Afghan soldier wounds 3 US troops in insider attack

An Afghan soldier opened fire on US troops as they were training Afghan forces on a base in Helmand province. Three US soldiers were wounded in the first reported insider attack this year, where Afghan security personnel opened fire on their coalition counterparts.

Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, acknowledged the incident in a statement released on Twitter.

The aassault was carried out by an Afghan National Army officer from the 215 Maiwand Army Corps “during a military training exercise,” TOLONews reported. US troops reportedly killed the Afghan soldier. The 215 Maiwand Army Corps is based in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, which is heavily contested by the Taliban.

The Taliban has not claimed credit for today’s shooting, but did acknowledge it.  Zabihullah Mujahid, an official Taliban spokesman described the Afghan solider as “an Afghan with a sense of patriotism.”

In the past, the Taliban has infiltrated Afghan security forces to carry out such strikes or convinced soldiers or policemen to turn their weapons on Coalition personnel. In 2012, Mullah Omar, the founder and first emir of the Taliban, announced that he created the “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration” department, “with branches … now operational all over the country,” to encourage defections and strikes on coalition forces.

Today’s insider, or green-on-blue assault, is the first recorded by FDD’s Long War Journal since Oct. 2016, when a gunman dressed in an Afghan army uniform killed a US soldier and a US contractor, and wounded another US soldier and two more contractors, in Kabul.

In the other recorded insider attack in 2016, afghan soldiers turned their guns on Romanian troops during a training exercise on a base in Kandahar in May. Two Romanian troops were killed and another was wounded.

These incidents have decreased from 44 in 2012 to just two in 2016. This is due to a dramatic decrease in coalition forces as well as improved security measures. However, many insider attacks remain unreported. [For in-depth information, see Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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