Last Updated: Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:38 pm (KSA) 09:38 am (GMT)

Several killed in Afghan security force ‘insider’ attack

NATO attributes about 20 percent of the attacks to infiltration by Taliban insurgents into Afghan security forces. (AFP)
NATO attributes about 20 percent of the attacks to infiltration by Taliban insurgents into Afghan security forces. (AFP)

A member of NATO’s Afghan force and a civilian contractor have been killed in the latest so-called insider attack by a member of the Afghan security forces, the NATO force said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

The attack in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday also resulted in an unannounced number if Afghan army casualties, the report from NATO’s military stated.

Abdul Wali, a local police spokesperson, told the AFP news agency, that three Afghan army soldiers had been killed and two others wounded in the incident. He said that three International Security Assistance Force personnel were also wounded.

The attack came after the United States said joint operations with Afghan forces were returning to normal.

Joint operations were halted two weeks ago after a surge of attacks by Afghan allies. At least 52 members of the NATO force have been killed this year in so-called green-on-blue attacks.

It was too early to say what impact the latest incident would have on plans to restore joint-operations with Afghan forces to normal, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said.

The Afghan casualties were “a result of the engagement” on Saturday night, an International Security Assistance Force spokesman told AFP news agency, but could not confirm whether they had been killed by the insider or in return fire by ISAF troops.

No further details of the incident were immediately available but a joint assessment of the incident by ISAF and the Afghanistan National Army was under way, the spokesman said.

The latest death takes the total number of ISAF troops killed in 36 insider attacks this year to 52, accounting for about 15 percent of all coalition casualties in the war.

NATO attributes about 20 percent of the attacks to infiltration by Taliban insurgents into Afghan security forces while the rest are believed to result from cultural differences and personal animosities between the allies.

The so-called green-on-blue attacks pose a serious threat to the NATO war effort, which has portrayed the advising and training of Afghan forces as the key to the scheduled pullout of Western troops.

Earlier this month, ISAF announced a scaling back of joint operations with its Afghan partners following a dramatic rise in the assaults, in which Afghan soldiers turn their weapons on their Western allies.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday that troops had resumed most joint operations with Afghan forces.

Panetta vowed that the insider threat would not derail plans to transfer security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, paving the way for the withdrawal of most NATO combat forces.

“We must and we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our forces. But I also want to underscore that we remain fully committed to our strategy of transitioning to Afghan security control,” he said.

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