A ROGUE Afghan soldier attacked his coalition allies with a rocket-propelled grenade and other weapons yesterday, killing three British troops and wounding four more before fleeing, officials said.
British prime minister David Cameron condemned the killings as “appalling” but insisted the incident should not change the strategy of working alongside the Afghan army.
It was the second time in eight months that an Afghan turned against British troops partnering with local security forces.
In November, an Afghan policeman killed five British soldiers at a checkpoint — also in southern Helmand province, where yesterday’s attack happened.
Afghan police in the past have also attacked US soldiers and their own police stations. While such intentional attacks are rare, they emphasise the difficulties in rapidly expanding the Afghan forces to take over responsibility for security from international troops.
Critics have said a rushed schedule — aimed at allowing US forces to begin drawing down by next year — makes it difficult to screen out insurgent sympathisers and also to properly train up Afghan forces in military discipline.
President Hamid Karzai quickly sent a letter of apology to the British government. General David Petraeus, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, called for unity among international troops and the Afghan soldiers in the fight against the Taliban.
“We have sacrificed greatly together, and we must ensure that the trust between our forces remains solid in order to defeat our common enemies,” Petraeus said.
The renegade Afghan soldier used a shoulder-mounted launcher to fire a grenade at British soldiers inside a base control room at around 2am and is now on the run.
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