Another green-on-blue attack in Paktia

The International Security Assistance Force has released a statement indicating that another green-on-blue, or insider attack, took place today in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktia province. It follows less than a week after an insider attack at Forward Operation Base Lightning, near the provincial capital of Gardez, in which an Afghan National Army soldier killed three US special forces troops and injured one more.

The ISAF statement on today’s attack said that “an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform shot at ISAF service members,” killing one ISAF soldier. It did not give the nationalities of the troops targeted or specify whether any ISAF troops were injured. The suspected gunman was killed, and the situation has been secured, the statement said.

Agence France Presse reported that several other soldiers were injured by the attacker. The slain soldier was killed inside a military training facility and base, AFP said.

According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the attack took place this morning in Gerda Serai district. The attack was confirmed by Rohullah Samon, spokesman for the provincial governor, who said it occurred at an Afghan base, and was also confirmed by Attiqullah Khan, district chief of Gerda Sarai, the Associated Press reported.

Afghan officials said the attacker had killed an American soldier, according to the New York Times. The attacker was then killed by Afghan and American troops, ToloNews reported; the news outlet incorrectly said the attack was in Paktika province.

The AP report also stated that Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to the media.

Today’s attack is fourth green-on-blue attack in Paktia since Jan. 1, 2008, when The Long War Journal began tracking the insider attacks [see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data, for more information]. The previous three attacks all involved US casualties, and took place on Sept. 21, 2013 at Forward Base Lightning near Gardez; on Aug. 7, 2012 at a military base in the Shwak district; and on Sept. 29, 2008 at a police station. [See LWJ report, Afghan soldier kills 3 ISAF special forces troops in Paktia.]

According to LWJ statistics, today’s green-on-blue attack is the 10th so far this year. Since Jan. 1, 2008, there have been a total of 82 attacks, resulting in the deaths of 138 Coalition personnel and the wounding of 156 more. Casualties from insider attacks so far this year amount to 9% of total Coalition casualties, down from a high of 15% last year.

The downturn is likely due to the introduction of security measures in 2012 such as the use of “guardian angel” soldiers to overwatch US troops, and to reduced partnering between Afghan and Coalition forces as the drawdown continues. From a peak of level of about 101,000 soldiers in 2011, the US troop presence in Afghanistan had been reduced to 63,000 by July, and that number is expected to drop to 34,000 by February 2014. On June 18, overall security responsibility for Afghanistan was officially transferred to Afghan forces.

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  • Scott J says:

    This is so sad and disheartening…. and infuriating because the opportunity for “an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform” to shoot at ISAF soldiers on base should not exist.
    The organization of these joint ISAF/ANA bases and weapons procedures should be changed and tightened up in ways that simply do not allow the commingling of armed Afghans with ISAF personnel.
    This would require a change in the paradigm, but it is not impossible to do.

  • CLS says:

    FOB Lighting is an uncomfortable place for Americans. Its a sprawling ANA base with a tiny contingent of Americans. We used to fly MEDEVAC missions into Lighting to transport less seriously injured ANA to their hospital (as opposed to an American hospital). While waiting on the helicopter pads for an ambulance to retrieve the patients, upwards of 200 ANA soldiers would gather to look at our helicopters no more than 200m away. The only thing separating us was a chain-linked fence. We felt like sitting ducks. And this was at the height of the green-on-blue attacks last year. Needless to say, it was a very eery feeling waiting for that ambulance. Sadly, this is not that surprising of a story (stories).


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