The U.S. military says two of its service members have been killed in an apparent insider attack by an Afghan police officer.
The U.S. force in Afghanistan says in a statement that a man wearing an Afghan police uniform turned his weapon on U.S. service members in Uruzgan province. U.S. forces spokeswoman Maj. Lori Hodge says the attack happened before noon on Thursday. She declined to give further details and said it was not clear yet if the attacker was an enlisted police officer or an insurgent disguised as a police officer.
The statement says the attack is being investigated.
At least 53 foreign troops have been killed by Afghan forces already this year - the majority of them Americans. Thursday's was the first such attack on NATO forces since September, and the first since the Afghan government launched a large-scale push to re-screen thousands of security forces, trying to identify infiltrators or those who might not be considered secure.
Thursday's attack came just a day after the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, released a statement saying insurgents would increase the number of insider attacks against coalition and Afghan forces.
In an emailed statement congratulating Muslims as they prepare to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday, Mullah Mohammad Omar urged "every brave Afghan in the ranks of the foreign forces and their Afghan hirelings ... to strike them."
"Jihadist activities inside the circle of the state militias are the most effective stratagem. Its dimension will see further expansion, organization and efficiency," he said. "Increase your efforts to expand the area of infiltration in the ranks of the enemy."