Via The Hill:
Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said Thursday that the Muslim holiday of Ramadan is contributing to the spike of “insider” attacks by Afghan soldiers on NATO troops.
Allen said that while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan was not the principle reason for an uptick in insider attacks, the holiday’s occurrence in the height of the fighting season could be adding to the stress of combat that has led Afghan soldiers to attack their U.S. and NATO trainers.
“It’s a very tough time for these forces, and in particular, this year, Ramadan, as it is known in most of the Muslim world, Ramadan fell in the middle of the fighting season, during some of the harshest time for the climate in much of the region in which we fight,” Allen said during a Pentagon press briefing via satellite.
“The daily pressures that are on some of these troops, compounded by the sacrifice associated with fasting, the nature of our operational tempo — remembering that Afghan troops have gone to the field and they have stayed in the field, and they’ve been in combat now for years — we believe that the combination of many of these particular factors may have come together during the last several weeks to generate the larger numbers,” he said.
\There has been a notable increase in recent weeks in “green-on-blue” or insider attacks, where Afghan soldiers and police officers have attacked NATO troops. At least 10 U.S. service members have been killed in the attacks this month.