On Tuesday, October 30, 2012, three soldiers for Britain’s 1st Battalion of The Royal Gurka Rifles were shot and killed at Nahr-e Saraj in the Helmond Province of Afghanistan. Officials report the shooter was an armed Afghan man impersonating a police officer and that a third man, believed to be a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police adorned in civilian attire, was also killed. The families of all three fallen men have been notified yet their names have not yet been released. Their deaths raise the total death toll for British service members to 437 since October 2001. Nearly 6,500 coalition military members have been killed in Afghanistan since October 2001.
The victims of Tuesday’s attack were part of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force based in a checkpoint in Nahr-e Saraj, located in Southern Afghanistan. The shootings were confirmed by a NATO spokesperson who stated via an official statement “An individual wearing an Afghan National Police uniform turned his weapon against ISAF forces in southern Afghanistan, killing two soldiers.” Taliban leaders have praised this and other attacks per statements released last week from the terrorist group’s leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Spokesman Major Laurence Roche of the Task Force Helmand offered: “I am saddened to report the deaths from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha rifles who were shot and killed...The loss of these soldiers is a huge blow to The Royal Gurkha Rifles and everyone serving in Task Force Helmand. Our thoughts are with their families, friends, and fellow Gurkhas at this time.”
Investigators suspect the shootings were part of the “green on blue” attacks in the region which involves Afghans turning on the ISAF. Mounting concern of these and other insider attacks on all troops in the area are of great concern since servicemembers will not be withdrawn from the area until late 2014. Many doubt the Afghan army will be able to effectively take over once NATO troops leave the region.