Kandahar (Afghanistan) (AFP) - Eight local policemen were killed by their colleagues after they were poisoned in their base in southern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday, in a latest so-called "insider attack".
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident, which happened in the Nawshar district of southern Zabul province late on Friday, as the militants escalate a deadly winter campaign of violence.
"The infiltrators first poisoned their colleagues and then shot them dead," provincial spokesman Gul Islam Seyal told AFP, adding that the attackers fled the area taking all the weapons and munitions from the base.
The governor of Zabul Bismillah Afghanmal said they had launched an investigation into the incident.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a message to the media that the group's "infiltrators" carried out the attack.
So-called insider attacks -- when Afghan soldiers and police turn their guns on their colleagues or on international troops -- have been a major problem during the more than 15-year-long war.
Such attacks have sapped morale and caused deep mistrust within security ranks.
In a similar incident last month, an Afghan policeman linked to the Taliban shot dead 11 of his colleagues at a checkpoint in the neighboring Helmand province.
And last September, two Afghan soldiers with suspected Taliban links killed at least 12 of their comrades as they slept in the volatile northern province of Kunduz.