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Kabul hints at ISI hand in insider attacks

Hamid Karzai’s spokesman asserts, for the first time, that foreign spy agencies are involved, countering Nato’s assessment of the crisis.

world Updated: Aug 23, 2012 23:13 IST

Even as the Afghan government said Wednesday that it would take new measures to counter a wave of deadly insider killings of Western troops by Afghan security forces, President Hamid Karzai’s office asserted for the first time that foreign spy agencies were behind most of the attacks, putting it directly at odds with Nato’s assessment of the crisis.

After a special meeting of the president’s security advisers, Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said Afghan authorities were studying every known insider attack, also known as green-on-blue attacks.

He said that based on interrogations of attackers who had been detained, and other evidence like letters and records of phone calls, the government had concluded that the main culprits in the killings had been put in place by intelligence services from neighbouring countries. He did not name them, but the government frequently accuses Pakistan and Iran of meddling.

“The investigation done so far shows there is infiltration by foreign spy agencies,” Faizi said. “There is no doubt there is infiltration.”

Nato’s recent assessment, however, was that only about 1 in 10 of the insider killings were directly linked to infiltration, which it describes as Taliban insurgents who pose as soldiers or police officers, or active Afghan service members who have been won over to the Taliban cause.

Roughly 90% of the attacks were concluded to have stemmed from personal disputes, stress or cultural clashes. Many Western officials here, and US officials at the Pentagon, sought to discount the spokesman’s remarks.