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Suicide Vests Found Inside Afghan Defense Ministry, Soldiers Arrested

There are fresh fears about the infiltration of Afghan security forces by anti-government and anti-American insurgents after the discovery of 10 or 11 (depending on the media report) suicide vests inside the headquarters of that country's defense ministry and the arrest of more than a dozen soldiers.

The Afghan newssite Khaama Press says the soldiers are suspected of "plotting suicide bomb attacks." MSNBC says it has been told by officials that the vests were found "in a guard box." According to The New York Times, the defense ministry "went into a near-total lockdown on Tuesday after the discovery" of the vests and the soldiers' arrests. It adds that:

"The security breach took place in one of the most fortified parts of Kabul, less than a mile from the presidential palace and the headquarters of the American-led coalition. It raised the prospect that the Taliban, which launched a series of high-profile attacks inside Kabul last year, plans to pick up where it left off as winter snows give way to spring, clearing the high mountain passes and opening the annual fighting season."

On Monday, as The Associated Press reports, "Afghan security forces ... shot and killed one American and two British troops in two separate incidents, the latest in a rising number of attacks in which Afghan forces have turned their weapons on their foreign partners. ... Since 2007, an estimated 80 NATO service members were killed by Afghan security forces, according to an Associated Press tally, which is based on Pentagon figures released in February. More than 75 percent of the attacks have occurred in the past two years."

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Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.