A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman killed three Nato coalition soldiers and 16 Afghans, at least four of whom were Afghan policeman, on Monday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the south-eastern town of Khost. Over the weekend, a firefight broke out between US and Afghan forces, resulting in the deaths of two US and three Afghan soldiers.
These latest deaths bring the total number of foreign troops killed from "insider attacks" by rogue Afghan security forces to 52, prompting growing concern about US plans to train Afghan forces in advance of the withdrawal of its combat troops by the end of 2014.
In response to this spike in insider attacks, in recent weeks the Afghan army has fired or detained hundreds of soldiers suspected of having links to insurgents. The move signals a shift for Afghan officials, who had previously blamed such attacks on Pakistani and Iranian spy agencies. Last month the US also announced that it would suspend training for 1,000 local police until all recruits could be properly vetted.
Both sides acknowledge that intense pressure to grow and strengthen the Afghan army and police before of the 2014 deadline has resulted in problematic recruitment processes. But as time runs out, the question becomes more urgent: how will the aftermath of 11 years of war affect the day-to-day lives of the Afghan people?
Read more: In the New Yorker, Dexter Filkins considers what withdrawal will actually mean for Afghanistan, warning that it could bring another civil war.
Sources: AP, Washington Post, New York Times, Avaaz, New Yorker