Reports: Afghan soldiers complicit in a suicide plot against their own government
The alleged discovery of nearly a dozen suicide vests at the Afghan Ministry of Defense deepens concerns about the loyalty of Afghan security forces, which have already killed 16 coalition troops this year.
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Nine of those deaths came after last month’s burning of Qurans – said to include notes between prisoners – on an American base. After the incident, the Taliban urged Afghan forces to focus their anger on their coalition counterparts. Coalition commander Gen. John Allen acknowledged that the Quran burning was a factor in a recent slew of such attacks, the WSJ reports.Skip to next paragraph
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General Allen said yesterday that while such incidents are tragic, they are to be expected and do not mean the whole operation is flawed, The Telegraph reports.
"I'm not saying things are perfect, and much work remains to be done. But for every bribe accepted, and for every insider threat or what is known as a green-on-blue incident – and I think you're aware that, tragically, we had one overnight, as two young British soldiers were killed in the Helmand province – for every one Afghan soldier that doesn't return from leave, I can cite hundreds of other examples where they do perform their duties, where the partnership is strong," General Allen said.
"We should expect that this will occur in counter-insurgency operations, and as we saw it in Iraq and as we've seen it historically in counter-insurgencies, but also in Vietnam. It is a characteristic of this kind of warfare," General Allen said.
Western military officials had heralded the Afghan local police as a success story, and a group that had not participated in the so-called “green on blue” attacks. The police force, recruited locally and trained by US Special Operations forces, is seen as the “cornerstone” of the US exit strategy, according to the WSJ. The Afghan who attacked an American unit in Paktika province yesterday is believed to be a member of the local police force.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the governor of Kandahar, the province where a US soldier allegedly killed 17 Afghan civilians earlier this month, said that despite coalition efforts to soothe tensions, public anger is still high. There may yet be a backlash, although reaction has so far been muted.
Zubair Babakarkhail in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.