WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- Gen. John Allen has ordered NATO and U.S. soldiers to take new precautions against attacks by members of the Afghan security forces, a senior official says.
Those measures include so-called guardian angels for units on joint bases, the Los Angeles Times reported. That means one member of the unit must be on the lookout for potential attackers at all times, even when the soldiers are asleep.
Some soldiers have been given permission to carry weapons into Afghan government buildings, the official, whose name was not reported, told the newspaper. Those working on desk jobs at headquarters or in Afghan ministries must arrange their desks so they are facing office doors.
"Gen. Allen did exactly what any good commander would do," said Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. "He ordered commanders to take appropriate steps to protect his troops, prudent steps that make sense to our Afghan partners as well. But he also made it clear that we weren't coming to all stop, that the work must continue, and that we couldn't let the partnership itself become a casualty of war."
Attacks by Afghan soldiers or police officers or by insurgents wearing police or military uniforms have increased in recent weeks, driven first by the discovery that U.S. soldiers had disposed of copies of the Koran by burning them and then by the alleged killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. staff sergeant. There have been 16 so far this year, including two British soldiers gunned down Monday by an Afghan soldier and a U.S. soldier killed by a police officer the same day.