STABILITY in a UNSTABLE NATION: Afghanistan sets back its PROGRESS after ATTACKS on NATO soldiers
STABILITY in a UNSTABLE NATION: Afghanistan sets back its PROGRESS after ATTACKS on NATO soldiers American and Afghan officials are expanding the range of explanations for a surge in "insider attacks" on US troops, adding on Wednesday the theory that the burden of fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan combined with the summer heat may have prompted more Afghan soldiers and police to turn their guns on their American partners. Whatever the underlying reasons, the attacks are taking a toll and raising questions about the risk of American and other coalition troops working side by side with Afghan troops as advisers, mentors and trainers. The close contact is an essential element of the US strategy for putting the Afghans in the lead combat role as the US prepares to pull out its last combat troops at the end of 2014. The top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, said Thursday that while the reasons for the killings are not fully understood, the effect of Ramadan fasting is likely among the causes. "The idea that they will fast during the day places great strain on them," Allen said, adding that the stress may have been compounded by Ramadan falling during the heat of summer and the height of the fighting season. He acknowledged that hunger and heat are not the primary causes for the killings, but it is among many "different and complex reasons for why we think this may have increased" lately. He also cited Taliban infiltration of <b>...</b>
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