Afghan Army to Soldiers: Cut Ties to Pakistan, or Quit

Afghan National Security Force desperate to root out infiltrators
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2012 7:03 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2012 7:56 AM CST
Afghan Army to Soldiers: Cut Ties to Pakistan, or Quit
Newly graduated Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers attend their graduation ceremony at the Afghan National Army training centre in Kabul on January 26, 2012.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Afghan military officials have begun ordering soldiers to move any family they have in Pakistan out of the country, or else leave the military, in a desperate attempt to rid their ranks of Taliban infiltrators. While those orders haven't yet been translated into an official nationwide policy, they represent just how serious the problem of Taliban sleepers has become, the Washington Post reports. Officials have also created a "special reconnaissance group" to investigate what soldiers do on leave—particularly if they head to Pakistan.

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Rogue Afghan troops have killed 58 NATO personnel since 2007, and there have been even more attacks on Afghan troops. In most cases, the rogue soldier had spent time in Pakistan, where many of the Taliban's bases are believed to be located. "It's all linked to Pakistan," says one parliament member. "It's crystal clear." But forcing soldiers to move their families would disproportionately affect Pashtuns, stoking ethnic tensions. The Taliban, which is largely Pashtun, has long argued that the Afghan government discriminates against the ethnic group. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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