Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data

Data last updated on Sept. 16, 2014

I. Introduction
II. Data Summary
III. Timeline of Green-on-Blue Attacks in Afghanistan, 2008 - 2014


Attacks on Coalition forces by Afghan forces -- the so-called green-on-blue attacks -- are emerging as a major threat in the 11-year-old war in Afghanistan. These attacks from within have increased dramatically within the past two years, and in 2012 they accounted for 15% of Coalition deaths.

As the United States prepares to complete the withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the US military and its Coalition partners are increasingly shifting security responsibilities to Afghan forces. The success of this security transition depends greatly on the strength and competence of the Afghan military and police. Accordingly, the training of the newly-mustered Afghan forces has become a linchpin of Coalition strategy, which in turn hinges upon the work of trainers with Afghan security forces. This situation has placed Coalition troops at increasing risk as the drawdowns continue and Taliban efforts to infiltrate Afghan forces are being ramped up.

In 2012, attacks by Afghan forces on Coalition forces surged; in 2012, they accounted for 15% of Coalition deaths. In 2011, green-on-blue attacks accounted for 6%; in 2010, 2%; in 2009, 2%; and in 2008, less than 1%.

Although NATO commanders have stated that an estimated 90% of the attacks are due to cultural differences and personal enmity, the attacks began spiking in 2011, just after President Barack Obama announced the plan to pull the surge forces, end combat operations in 2014, and shift security to Afghan forces. The Taliban also have claimed to have stepped up efforts at infiltrating the Afghan National Security Forces.

Disagreeing with NATO's analysis, the Afghan government has blamed the problem on "infiltration by foreign spy agencies," including those of "neighboring countries," The Guardian reported. The Afghan government also predicted that vetting of recruits to the Afghan military and police would soon improve as the forces were reaching their target capacity after a rapid buildup.

While cultural and personal differences may play a role in the increase in attacks, Taliban infiltration and defections by Afghan security personnel who have decided to ingratiate themselves with the Taliban by attacking NATO forces likely play a far more significant role in the green-on-blue attacks than NATO admits. Without a complete study of the attacks, including those that do not result in casualties, it is impossible to have a full understanding as to what motivates Afghan security personnel to turn on their foreign partners.

ISAF responses

In May 2012, ISAF commander General John Allen said that about half of the green-on-blue attacks have been carried out by Taliban infiltrators. In August, General Allen said that approximately 25% of the green-on-blue attacks were due to Taliban infiltration and/or coercion of Afghan forces, according to The New York Times. The Taliban routinely take credit for the attacks.

The US military became so concerned with the green-on-blue attacks in 2012 that it ordered units to designate "guardian angels" in each unit whose job is to provide security for troops working with Afghans. In mid-August, field commanders were told they can increase the number of "guardian angels" depending on the tactical situation, Reuters reports.

The surge in green-on-blue attacks prompted the US military to expand its counterintelligence capability in Afghanistan at the battalion level and above, according to Reuters. In addition, ISAF commander John Allen recently directed all US and NATO troops to carry a loaded weapon at all times, Fox News reported. Other measures taken include the adoption of an eight-step vetting process for recruits and revised NATO training requirements.

Announcing these changes, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Afghan forces were also trying to address the problem and had already discharged "hundreds of soldiers" suspected of having been radicalized. The Telegraph reported that the Afghan army has added 300 intelligence specialists to help detect infiltrators, and that 75 percent of the force will be reinvestigated and enrolled in a biometrics database.

Although as a matter of policy ISAF does not report on attacks that do not result in deaths, this trend seems to be changing, as two of the three attacks reported in July 2012 involved situations in which soldiers were wounded but not killed.

Update: On Sept. 2, 2012, training for more than 1,000 new recruits for the Afghan Local Police was suspended by the US's Special Operations Command after five of its soldiers were killed over the course of a week in August. On Sept. 17, the US military announced that it was suspending most joint US/Afghan patrols in the field until further notice, in the wake of a spasm of insider attacks, a major Taliban assault on Camp Bastion in Helmand province, and widespread Islamist protests over an anti-Islam film. And on Sept. 18, NATO followed suit, announcing that it too was suspending most joint operations below the battalion level.

Taliban claims

The Taliban have seized on the green-on-blue attacks in their propaganda, and routinely claim each attack to be a result of infiltration. In early August 2012, the Taliban released a video of two Afghan soldiers who attacked ISAF soldiers in Kunar and Uruzgan [see Threat Matrix report, Observations on Taliban video 'welcoming' rogue ANA soldiers].

Mullah Omar, the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, or the Taliban, addressed the issue of green-on-blue attacks in a statement released on Aug. 16, 2012. Omar claimed that the Taliban "cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year," and urged government officials and security personnel to defect and join the Taliban as a matter of religious duty. He also noted that the Taliban have created the "Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration" department, "with branches ... now operational all over the country," to encourage defections. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]

Update: On Sept. 19, 2012, The Telegraph reported the Taliban's claim that their "operations and strategy" have forced the Coalition to "abandon" its plans. "This is an achievement for the mujahideen who have managed to create mistrust among the enemy forces and, God willing, this is the start of their overall defeat in Afghanistan," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed.

