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Article published September 5, 2012
Afghan soldiers removed during insider attacks probe
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan authorities have detained or removed hundreds of soldiers in an investigation into rising insider attacks against international service personnel who are their supposed partners in the fight against Taliban insurgents and other militants, officials said Wednesday. The crackdown is the result of the Afghan Defense Ministry’s effort to re-evaluate soldiers to stem the attacks, which are complicating plans to train Afghan forces so that most foreign troops can withdraw from the country by the end of 2014. The U.S. military is taking precautionary measures too and recently stopped training about 1,000 members of the Afghan Local Police, a controversial network of village-defense units that is growing but remains a fraction of the country’s army and police force. President Hamid Karzai has expressed concern that without careful vetting, the program could end up arming local troublemakers, strongmen or criminals. So far this year, 45 international service members, most of them Americans, have died at the hands of Afghan soldiers or policemen or insurgents wearing their uniforms. There were at least 12 such attacks in August alone, resulting in 15 deaths.