ISAF reported today that an Afghan soldier has killed a Coalition solider in southern Afghanistan. The nationality of the slain solider has not been disclosed. The Afghan soldier was gunned down by ISAF troops shortly after. From the ISAF press release:
An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against coalition service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing one service member.
The individual who opened fire was killed when coalition forces returned fire.
The incident is under investigation.
It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
That makes for 20 ISAF soldiers killed by Afghan security personnel this year. (Note: Our previous count was 17, but it has been revised upward to 19 based on this report by The Associated Press on May 1. In at least one case, a soldier died from wounds suffered in the attack.)
These green on blue attacks, as they are called, have skyrocketed this year. An estimated 20 percent of the ISAF deaths this year have been the result of Afghan security forces attacking ISAF personnel. The last green on blue attack took place on April 26, when an Afghan commando killed a US Special Forces soldier in the south. Afghan forces have even killed two US advisers inside the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul.
The Associated Press report above mentioned that ISAF will not release data on the green on blue attacks that do not result in the death of ISAF personnel. This was first reported here at The Long War Journal on March 26, when we noted that ISAF refused to release data on non-fatal green on blue attacks and stated that the data is “classified.”
With the US and NATO starting to rapidly withdraw their forces from Afghanistan, and relying on a strategy that embeds advisers with Afghan forces to make up for the shortfall in personnel, the issue of green on blue attacks will only become more prominent. The US military has become so concerned with the green on blue attacks that it has ordered units to designate “guardian angels” in each unit whose job is to provide security for troops working with Afghans.