Afghanistan: 'Hundreds' of soldiers detained, fired over insurgent ties


Soldiers from the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) and US Army soldiers from the 3rd platoon Delta company conduct a joint patrol at Nevay-deh village in Kandahar province on September 5, 2012. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen shared his "deep concerns" over the rising number of insider attacks on NATO troops with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.



Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it had arrested or fired hundreds of soldiers for alleged links to insurgents in an effort to stop "green-on-blue" attacks, Reuters reported.

"Hundreds were sacked or detained after showing links with insurgents. In some cases we had evidence against them, in others we were simply suspicious," said Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi.

The announcement came as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on President Hamid Karzai to address the attacks by Afghan forces on NATO forces with whom they are partnered.

The tide of insider attacks is unprecedented in modern warfare, according to Agence France Presse, with Afghan troops opening fire on NATO colleagues more than 30 times this year. At least 45 foreign troops have been killed, most of them American.

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The attacks threaten to destabilize NATO's plans for withdrawal, which include training Afghan security forces to take over when the 130,000 foreign troops leave at the end of 2014, AFP said.

The Wall Street Journal said army recruits in Afghanistan are vetted for links to insurgency, with two members of their community vouching for their trustworthiness. Azimi said that the guarantors in some cases did not provide genuine identification.

US Army Lt. Gen. James Terry said in a briefing on Wednesday that the US will help the Afghan army with the vetting process. He said investigators are looking for patterns in the attacks and will be able to help the Afghans "look at specific populations we think are at risk," according to The Journal.

Reuters noted that US forces announced that they had suspended training new recruits to the 16,000-strong Afghan local police following the attacks.

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