The Taliban’s reclusive leader says his fighters have infiltrated the Afghan police and army and are successfully killing a rising number of US-led coalition forces.
Mullah Mohammad Omar emailed his eight-page message to news organisations before the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Omar said Afghan security forces were assisting Taliban fighters who infiltrated their ranks, killed foreign troops and then carried their government-issued weapons back to insurgent camps.
“They are able to (safely) enter bases, offices and intelligence centres of the enemy,” he said. “Then, they easily carry out decisive and coordinated attacks, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.”
Attacks where Afghan soldiers or policemen, or militants wearing Afghan uniforms, kill their foreign partners is on the rise, but the coalition claims only 10% of the attacks can be linked to infiltrators.
So far this year 34 foreign troops have been killed in 27 attacks, according to The Associated Press.
Last year, 20 international soldiers were killed in 11 such attacks.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that such attacks were deeply concerning. He said the US-led coalition was continually assessing and refining procedures to ensure the safety of Nato troops.
“It is important to remember first of all that our relationship with our Afghan partners is strong and that every day our forces fight alongside Afghan forces,” Mr Carney said, adding that international forces partner with about 350,000 Afghan forces on 90% of operations.
The Taliban leader urged Afghan government workers to also switch sides and join the Taliban.
The Taliban has set up a new department, “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration”, to help those who leave the government and join the uprising, he said.
It is a response to the Afghan government’s reintegration programme to lure Taliban foot soldiers off the battlefield, help them set up a new life back in their communities and provide development assistance to their villages.
The Taliban leader also called on his fighters to protect the life and property of the Afghan people.
The United Nations says more than three-quarters of the 1,145 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year were blamed on insurgents.
“I urge you emphatically to be careful about the civilian losses and take this on yourselves as an explicit responsibility,” Omar told his followers.
On other topics, he said the gradual plan under way to transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014 is a “deceiving drama” that the international community has orchestrated to hide its defeat.
That is in contrast to coalition claims that Afghan security forces are increasingly able to lead operations and already have started to assume responsibility for security in areas of the country that are home to 75% of the Afghan population.
The Taliban leader’s message came on the same day that a US military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan, killing seven Americans and four Afghans in one of the deadliest air disasters of a war now into its second decade.
The Taliban claimed it gunned down the Black Hawk. Omar did not refer to the crash in his message.