Insider attacks continue in Uruzgan and Helmand


The latest in the continuing series of insider, or green-on-blue, attacks by Afghan forces on Coalition forces took place this morning in Uruzgan province, when an Afghan policeman shot and killed two US troops at a police headquarters in Khas Uruzgan. Already this year there have been at least 39 such attacks, which are responsible for nearly 16% of Coalition casualties. [For detailed information on the insider attacks, see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.]

Today's International Security Assistance Force press release on the incident stated simply that "[t]wo U.S. Forces -Afghanistan service members died after an individual wearing an Afghan National Police uniform turned his weapon against them in Khas Uruzgan, Uruzgan," and noted that the incident is under investigation.

The attacker was "a trusted member" of the police force, according to Afghan officials. TOLONews reported that the officer had been on the force for "some months."

A local police official told Pajhwok News that "the foreign soldiers were at the police headquarters to attend a meeting with local officials."

Pajhwok also reported that the attacker escaped after the shooting and is being sought by the police.

The two slain US soldiers were likely members of the special forces. US Forces-Afghanistan personnel include US special operations forces troops, and are used to serve as advisers to the Afghan Local Police as well as conduct the targeted "night raids" against key nodes of the various terror groups operating in Afghanistan.

Just last week, on Oct. 18, the US military transitioned Coalition command authority for Uruzgan province, where today's attack occurred, from the Indiana National Guard's 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Australian army leadership. The ISAF press release called the transition "a milestone in the gradual transfer to full Afghan control of the region," in which the Coalition's Uruzgan team moves from a mentorship to an advisory relationship with the Afghan National Security Force. "The team regularly conducts partnered operations with the Afghan National Army's 4th Brigade of the 205th Hero Corps and Uruzgan's Afghan National Police," the statement noted.

Another suspected insider attack in Helmand province

On Oct. 24, a Royal Marine and a British female soldier on a foot patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province were shot dead by Afghan policemen in an incident that is currently under investigation, The Telegraph reports. There are conflicting accounts of the incident.

According to The Times, the NATO troops shot first at an Afghan policeman out of uniform, thinking he was an insurgent, and Afghan policemen returned fire in the mistaken belief they were under attack. The Ministry of Defence said that the circumstances of the attack were unclear, but stated that the UK forces "were not working with any Afghan partners" at the time of the attack. The Telegraph further notes that although the two UK solders were first reported as having been killed by insurgents, other reports had emerged suggesting it was an insider attack. And in yet another twist on the story, Khaama Press reported that the two soldiers were killed by "friendly fire."

The Taliban have also claimed the attack. According to statistics maintained by The Long War Journal, more green-on-blue attacks have occurred in Helmand province than in any other of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. At least 16 such attacks have take place in Helmand since January 2008.

Insider attacks a key part of Taliban strategy

Today's attack in Uruzgan province comes one day after 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."

Omar had previously addressed the issue of green-on-blue attacks at length in a statement released on Aug. 16. 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.]

As insider attacks continue to spike, Coalition officials are starting to acknowledge that the Taliban are behind a larger proportion of the attacks, and ISAF has intensified its efforts against the perpetrators. Many of the attackers appear to come from the eastern Afghan provinces, a BBC reporter wrote in September, where Taliban influence is prevalent. And in early October, ISAF commanders admitted that attackers from Pakistan with links to the Taliban and its subgroup, the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, were significantly involved in the attacks, the Associated Press reported.



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READER COMMENTS: "Insider attacks continue in Uruzgan and Helmand "

Posted by redtiger at October 26, 2012 1:18 AM ET:

OK, here's what I want you to do. I want you and every other media outlet to give as much coverage as possible to Afghan Insider Attacks. It's freedom of the press, right? I've been keeping score and my numbers show that you media freedom of the press folks have gotten more of our soldiers killed or wounded because of your flaunting coverage than can even be counted anymore. You are the ones promoting copycats. You are the ones building killing scenarios for bad guys to follow. You are the ones showing our subtle weaknesses to the world. You are the ones perpetrating Insurgency Support Operations. My book is coming soon from my notes of the past eight years and it is clear that you do not understand the way media/news flows in Afghanistan or you would not glorify thru your reporting the destruction of the American Military psyche and the destruction of the Afghan way of life we are helping build. Or, you understand completely how your reporting is viiewed by the enemy of Afghanistan and America and you chose your agenda to feed that line of reporting to intentionally get our and Afghan people killed and wounded. You are not helping. You are not reporting. You are running Influence and Information Operations against the American people and getting troops killed at the same time. Your useless immature reporting along with the other media outlet circular reporting is shameful and you keep getting away with it hiding behind free press. So, keep it up. Let's see how many people you media folks can get killed this week. From Kabul. redtiger

Posted by Warhawk at October 26, 2012 9:09 AM ET:

NATO Soldiers fight like idiots, so they DIE like idiots. My country's Army would have ERADICATED these Taliban and Afghan Muslim rats way back in 2001.

