The Afghan army has detained or sacked hundreds of soldiers for having links to insurgents, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday as it tries to stem the rising number of so-called insider attacks.
It made the announcement as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express his concern over the attacks, in which Afghan servicemen have killed at least 45 NATO-led troops this year, including 15 in August, compared with 35 for all of last year, reports Reuters.
"Hundreds were sacked or detained after showing links with insurgents. In some cases we had evidence against them, in others we were simply suspicious," Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told reporters in Kabul.
"Using an army uniform against foreign forces is a serious point of concern not only for the Defence Ministry but for the whole Afghan government," Azimi said, adding that Karzai had ordered Afghan forces to devise ways to stop insider attacks.
Azimi declined to say whether the detained and fired soldiers were from Taliban strongholds in the south and east, saying they were from all over the country.
He said his ministry started an investigation into the attacks, called green-on-blue attacks, within the 195,000-strong Afghan army six months ago.
In his call to Karzai, Rasmussen outlined measures taken by NATO-led forces to stop the insider attacks and he urged Karzai to join the efforts, according to a NATO spokeswoman.
The measures include strengthening vetting procedures, better counter-intelligence and giving troops cultural awareness training.
The commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Allen, said his troops were constantly taking new measures to counter the threat from rogue Afghan soldiers, which have been trained and armed by U.S. and other foreign forces.