Afghan renegade kills UK soldier
A British soldier has been killed and six others injured in the latest "insider attack" on international troops by a member of the Afghan security forces.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred on Monday at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
Nato command spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz said a suspected member of the Afghan National Army opened fire on International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and Afghan troops at the base. He said: "The shooter who actually turned his weapon against members of the Afghan National Army and Isaf was shot during the incident."
The soldier who died was a member of 28 Engineer Regiment who was attached to 21 Engineer Regiment. The Ministry of Defence said next of kin had been informed. The incident underlined the threat from so-called "green-on-blue" attacks by renegade members of the Afghan security forces, which have claimed all six British soldiers killed on the current tour of duty.
According to Nato figures, 61 people were killed in 45 incidents last year, compared with 35 in 21 attacks in the preceding 12 months. The tally does not include the December 24 killing of an American civilian adviser by a female member of the Afghan police because an investigation is continuing.
Downing Street described the latest killing as "tragic" and said measures had been taken to step up protection for the troops in Afghanistan. They include stronger vetting and screening of recruits to Afghan security forces, and the monitoring and surveillance of elements thought to pose a threat, as well as counter-intelligence measures.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "These are clearly very, very serious incidents. The military always keep force protection measures under review."
A statement issued by a Taliban spokesman named the "infiltrator" who carried out the attack as Mohammad Qasim Faroq. It said he escaped from the scene but was shot and killed after opening fire on a checkpoint.
The latest incident comes after David Cameron announced last month that nearly 4,000 British troops would be withdrawing from the country in April, ahead of complete withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014. It takes to 439 the number of UK service members to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.
Major Laurence Roche, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "This is an extremely sad day for the Corps of Royal Engineers and everyone serving with Task Force Helmand. Our thoughts are with the soldier's family and friends at this time."
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