News / Asia

NATO Curbs Joint Afghan Patrols Over Attack Fears

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to the press on June 26, 2012 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to the press on June 26, 2012 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
x
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to the press on June 26, 2012 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to the press on June 26, 2012 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
Henry Ridgwell
NATO commanders in Afghanistan are scaling back some joint patrols with Afghan forces, following a spike in the number of 'insider attacks' on international soldiers.

Training and working alongside the Afghan National Security Forces is a central pillar of NATO's planned handover and withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.  NATO says in only some cases 'operational tempo' has been reduced.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the measures are necessary and temporary.

"We remain committed to our goal of seeing the Afghans fully in charge of their own security by the end of 2014.  So that is the bottom line.  The goal is unchanged, the strategy remains the same, and the timeline remains the same," Rasmussen said.

Such measures have been seen before, says Brigadier Ben Barry, a military analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

"What I think this does illustrate though is how very sensitive NATO nations and the United States are becoming to their casualties, and casualties from these insider attacks in particular," Barry said.

Insider attacks, in which rogue Afghan soldiers or police turn their guns on international allies, have claimed the lives of 51 NATO troops this year - 15 in August.
 
British Parliament Member Bob Stewart is a former U.N. commander in Bosnia.

"I think it is about time, from London, we directed that our troops are not necessarily put in the front line ...  Because I am fed up with watching our seriously good soldiers waste their lives, have their lives wasted by people who are meant to be our friends," Stewart said.

Analyst Ben Barry says there is little evidence to suggest the Taliban has infiltrated Afghan forces.

"The Taliban invariably claim responsibility for these attacks and there is good evidence that they will sometimes seek to help the attackers in evading arrest by the Afghan forces or by NATO.  But up to now the evidence has been that very few of these attacks have actually been conducted by Taliban infiltrators," Barry said.

Partnering between international and Afghan forces will continue at battalion level.  Barry says it is the small-scale mentoring that will be affected.

"Where a small A-team of Green Berets [U.S. Army Special Forces] goes and lives in an Afghan village that has decided to renounce the Taliban along with a platoon-sized contingent of locally-raised Afghan police.  Now quite clearly that suspension of those lower-level operations is going to cause difficulties and problems," Barry said.

NATO says the restrictions are also in response to increased tensions across the region following protests against the release of an on-line, low-budget video 'Innocence of Muslims'.  A suicide bombing Tuesday in Kabul killed at least 12 people including Russians and South Africans; an insurgent group called Hezb-e-Islami said it carried out the attack in retaliation for the film.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid