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Unfriendly fire in Afghanistan

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 03:13

Jan. 20 - Coalition forces in Afghanistan come under attack as France reconsiders mission after four French forces are killed by a ''rogue'' Afghan soldier. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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A rogue Afghan army soldier kills four French troops in eastern Afghanistan Friday. Separately, six foreign soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan Thursday, with NATO denying the craft was brought down by insurgents, the coalition's Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIGADIER GENERAL CARSTEN JACOBSON, SAYING: "Overall we have lost in the last 24 hours six coalition solders in a helicopter incident, and we have lost this morning four French soldiers in a shooting situation in the Eastern part of Afghanistan where a man dressed up in an Afghan uniform opened fire on French solders and four of them unfortunately perished." The shooting is the latest in a string of attacks by "rogue" Afghan soldiers and police on their foreign partners. Now France is suspending its mission and threatening to pull out early from the NATO led mission. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIGADIER GENERAL CARSTEN JACOBSON, SAYING: "Well, we are aware of the statement that the French President has made this afternoon and we obviously have to kook at what that means. At the moment it is still too early to make a statement on behalf of ISAF and and we first have to talk to the French authorities." Dozens of foreign soldiers have been killed in recent years by what NATO dubs the insider threat, complicating coalition efforts to train Afghanistan's army and police force before foreign combat troops leave by the end of 2014. NATO no longer releases figures on so-called "green-on-blue" shootings, which refer to the colors of the Afghan army and the symbol of NATO. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIGADIER GENERAL CARSTEN JACOBSON, SAYING: "Well obviously an incident like this always brings the issue of trust. But, as we look at the theater we see that 130,000 solders of the coalition on a daily basis operate with 300,000 members, policemen and soldiers of the Afghan National security forces, very close, in combat situations and situations where they have to trust and rely on each other. This happens on a daily basis. So, therefore, every step that has to be taken to continue and to improve this confidence and distrust has to be taken. And one of the most important things is obviously, the vetting of young recruits that are joining the Afghan security forces." Friday's deaths bring the total number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 82 since France joined the international military operation in Afghanistan in 2001. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.

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Unfriendly fire in Afghanistan

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 03:13