Taliban infiltrate Afghan army to target foreign troops

A view on Camp Shaheen a training facility for the Afghan military in northern Afghanistan

A view on Camp Shaheen a training facility for the Afghan military in northern Afghanistan. John Mac Dougall AFP Getty Images

At least six suicide bombers and five police officers were killed, while 20 people were injured, in an attack on a police compound in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

One of the explosions was so strong it shattered windows up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the attack site, said Abdullah Hsrat, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Two so-called insider attacks, in which a soldier in an Afghan National Army uniform turns his weapon on foreign troops, in as many weeks have killed three US soldiers and wounded another seven.

"The first attacker blew up his vehicle at the entrance to the headquarters, opening the way for two others who opened fire on security forces, and another suicide bomber was shot dead", he said. The others held out against Afghan special forces that had responded to the attack, he said.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was quoted by Reuters as saying that over 100 policemen were killed or wounded.

Nearly every week seems to bring alarming and embarrassing developments that cast doubt on the ability of Afghan security forces to protect the public and make headway against the domestic Taliban insurgency and the more ruthless Islamic State.

The most recent attack which took place Saturday occurred in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban have been making inroads, moving beyond their traditional support base in the south and east of Afghanistan.

The Afghan soldier who opened fire was killed and another wounded, a statement said on Twitter. They said one of the tools they would employ to carry out their strategy would be insider attacks.

More than 135 Afghan soldiers, mostly young recruits, had been killed and dozens injured in the spectacular operation, claimed by the Taliban, who had forced the Minister of Defense to resign.

American defense officials say in coming weeks they will decide whether to send between 3,000 to 5,000 more troops as requested by military commanders.

Saturday's incident comes just days after President Donald Trump delegated authority to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to set US troop levels in Afghanistan, opening the door for a possible of influx of forces that could number in the thousands.

Thousands of global troops remain in the country to train and assist Afghan security forces as well as carry out counterterrorism missions. They mainly serve in a training and advisory capacity.

With President Ashraf Ghani's government locked in internal division and amid weeks of protest by a group of people demanding his administration's resignation over rising unrest, the militants have stepped up and broadened their attacks recently.

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