Afghanistan: Five policemen poisoned and shot dead by coworker

Five Afghan police officers were shot dead after being poisoned on Tuesday, the BBC reported.

Toor Jan, a police cook, poisoned his colleagues at a checkpoint in Kandahar before shooting three of them dead after they fell to the ground, the Daily Telegraph reported. When the shots were heard, local policemen arrived and engaged in a gun battle with the attacker.

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Two more officers were shot dead before Jan apparently escaped the scene, according to the Daily Telegraph. Local officials have stated that the motivation for the killings is still unknown. While the Taliban have taken credit for the attack, their involvement hasn’t been independently verified, the BBC reported.

"A member of a private security company is responsible for shooting his friends,” a Kandahar government spokesman said in a statement, the Daily Telegraph reported. "Two Afghan National Police were also killed and another one wounded after they intervened."

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On Sunday, a suicide car bomber detonated in a police parking lot in Kandahar, killing at least seven people, including five officers and a child, The New York Times reported. The explosion wounded at least 19 people, including six officers, three children and two women.

Last week, the United Nations released a report which said more civilians died in Afghanistan last year than in any previous year of the war. 2011 was marked by an increase of killings by insurgents and more frequent suicide bombings, The Times reported. While the Taliban have repeatedly pledged not to hurt civilians, they have taken responsibility for many of the attacks.

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