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Trust deficit a risk in Afghanistan

Sept. 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A loss of trust between coalition and Afghan forces may be more of a threat to the mission there than Taliban infiltration, a U.S. scholar said.

Attacks by Afghan forces on coalition troops in the country have left 45 soldiers dead so far this year. An analysis by U.S. think tank Rand Corp. reports that means one of every seven troop fatalities in Afghanistan are a result of so-called green-on-blue attacks.

The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said it would put Afghan recruits through an eight-step vetting process that includes background checks and drug screenings. Records would be vetted to get to assess lingering threat factors.

Seth Jones, a scholar at the Rand Corp. and former U.S. adviser on Afghanistan, said in a briefing note that while a Taliban focus on Afghan forces may suggest insurgents see a growing threat, it's imperative that warplanners have a better understanding of Afghan security processes.

Jones, however, said the greater threat may be in political tensions between the United States and Afghanistan.

"A loss of trust between Afghan and U.S. soldiers would be extremely damaging, although the relationship thus far has been reparable," he said in his research note.

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