Update: On Oct. 24, 2012, Taliban emir Mullah Omar released an Eid al-Adha message that urged followers to "[i]increase Increase your efforts to expand the area of infiltration in the ranks of the enemy and to bring about better order and array in the work." The statement continued: "We call on the Afghans who still stand with the stooge regime to turn to full-fledged cooperation with their Mujahid people like courageous persons in order to protect national interests and to complete independence of the country. Jihadic activities inside the circle of the State militias are the most effective stratagem. Its dimension will see further expansion, organization and efficiency if God willing."


In tabulating the green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan, The Long War Journal has taken its data wherever possible from ISAF press releases. Additional sources include foreign and US press reports, information obtained from ISAF personnel, and previous LWJ articles. Each listed incident in the timeline includes one or more hyperlinks to sources for the report.

For the purposes of this report, all attacks in Afghanistan in which a person purporting to be affiliated with the Afghan security forces -- whether Afghan National Army, Afghan Local Police, Afghan Border Police, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Air Force, other branches, or security personnel hired by Afghan authorities -- are considered "green." Similarly, all persons purporting to be affiliated with US, ISAF, or NATO security forces, including interpreters and civilian contractors, are considered "blue."

The data below indicates the number of attacks, the affiliation of the attacker (if known), the location/province where the attack occurred, the date of the attack, the number of security forces killed or wounded in the attack, and the affiliation of those killed or wounded. The data also includes the reported fate of the attacker(s).

Because ISAF has generally not reported on green-on-blue incidents in which no casualties have occurred, the overall number of attacks is likely to be far greater than those reported below. Similarly, ISAF has generally not reported on incidents that have resulted only in injuries, not death; these too are likely to be underreported. ISAF has told The Long War Journal that the overall number of green-on-blue attacks is "classified."

Finally, there may be a slight discrepancy between the LWJ and ISAF overall casualty counts, as ISAF does not treat attacks by Afghan forces on US/NATO civilian contractors as "green-on-blue" attacks. In addition, some incidents initially seen to have involved only injuries may have later resulted in deaths.


The following data will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect any new attacks.

The Long War Journal's data covers green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan from Jan. 1, 2008 up to the present. As of Sept. 16, 2014, there have been a total of 89 attacks reported.

Total number of attacks per year:

2014 - 4
2013 - 13
2012 - 44
2011 - 16
2010 - 5
2009 - 5
2008 - 2

Total number of attacks per province:

Badghis - 4
Baghlan - 1
Balkh - 2
Farah - 2
Faryab - 2
Ghor - 1
Helmand - 19
Herat - 2
Kabul - 6
Kandahar - 16
Kapisa - 4
Kunar - 1
Laghman - 3
Nangarhar - 3
Paktia - 5
Paktika - 5
Uruzgan - 4
Wardak - 5
Zabul - 2
Unknown - 1

Numbers of Coalition troops and affiliates killed and wounded by green-on-blue attacks:

The total number of Coalition deaths from green-on-blue attacks for the period Jan. 1, 2008 to the present is 144. The total number of Coalition wounded is 183.

Green-on-blue deaths per year, and percentage of Coalition deaths caused by such attacks:

2014 - 4 - 6%
2013 - 14 - 9.9%
2012 - 61 - 15%
2011 - 35 - 6%
2010 - 16 - 2%
2009 - 12 - 2%
2008 - 2 - less than 1%

Green-on-blue wounded per year:

2014 - 26
2013 - 29
2012 - 81
2011 - 34
2010 - 1
2009 - 11
2008 - 3

Total number of green-on-blue deaths per province:

Badghis - 5
Baghlan - 3
Balkh - 4
Farah - 3
Faryab - 2
Helmand - 34
Herat - 3
Kabul - 13
Kandahar - 17
Kapisa - 10
Kunar - 1
Laghman - 8
Nangarhar - 8
Paktia - 6
Paktika - 7
Uruzgan - 6
Wardak - 8
Zabul - 5
Unknown - 2

Total number of green-on-blue wounded per province:

Badghis - 4
Baghlan - 6
Balkh - 2
Farah - 3
Faryab - 2
Ghor - 2
Helmand - 32
Herat - 1
Kabul - 18
Kandahar - 40
Kapisa - 22
Kunar - 2
Laghman - 6
Nangarhar - 2
Paktia - 8
Paktika - 4
Uruzgan - 5
Wardak - 17
Zabul - 5

Reported fate of the attacker(s):

Killed (includes death by suicide attack and killed after fleeing) - 47
Captured - 26*
Wounded (not known if also captured) - 6
Fled after attack- 36
Escaped following capture - 1
Unknown - 3

* Includes 11 suspects detained in an incident on Feb. 20, 2012.


