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PM Ashraf, Karzai pledge to 'give peace a chance'

24 August, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday reaffirmed their resolve to work for peace and stability in the region.

They expressed this during a telephonic conversation. Karzai called Raja to convey Eid greetings. The prime minister thanked the Afghan president and extended Eid greeting to him as well.

The premier said a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interest.

The two leaders also discussed situation in the bordering areas. Official sources said that all issue were discussed in a very friendly tone and the two sides understood each other's stances.

Separately, the US general leading NATO forces in Afghanistan acknowledged on Thursday that the Taliban could be traced to more "insider attacks" against Western troops than previously acknowledged, accounting for about a quarter of the cases.

The increasing number of killings of NATO soldiers by Afghan security forces, or those impersonating them, have eroded trust between Western forces and their Afghan allies and threaten to complicate plans for a transition to Afghan security within two years.

Last week, the Pentagon, citing NATO data, said only about 11 percent of so-called "insider attacks" by Afghans against NATO troops are due to Taliban infiltration, with the rest caused by other motives, such as personal grudges.

But Marine General John Allen said the figure was actually closer to 25 percent.

"Our view is it's about 25 percent," Allen said. "If it's just pure Taliban infiltration, that is one number. If you add to that impersonation, the potential that someone is pulling the trigger because the Taliban have coerced the family members, that's a different number."

Allen's NATO-led force later issued a clarification, suggesting that Allen's data and the 11 percent figure did not contradict each other, however it did not provide a year-by-year breakdown.

"The Taliban try to take credit for every one of these attacks, whether it's a personal grievance or whether it's a successful infiltration," he said.

NATO has struggled to stem the so-called "green-on-blue" attacks in which uniformed Afghans turn their weapons against their international allies.

A total of 10 soldiers, mostly Americans, have lost their lives at the hands of their Afghan colleagues in the past two weeks, and the attacks have caused almost one in four coalition deaths in the war so far this month.

He said that the recent spate of assaults may have been related to Ramazan, as Afghan soldiers were under strain from fasting in intense heat while engaged in combat.


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