a major highway north of Kabul, killing five people.
Lawmaker Obaidullah Ramin from northern Baghlan province said he did not believe he was intentionally targeted by the explosion early Tuesday.
He said the main highway leading north out of Kabul is often mined by Taliban insurgents to target official-looking convoys. Police confirmed his account.
Three of Ramin's relatives were among the dead.
Roadside bombs are a favorite Taliban weapon to target government officials as well as Afghan and international military forces.
The insurgents have stepped up attacks in recent weeks, seeking to weaken the government and security forces as foreign troops pull back in preparation for the international coalition turning over security operations to local units next year.