Green-on-blue attacks in 2014:

Sept. 15, 2014:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on ISAF trainers at a foreign military base in the 207 Zafar Army Corps in Farah province, killing a trainer and wounding another trainer and an interpreter before being killed in return fire.

Aug. 5, 2014:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on US officers at a key leader engagement at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul City. A US major general was killed and 16 ISAF personnel, including a US brigadier general and a German general, were wounded. The attacker was killed by Afghan soldiers.

June 23, 2014:
Two US military advisers were wounded when an Afghan policeman opened fire on them as they arrived with troops at the Paktia provincial police headquarters in Gardez. The attacker was killed in return fire. The Taliban claimed the attack was perpetrated by an infiltrator named Naqibullah.

Feb. 12, 2014:
Two US soldiers were fatally shot by two individuals wearing Afghan National Security Force uniforms in eastern Afghanistan, and four US soldiers were wounded. During the attack, which took place in Kapisa province, several civilians were also wounded by crossfire. The Taliban claimed the attackers were "Taliban associates." The two attackers were shot dead by Coalition forces.

Green-on-blue attacks in 2013:

Oct. 26, 2013:
A member of the Afghan National Security Forces wounded two NATO troops in a gunfight after an argument at a base on the outskirts of Kabul; the Afghan soldier was shot and killed during the clash. The incident occurred when a New Zealand trainer and his Australian guards were fired upon at a checkpoint as they left an Afghan base on their way back to a new British-Afghan military training facility in Qargha. The Coalition troops had tried to take a confiscated laptop from the attacker. The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack.

Oct. 13, 2013:
A member of the Afghan National Security Forces gunned down an a US soldier in Paktika province and wounded another before escaping.

Oct. 5, 2013:
A local security guard contracted by NATO killed a senior ISAF member in southern Afghanistan; the gunman was killed following the incident.

Sept. 26, 2013:
An Afghan National Security Forces soldier opened fire on ISAF troops in Gerda Serai district in Paktia, killing an American soldier and injuring several others. The attacker was then shot and killed by Afghan and American troops. The Taliban claimed the attack in a text message.

Sept. 21, 2013:
An Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on ISAF special forces at a military base near Gardez in Paktia province, killing three special forces troops and injuring one more. The attacker was shot and killed immediately after the attack.

July 9, 2013:
A "rogue" Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on Slovakian troops at Kandahar Airfield, killing one and injuring at least two more. The attacker was captured by Afghan forces. On July 14, the attacker, Lamber Khan, escaped from an Afghan detention facility in Kandahar with the aid of his supervisor; the Taliban claim they have both joined the group.

June 8, 2013:
Afghan National Army soldiers killed two US soldiers and a civilian adviser in Paktika province, and wounded three other Americans. One of the attackers was killed and another was captured.

May 4, 2013:
An Afghan National Army soldier killed two ISAF troops in an attack in Western Afghanistan. The status of the Afghan soldier is unknown.

April 7, 2013:
An Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on Lithuanian soldiers in an armored vehicle at an ANA checkpost in the village of Kasi on the outskirts of the capital city of Chaghcharan, wounding at least two Lithuanian soldiers. The attacker was captured and taken into Afghan custody.

April 7, 2013:
Afghan Local Police opened fire on a US outpost after US troops attempted to arrest a Taliban commander visiting the ALP. No one was wounded in the shooting.

March 11, 2013:
An Afghan Local Policeman opened fire on US Special Force personnel at a military base in the Jalrayz district in Wardak province, killing two soldiers and wounding eight more. The attacker and two Afghan policemen were killed during the engagement.

March 8, 2013:
Three ANSF soldiers in an ANSF vehicle drove onto a US military base in Kapisa province, and opened fire on US troops and civilians, killing one civilian contractor and wounding four US troops. The three attackers were killed during the engagement.

Jan. 6, 2013:
An Afghan National Army soldier from Laghman province who had served as a prayer leader since joining the ANA a year ago opened fire on British and Afghan troops at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand province, killing one British soldier and wounding six more. He was shot by Afghan security forces while attempting to flee. The Taliban quickly claimed the attack.

Green-on-blue attacks in 2012:

Dec. 31, 2012:
Two Afghan National Army soldiers opened fire on Spanish troops as they patrolled in the Karkh district in Herat province; no one was killed or injured in the incident. The attackers fled to the Taliban, who claimed that the attackers were from Jalabad in Nangarhar province.

Dec. 24, 2012:
An Afghan policewoman killed a US civilian adviser inside the Interior Ministry. The shooter has been captured and is in Afghan custody.

Nov. 11, 2012:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on British troops in the Nad Ali district in Helmand province. One British soldier was killed and one was wounded. The Afghan shooter was wounded in return fire.

Nov. 10, 2012:
Two Afghan soldiers opened fire on Spanish troops from the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Muqar district in Badghis province. The two Afghan soldiers were captured; one was wounded. One Spanish soldier was wounded in the attack.

Oct. 30, 2012:
An Afghan policeman shot and killed two British soldiers in Helmand province. The policeman escaped after gunning down the British troops.

