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Top US general in Afghanistan to discuss attacks


February 16. 2013 5:55PM
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(AP) The U.S. military's top general was meeting with senior officials in Afghanistan on Monday to attempt to stop the recent wave of attacks by Afghan soldiers and police against international forces in the country.


Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, landed at Bagram Air Field outside Kabul earlier in the day and was scheduled to meet with Gen. John Allen, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in the country, and senior Afghan officials, said spokesman Jamie Graybeal.


"He's certainly talking about a number of issues including progress with the (military) campaign and the like," Graybeal said. "He's also obviously talking about the insider attacks."


In the latest such attack Sunday, two Afghan policemen turned their weapons on U.S. troops in Kandahar province, killing an American service member, officials said. That raised the death toll to 10 U.S. troops killed in such attacks in the space of just two weeks.


Sunday's attack happened in Kandahar's Spin Boldak district near the border with Pakistan. One of the attackers was killed when the troops returned fire and the other escaped, Graybeal said.


A U.S. Defense Department official confirmed that the dead service member was American. The official spoke anonymously because the nationality of the deceased had not been officially released.


The Taliban have been actively recruiting members of the Afghan security forces, saying in a statement last week that they considered these turncoat attacks a major part of their strategy against international forces.


Once an anomaly, these attacks have been climbing in recent months. There have been 30 such attacks so far this year, up from 11 in 2011.


On Saturday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to encourage him to work with U.S. commanders to ensure more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits.


On Friday, it was disclosed that U.S. troops have been ordered to carry loaded weapons at all times in Afghanistan, even when they are on their bases. The order was a precaution against such insider attacks.


Associated Press


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