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Joint operations hurt by mistrust, say defence analysts

Joint operations hurt by mistrust, say defence analysts

Mar 04, 2012 - 16:45

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Defence analysts believe the recent distrust between Afghan and international troops resulting from the Quraninfo-icon burning incident would have a negative impact on their joint counterinsurgency operations. They suggest foreigners should avoid the mistakes that could provoke Afghan soldiers’ sentiments.

Six US soldiers have been killed by their Afghan counterparts after the alleged desecration of the Quran at the Bagram airbase in central Parwan province.

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier shot dead his two US counterparts during a demonstration in eastern Nangarhar province and another two American advisors were killed inside the interior ministry in Kabul. Two more US soldiers were killed in the Zherai district of southern Kandahar province.

Some analysts believe the errors by foreign troops had created an atmosphere of distrust that would have an appalling impact on joint operations and the international community’s overall mission in the country. 

Gen. Abdul Wahid Taqat, a defence analyst, noted the mistrust had recently increased.. He told Pajhwok Afghan News lack of trust was affecting military coordination between Afghans and their foreign partners, creating various problems in joint operations.

Taqat stressed the enemies should not be given any chance to penetrate Afghan forces and there should be an intelligence check on local forces. He said the establishment of an intelligence department inside defence and interior ministries was vital.  

Halalluddin Halal, another expert, said that serious action had to be taken to end the current phase of violence. “There has been a lack of transparency in investigating the people who joins Afghan forces. No one bothers to establish that army and police recruits have no links to a foreign country or insurgent groups.” 

Everyone in the army, from a general to a soldier, should be fully investigated, he believed, warning that efforts at maintaining peace would fail if the current situation persisted.  

Meanwhile, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) spokesman, Jimmie E. Cummings, said the vetting process for Afghan security personnel applicants relied primarily on personal relationships and data verification from tribal elders.

He said the process was extremely speeded and further efforts were underway to improve it. “ISAF has complete respect for Islam and the reverence in which the Quran
is held is understood by international forces and every effort is being made to ensure the appropriate respect is shown to it.”

He added: “The incident was a grave error by several soldiers who may have acted out of ignorance and unfamiliarity with Islamic religious protocol and we sincerely apologise for this outrage.”

ISAF was collaborating with Afghan authorities and carefully examining the facts and the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident to prevent it happening again, the spokesman continued.

“We are focused on getting back to our important work with our Afghan
partners, as everyone from President Obama to Secretary Panetta to
Gen. Allen to Secretary Clinton to Ambassador Crocker has said, the
United States remains committed to a partnership with the government and
people of Afghanistaninfo-icon,” Cummings concluded.


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