U.S. suspends most military operations with Afghan troops
The U.S. is suspending most of its joint military operations with Afghan security forces, as a surge of green-on-blue attacks have left more than 50 NATO troops dead this year, NBC News and CBS News report.
“We’re to the point now where we can’t trust these people,” a military official told NBC News. The official continued, “It’s had a major impact on our ability to conduct combat operations with them, and we're going to have to back off to a certain degree.”
The suspension is indefinite, NBC reported, with one official saying it could last “three days or three months.”
On Sunday, members of the Afghan security forces opened fire on NATO troops in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, killing four NATO troops. A day earlier, an Afghan policeman shot and killed two British troops in Helmand province. These attacks brought the number killed by insider attacks to 51 this year—an increase from the 35 killed in similar attacks last year.
The Pentagon has shared concern over the attacks, investigating the reasons as to why Afghans would turn on the soldiers tasked with training them. Several conclusions, including Taliban infiltration and personal disputes, have arisen.
As the U.S. continues with its plan to withdraw most combat forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the training of Afghan security forces is critical to the stabilization effort.
However, violence still plagues the country, as thousands of protesters demonstrated outside NATO and U.S. military bases in Kabul this week, some firing guns, throwing rocks and setting police cars on fire, CNN reported. Protesters, angry with an anti-Islamic film produced in the U.S., reportedly injured 15 Afghan police officers in the violence.
Early Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed at least a dozen people when she blew up a minivan near the Kabul airport, Reuters reported. A militant spokesman said the attack was also in response to the video.