KABUL - Violence spiked in southern Afghanistan as militants stormed a NATO military base and attacked a police checkpoint Tuesday, a day after gunmen wearing police uniforms killed a US soldier.
The heaviest fighting in Afghanistan this month has been in the south and east, where Afghan forces are increasingly taking charge of security from their international partners. That could signal a rocky transition as foreign combat troops are due to withdraw by the end of 2014.
Most of the attacks over the past two days occurred in southern Kandahar Province, the Taliban’s birthplace.
Insurgents attacked a NATO base before dawn Tuesday in Kandahar’s Shah Wali Kot district, but no service members were killed, the US-led coalition said.
“Initial reports indicate that seven insurgents launched an attack on a NATO installation and initially were successful in breaching the outer security perimeter,’’ NATO said in a statement. “Current reporting indicates all the attackers have been killed.’’
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they were targeting troop sleeping quarters.
Javid Faisal, a provincial government spokesman, said initial reporting indicated that at least one foreign worker was killed and two other foreigners were wounded, but the report could not be independently confirmed.
A few hours later, militants wearing Afghan police uniforms attacked a police checkpoint in Kandahar city. Three policemen were killed and nine others were wounded during an hourlong gun battle, according to the Ministry of Interior. Four militants also died.
The Taliban again claimed responsibility.
The United States and other foreign troops have increasingly been targeted by Afghan security forces or militants disguised in their uniforms.
On Monday, three gunmen wearing Afghan police uniforms killed an American service member and wounded nine others in Kandahar’s Zhari district, US officials said. The Defense Department said Private Jarrod Lallier, 20, of Spokane, Wash., died after his unit was attacked with small-arms fire and grenades.