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NATO Forces Scale Back 'Face-to-Face' Contacts With Afghan Partners


FILE - U.S. Army personnel from NATO and Afghan commando forces are pictures in a checkpoint during a patrol against Islamic State militants at the Deh Bala district in the eastern province of Nangarhar Province.

U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan have temporarily scaled back “face-to-face” contacts with local partners after two “insider” attacks in the past week that killed a revered top Afghan police chief and a foreign service member.

A spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support confirmed Thursday while speaking to VOA "the current situation" has prompted the mission to introduce measures to ensure the safety of American and other foreign troops.

“This is a standard practice after green-on-blue attacks and applies mainly to face-to-face contacts,” said Colonel Knut Peters, referring to shooting incidents in which Afghan personnel turn their guns on foreign partners.

“We have not stopped operations but conduct them from a distance, in particular through phone and email,” emphasized the NATO spokesman.

Military personnel held a photo of Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar police chief, who was killed by a guard, during his burial ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 19, 2018.
Military personnel held a photo of Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar police chief, who was killed by a guard, during his burial ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 19, 2018.

On Monday, an Afghan soldier shot dead a Czech service member and wounded two others at a military base in western Herat province.

That incident happened just days after a local security guard, a purported Taliban “infiltrator,” opened fire at a gathering of top Afghan and American military officers in the southern province of Kandahar.

The assault killed both the provincial police chief, Abdul Raziq, and the regional head of the national spy agency before U.S. soldiers gunned down the shooter.

The provincial governor and a senior U.S. general, as well as as two other Americans, were among those wounded. Gen. Scott Miller, the U.S. commander of the military mission also was present in the gathering but he escaped unharmed.

The Taliban insurgency claimed responsibility for both the attacks, saying its “infiltrators” among Afghan security forces carried them out. An insurgent spokesman asserted the attack in Kandahar was meant to assassinate both Gen. Miller and Raziq.

In a new statement issued on Wednesday, the Taliban noted Afghan “loyalists” were responsible for saving the American general.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleged insurgents plotted the Kandahar attack in neighboring Pakistan, charges Islamabad rejected as baseless.

The “green-on-blue” insider attacks have killed more than 150 U.S. or coalition forces and wounded about 200 since 2008. The number of such incidents increased dramatically in 2012, prompting coalition commanders to introduce precautionary force protection measures. The steps have led to a significant reduction in the violence since then.

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