Afghan policeman kills two soldiers with his new gun
TWO American servicemen were shot dead yesterday after they handed a newly recruited Afghan village policemen his official weapon at an inauguration ceremony.
The shootings – the latest in a string of attacks by Afghan police or security forces on the international troops training them – came as the Taleban’s reclusive leader said his fighters were killing an increasing number of US-led coalition forces.
Yesterday’s incident in the west of Afghanistan was the sixth such attack in two weeks. It took place in the province of Farah and the attacker was a member of the Afghan local police, a village defence force being trained by the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), which includes US special forces. The Afghan attacker was shot and killed.
In a later, separate attack, another member of the Afghan forces turned his gun on international troops, wounding two. He was taken into custody.
Attacks by Afghan allies on international troops have accelerated this year, claiming at least 36 foreign troops and raising questions about the strategy to train Afghans to take over security in 2014. Last year, 20 international soldiers were killed in 11 such attacks.
Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar e-mailed an eight-page message to news organisations before the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
He claimed that Afghan security forces were helping Taleban fighters, who were successfully infiltrating their ranks before killing foreign troops and making off with their government-issued weapons.
“They are able to safely enter bases, offices and intelligence centres of the enemy,” he said. “Then, they easily carry out decisive and co-ordinated attacks, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.”
Attacks where Afghan soldiers or policemen, or militants wearing Afghan uniforms, kill their foreign partners are rising, but the coalition claims only 10 per cent of such incidents can be linked to infiltrators.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US-led coalition was continually refining procedures to ensure the safety of Nato troops.
“It is important to remember first of all that our relationship with our Afghan partners is strong and that every day our forces fight alongside Afghan forces,” Mr Carney said, adding that coalition forces partner about 350,000 Afghans on 90 per cent of operations.
The Taleban leader urged Afghan government workers to switch sides. The Taleban has even set up a new department, “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration”, to help those who leave the Kabul government and join the uprising, he said.
It was, he said, a response to the Afghan government’s reintegration programme to lure Taleban footsoldiers off the battlefield, help them set up a new life back in their communities and provide development assistance to their villages.
He also called on his fighters to protect the life and property of the Afghan people.
The United Nations says more than three-quarters of the 1,145 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year in Afghanistan were blamed on insurgents.
“I urge you emphatically to be careful about the civilian losses and take this on yourselves as an explicit responsibility,” Omar told his followers.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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