Britain probes possible Taliban infiltration of Afghan police force

21:12, November 05, 2009      

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British and Afghan commanders have started an urgent investigation into the killing of five British soldiers amid concerns that the Taliban may have infiltrated local police forces, according to media reports Thursday.

Five British soldiers were killed and eight others injured when an Afghan police officer opened fire on them at a checkpoint in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Tuesday.

Britain's Sky news reported that according to Taliban sources, the gunman was safely back with them after the attack.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament members Wednesday that "while we are assembling evidence, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for this incident."

Brown stressed that training of local police officers remained an essential element of the strategy in Afghanistan and would not be stopped because it was "what the Taliban fears most."

"They (the soldiers) fought to make Afghanistan more secure," Brown said, "but above all to make Britain safer from the terrorism and extremism which continue to threaten us from the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The five deaths were the highest number of British soldiers killed in a single incident since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The British death toll in Afghanistan now stands at 229.

Source: Xinhua
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