NATO Afghan withdrawal 'may accelerate'
03 October 2012
NATO troop-contributing nations in Afghanistan may speed up the withdrawal of personnel from the country before the end of 2014, NATO's Secretary General has said.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he would not be surprised to see some countries "accelerate" withdrawal plans if the handover of security control to Afghan forces continued at its current rate, although he admitted that green on blue attacks had "undermined" trust between ISAF and Afghan forces
"From now until the end of 2014 we will see announcements of redeployments, withdrawals or drawdown," Rasmussen told The Guardian. "If the security situation allows, I would not exclude the possibility that in certain areas you could accelerate the process."
Nine British troops have been killed in insider attacks this year, with a total of 51 International Security Assistance Force troops of all nationalities killed at the hands of rogue members of the Afghan security forces since the beginning of January.
"There's no doubt insider attacks have undermined trust and confidence, absolutely," he said. "It's safe to say that a significant part of the insider attacks are due to Taliban tactics … Probably it is part of a Taliban strategy.
"Political leaders in the capitals of troop-contributing countries know very well that this is part of a tactic or strategy to also undermine public and political support at home … The real target is politicians, media, opinion-formers at home in partner nations and allied nations."
Rasmussen's interview was followed by reports that troops inside Camp Bastion, the main British base in Afghanistan, had been ordered to carry loaded weapons with them at all times on base so that they could respond should a 'green-on-blue' attack take place.
The move is said to have been prompted by tactical directive issued by ISAF chief US General John Allen in mid-August.