Gen. Allen: ‘No simple means’ to stop insider attacks

Allen noted the announcement over the weekend to delay enrollment of about 1,000 new Afghan police officers, and to re-vet the 16,000 personnel in the Afghan Local Police.

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In addition, he said a new oversight group of senior Afghan and ISAF leaders has been created to monitor and direct initiatives targeted at insider attacks.

He said that further improvements were being made for vetting new recruits, there would be an increase in counterintelligence teams, an anonymous insider threat reporting system was being started and ISAF was helping the Afghans develop new procedures for soldiers returning from leave.

The statement from Allen is a reflection of the issues that the rising number of insider attacks has raised for both NATO and the Afghans, complicating the plan to transition security control to the Afghans by 2014.

There have been 45 NATO soldiers killed this year in the attacks, including 15 since August. Most of them have been American.

While the Pentagon has stressed that the attacks represent a tiny number of the Afghan soldiers on the side of NATO, they have still created a larger political problem in part due to the psychological nature of the deaths.

House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Wednesday the attacks were “extremely worrisome,” saying there is “something particularly troubling about casualties caused by someone who is, or is supposed to be on our side.”

Allen stressed that the attacks were a problem for the Afghan troops as much as they were for NATO, and that the fate of both were tied together in addressing the attacks.

“The problem of insider attacks hurts our Afghan partners as much as they hurts us, and like the battle for stability in Afghanistan, insider attacks are a problem that we are only going to solve through steadfast partnership,” he said.