Conflict & Justice

'Guardian Angels' to watch over US troops in Afghanistan


An Afghan National Police (ANP) trainee takes his aim with a mock gun at the PTC (Police Training Centre) shooting range of the German Police Project Team (GPPT) next to Camp Marmal, the Bundeswehr (German Federal Defence Force) base in Mazar-i-Sharif, on March 22, 2012.


Johannes Eisele

"Guardian angels" will be assigned to watch US troops in Afghanistan while they sleep, as part of far-reaching new protections against rogue killers among their Afghan allies.

Marine Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, ordered the added protections — including round-the-clock watch duties at joint US-NATO bases, the St Louis Daily cited a senior military official as saying. 

According to the Associated Press, some of the changes ordered by Allen in recent weeks have been subtle, others less so.

Americans working in several Afghan ministries are now allowed to carry weapons, and they have been instructed to rearrange their office desks there to face the door.

The changes come after a spike in attacks on coalition forces by Afghans, prompted by the burning of Qurans by US personnel near Bagram air base in Afghanistan several weeks ago.

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The increased security was ordered specifically in response to a February incident in which two American officers were gunned down at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul, the AP wrote.

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And at least 16 NATO service members have been killed by Afghan soldiers and policemen — or militants disguised in uniforms — this year, US officials say.

"We have taken steps necessary on our side to protect ourselves with respect to, in fact, sleeping arrangements, internal defenses associated with those small bases in which we operate," Allen said, adding that now someone is "always overwatching our forces."

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