Oct. 25, 2012:
An Afghan policeman shot and killed two US soldiers at a police headquarters in Khas Uruzgan in Uruzgan province. According to ToloNews, the attacker was "a trusted member" of the police force who had been on the force for "some months." The attacker escaped. The Taliban claimed the attack the following day and said the attacker had joined them.

Oct. 13, 2012:
A uniformed employee of the National Security Directorate killed one US soldier and a US State Department employee in a suicide attack at an NDS office in Maruf district in Kandahar province. The attacker, an eight-year employee of the NDS, was a local Maruf man who had moved his wife and children to Pakistan the week before the attack. Also killed in the attack were the deputy NDS chief for Kandahar and three other Afghans. The number of wounded was not reported.

Sept. 29, 2012:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on Coalition forces in the Sayyidabad district in Wardak province. One US soldier and a civilian contractor were killed, and two US soldiers were wounded. Three other Afghan soldiers were also killed in the firefight, and several others were wounded. According to the Washington Post, the firefight began when an Afghan soldier shot the senior US soldier in a 20-man patrol that had gathered to collect biometric data from civilians at a checkpoint manned by Afghan soldiers. When the US troops returned fire, "[a]nother Afghan soldier at the checkpoint opened fire on the Americans, killing a US civilian contractor and wounding two other American soldiers [and] ... [s]oon, Afghan soldiers and possibly insurgents began firing at the Americans from several directions."

Sept. 16, 2012:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on a vehicle being driven inside Camp Garmser, a shared base in Helmand province; six NATO troops and a foreign civilian worker were wounded in the attack. The attacker thought the vehicle contained NATO troops. Another Afghan soldier took the attacker into custody after disarming him.

Sept. 16, 2012:
Afghan policemen opened fire on a group of Coalition soldiers in the Mizan district in Zabul province, killing four soldiers and wounding two more. The attacker was killed in return fire from another soldier; several other Afghan policemen were wounded. The Taliban later claimed that the attack had been carried out with the aid of seven Afghan policemen who were retaliating for the film "Innocence of Muslims." A later report on the incident said five or possibly six Afghan police had opened fire on six US soldiers at an observation post, and that five of the attackers escaped.

Sept. 15, 2012:
A member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire on a group of British soldiers in the Gereshk district in Helmand province, killing two soldiers and wounding two more. The attacker was killed in return fire from another British soldier. The Taliban later claimed that the attacker was an Afghan soldier named Gul Agha, who "work[ed] in the occupier's base in the area of Maljir in Naqilo."

Aug. 28, 2012:
An Afghan soldier shot and killed three Australian soldiers in an attack at a base in Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province. Two more Australian soldiers were wounded in the attack. According to Australia's ABC news agency, the attacker, a recent recruit named as Sergeant Hikmatullah, climbed over the base's fence after the attack and ran away. The Taliban included a picture of Hikmatullah in a Twitter posting on Sept. 16, 2012. Hikmatullah fled to Pakistan, where sometime later he was arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate; he was handed over to Afghan authorities on Oct. 2, 2013.

Aug. 27, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed two ISAF soldiers in an attack in Alignar in Laghman province. The attacker was killed by ISAF soldiers. According to Reuters, the soldiers from Combat Outpost Xio Haq were killed when their convoy was attacked by a gunner named Welayat Khan on an Afghan Army convoy that was passing by. The other Afghan soldiers reportedly lowered their weapons after the attack for fear of getting shot. Minutes after the attack, a US helicopter shot Khan as he attempted to flee. A local Taliban commander claimed after the incident that Khan was "their man" and that he had been trained by the Taliban for the attack.

Aug. 19, 2012:
A member of the Afghan Uniformed Police turned his weapon on a group of ISAF soldiers in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier, and wounding another soldier and an interpreter. The incident occurred in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, and the district police chief has since been fired for negligence and lack of control over his personnel, according to AFP. The attacker was killed by return fire.

Aug. 17, 2012:
An Afghan Local Police officer killed two US soldiers during a training exercise on an Afghan base in Farah province, and wounded another ISAF soldier. The two slain soldiers were with Marine Corps special operations; one of the soldiers was a Marine and the other was a Navy corpsman, according to Marine Times. The attacker was killed by nearby troops.

Aug. 17, 2012:
An Afghan soldier shot and wounded two NATO soldiers in Zharay in Kandahar province; the attacker was killed.

Aug. 13, 2012:
A policeman wounded two US soldiers in an attack in Achin in Nangarhar province. The attacker fled.

Aug. 10, 2012:
Three US Marines were killed and one was wounded in an attack by an Afghan worker in Garmsir district in Helmand province. The attacker was captured.

Aug. 10, 2012:
Three US soldiers were killed and one was wounded in an attack by an Afghan Local Police commander and his men in Sangin district in Helmand province. The Afghan police commander fled after the attack.

Aug. 9, 2012:
US troops killed an Afghan soldier who was attempting to gun them down at a training center in Methar Lam district in Laghman province; two US soldiers were wounded by the attacker.

