Afghans use culture guides to cut “insider” attacks

by
September 7, 2012

By Amie Ferris-Rotman, Reuters

KABUL | Afghan Defense Ministry officials, trying to stop the alarming increase in ‘insider’ attacks, have given their troops tips on foreign culture, telling them not to be offended by a hearty pat on the back or an American soldier asking after your wife’s health.

A pamphlet with guidance on handling cultural differences between Afghans and their foreign partners has been produced amid great concern among Afghan and NATO leaders about attacks by Afghan soldiers and policemen on the foreign troops training them. The attacks have killed 45 NATO-led troops this year.

NATO attributes only about a quarter of the attacks, called green on blue, to the Taliban, saying the rest are caused by personal grievances and misunderstandings. Last year, there were 35 deaths in such attacks.

“Even minor cultural differences can create misunderstandings and rows… If you or your coalition partner gets angry, stay away from each other until the situation becomes normal,” reads the weighty pamphlet.

The document highlights the enormous cultural divide still separating Afghans from their allies, 11 years into the increasingly unpopular and costly war.

Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi showed it to reporters on Thursday, saying it was intended for the 190,000-strong Afghan national army.

To read more, visit:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/06/us-afghanistan-insider-idUSBRE8850X320120906

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