Afghanistan fires hundreds of troops after new review

There have been 45 NATO troops, most of them American, killed this year by insider attacks, with a third of the deaths occurring in August.

As the number of attacks has risen, they have put a strain on the U.S. plan to transition security control to the Afghan forces by 2014.

U.S. Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said last month that about 25 percent of the insider attacks have been connected to the Taliban.

Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) joint command, said Wednesday that NATO forces were helping the Afghans with their re-vetting process. He suggested the Afghans would be able to look at specific populations to focus the screening on, though he didn’t elaborate on what those populations would be.

Speaking via satellite at a Pentagon press briefing Wednesday, Terry said the Afghans are taking the insider attacks seriously and the issue has the “full attention” of President Hamid Karzai and the army and police.

Terry said he’d heard estimates that 200 to 300 Afghan soldiers had been removed in the firings, although he added that he could not confirm the exact numbers.

The insider attacks have not altered plans to hand off security control, nor affected the drawdown of U.S. surge forces that will be concluded this month, Terry said. Afterward, the United States will have 68,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Also on Wednesday, two NATO troops were killed in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. Their nationalities were not initially known.