The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has been put on heightened alert in connection with bellicose rhetoric by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, local media reported on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Karzai blamed NATO and the United States for cooperating with the Taliban with an alleged aim of justifying their presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
The statement came after dozens of people were killed in a spate of terrorist attacks in the cities of Kabul and Khost.
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan released a threat advisory to his troops following potentially inflammatory comments from President Hamid Karzai and an increase in violence in recent days.
The coalition command did not specify what prompted the warning but said it was the result of a “sum total” of events.
Earlier this week an Afghan soldier killed two American special forces soldiers in a so-called “insider attack.” The number of such attacks had declined this year after a large spike last year.
Bombings in Kabul over the weekend, when new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was visiting the country, killed 17 Afghans.
Karzai meanwhile accused the United States of conspiring with the Taliban to convince the population that U.S. forces should stay beyond 2014. The remarks increased already strained relations between the United States and Karzai.
The coalition has also delayed a planned handover of authority at the detention facility at Bagram because of continued disagreement over the transition to Afghan control. The United States is reportedly concerned over the potential release of suspects deemed a continuing threat.
U.S. officials said the coalition “routinely” conducts such threat assessments and issues advisories. The assessment was issued by Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, the coalition commander. It was first reported by The New York Times.
“This advisory was prudent given increased coalition casualties in recent days,” the command said in a statement. “General Dunford’s e-mail is simply an example of this vigilance.”
Voice of Russia, RIA, USA Today