Security failures in Afghan shootings: NATO

Since Jan 1, 17 foreign troops have been shot dead by Afghan personnel in 10 separate attacks.

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2012, 00:23 AM IST

Kabul: NATO`s US-led mission in Afghanistan
admitted on Monday there have been failures in security procedures
meant to identify potential killers of Western troops before
they join Afghan security forces.

Since January 1, 17 foreign troops, including seven
Americans and five French trainers, have been shot dead by
Afghan personnel in 10 separate attacks. The fatalities
represent more than one in six of ISAF`s 96 fatalities.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which
is training Afghans to take over responsibility for security
for the whole country by the end of 2014, said the deaths had
sapped spirits among its troops.

"Although the incidents are small in number we are aware
of the gravity they have as an effect on morale," ISAF
spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson said in Kabul.

"Every single incident has an out-of-proportion effect on
morale and that goes for coalition forces as it goes for
Afghan national security forces."

Recruits to the Afghan forces undergo an eight-step
vetting process, including identification verification,
recommendations and criminal background checks, but Jacobson
said investigations into the shootings had found lapses.

"What we have found in individual cases is that there was
a mistake done here, or there, or there," he told reporters.

"The identity papers weren`t checked properly, the papers
that were coming from village elders were not sufficient, drug
tests were not taken regularly or sufficiently or something
like that.

"Wherever we see that we take that as measures to be taken
and improved."

Asked if some of the incidents could have been prevented,
he responded: "Afterwards you always know that you shouldn`t
have had that car accident."

ISAF has around 130,000 soldiers fighting alongside
350,000 Afghan security personnel in a bid to help President
Hamid Karzai`s government reverse a Taliban-led insurgency.

Among the measures being taken, Afghanistan`s intelligence
services are hiding agents among new recruits at the country`s
army and police training schools to try to spot potential
gunmen, NATO said.

ISAF has also taken a number of security measures of its
own in response to the shootings, including assigning
"guardian angels", soldiers ordered to watch over their
comrades as they sleep.

The concept "makes sure that soldiers are not without
protection at any stage", said Jacobson.
He dismissed repeated claims by the Taliban that they were
behind the attacks.

PTI