Aug. 7, 2012:
Two Afghan soldiers killed a US soldier and wounded three others in Shwak district in Paktia province before defecting to the Taliban. According to the Army Times, the attack took place at a military base in Paktia.

Aug. 3, 2012:
An Afghan Local Policeman wounded one ISAF soldier in an attack at a base in Panjwai district in Kandahar province.

July 23, 2012:
Two ISAF soldiers were wounded in an attack in Ghormach district in Faryab province. The attacker was killed by ISAF troops.

July 22, 2012:
A member of the Afghan National Police killed three civilian trainers who worked for ISAF in Herat province, and wounded another. The attacker was killed.

July 5, 2012:
Five ISAF personnel were wounded in an attack by an Afghan soldier in Sayyidabad in Wardak province. The attacker, fled. The Taliban included a photo of the alleged attacker, Muhammad Wali, in a Twitter posting on Sept. 16.

July 1, 2012:
Three British military advisers were killed, and another member of ISAF personnel was wounded, in an attack by an Afghan Civil Order policeman in Helmand province. According to the Los Angeles Times, the attack occurred in the Nahr-e-Saraj district and the assailant was shot and wounded following the attack.

June 18, 2012:
An ISAF soldier was killed by "three individuals in Afghan Police uniforms" in the south. According to The Associated Press, the gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at US soldiers in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, killing one and wounding nine more before fleeing. The next day, an Afghan policeman "facilitated" an insurgent attack on a base in the Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar province; the attackers, who were clad in Afghan military uniforms, wounded "fewer than 10 US troops."

May 12, 2012:
Members of the Afghan Uniformed Police killed two British soldiers and wounded two more in an attack in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. The British soldiers' patrol had made an unannounced visit to an Afghan police base to investigate a tipoff that a policeman there was working with the Taliban. One of the attackers was killed and another escaped.

May 11, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed a US soldier and wounded two others in an attack in Kunar province. The attacker fled to the Taliban, and on Aug. 7 the Taliban released a video showing him being welcomed as a hero.

May 6, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed one US Marine and wounded another in Tarekh Naver in the Marjah district of Helmand province, according to The Associated Press. The attacker was killed by return fire.

April 26, 2012:
An Afghan commando killed a US Special Forces soldier and an Afghan interpreter in an attack in Shah Wali Kot in Kandahar province. The attacker, as well as an Afghan special forces soldier, was killed by return fire. The Taliban claimed the attacker was "an insurgent infiltrator called Zakerullah," according to Reuters.

April 25, 2012:
An Afghan Uniformed Policeman wounded two ISAF soldiers in an attack in Zharay district in Kandahar province.

April 16, 2012:
An Afghan soldier attacked ISAF soldiers in Dand district in Kandahar province; no casualties or injuries were reported.

March 26, 2012:
An ISAF service member died following a shooting incident in eastern Afghanistan. The service member was approaching an ALP checkpoint in Rowzah district in Paktika province when he was shot by an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police, The New York Times reported. The attacker was killed by return fire.

March 26, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed two British troops, and wounded another ISAF service member, in an attack in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The attacker was killed by return fire.

March 14, 2012:
An Afghan interpreter hijacked an SUV, wounding a British soldier, then attempted to run down a group of US Marines, including a major general, at the Camp Bastion airfield in Helmand province, just before Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's plane was scheduled to land. The attacker crashed his truck and then set himself on fire; the attacker's brother and father, also interpreters, were both detained, as was another person said also to be an interpreter, according to The Associated Press.

March 2, 2012:
An Afghan soldier attacked ISAF soldiers at Camp Morehead in Kabul; no casualties or injuries were reported.

March 1, 2012:
An Afghan soldier and a teacher opened fire on NATO troops at COP Sangsar in Zhary district in Kandahar province, killing two ISAF soldiers, and wounding two more, before being killed in return fire.

Feb. 25, 2012:
An Afghan policeman gunned down two US military officers in the Interior Ministry in Kabul before escaping.

Feb. 23, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed two US troops at FOB Lonestar in Jalalabad in Nangarhar province. According to the Los Angeles Times, the incident occurred at a base in the Khogyani district; hundreds of anti-US protesters had gathered outside the base following the recent burning of Korans. After the shooting, the attacker escaped into the crowd.

Feb. 20, 2012:
A member of the Afghan Uniformed Police killed an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan. According to The Associated Press, gunmen in Afghan police uniforms opened fire on NATO troops in the Spin Boldak of Kandahar province, killing one Albanian soldier and wounding two international troops, one of whom was Albanian. Eleven policemen suspects were arrested.

Jan. 31, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan. According to the Associated Press, the incident occurred at a base in the Marjah district in Helmand province; the Afghan commander said it was an accident but the shooter was detained.

Jan. 20, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed four ISAF soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. According to AFP, the attacker shot and killed four unarmed French soldiers and wounded another 15 at their base in Kapisa province, a fifth soldier later died of his wounds. The attacker was apprehended.

