NATO: Afghan Insider Attacks Affect Troop Morale

Posted April 2nd, 2012 at 6:25 pm (UTC-5)
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NATO said Monday that attacks by Afghan security forces on their Western colleagues, while few in number, have a disproportionately large effect on troop morale.

NATO spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson also disputed Taliban claims of responsibility for most of the attacks by Afghan troops on their NATO counterparts. He said most of the attacks are the result of personal grievances and battle stress.

Jacobson said that while the number of attacks is actually quite low, given that there are 130,000 NATO troops and 350,0000 Afghan forces and that they often work together in close quarters, the military is aware of the large impact such incidents have on morale.

So far this year, Afghan security personnel have shot dead 17 foreign troops in 10 separate so-called “green-on-blue” incidents. A similar number of Afghan forces have been killed by fellow Afghan soldiers or police.

NATO officials say they are establishing new procedures, including background checks for Afghan recruits. They are also implementing enhanced security measures, such as placing intelligence agents among troops during training and assigning soldiers to guard colleagues while they sleep.

Meanwhile, officials in northern Afghanistan's Baghlan province said twin bomb blasts at a market Monday wounded at least 23 people. A medical official said the casualties included children, students and police officers. At least seven Afghan security force members also were wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

In the east, NATO said one of its helicopters made a forced landing and that the incident is being investigated. Initial reports indicate there was no enemy activity in the area, and there were no fatalities.