x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

British service member killed by uniformed Afghan

Man believed to be an Afghan soldier turns his weapon against foreign and Afghan troops in a southern province, killing one British soldier.

KABUL // A man believed to be an Afghan soldier turned his weapon against foreign and Afghan troops in a southern province, killing one British soldier, in another apparent attack by a member of Afghanistan's military against its foreign allies.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, the first insider attack of 2013, in which several British soldiers were also reported wounded.

Such "insider attacks" by Afghan soldiers and police, or men wearing their uniforms, rose dramatically last year. The attacks come as Nato and Afghan forces are in more intimate contact, with foreign troops handing over security to the Afghans and continuing to train them before an almost total withdrawal by the end of 2014.

The Nato command spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz identified the soldier in Monday's shooting as British but the name was not released.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said in an email that "an infiltrator" staged the attack and managed to escape from the scene but was then shot and killed after opening fire on a checkpoint. The Taliban have used the term in the past to refer to members who have enlisted in the military to conduct such an attack. They identified the assailant as Mohammad Qasim Faroq.

A defence ministry official in Kabul said six British soldiers were also wounded.

The UK defence ministry said the soldier, who was attached to the 21 Engineer Regiment, was killed by small arms fire at Patrol Base Hazrat. The statement said the soldier's next-of-kin had been informed.

So-called insider attacks killed 61 people in 45 incidents last year compared to 35 killed in 21 attacks a year earlier, according to Nato. This tally does not include the December 24 killing of an American civilian adviser by a female member of the Afghan police because an investigation of the reportedly mentally unstable woman is continuing.