Jan. 8, 2012:
An Afghan soldier killed an ISAF soldier and wounded three others in southern Afghanistan. According to The New York Times, the Afghan soldier shot a US soldier during a volleyball game at a US base in Qalat district in Zabul. The attacker was shot and killed by another US soldier.

Green-on-blue attacks in 2011:

Dec. 29, 2011:
An Afghan soldier killed two ISAF soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. According to AFP, the attack occurred in the Tagab Valley of Kapisa province and the attacker shot and killed two noncommissioned officers of the French Foreign Legion. The Taliban claimed the attack and said the attacker also was killed.

Nov. 9, 2011:
Three Australian soldiers were wounded when an Afghan soldier shot them at an Australian base in Uruzgan province; the attacker fled in an army vehicle.

Oct. 29, 2011:
An Afghan army trainee opened fire at a forward operating base in the Nish district of Kandahar province that was being used to train ANA troops, killing three Australian soldiers and one interpreter, and wounding at least nine others, including seven Australians. According to The Age, the attacker, a four-year veteran of the Afghan National Army, was killed by Australian soldiers in return fire.

Aug. 4, 2011:
An Afghan soldier killed an ISAF soldier in eastern Afghanistan. According to The Turkish Weekly, someone wearing an Afghan police uniform killed an ISAF soldier in Paktika province.

July 16, 2011:
An Afghan soldier killed an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan. According to The Telegraph, a NATO soldier was shot by an Afghan soldier not far from Lashkar Gah in Helmand province during a joint patrol. The attacker ran away after the shooting.

May 30, 2011:
An Afghan soldier killed an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan. According to an Australian Department of Defense press release, an Australian soldier from the Mentoring Task Force was shot while manning a guard tower at patrol base MASHAL in the Chorah Valley in Uruzgan province by another guard, a soldier from the Afghan army, who fled.

May 13, 2011: Two NATO soldiers who were mentoring an Afghan National Civil Order brigade were shot and killed inside a police compound in Helmand province by a man wearing wearing an Afghan police uniform. The gunman was wounded by return fire and taken to a hospital.

April 27, 2011:
A veteran Afghan air force pilot opened fire inside a NATO military base in Kabul, killing eight NATO troops and a contractor. According to The Washington Post, the shooter, a two-decade veteran of the Afghan air force named Ahmad Gul, jumped out a window after the attack, injuring his leg.

April 16, 2011:
A newly recruited Afghan soldier who was a Taliban suicide bomber detonated at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman province near the border with Nangarhar province, killing five NATO troops and four Afghan soldiers. Eight other Afghans were wounded, including four interpreters.

April 4, 2011:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on ISAF vehicles in Kandahar province; no casualties were reported.

April 4, 2011:
An Afghan Border Police officer guarding a meeting between a Border Police commander and US military trainers in Maimana, the capital of Faryab province, shot and killed two US soldiers, then fled. ISAF reported on April 7 that the attacker was killed when he displayed hostile intent after being tracked down in Maimana; two other insurgents were arrested during the raid.

March 19, 2011:
An Afghan hired by Tundra Security Group to provide security at Forward Operating Base Frontenac in the Argandab Valley in Kandahar province shot six US soldiers as they were cleaning their weapons, killing two and wounding four more. The attacker was shot and killed in return fire by three other US soldiers.

Feb. 18, 2011:
An Afghan soldier opened fire on German soldiers at a base in Baghlan province, killing three German soldiers and wounding six others. The attacker was killed in return fire.

Jan. 18, 2011:
An Afghan soldier shot two Italian soldiers at a combat outpost in the Bala Murghab district of Badghis province, killing one and wounding the other before escaping.

Jan. 15, 2011:
An Afghan soldier argued with a Marine in the Sangin district in Helmand, threatened him, and later returned and aimed his weapon at the Marine. When the Afghan soldier failed to put his rifle down, the Marine shot him.

Green-on-blue attacks in 2010:

Nov. 29, 2010:
An individual in an Afghan Border Police uniform killed six ISAF soldiers during a training mission in eastern Afghanistan; the attacker was killed in the incident. See LWJ article: Afghan 'policeman' kills 6 ISAF soldiers. According to McClatchy News, the incident took place during a training mission in the district of Pachir Agam in Nangarhar province.

Nov. 6, 2010:
Two US Marines were killed by an Afghan soldier at a military base in the Sangin district of Helmand province. The shooter fled to the Taliban.

Aug. 26, 2010:
Two Spanish police officers and their interpreter were shot dead by their Afghan driver on a Spanish base in Badghis province. The shootings set off a riot outside the base; shots were fired at the base and fires were set. Officials say 25 people were wounded. The attacker was shot dead by other Spanish officers.

July 20, 2010:
An Afghan soldier killed two US civilian trainers at a training base in northern Afghanistan, at Camp Shaheen, an Afghan army training base outside Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province. In addition, one NATO soldier was wounded. The attacker was killed.

