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Afghan President Karzai blames 'foreign spy agencies' for insider shootings

August 22, 2012 | 10:21 pm

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A potentially serious rift has emerged in the way the Afghan government and the U.S. administration view “insider shootings” -- cases of Afghan police and soldiers turning their guns on Western troops.

President Hamid Karzai held an urgent meeting Wednesday with his national security team and, in a statement issued afterward, blamed “foreign spy agencies” for infiltrating the Afghan security apparatus.

That assessment clashes sharply with findings by the NATO force that most of the insider shootings, formerly called “green-on-blue” attacks, stem from personal disputes, stress and battle fatigue, with a small percentage of such attackers acting at the behest of the Taliban. U.S. and other Western military officials have not suggested that foreign intelligence agencies were responsible for planting turncoat assailants in the Afghan police and military ranks.

After the deaths of 10 U.S. service members in insider shootings this month alone, American officials have made strenuous efforts to make sure that they and Afghan officials are acting in concert to prevent more attacks.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, traveled to Afghanistan this week for consultations with top American and Afghan commanders. Afghan officials have promised greater scrutiny of potential recruits to the police and army, and are taking measures such as embedding intelligence agents in Afghan military battalions to monitor any signs of anti-Western sentiment in the ranks.

Overall, at least 40 NATO troops have died in insider attacks this year, exceeding the tally for all of last year.

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-- Laura King

Photo: Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 17, 2012. Credit: Ahmad Jamshid / Associated Press

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