Afghan police commander kills 3 US troops in Helmand

An Afghan police commander killed three US soldiers in an attack in the southern province of Helmand today. There have been three green-on-blue attacks reported in the past four days; four US troops and one Afghan soldier have been killed in the attacks.

The police commander, who has been identified as Asadullah, killed the three US soldiers and wounded another in the Sangin district, a former Taliban stronghold in Helmand. The police commander escaped after the shooting; his whereabouts are unknown.

Asadullah lured the US soldiers to a meeting before gunning them down. AFP claimed Asadullah invited them to a meal at a checkpoint in Sangin. Pajhwok Afghan News reported that the police commander “invited” the US troops “to a meeting on the security situation in Sarwan Qala neighborhood.”

US Forces – Afghanistan, a separate US military command outside of the International Security Assistance Force, confirmed that three soldiers were killed “following an attack by an individual wearing an Afghan uniform in southwest Afghanistan today,” but did not provide further details. AFP reported that the soldiers were members of US Special Forces, which does fall under USFOR-A command.

The Taliban claimed credit for today’s attack in a statement on their website, Voice of Jihad. The statement claimed that “Mujahid police officer Asadullah” killed five US soldiers before he “left the area with his weapon and joined up with Mujahideen.” Four days ago, the Taliban released a video that purported to show two Afghan Army officers who had turned their weapons on US troops in Kunar before defecting.

Background on green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan

There have now been three green-on-blue attacks against ISAF troops in the past four days. Two of the attacks killed US soldiers. On Aug. 7, two Afghan soldiers killed a US soldier in the east before defecting to the Taliban. And on Aug. 9, US troops killed an Afghan soldier who was attempting to gun them down at a training center in Laghman province.

There were three green-on-blue attacks reported last month. Although as a matter of policy ISAF does not report on attacks that do not result in deaths, this trend seems to be changing, as two of the three attacks reported last month involved situations in which soldiers were wounded but not killed. On July 1, three British military advisers were killed by an Afghan policeman in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. Four days later, on July 5, five ISAF personnel were wounded in an attack in Wardak province. And on July 23, two more ISAF soldiers were wounded in an attack in Faryab province.

Afghan security personnel are now estimated to have killed 93 ISAF soldiers since May 2007. To date, 31 of the 93 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 of this year, 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. But the attacks have not abated.

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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  • Brad Naksuthin says:

    1. We spent 804 billion dollars in Iraq and didn’t even get a “thank you card”..or a drop of oil
    2. We spent 90 billion dollars on reconstruction in Afghanistan to “win hearts and minds”…and they shoot our soldiers
    3. We spent 2.5 billion dollars sending CURIOSITY to MARS, a technological feat that set space exploration ahead years, sent a message to the world that the US is still the leader in technology…. and will provide us with a wealth of scientific data for years to come. PLUS not a single life was lost, no buildings were destroyed, and no refugees had to flee their homes.
    It’s time the US started spending MORE money building a positive image, making new discoveries , and advancing human achievement ……..and spend LESS money trying to become the policeman of the world

  • Charu says:

    That is a heck of a lot of “infiltration”. Could the Taliban be all that smart? In reality, these are just opportunistic attacks by people who sense that the tide is turning the Taliban’s way. Today it was reported that a senior brigade commander and several majors were killed in a suicide blast. Are we getting up to the 50 soldiers killed threshold to take some serious action against the Pakistanis? ProPublica just reported again on the ISI-Mumbai terrorism nexus. Do we have to wait for another captured Pakistani terrorist in Saudi Arabia to learn about the ISI’s role in organizing the Haqqanis? How is it that these high-ranking Generals and their families get to travel freely around the world while they operate a terrorist Mafia enterprise running a country?

  • Will Lee says:

    I think maybe its time to look back to the Vietnam War and use some of the lessons learned the hard way by our troops there.
    May God bless and keep our troops safe until they all come home!

  • mark says:

    get the boys out of there and GAS them ALL……….

  • Scott says:

    Perhaps it is time to just hole up on our bases. The bases could serve as training centers for Afghan forces under tightly controlled rules regarding the carrying of weapons by Afghan personnel. Basically, they’d have to check them at the gate. Firearms training could be done under heavy security.
    We could still support the Afghans with training, intel, medical care, special forces raids, equipment, air support, and logistics without exposing our personnel to a lot of contact with them outside the walls.
    This is getting intolerable. Perhaps the days of meandering around the villages and towns while trying to “win hearts and minds” should come to an end.
    We could leave a combat battalion in Kabul, one in Kandahar, and one at Salerno as sort of a security guarantee in the event the taliban ever are able to organize a credible force that could threaten the government.
    I have always supported our mission in Afghanistan, and I still do. But this is intolerable, and it’s time for a change.

  • Dave says:

    Sadly, none of these Soldiers will make the front page of any newspapers or magazines to honor their sacrifices.

  • James says:

    Bill, a most basic and fundamental question that ought to be asked of the current regime in power (in DC) is this: Do our soldiers in AStan at least have the force protection in place to adequately protect each other?
    Recall the troop surge in Iraq. The casualties (on our side) went down exponentially (and even among the Iraqi civilians as a matter of fact).
    With the current ‘cut and run’ strategy (in slo mo), are we beginning to witness an opposite effect?

