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US stops training some Afghan forces after attacks

By Heidi Vogt

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 2 2012 8:36 a.m. MDT

The head of the Afghan special operations forces, Brig. Gen. Sayed Abul Karim, confirmed there has been no pause to the training of his forces. The program to train Afghan special operations forces had already been on break for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended in late August, and had been scheduled to restart in mid-September.

"It will continue," he said, adding it has not been halted. "After the 15th of September, we restart," he added.

The most recent insider attack took place last week when an Afghan army soldier turned his gun on Australian soldiers, killing three of them and wounding two, the Australian military.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office condemned an operation by international troops to catch the shooter, describing it as unilateral. He alleged it resulted in the deaths of two civilians — a 70-year-old man his 30-year-old son. Karzai's office said in a statement late Saturday that the operation took place without the coordination or approval of provincial authorities and violated an agreement that calls on Afghan troops to lead night raids.

Night raids have been a contentious issue between Afghan and international forces because the Karzai administration insists that they often end up killing civilians and antagonize the population, while the international coalition has maintained that they are necessary for rooting out insurgents. The U.S. military has struck an agreement to put Afghans at the head of its operations in villages, but there is no such agreement for the entire international coalition.

The international military alliance responded by saying that Afghan officials approved and supported the strike.

In a related incident, NATO said it arrested a Taliban insurgent who was responsible for the May 12 shooting of two members of the British military in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in the south.

At the time the man was a member of the Afghan police. An accomplice was shot and killed at the scene. The man, who was not further identified, was arrested along with another suspected insurgent on Aug. 30 in the Hisarak district of eastern Nangarhar province.

Associated Press writer Patrick Quinn contributed to this report in Kabul.

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