July 13, 2010:
An Afghan soldier killed three British troops in Helmand province. The attacker fled to the Taliban. It is unclear if there was more than one attacker, but one attacker fled and no attacker was captured.

Green-on-blue attacks in 2009:

Dec. 29, 2009:
An Afghan soldier fired on NATO troops who were preventing him from approaching a helicopter that was landing at a military base in the Bala Murghab district of Badghis province. He killed a US soldier and injured two Italian soldiers, before being injured himself by return fire.

Nov. 3, 2009:
An Afghan policeman named Gulbuddin shot and killed three UK Grenadier Guards and two members of the UK Royal Military Police; six other British troops were seriously wounded alongside two Afghans. The incident occurred while the soldiers were resting after a joint patrol at a checkpoint in the Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand province. The attacker escaped on a motorbike. According to the New York Times, it is unclear if there was more than one attacker.

Oct. 28, 2009:
An Afghan policeman fired on American soldiers during a joint patrol in Wardak province, killing two and injuring two more before fleeing.

Oct. 2, 2009:
An Afghan policeman shot and killed two American soldiers in Wardak province. The policeman, who had worked with US troops for five years before the attack, fled after the shooting. According to ISAF, the two soldiers died of injuries received when enemy forces attacked their unit using small arms fire.

March 27, 2009:
An Afghan soldier shot and killed two US Navy officers assigned to Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan at Camp Shaheen in Mazar-E-Sharif in Balkh province. According to the Military Times, the attacker also wounded another US Navy officer. The attacker then fatally shot himself.

Green-on-blue attacks in 2008:

Oct. 18, 2008:
An Afghan policeman standing on a tower hurled a grenade and opened fire on a US military foot patrol as it was returning to a base in Bermel district in Paktika province, killing a US soldier. The soldiers returned fire, killing the policeman.

Sept. 29, 2008:
An Afghan policeman opened fire at a police station in Paktia province, killing one US soldier and wounding three others before he was fatally shot.

Note: Data for green-on-blue attacks in previous years will be added later.


READER COMMENTS: "Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data"

Posted by Feral Jundi at August 23, 2012 1:01 PM ET:

Hey Bill, where is the data of contractors being killed in green on blue incidents? Better yet, where is the policies or SOP's being handed out to private companies that have contractors training these guys.

Posted by rk at August 23, 2012 2:35 PM ET:

Gen. Allen today: 25% of Green-on-Blue attacks are Taliban-infiltration, 15% are Taliban-coercion

Posted by Eric at August 23, 2012 4:15 PM ET:

The agents of green-on-blue are from various origins, and the most troubling among them are Pakistani infiltrators coming into Afghan forces via the Taliban ratlines into troop and bureaucrat populations. The Taliban hope to rupture the state by means of a fifth column uprising from within. Long the prime focus of the NDS, the attacks are more than a gesture of presence, but are an active experiment in exploiting vulnerabilities in publicity and distrust within the Afghan-NATO relationship.

What this serves to indicate is that the more covert infiltration mission: espionage and fixing the Afghan forces internal organizational vulnerabilities with placement of key agents - is largely satisfactory to them already, and so more overt and more expendable variations are going into effect. If their strategy is fixed already, the timeline to another spectacular attack is shorter than NATO and CIA assessments are reporting.

Obama's team is expecting an October surprise anyway, but the more real objectives are the outcomes of Afghan elections. Obama is a luxury item for the TalISIban.

The local version of Green-on-Blue is much less ominous. Any policeman or soldier whose family is vulnerable to or inspired by Taliban pressure, is ripe for coercion via threats to their family, or promises of blood money. The number of true believers is paper-thin over a mass of scared people who play the best odds they can find. All deals in Afghanistan are subject to change at a moment's notice, and everything that goes down in Afghanistan is by some deal or another. Almost none of these have been truly idealist killings. Rather, threats are made and deadlines are carried out.

If you ask the people involved in the attack directly, you will get a because Blue is hated message, but if you follow the money and the family, the Taliban's one true currency: sheer brutality, will be seen to be what is moving more people into the recent ramp-up of attacks.

We are growing the NDS, and sharing resources with them. I believe we will start shrinking the ISI and choking off its resources in the not-distant future. The Pakistanis only cooperated as long as it was perceived they had far more to lose. Now that they have convinced themselves they do not, it will be necessary to oppose them kinetically.

Posted by Šťoural at August 23, 2012 4:28 PM ET:

Marine Sgt. John P. Huling
Died May 6, 2012 Serving During OEF

Posted by JRP at August 23, 2012 5:39 PM ET:

General Allen's added opinion that Ramadan fasting stresses on Afghan soldiers is also contributing to the "Insider" attacks is about the dumbest thing I've heard yet in this WoT. What's needed in the military right now are a few courageous voices ala Billy Mitchell to speak truth to power. I'm sick of the coddling of Pakistani and Afghan Gov't interests. And I'm also sick of the “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery?" mentality of so many of our politicians advocating for abandonment of the WoT. The existential consequences of losing the WoT will make our present economic problems look miniscule.

