Taliban claim sympathetic Afghan soldier killed Australian troops
The Taliban have claimed credit for the Aug. 29 green-on-blue attack in Uruzgan province in which an Afghan soldier killed three Australian soldiers. In a statement that was posted yesterday on a Taliban Facebook page and provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, the Taliban indicated that an Afghan soldier had switched sides and turned on his colleagues.
The statement said that an Afghan soldier named Hekmatullah, "with the rank of lieutenant" and "with feelings and live conscience [emphasis mine]," killed the Australian soldiers. Although the Taliban claimed six soldiers were killed and four were injured, in reality three soldiers were killed.
Additionally, the Taliban indicated that not all Afghan security personnel who turn their weapons on ISAF forces are infiltrators [emphasis again is mine]:
It is noteworthy that the enemy is very disturbed by these attacks by the infiltrating mujahideen and the respectful soldiers in the enemy ranks, which have increased recently.
As Lisa Lundquist and I noted in our report on green-on blue attacks, infiltration of the ANSF, along with the defection of sympathetic or opportunistic personnel, may well play a far greater role in these attacks than ISAF wants to admit. ISAF has claimed variously that infiltration accounts for 10%, 25%, or nearly 50% of the attacks, but then has said that these numbers are only estimates.
In his Eid statement in mid-August, Mullah Omar, the emir of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, or the Taliban, devoted a significant amount of space to the green-on-blue attacks. He claimed that considerable effort has been devoted to getting Afghan security personnel to turn on their ISAF mentors and partners. Omar said that the Taliban have created the "Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration" department, "with branches ... now operational all over the country," to encourage such attacks. We suspect this statement is probably true.