Afghan troops kill ISAF soldier in latest green-on-blue attack

The International Security Assistance Force announced today that one of its soldiers was killed in eastern Afghanistan by two Afghan soldiers. From the ISAF press release:

An International Security Assistance Force service member died when two individuals wearing Afghan National Army uniforms turned their weapons against ISAF service members in eastern Afghanistan, Aug. 7.

Afghan and ISAF officials are investigating the incident.

It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

It is unclear what happened to the two Afghan soldiers after the attack.

The Taliban are clearly attempting to incite Afghan security personnel to turn their weapons on ISAF troops as the US and NATO begin to withdraw their forces. Today’s attack took place the same day that the Taliban released a video showing two Afghan National Army officers in Kunar province who had killed US troops and defected to the Taliban. From Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website:

A new wonderful video has been released by the Multimedia branch of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Al-Emara Studio under the title of ‘Ghazi of Ghaziabad’.

The film features Mujahideen welcoming and interview with Ghazi Mahmood, an Afghan army officer who killed a dozen American troops in Ghaziabad district of Kunar province.

Similarly, it contains footage of Mujahideen welcoming another ANA officer (Khan Muhammad) who killed an ANA commander and several hirelings inside Barfani check post in the province’s Sarkano district.

Background on green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan

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 last month two attacks that resulted in soldiers being wounded were reported. 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 90 ISAF soldiers since May 2007. To date, 28 of the 90 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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