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U.S. suspends training for some Afghan recruits after 'insider' attacks

In the wake of attacks on NATO soldiers, the U.S. has stopped training local Afghan police for a month. Retired Col. Jack Jacobs reports that the mission to train local police may take longer than the political will. NBC's Lester Holt has more.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- United States military officials have suspended the training of Afghan Local Police (ALP) in the wake of a deadly series of so-called ‘green on blue’ attacks by Afghan soldiers and police on their international allies.

In a statement late Saturday, Col. Thomas Collins, US Forces Afghanistan spokesperson, said the training has been put on hold in order to carry out intensified vetting procedures on new recruits, and 16,000 existing ALP recruits will be re-vetted.

The shooting deaths of two American soldiers in Kabul by an Afghan colleague are under investigation, with Afghan officials are saying it was an accident. NBC's Atia Abawi reports.

 


“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," he said in the statement.

What's leading Afghan troops to turn on coalition forces?

Many of the 'insider' incidents might have been prevented if existing security measures had been applied correctly, according to the Washington Post which first reported the training suspension.

The newspaper said already-trained recruits would also be re-vetted.

"Current partnered operations have and will continue, even as we temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new ALP recruits while re-vetting current members," said the statement. “Despite the recent rise in insider attacks, they are relatively rare."

Hoshang Hashimi / AP

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

Forty-five allied troops have been killed in 34 ‘insider’ attacks this year alone. The Afghan army is implicated in 19 of those attacks, but their training will not be halted.

Last week, an Afghan soldier shot and killed two American soldiers on Monday during a dispute in Laghman province in Afghanistan. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Aug 19 to express concern over the issue, urging him to work with U.S. commanders to ensure more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits. Panetta’s intervention followed the 10th death of a U.S. service member at the hands of Afghan recruit in the space of just two weeks.

A U.S. military official says three American service members were killed and one was wounded after a gunman opened fire on them. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

ALP training is a U.S. mission, carried out by Special Forces. Training of uniformed police and army personnel is done under the banner of the NATO operation.

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