The ongoing re-vetting process of the Afghan security forces has so far led to the firing of hundreds of local soldiers, many of them detained, for alleged links with the Taliban insurgents, a top Afghan official said on Wednesday.
"Hundreds were sacked or detained after showing links with insurgents. In some cases we had evidence against them, in others we were simply suspicious," Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told reporters in Kabul.
The latest move, he added, was the result of the probe ordered by President Hamid Karzai at the start of 2012 following the spike last year of green-on-blue attacks that killed 35 NATO-aligned foreign troops.
This year, the death toll on similar assaults, in which members of Afghan security forces trained their weapons against NATO soldiers mentoring or working with them, rose to 45, three of which were Aussie Diggers that were shot to death in late August.
That incident was labelled by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as the worst day suffered by Australian troops since the Vietnam War that raged from the mid-1960s through the 1970s.
Insider attacks, Mr Azimi said, are "a serious point of concern not only for the Defence Ministry but for the whole Afghan government."
Despite members of the local army and police going rogue, he stressed that Kabul has remained confident of the way it recruits and screens would-be members of the government security forces.
"Good attention was paid during the recruitment process," the Afghan defence official was quoted by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying.
He admitted, however, that "when some soldiers went on vacation and came back they became somehow problematic."
Both NATO and Afghan officials have been attempting to downplay reports that recent green-on-blue attacks coming from rogue elements of the local security forces have undermined trusts between foreign and Afghan troops.
According to AAP, Taliban leader Mullah Omar "has boasted that the attacks are the result of a deliberate plan to sow distrust between foreign and Afghan troops."
Judging from international media reports, analysts said the insurgents were indeed collecting considerable amount of success, with NATO ordering last week a halt on the training of Afghan militia by NATO troops.
Reuters reported too that base and field commanders have been ordered to post units of 'guardian angels' what would watch over soldiers during their off-duty moments.
But insider attacks were blamed not only on Taliban infiltrators but also on the manner that some foreign mentors treat Afghan trainees, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
"Most of our soldiers come from different provinces, they are illiterate, and US mentors sometimes behave badly with them. That is why they turn their weapons at them," an unidentified Afghan army officer was quoted by AFP as saying.
NATO officials have confirmed that "cultural differences" indeed was a factor in the rising incidents of insider attacks.
However, NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen assured on Wednesday that while green-on-blue assaults were of grave concerns, they will not hasten the pull out of foreign troops from Afghanistan, as the Taliban had intended.
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