  • Rosario says:

    Can anyone reading this blog say COIN and other nation building in Afghanistan is actually working and worth the risk to coalition partners?

  • James says:

    What comes to mind is the excitement that I see everyday on the job in these U.S. commanders that get to go back for one more HOORAH or should I say OER. That’s right, their begging to go back, wanting to go back to get that final piece of paper to say I led troops in battle. Let’s not forget this either!

  • ReCharu says:

    Charu the first part of your observation doesn’t seem logical since the majority of the “infiltrators” are killed instantly. What’s there for them to win? Maybe their families get some talibani insurance of sort…

  • dr burke says:

    If they invited them to dinner, you know it will
    be, their last supper. Never, never turn your
    back on the enemy and always have a rear guard!

  • Dan from AZ says:

    You can’t use gas. You need to watch them forever and bomb them forever. These extreme Islamist’s will never stop in their quest to rule the world.

  • Hektor says:

    What suicide blast are you referring to that killed a brigade commander and several majors. I’ve seen no such incident reported.

  • JRP says:

    @ “Policeman of the World” . . . Our War on Terror is truly “Our War”. Therefore, though I do think the knock is deserved (Iraq, for instance) on occasion, not this time. We must be as concerned about Pakistan/Afghanistan/Taliban/AQ as Israel is about Iran. The ultimate danger here to the U.S. far surpasses the danger posed by our sluggish economy or that posed by a rising Red China. By Gift, Purchase, or Theft Taliban/AQ is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and using them against The West. Though President Obama is to be commended for his aggressiveness in fighting the WoT, once we leave the area in 2014 Taliban/AQ will surge back into Afghanistan like the tide and we’ll be right back where we were pre-9/11. Whoever wins in November will have to make this war America’s #1 priority.

  • Mac says:

    This War is not complicated for me they came to the city I was born in and killed thousands of our people! They killed people on U.S. soil the 2 Embassies our friends! They killed our sailors on the USS Cole! They killed our troops in Somalia! They killed 250+ Marines in Lebanon! This same enemy has killed thousands of our troops! The enemy is going to try and kill us all! So you tell them after all that when we are going to leave!! The enemy then takes a Afgans family and says kill troops or your family dies. This enemy has killed thousands of their own people! They have no problem killing any Afgan who tried to control their own country,police,military,and civilians. Our troops are there trying to defend us,so they wont come here again and kill us! So what does our goverment do hang a target on our troops and our friend troops back!!? What will they say when our country is hit by Iran, Pakistan,Russian,Chinese,or North Korian nuke! You can bet that is what they are looking for! All that we have lost how weak will do we look to friends and enemies alike leaving!!

  • JOHN MAY says:

    Hey Bradly,
    Money worth spending. I like being the so called “policemen” of the world. Have you forgotten who the good guys are? Do you think it is by accident that we have not had a terrorist attack on our soil. Do you think the Talibs and their friends will leave the West alone? Gut check time Brad.

  • anan says:

    “In May of this year, ISAF commander General John Allen said that about half of the green-on-blue attacks have been carried out by Taliban infiltrators.
    Read more:

    This is not what Allen said. He said less than half. This year ISAF has stated that 1/4 of all green on blue incidents are ideological (which would include Taliban or other ideology.) Although this number might have changed.
    Many of the incidents you are reporting are by Taliban wearing ANSF uniforms that are not ANSF. Including or not including these instances affects the percentage that are Taliban related.
    Anecdotally, many of these green on blue attacks are by anti Taliban ANSF against ISAF. Often for personal reasons.
    Green on Green is killing far more ANSF than Green on Blue is killing ISAF. Green on Green is a major driver of Green on Blue.
    To the degree that Green on Blue is driven by Green on Green, Green on Blue is part of the cost of operating inside Afghanistan.
    The strategic purpose of Green on Green and its derivative Green on Blue seem to be:
    1) To weaken the ANSF, which the Taliban and their international supporters perceive to be a threat
    2) to reduce participation of under represented regional and tribal Pashtuns inside the ANSF or cause mistrust towards them from their fellow ANSF. This aids Taliban and deep state propaganda can accuse the ANSF of being sectarian racist biased Tajiks, Shia and Uzbeks.
    Possibly the best way to reduce green on blue that isn’t driven by green on green is to move away from conventional ISAF unit partnering to traditional embedded combat advisors that live with the ANSF they advise.

  • anan says:

    Posted by Scott at August 10, 2012 2:29 PM ET:
    Read more:
    Scott, the biggest problem is green on green, not green on blue. How would you address this problem?
    About 3/4 of green on blue are not ideological. It seems to me that deeper embedding of advisors and greater Afghan cultural awareness is the best way to reduce the non idealogical green on blue.
    To address ideological green on blue, green on green has to be confronted.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    Any soldier lost is a travesty…but having cross trained with them, I feel a special sense of loss when members of Special Forces are killed by some coward in a police uniform. The Green Berets are among the best and most elite soldiers on the planet, and these men will be missed. It’s just a shame that we weren;’t able to wax this scumbag and he got away. Finding and killing his yellow butt should be a priority.
    RIP Brothers.

  • David says:

    America And NATO are getting battered in Afghanistan. Every month there soldiers are coming home in body bags


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