The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our top photos from the past 24 hours. Full Article
Obama to lay out economic plan in high-stakes speech
Analysis: Clinton shows he is Obama's most valuable weapon
Powerful quake hits Costa Rica, two dead
05 Sep 2012
Judge upholds Arizona "show-your-papers" measure in mixed ruling
Draghi to deliver bond plan after ECB holds rates
Exclusive: Pentagon threatens legal action over bin Laden book
Romney tells voters to move on from Obama disappointment
Obama, Democrats to make their case as convention opens
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Inside a modern-day exorcism in Colombia. Slideshow
Scenes from the land where Judaism, Islam and Christianity meet. Slideshow
Afghans use culture guides to cut "insider" attacks
NATO urges Karzai to act on Afghan rogue killings
Wed, Sep 5 2012
Suicide bomber kills 25 at Afghan funeral
Tue, Sep 4 2012
U.S. suspends training of Afghan local police force
Sun, Sep 2 2012
Twin suicide bomb attack kills 12 in east Afghanistan
Sat, Sep 1 2012
Five Australian soldiers killed in Afghan incidents
Thu, Aug 30 2012
By Amie Ferris-Rotman
Thu Sep 6, 2012 12:44pm EDT
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan Defence Ministry officials, trying to stop the alarming increase in 'insider' attacks, have given their troops tips on foreign culture, telling them not to be offended by a hearty pat on the back or an American soldier asking after your wife's health.
A pamphlet with guidance on handling cultural differences between Afghans and their foreign partners has been produced amid great concern among Afghan and NATO leaders about attacks by Afghan soldiers and policemen on the foreign troops training them. The attacks have killed 45 NATO-led troops this year.
NATO attributes only about a quarter of the attacks, called green on blue, to the Taliban, saying the rest are caused by personal grievances and misunderstandings. Last year, there were 35 deaths in such attacks.
"Even minor cultural differences can create misunderstandings and rows... If you or your coalition partner gets angry, stay away from each other until the situation becomes normal," reads the weighty pamphlet.
The document highlights the enormous cultural divide still separating Afghans from their allies, 11 years into the increasingly unpopular and costly war.
Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi showed it to reporters on Thursday, saying it was intended for the 190,000-strong Afghan national army.
"Coalition troops may ask about the women in your family. Do not take offence, they just want friendly relations with you. In return, teach them that Afghans do not discuss their families' women with others," the pamphlet instructs, referring to Afghanistan's ultra-conservative society.
Putting one's boots on a desk, blowing one's nose, winking, taking photos, swearing and raising the middle finger are also given as examples of Western culture which might offend Afghans.
In a deeply religious Muslim country where many pray several times a day, the pamphlet urges Afghan troops not to be upset when NATO troops pass in front of them during prayer, considered disrespectful in Islam.
Both the army and the 150,000-strong national police force are trained by NATO and its partners.
NATO troops are also receiving extra cultural awareness training, said Lt. General Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of the NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, adding that the coalition had consulted Afghan army religious advisers.
"We are aware it is a high stress environment with a culture of honor and shame," Bradshaw told reporters, adding that Afghan soldiers who shot their allies were often killed, so there was no opportunity to question them.
Hundreds of Afghan soldiers have been detained or sacked for having links to insurgents, and NATO measures include improving its vetting procedure and counter-intelligence.
Field commanders have been given discretion to post more "guardian angel" sentries, who oversee foreign soldiers in crowded areas such as gyms and food halls, to respond to any rogue shootings, officials say.
In an interview with Reuters this week, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen dismissed any suggestion that the attacks would lead to more members of the NATO-led force pulling out from the war earlier than planned.
(Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi; editing by Tim Pearce)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.