15:32 18 September 2012
The decision for NATO to remove some of its troops, who work alongside Afghanistan forces to combat the Taliban, comes following a series of insider attacks as well as Tuesday’s suicide bombing.
Afghan has seen many protests following the U.S. anti-Islam film, and a bus bomb killing around 12 people near its capital Kabul is thought to have been planned by Afghan rebels, Hezb-e-Islami, in response to the film.
This violent activity coincides with many cases of joint soldiers being killed by rogue Afghans who pose as allies, being dubbed as ‘green-on-blue’ incidents, and seems to be the basis for NATO’s new plan.
NATO look set to alter Afghan joint patrols by only issuing forces for large operations - that involve hundreds of troops. The protocol is expected to be, once it is decided on by all parties involved, that joint patrols will be considered each time they arise.
In a statement the Joint Command of Isaf international Forces, said: “This does not mean there will be no partnering below that level; the need for that will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”
According a BBC report, 20per cent of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan during 2012 were taken out by Afghan soldiers or police. The purpose of foreign presence in the area is to train Afghan soldiers and police for security reasons, before handing responsibility over to them fully.
This news comes after the death of two British soldiers at the weekend, who were killed in the latest ‘green-on-blue’ case. Both troops, who were from the Third Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment, were attacked when assisting an injured policeman who was in fact a rogue soldier.
This follows the attack on Camp Bastion by the Taliban last Friday. The large base, which is in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, houses joint foreign troops who, according to some reports, feel mainly threatened when in the field and not in camp.
Twenty-eight-year-old Prince Harry, who is currently on his second Afghan tour, was amidst the chaos when the enemy strike hit base camp Bastion. Some reports claim the Prince was thought to be the main target of the attack.
Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, revealed that the Prince – who is an Apache attack helicopter gunner – was moved to a secure area unharmed.
Speaking on the BBC2 programme ‘Newsnight’ on Monday, Mr. Hammond confirmed the Prince is treated the same as other soldiers, saying; “in combat he's at the same risk as any other Apache pilot.”
However, he explained there were “arrangements in place that recognise that he could be a target himself specifically as a result of who he is."
It is understood the total number of UK forces to have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001 is at least 429.
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