In the first reported green-on-blue, or insider attack, on Coalition forces in Afghanistan since February, two International Security Assistance Force troops were injured when an Afghan police officer opened fire on them yesterday at the Paktia provincial police headquarters in Gardez.
According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the attack took place about 11:00 a.m. as US military advisers and troops were entering the police headquarters. Azimullah, a Paktia police official, claimed that a policeman accidentally opened fire on the advisers, injuring two of them.
Azimullah told Stars and Stripes that the incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. at the compound’s front gate. He stated further: “This policeman was on duty and as these advisers arrived at the gate there was shooting and two advisers were wounded. The policeman was killed. We have started the investigation, but so far we do not know the reason for the shooting or who fired first.”
The attacker was killed in return fire, and US soldiers cordoned off the area. Both ISAF and Afghan officials said an investigation has been launched.
The Kabul-based Wakht news agency reported that the Taliban claimed the attack was carried out by one of their fighters who had infiltrated the Afghan security forces. “Rebels’ spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said the incident left two US soldiers dead and two advisors injured,” the report continued. The Taliban routinely exaggerate casualties in their reports on operations.
A report on the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad website today claimed that “Naqibullah, who had infiltrated into puppet forces as a policeman was in police headquarters in the provincial capital of Paktika province, remaining vigilant at all times, waiting for his pry [sic] …. opened fire on the US transgressors, killing two American terrorists on the spot, where the infiltrator Mujahid, too, became martyr after the enemy returned fire.”
Yesterday’s suspected green-on-blue attack is just the second this year; the previous attack killed two US troops and injured four more on Feb. 12 in Kapisa province. [See Threat Matrix report, Green-on-blue attack in Kapisa kills 2 Coalition troops.] At present, about 4.5% of total Coalition fatalities in Afghanistan this year can be attributed to the two green-on-blue attacks. These attacks have caused about 6 percent of US casualties so far this year in Afghanistan.
The number of reported attacks on Coalition personnel in Afghanistan has dropped steeply since a high of 44 in 2012. Last year there were 13 such attacks. [For in-depth information, see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.] The decline in attacks is due to several factors, including the continuing drawdown of Coalition personnel, reduced partnering with Afghan forces, and the adoption of heightened security measures in interactions between Coalition and Afghan forces.