US special forces in Afghanistan have suspended training for about 1,000 Afghan police recruits to carry out checks on existing members, the military said Sunday, after a surge in insider attacks on NATO.
There has been a sharp rise in so-called “green-on-blue” attacks recently, in which members of the Afghan security forces turn their weapons on their Western allies, sometimes their military trainers.
There have been more than 30 such incidents this year, claiming the lives of 45 coalition troops — about 14 percent of the overall death toll in the war for 2012.
“Current partnered operations have and will continue, even as we temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new ALP (Afghan Local Police) recruits while re-vetting current members,” a spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Thomas Collins, said.
The ALP is a US-sponsored police force with around 30,000 members, recruited to fight Taliban insurgents in remote areas of the Afghan countryside.
“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,” the spokesman said.
The Washington Post said the re-vetting process would affect more than 27,000 Afghan troops.
The suspension was temporary, the colonel said but gave no timeframe.
There are about 130,000 US and NATO troops in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban insurgency and training the Afghan security forces since the Taliban were ousted from power in late 2001 in a US-led invasion.
The US-led NATO troops will withdraw at the end of 2014, giving all security responsibilities to the Afghan forces in a US-designed programme which began earlier this year.
According to the Post, numerous military guidelines were not followed by either Afghans or Americans because of concerns that they might slow the growth of the Afghan army and police.
The Taliban have stepped up their attacks in recent months as part of efforts by the insurgency to undermine the transition process.