U.S., Afghanistan perturbed over increasing incidents of 'insider attacks' on troops
Washington, Aug 19 (ANI): U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has urged Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai to crack down on insider attacks by Afghan security personnel on their Western colleagues.
The U.S. has expressed increased concern over the unprecedented number of such attacks, which have killed 39 international troops in 29 such incidents so far this year, according to NATO figures.
According to The Dawn, Panetta and Karzai "expressed (a) shared concern" over the challenge of insider attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
The pair "agreed that American and Afghan officials should work even more closely together to minimize the potential for insider attacks in the future," he added.
Panetta also encouraged Karzai to work closely with General John Allen, who heads the international coalition force ISAF in Afghanistan.
Karzai's collaboration was needed to "further strengthen ISAF-Afghan cooperation to counter the insider attack threat, including augmented counterintelligence measures, even more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits, and stepped up engagement with village elders, who often play a key role by vouching for Afghan security personnel," the statement said.
Concern over insider attacks mounted on Friday, when two Afghan security personnel opened fire on Western colleagues, killing two U.S. soldiers and causing a number of other casualties in two separate attacks.
Panetta said he was "very concerned" about the insider attacks and the impact they are having on cooperation with Afghan allies.
The attacks will likely add to pressure in NATO nations for an exit as soon as possible from the increasingly unpopular war. (ANI)
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