Afghan Military Official Says Attacks On NATO Soldiers 'Isolated' Cases
January 23, 2012
A senior Afghan military official says recent incidents of security forces opening fire on NATO soldiers are isolated cases and not the result of increased Taliban infiltration of Afghan security forces, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.
The comment came in the wake of an incident in which a purported Afghan National Army soldier shot and killed four French troops and wounded at least 15 others in the eastern Kapisa Province, the site of the main French base in Afghanistan, on January 20.
That shooting was the latest deadly incident involving Afghan security forces and foreign troops, undermining trust as NATO accelerates the training of Afghan forces ahead of the withdrawal of foreign combat troops in 2014.
France announced it was suspending all its joint combat operations and training programs for Afghan troops after the January 20 attack.
General Afzal Aman, the Afghan National Army's operations chief, told RFE/RL that the motive for the shooting was unclear and could have been a result of "different reasons."
"One of the reasons could have been provocation from our enemies," Aman said. "It could have been the mental illness that soldiers in the national army suffer from. Sometimes two or three people have arguments and then on the field something happens. The reasons for these actions against the French [soldiers] are not exactly known."
In response to the latest incident, Taliban spokesman Zabibulah Mujahid said in statement that "It is not yet clear whether the attacker belonged to the forces of the Islamic Emirate," in a reference to the Taliban's label for Afghanistan since 1996.
Similar attacks in recent months have raised fears of increased Taliban infiltration into the Afghan police and army.
Last month, two French soldiers were killed in the same region by a man dressed as an Afghan soldier. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
But Aman said it was too soon to conclude that insurgents were infiltrating Afghanistan's armed forces.
"In the past, incidents have occurred in similar circumstances, but it is not likely the result of enemy infiltration," Aman said. "We haven't found enough evidence which shows that our enemies had infiltrated [our forces]. These cases were more the result of a personal reaction."
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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