Afghan murders 'will not stop task'
The commander of British forces in Helmand Province has insisted the murders of three UK troops by a renegade Afghan soldier would not knock the mission off course.
A massive manhunt for the killer is under way after the attack on members of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in southern Afghanistan.
The Afghan soldier shot a British major dead in his sleeping quarters in Patrol Base 3 in Nahr-e Saraj district, near Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah, at about 2am local time on Tuesday.
He also fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the base's command centre, killing a British lieutenant and a Nepalese Gurkha, and wounding four other UK soldiers.
The Ministry of Defence described it as a "suspected premeditated attack" and the Taliban claimed the killer had joined its insurgency. The families of the victims have been told.
In a separate incident, a Royal Marine from 40 Commando was shot dead on a foot patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand, taking the British death toll in Afghanistan to 318. His next of kin have been informed.
Brigadier Richard Felton, the British commander of Task Force Helmand, visited Patrol Base 3 with Colonel Sheren Shah of the Afghan National Army.
Brig Felton said the killings came as a "complete surprise" to him and to Afghan commanders, who were "devastated" by what happened.
The Independent reported that the suspected killer was a 23-year-old soldier born in Ghazni Province, away from areas of Taliban influence, who had been in the ANA for just over a year.
He was regarded by British troops as so reliable that he was often used as a go-between to settle disagreements between them and Afghan forces, the paper said.