Afghan officials say they lack resources to screen new recruits

Afghan National Police trainees with U.S. Marines
Afghan National Police trainees with the United States Marines police mentoring program learn how to search a suspect during a lesson in Khan Neshin, in the volatile Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2009 file photo.
File,AP Photo/Kevin Frayer

(CBS News) KABUL - The U.S. military has suspended the training of around 1,000 Afghan local police recruits so they can be re-vetted - part of an effort to crack down on so-called "insider attacks" which have left 45 Western troops dead already this year, including 28 Americans.

Questions have been raised about how effective the screening of Afghan Security Forces was in the past. CBS News visited a local recruitment center near Kabul where screening measures have been stepped up. Afghan officials at the center admit that, in the past, the measures taken may not have been sufficient to root out ill-intentioned individuals from joining the security forces.

The officials at the center say they still don't have the resources to carry out proper background checks - citing a lack of computers and other basic hardware to build and maintain a database of new recruits.

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But this is an issue that is being taken seriously at the highest level - both by the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and by the Afghan government.

The deputy commander of the International Security Assistance Force - Afghanistan (ISAF) met Sunday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top security officials, and Karzai promised his full support for any new measures required to deter future attacks. That includes counter-intelligence, and the screening - and perhaps re-screening - of new Afghan recruits.

The task, however, is daunting. There are about 350,000 members of the Afghan Security Forces who need to be vetted all over again, and even that drastic measure won't likely eliminate the threat. About 75 percent of these insider attacks are thought to be the result of simple personal grievances, and those are hard to screen for.