KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, AP -A Taliban rebel posing as a traveler shot dead four policemen at a remote checkpoint in southern Afghanistan after eating dinner with them and sleeping in their quarters, officials said Sunday. A fifth officer shot the rebel dead.
The assailant asked the officers if he could spend the night with them late Friday because he was walking alone along a stretch of road in Helmand province, a hotbed of insurgency and the country’s main poppy growing region, said Helmand provincial administrator Ghulam Muhiddin.
After the officers had gone to sleep, the man grabbed one of their rifles and opened fire, killing the four instantly, before the fifth officer woke up and shot him dead, Muhiddin said.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Mohammed Yousaf, telephoned The Associated Press to claim responsibility.
The insurgents have stepped up attacks on Afghanistan’s fledgling police recently and a series of ambushes in Helmand has seen scores of officers killed.
Also in Helmand, rebels attacked a convoy of civilian trucks Saturday that had just dropped off equipment at a U.S.-led coalition base in the region, said Amanullah, a local police chief who uses only one name. The militants burned the trucks but freed the drivers unhurt.