ISAF: US temporarily halts training of Afghan police over attacks
From Masoud Popalzai, CNN
September 2, 2012 — Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
- NEW: The Afghan Interior Ministry agrees with the suspension, a spokesman says
- The U.S. Special Operations Force is temporarily suspending training, a spokesman says
- It also is double checking the background of current Afghan Local Police, an official says
- The temporary suspension is because of a rise in attacks by Afghan forces on NATO troops
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — U.S. Special Operations Forces has suspended the training of Afghan Local Police recruits while it double checks the background of the current police force following a rise in attacks against NATO troops by their Afghan counterparts, an official said Sunday.
The order follows reports that more than 40 NATO troops were killed this year by either members of the Afghan security forces or by insurgents disguised as an Afghan policeman or soldier.
“Current partnered operations have and will continue, even as we temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new ALP 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.”
U.S. Special Operations forces have been tasked with training Afghan Local Police as part of an effort to beef up Afghanistan’s forces ahead of the American withdrawal.
“This is a temporary suspension and we agree with them as we are in a good position in terms of quantity in the ALP,” said Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi.
“This temporary measure is only to review the vetting process and re-vet them. This suspension will not have any impact on the NATO/ISAF’s overall training mission in Afghanistan.”
It was not immediately clear when NATO suspended training, how long it would last or what effect, if any, it would have on the planned withdrawal.
Collins did not say whether the suspension extended beyond the training of local police.
The Washington Post, which first reported the story, said it also included Afghan special forces.
The newspaper, citing anonymous sources, also reported that it would take up to two months to complete the renewed vetting of the local police and the special forces.
An estimated 25% of the attacks by Afghan security forces against U.S. and other allied troops in Afghanistan are carried out by Taliban infiltrators, U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, ISAF commander, said.
The Pentagon, however, has put the number at 10%.
The suspension of training comes days after three Australian soldiers were killed by an Afghan security force member. The deaths bring to 14 the number of NATO troops who have been killed in August alone in such “green-on-blue” attacks.
The term refers to a color 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.
CNN’s Jessica King and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.
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