Combined forces arrest Taliban insurgent wanted for deadly ‘green-on-blue’ attack

Afghan and Coalition forces have arrested a Taliban insurgent wanted for killing two British International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members during an alleged ‘green-on-blue’ attack on May 13 in southern Helmand province. The Taliban suspect, previously identified by The Independent as Sarhad Mohammad from the Deshu district of Nangarhar province, was arrested during a joint operation in Nangarhar’s Hisarak district on Aug. 30, according to an ISAF press statement. It should be noted that ISAF did not identify the Taliban suspect by his name.

Alarmingly, ISAF indicated Mohammad was attempting to join the Afghan National Army (ANA) when he was arrested.

On May 13, Mohammad and another suspect identified as 20-year-old Sardar Wali dressed in ANP uniforms and opened fire on Afghan and Coalition forces who were providing security at patrol base Attal in Lashkar Gah. The attack killed a Royal Air Force airman and a soldier from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. An ANP officer also guarding the base returned fire, killing Wali and possibly wounding Mohammad, who nevertheless managed to escape.

Fareed Ahmad, a spokesman for the Helmand provincial police during the time of the attack, confirmed that the rogue ANP members had come from Nangarhar province. It turned out that Sardar Wali was a resident of the Musa Qala district in Helmand province, however. And an investigation by ISAF argued that the shooters were actually Taliban infiltrators, not actual members of the ANP.

In this year’s Eid al Fitr message to the Afghan people, Taliban leader Mullah Omar addressed the issues of the green-on-blue attacks and the infiltration of the Afghan security forces. Omar claimed that the Taliban “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year.” In recent months, attacks by Afghan forces on Coalition forces have surged; accounting for 14% of Coalition casualties so far this year. For a complete overview of the green-on-blue threat in Afghanistan, see LWJ report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.

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