A member of the Afghan National Security Forces has killed three civilian trainers who work for the Afghan National Security Forces in western Afghanistan. From the ISAF press release:
An individual wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force contracted civilian employees in western Afghanistan today, killing three.
The individual who fired on the ISAF contracted civilian employees was killed during the engagement. The incident is currently under investigation.
It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
According to Al Jazeera, the trainers were killed in Herat province:
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Kabul, said a police source had revealed that fighting had broken out on the outskirts of Herat city, near the airport and not far from the Italian base.”
“We understand that there have been NATO casualties – three foreign casualties – foreigners training police seconded by their respective countries.
“Two NATO helicopters arrived on the scene to quell what seems to have been some fighting that had broken out after the end of the fasting,” our correspondent said.
While not technically a green-on-blue attack (where a member of the Afghan security forces kills or wounds an ISAF soldier), today’s attack is part of a growing trend of Afghan security personnel killing ISAF troops.
There were two green-on-blue attacks reported this month. On July 1, three British military advisers were killed by an Afghan policeman in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. And on July 5, five ISAF personnel were wounded in an attack in Wardak.
Afghan security personnel are now estimated to have killed 89 ISAF soldiers since May 2007. To date, 27 of the 89 ISAF soldiers, or more than 30 percent, have been killed this year. These attacks have taken place in all areas in Afghanistan, not just in the south and east.
In May, ISAF commander General John Allen said that about half of the green-on-blue attacks have been carried out by Taliban infiltrators. The Taliban routinely take credit for these attacks.
The rise in attacks against ISAF troops by Afghan personnel takes place as ISAF is seeking to accelerate the transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces. The plan calls for an increase in the number of ISAF trainers as well as more partnering of ISAF and Afghan units, and will heighten Coalition troops’ exposure to green-on-blue attacks. The US military has become so concerned with the green-on-blue attacks that it has ordered units to designate “guardian angels” in each unit whose job is to provide security for troops working with Afghans.
Correction: there has only been one attack in Herat province this month, not two as initially stated. The other two attacks took place in Helmand and Wardak provinces.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.