Taliban role possible behind insider killing of troops: US



Washington: With sudden increase in the number of attacks on US troops from inside the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Pentagon on Monday said that some of these could be orchestrated by Taliban, even as it held "disgruntled elements" responsible for this.

"The pressure that we bring to bear on the Taliban is forcing them to look at new tactics. I can't say that these green on blue incidents originate with the Taliban. Some of them may, some of them may not," the Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little told reporters during a news conference.

Responding to questions on a recent Taliban statement that they have infiltrated the ANSF and are carrying out attacks on US forces, Little said the Taliban are now under severe strain and pressure.

"We maintain intense focus on routing them out and we would continue to do so. They would not have safe harbour as long as American forces are in Afghanistan," he said.

Even as the investigation is currently going on, the Pentagon official said the majority of these attacks on US troops are coming from the disgruntled elements.

"We believe that the vast majority of insider attacks come from disgruntled individuals and are not part of an orchestrated campaign by the Taliban.

Can I rule out the possibility of a Taliban infiltration in the Afghan national Security Forces? No," he said.

Little said the US forces have "identified people" who might be intending to carry insiders attacks.

The vetting procedures, he argued, have become more robust and stronger than before.

"Can I take the risk down to zero when we are operating in war zone like this, absolutely not," he noted and was quick to allege that the Taliban is looking at ways to "infiltrate" Afghan forces.

Of late the vetting procedures for Afghan forces have been strengthened.

Over the weekend, the US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta called the Afghan President Hamid Karzai and discussed with him on the insiders attacks.

"They expressed shared concern over this issue and agreed that American and Afghan officials should work even more closely together to minimise the potential for insider attacks in the future," Little said.

"There is a strong sense that the President Karzai and Afghan officials are like minded when it comes to the threat to green on blue," the US official said.

PTI