Afghan security forces have killed 13 members of the Nato-led coalition in the country since the start of the year, according to the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, laying bare the growing crisis of confidence at the heart of the mission.
General John Allen, the US soldier leading the Nato operation, said some of the “insider” killings appeared to have been motivated by the recent burning of copies of the Koran by US soldiers.
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Despite the growing problems facing the Nato mission in Afghanistan and mounting scepticism in both US political parties, Gen Allen told a congressional hearing that the “campaign is on track”.
He also said any decisions about how quickly to pull the remaining US and Nato forces out of Afghanistan were unlikely to be made before the November election.
Gen Allen was speaking in Washington following a series of incidents that have undermined the Nato strategy in the country, including the Koran-burning and the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians 10 days ago, apparently by a US soldier.
The Nato mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to end in 2014. Until then much of the remaining international force is supposed to be training Afghan security forces.
The growing absence of trust between Nato and Afghan forces was underlined in late February when two US officers were gunned down in the Interior Ministry.
However, the figures revealed on Tuesday suggest the situation is even worse. Gen Allen said that of the 60 Nato soldiers killed this year, “13 of them were killed at the hands of what appear to have been Afghan security forces, some of whom were motivated, we believe, by the mishandling of religious materials”.
Balance of article. . . .