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Internal military documents reveal infighting among Afghan forces

By Bill Mears, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Battles among Afghan military personnel are included in reports posted on WikiLeaks.org
  • The reports also tell of illegal drug use among Afghan forces
  • Mass desertions and thefts of vehicles and equipment also are recounted

Washington (CNN) -- Internal military documents published by WikiLeaks.org reveal conflict among Afghan security forces, including attacks on one another, as well as heavy drug use among soldiers.

The material details more than 60 "Green on Green" incidents in which Afghan military personnel were more concerned with battling each other, rather than insurgents.

WikiLeaks this week published what it says are more than 75,000 U.S. military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year. CNN has been unable to confirm that the documents are authentic.

The dozens of separate incidents in the "friendly fire" category further raise concerns in the international community over the degree to which Afghan security forces will be able to fully take responsibility for security if and when coalition forces begin departing. In some cases the reports indicate a lack of professionalism and discipline, and point to the level of ongoing training U.S. and coalition forces are providing.

In a March 2005 incident, a boy was shot and killed and another was seriously wounded in what the report describes as crossfire between Afghan forces. An unidentified coalition military member summarized the conflict: "The older brother explained that men in the village were having personal disputes with each other and had then began shooting at each ones compounds." (sic)

The injured child was taken to Forward Operating Base Cobra for medical treatment for the stomach wound.

In an incident in April last year, British forces received word that an Afghan army sergeant had shot a fellow solider after an argument. "Immediate medical aid given," the report notes. "The ANA [Afghan National Army] soldier has been arrested and is also on his way" to a coalition detention center.

An October 15, 2007, incident describes an Afghan National Police highway officer's shooting of another Afghan National Police officer in the shoulder and leg, not seriously. "The shooting was not accidental the policeman had been arguing with each other for a few days," the report said.

Illegal drugs appear in several other instances to have fueled much of the internal Afghan disputes. In March 2009, a gunfight broke out after "a significant proportion" of Afghan Border Police at a patrol base were "high on opium and having a party." The shooting left at least one person dead.

The stoned police officers apparently had an argument with an Afghan interpreter at his temporary quarters. Shots were fired, leaving one policeman dead. British forces were "alerted and arrived on the scene to deal with the incident and treat the casualty." It was unclear who fired the fatal shot.

In a February 5, 2008, incident, Task Force Helmand reported that an Afghan National Police officer -- referred to as ANP -- was in a public shower smoking hashish when two members of the Afghan National Army walked in.

"ANP felt threatened and a fire fight occurred," the report says. "The ANP fled the scene and was later shot. ANP and ANA commanders held meetings to contain the incident."

Unlike that report, many do not indicate how the incidents were later resolved, or whether any disciplinary action was taken.

Other incidents detail stolen vehicles and equipment, as well as mass desertions by Afghan forces. One incident last summer involved 20 Afghan police deserting from their post.

 
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