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Afghan Police Officer Reportedly Kills Nine Colleagues

KABUL -- Afghan police say nine village police officers have been shot dead as they slept in the southeastern Paktika Province, with officials adding that the gunman was apparently a colleague of the victims.

Provincial police chief Dawlat Khan says the bloodshed occurred on March 30 in Paktika's Yahya Khel district.

Officials identified the gunman as Asadullah, who goes by one name.

Officials said he apparently used his assault rifle to kill the nine men as they were sleeping inside a guard post.

One of the victims is believed to be the gunman's brother.

After shooting the men, officials said the gunman took the victims' weapons and fled in a pickup truck.

Officials said he remains on the loose and a search has been launched. Previous such attacks targeting police have been blamed on Taliban infiltrators.

The incident comes after a spate of attacks by uniformed Afghan police or army officers on international troops, intensifying questions about how ready Afghan security forces -- including the army and the inchoate Afghan Public Protection Force -- are to take over such duties from departing coalition troops.

Read about the recent uniformed killings here and here

A U.S. soldier's alleged rampage in which he left base and killed at least 17 Afghan villagers at random also recently raised tensions.

Based on reporting by AP and Radio Mashaal