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US military suspends training of Afghan police recruits

September 02, 2012 23:39 IST

The United States military has suspended training of some 1,000 Afghan police recruits while it double checks the background of the current police force following a spike in insider attacks on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops, an official said.

"Current partnered operations have and will continue, even as we temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new Afghan local police recruits while re-vetting current members," said Col Thomas Collins, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"While we have full trust and confidence in our Afghan partners, we believe this is a necessary step to validate our vetting process and ensure the quality indicative of Afghan Local Police," Collins was quoted as saying by CNN.

The move follows reports that 45 NATO troops were killed this year by either members of the Afghan security forces or by insurgents disguised as an Afghan policeman or soldier.

The most recent attack occurred on Wednesday when three Australian troops relaxing at their base in southern Uruzgan province were shot by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform in another "green-on-blue" attack.

The term refers to a colour coding system used by the military, in which blue refers to the friendly force, in this case NATO; and green refers, in this case, to Afghan security forces.

According to NATO officials, the vetting process for Afghan soldiers and police was not properly implemented, fearing that extensive background check could hamper the recruitment process.

Afghan officials, working with US Special Operations troops, have re-vetted about 1,100 Afghan local police officers and removed five policemen from the programme, The Washington Post reported. They are in the process of vetting 8,000 Afghan commandos and 3,000 Afghan army special forces soldiers who are fighting alongside American special operations troops throughout the country.

Directives from NATO leaders have advised troops to stay away from Afghan soldiers and police officers during vulnerable moments, such as when they are sleeping, bathing or exercising.

"We need to reduce risks by reducing certain interactions with the Afghans. We don't need to sleep or shower next to them, because that's when we're most vulnerable," a NATO official who has been charged with making security recommendations said. "It's about force protection without endangering the relationship. It's a true teeter-totter."

The Afghan army has announced plans to launch an expanded counterintelligence campaign against infiltrators and NATO forces have also launched an independent counterintelligence effort.


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