Posted by david at August 23, 2012 6:44 PM ET:


Your post is very interesting, but how will we oppose them kinetically if they own our supply lines? Any open attack will lead them to strangle us. It's like we ran the supply lines for D-day up the Rhine river.

Posted by Tony Buzan at August 23, 2012 11:03 PM ET:

The US has foolishly and consistently underestimated the downside risks to imposing Uzbek and Tajik lordship over the majority Pashtun population in Afghanistan.

And tokens don't count.

Nobody likes that but the outsiders.

How would you like it if the Mongolians were put in charge of the USA?

It sux, in their view.

It's a major strategic mistake as I have been saying for years. Too much reliance on Hindu "expertise" about a different religion.

Why do we keep getting OUTSMARTED as a nation?

Because we have been massively dumbed down as a nation.

Most unfortunate.

Posted by kush dragon at August 24, 2012 4:54 AM ET:

Cool list, but I just thought you should know that the link for September 29, 2008 leads to an article from 2010

Posted by jean at August 24, 2012 9:15 AM ET:

Bill - Great article - excellent analysis and description of this complex issue.

Posted by J House at August 24, 2012 12:09 PM ET:


While no newspaper or outlet has looked into it, it would be interesting to know how many G on B attacks there were by South Vietnam regulars on US troops during the 'Vietnamization' drawdown...I'm betting it isn't close to the number in Afghanistan the past 2 years, and there were far more troops in Vietnam during the last years.
I'm sure a report like that would be picked up by some major media.

Posted by Lisa Lundquist at August 24, 2012 1:12 PM ET:

kush dragon,

The link for the Sept. 29, 2008 attack does indeed lead to a 2010 article that describes the attack and includes the following statement:

"At the time, Col. John "Pete" Johnson, a U.S. forces commander in eastern Afghanistan, predicted it would be "the first incident of its kind.""

Reporting on these kinds of attacks was sparse during the timeline's early years. If you have better links, or other incidents to report, we will be happy to include them.

Posted by Mike Symanski at August 24, 2012 6:05 PM ET:

Tribal affiliations may tell us a lot about motives. How many of the Afghans who attacked coalition personnel were Pashtun, like most of the Taliban?

Posted by Chris Bradley at August 24, 2012 10:49 PM ET:

First excellent article on the situation from a strictly military viewpoint. However, I agree with Feral Jundi. Where's the data on the contractors being killed, or do we just not matter?

Posted by Joyce Williamson at August 25, 2012 9:25 AM ET:

In only a few are the attackers are listed as killed. what happens to the attackers? are they sent to prison in Afghanistan? or to Guantanimo? do they go before a judge? surely, they are not allowed sharia law?

Posted by Golap Mohi Uddin at August 27, 2012 2:17 PM ET:

No doubt, Bill its an amazing and analytically sound article. Thanks.
Another Day in Paradise

Posted by Clive Williams at August 28, 2012 4:58 PM ET:

A map showing green on blue attack locations would be useful

Posted by Šťoural at August 28, 2012 5:06 PM ET:

You forgot Captain Christophe Schnetterle.He was seriously wounded in Kapisa during an attack by an Afghan Army soldier on a group of French soldiers 20th January 2012. He had been airlifted to France.Died on 27th March 2012.

Posted by Steve Witkowski at August 31, 2012 8:52 PM ET:

I have a question to you guys "in the know", and I'm not being sarcastic: If our troops have to train these knuckleheads, why don't American forces issue inert Red Guns and train them with converted weapons and marking cartridges (such as Simunition (R) while our guys keep their arms on them during the training?

Posted by booglede at September 6, 2012 10:44 AM ET:

The war is in 12th year and the comments betray, generally, the lack of understanding in the US.
Afghanistan. so far, has never submitted to "occupation forces" and moreso under a Karzai.

Posted by Mark at September 10, 2012 7:09 AM ET:

Your entry for 29 Oct 11 wrongly reads that the attacker was killed by other Afghans. He was in fact killed by the Aussies he was shooting at.

Posted by neale at September 16, 2012 8:14 AM ET:

the green on blue attacks are the soft spot ,the perpetrators can be assumed to be compromised by blackmail exthortition political exthortition ,a fanatic i believe would be suspect over a short period of time ,so it leaves the question how why ? but the big question is not being addressed ! the machinations of the tailban and their like are beyond our intelliegence instituitions without being counter intuitive and relealizing you have a most dedicated enemy who has every reason to fight.His country has been invaded again and regardless of circumstances nationalism trumps coalition of the willing rethoritic, and true to his ancestors history and narrative he will drive us , in the 'great lost gamble ' of trying to subjugate a culture to relieve of it's riches and opposition to 'trans afghan pipline' chevron ; the old colonial model under the guise of gobalization is a non goer we know it everybody else does except money printing neo cons and their self validating corporations
God bless America seems to ring a bit hollow lately
from australia