- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2012

The top allied commander in Afghanistan said the recent killings of U.S. and coalition troops by Afghan soldiers have created an “erosion of trust” between international and Afghan forces.

“There is an erosion of trust that has emerged from this,” Marine Corps Gen. John Allen said Monday at the Brookings Institution.

His comments come in stark contrast to those of other Pentagon officials, who have said the relationship between U.S. troops and Afghan forces remains strong.

Earlier Monday at the Pentagon, Gen. Allen himself gave reporters an upbeat assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, despite the killings of a U.S. and British troops by Afghan soldiers who turned their weapons on the coalition forces.

“I’m not saying things are perfect. Much work remains to be done,” he said.

“For every insider threat … I can cite hundreds of other examples where they do perform their duties, where the partnership is strong, the competence of the Afghan forces is building, and where the trust and confidence we have in them, and that they have in themselves, grow steadily,” the general said.

Monday’s slayings of a U.S. soldier and two British troops marked the ninth and 10th incidents this year in which an Afghan soldier has turned his weapon on coalition forces in what are called “green on blue” attacks.

Last week Gen. Allen told Congress that 52 U.S. troops have been killed and 68 wounded in such attacks since 2007, when the incidents were first tracked, not including those under investigation.