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UK soldier killed in year’s first insider attack

One soldier from the United Kingdom was killed and more wounded Monday when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire at a base in southern Afghanistan, the first such attack in the new year.

The attacker was killed. NATO officials said it is not known why the soldier attacked troops at Patrol Base Hazrat, in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.

Six British soldiers were wounded, police officials told Reuters.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence reported that the soldier killed was attached to an engineer regiment. The soldier’s family has been notified, according to the U.K. statement, but has asked that no further details be released for 24 hours.

“At this time it appears the shooter acted alone, but the incident is under investigation and a complete account will not be known until it is complete,” said a NATO spokesman, German army Lt. Col. Hagen Messer.

Both NATO and Afghan troops were targeted in the attack but Messer said it is unknown if any Afghan soldiers were wounded.

Insider attacks, as they are known, spiked last year, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press. While overall deaths declined in 2012, deaths caused by Afghan police and troops rose to at least 61 by early December, up from 35 in 2011.

The attacks threaten to strain relations between Afghan troops and foreign advisers as NATO prepares to pull the bulk of its force from Afghanistan by 2014.

On Dec. 24 an American civilian adviser was killed by a female member of the Afghan police.

The attacks threaten to strain relations between Afghan troops and foreign advisers as NATO prepares to pull the bulk of its force from Afghanistan by 2014.

smithj@stripes.osd.mil
Twitter: @joshjonsmith

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