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 26, 2012 9:35 AM ET:

redtiger, so you would prefer that we burry coverage of what is happening in Afghanistan? ISAF was unwilling to admit the insider attacks was even a problem a year ago, when we started to raise the alarm. I've been in contact with soldiers in Afghanistan who have been thankful for the coverage, for informing them of this new, emerging threat. So you can take your "You are the ones perpetrating Insurgency Support Operations" somewhere else.

Goodbye.

Posted by mike merlo at October 26, 2012 2:42 PM ET:

Strange post by redtiger. The issue of Green on Blue obviously warrants more not less attention. Placing blame on Media Coverage in this instance serves only to mask and create conditions that will further embolden those perpetrating or orchestrating the attacks. Afghans are the ones being used in these assassination's and many of the reason's, facts, mores etc., aiding & abetting in these plots need the fullest exposure possible. Afghans for to long have been held in abeyance by these subterfuge's & these Machiavellian machinations. Only in a free & open environment can conditions best be met to satisfy the transitioning of a society long steeped in medieval practices to one not in fear of itself or others. Knowing full well that a system of Law & Order peopled & governed by 'sound' & sober 'minds' is one not only to be embraced but defended at any & all costs.

Posted by LoyalPatriot at October 26, 2012 4:39 PM ET:

@Warhawk No force has EVER taken A-stan, save Ghengis Khan. He sis it by murdering every single person in the country. Exactly how is your badass military going to do it?

Posted by mike merlo at October 26, 2012 7:28 PM ET:

@LoyalPatriot
Near total nonsense. A tired played out bit of patois. Its the other way around. When has Afghanistan not been occupied or serving as a garrison for those other than 'Afghans.'

Posted by Warhawk at October 26, 2012 8:47 PM ET:

@Loyal patriot..... The only way to truely win a war is to bring the enemy's population to the brink of EXTINCTION to force the surrender and destroy their beliefs. America used this strategy in WW II and it was the only real war they squarely won in the 20th century. My country would not only KILL the Taliban Pashtun men, but kill all military age males in his family. The probkem is NATO and the Afghan rats led by Pred. Karzie treat the Taliban civilian population as "innocent" civilians rather than eneny civilians,do it is no wonder they havent been able to ERADICATE the Taliban in the last 12years. The US military needs a reality check and watch how the Syrian Army eradicate jihadists with pure prejudice.

Posted by James at October 27, 2012 2:06 PM ET:

In any war, there are going to be casualties. This is what happens, in a so-called 'low-intensity' conflict.

It breaks my heart when I hear of American soldiers being killed over there defending my freedoms.

However, this is no reason to panic and stampede to the exit doors.

These cowards don't fight like real soldiers. Why don't they fight on battlefields and wear their own uniforms?

They poison school girls, dress up like women, and blow up mosques (which are places of religious worship and protected by international human rights conventions) full of innocent civilians. All these acts constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

If this thug Omar is such a tough guy, why don't he show his face in Afghanistan?

Now, here's a real plan B to consider. If possible, lure this guy back into Afghanistan, put out a false 'may day' call attributed to him, then use him as bait to eliminate as many of his followers as possible.

Then, our soldiers (and/or the 'good' Afghans) can fight these thugs on our terms and on a real battlefield.

Posted by blert at October 29, 2012 4:39 PM ET:

The opfor does what it does almost entirely without regard for Western media interest; infidels, and all of that....

The surge of suicide bombers is entirely directed by ISI and their puppet-prop Omar.

It is essential for the (civilian) West to have (ground) truth lest Washington and London gain total sway over shaping public opinion.

The perils of that are now become frightfully clear WRT Benghazi and what is breaking loose as a scandal beyond Watergate.