The International Security Assistance Force captured two “insider attack planners” during a raid in the eastern province of Logar on Sept. 21. From the ISAF press release:
Afghan and coalition security forces confirmed today the arrest of two insider attack planners during a security operation in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province, Friday. The detained insurgents were known insider attack – or “green on blue” – facilitators, and planned several operations throughout Logar province. At the time of their arrest, the attack planners were in the advanced stages of preparing for a strike against a coalition base, which included the construction of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), recruitment of insurgent fighters, and the attempted infiltration of Afghan security forces. The security force also detained one suspected insurgent as a result of the operation.
ISAF has clearly begun stepping up efforts to kill or capture the Taliban network that is conducting the green-on blue attacks. On Aug. 30, security forces arrested a Taliban fighter wanted for killing two British International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members during a green-on-blue attack on May 13 in southern Helmand province. He was attempting to join the Afghan National Army at the time of his capture (he was a member of the Afghan National Police when he killed the British troops).
And on Sept. 15, ISAF killed Mahmood and “more than a dozen armed insurgents” in an airstrike in the Bar Kunar district of Kunar province. Mahmood executed the May 11 green-on-blue attack in Kunar that resulted in the death of one US soldier; two other soldiers were wounded. Mahmood fled to the Taliban, and on Aug. 7 the Taliban released a video showing him being welcomed as a hero [see Threat Matrix report, Observations on Taliban video ‘welcoming’ rogue ANA soldiers].
As Lisa and I have noted in our report on the spike in green-on-blue attacks, the Taliban’s role in the green on-blue attacks is likely far more significant than NATO admits. And these attacks aren’t a “last gasp” effort of a dying Taliban, as US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta attempted to characterize them last week, but the result of what appears to be a well-planned effort by the Taliban.
It has been evident for some time that the Taliban have devoted significant efforts to stepping up attempts to kill NATO troops by infiltrating the ranks of Afghan security forces. Mullah Omar said as much in a statement released on Aug. 16, in which he claimed that the Taliban “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year,” and he urged government officials and security personnel to defect and join the Taliban as a matter of religious duty. He also noted that the Taliban have created the “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration” department, “with branches … now operational all over the country,” to encourage defections. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]
The Taliban clearly have a network in place to plan and execute the green-on-blue attacks. And ISAF is clearly attempting to target that network.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.