US suspends training of Afghan police forces amid uptick in insider attacks

Rogue shootings have killed 45 NATO-led troops in 2012 alone, despite coalition attempts to prevent them. The US will use the temporary suspension to redo the vetting process.

Kamran Jebreili/AP/File
Afghan Local Police, ALP, listen to a speech during a ceremony presenting new uniforms for ALP at Gizab village of Uruzgan province south west of Kabul, Afghanistan, in April 2011. US officials said Sunday, they have halted the training of Afghan Local Police for at least a month in order to carry out intensified vetting procedures on new recruits following a string of attacks by Afghan soldiers and police on their international allies.

US Forces in Afghanistan said on Sunday they have suspended training new recruits to the Afghan Local Police (ALP) amid a spike in the number of insider attacks which are damaging trust between Afghans and their allies.

The ALP is a militia, set up two years ago by US Forces, in villages where the national police force – a separate body trained by NATO – is weak. The ALP has been beset by allegations of abuse and widespread corruption.

Rogue shootings have killed 45 NATO-led troops so far this year, 15 last month alone, despite the coalition taking steps to try prevent them, such as requiring foreign soldiers to carry loaded weapons at all times.

In a statement, US Forces said they will temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new ALP recruits while they re-vet members currently belonging to the 16,000-strong force.

"We believe this is a necessary step to validate our vetting process and ensure the quality indicative of Afghan Local Police," it said.

A member of the ALP shot dead two troops from US Special Forces last month.

Other rogue attacks, such as the killing of three Australian troops this week, were carried out by men wearing the uniforms of the 350,000-strong Afghan army and police, trained by NATO.

The ALP is a flagship project of US General David Petraeus, who was replaced last year by US Gen. John Allen as commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

General Allen has said he believes around a quarter of insider killings are carried out by the Taliban who have managed to infiltrate Afghan security forces. The rest are sparked by other reasons, such as personal grudges.

The insider killings are particularly troubling as security transition plans gather pace. Under those plans, all foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

(Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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