KABUL: An Afghan official says at least 10 Afghan army troops have been killed in what he described as an “insider attack” in the country’s north after a fellow soldier allowed insurgents inside a check point.
Deputy provincial police chief in northern Zawzjan province, Abdul Hafiz Khashi, says the attack happened before dawn on Tuesday in Qush Tepa district.
He identified the soldier with links to the militants as Mohammad Alim.
Khashi says Alim and an unspecified number of attackers were all killed in an ensuing shoot-out with Afghan troops.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
These so-called insider attacks, carried out by an Afghan soldier or policeman turning on fellow troops, have been a serious problem in recent years.
The new Taliban leader on Tuesday released a message ahead of a major Muslim holiday, saying that for peace in Afghanistan, it is necessary to “end the occupation” of the country by all foreign forces a reference to the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) troops.
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour also said that all existing military and security deals between the Kabul government and other countries must be revoked.
His message was likely an attempt by the newly appointed Mansour to reassure followers that he is keeping in tradition with his predecessor, the late Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, in releasing messages ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
“If the Kabul administration wants to end the war and establish peace in the country, it must end the occupation and revoke all military and security treaties with the invaders,” Mansour in the statement.
Mansour also urges the Taliban to unite and ignore “futile enemy propaganda” about disunity among the Taliban ranks.
There are still some Taliban commanders who oppose Mansour’s leadership.
Last week, after almost two months of differences, Mullah Omar’s family announced their support for Mansour.
Mullah Omar’s brother, Mullah Abdul Manan, and eldest son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub, declared their support for Mansour’s leadership in a gathering of senior Taliban officials, according to a statement posted on the Taliban website.
Manan also confirmed to The Associated Press that he and Yaqoub were now pledging their allegiance to Mansour.
The pair, along with several other senior Taliban commanders, initially rejected Mansour’s ascension.
In recent months, the Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Afghan soldiers and police.
United States (US) and Nato forces formally ended their combat mission at the end of last year, leaving Afghan security forces in charge of public safety in the country.