2 Romanian soldiers killed in insider attack in Afghanistan

Two Romanian soldiers were killed and another was wounded today in an insider or “green-on-blue” attack, where Afghan security personnel turn their weapons on coalition forces. The Romanian troops were ambushed on a base in Kandahar as they were training Afghan forces. The assault is the first of its kind recorded in Afghanistan in more than a year.

Resolute Support, the NATO mission in Afghanistan, confirmed that two soldiers were killed today “when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) uniforms opened fire at an ANDSF compound in Southern Afghanistan,” according to a press release.

Coalition troops “returned fire and killed the shooters,” Resolute Support noted. The NATO mission did not disclose number of attackers who were killed or their affiliation or motivation, the location of the “incident,” or the slain soldier’s home country.

“We continue to train, advise and assist the ANDSF, and do not view this incident as representative of the positive relationship between our forces,” Resolute Support stated.

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed two of their soldiers were killed and another was wounded “following an incident that occurred today near the city of Kandahar, while executing a mission to train the Afghan police.”

Romania provided 588 of the 12,486 troops operating under Resolute Support, according to the NATO command.

It is unclear if today’s attack was carried out by the Taliban or an allied group, or disgruntled Afghan forces. Given that more than one member of the Afghan security forces was involved in the ambush, it was likely executed by the Taliban. The Taliban has not released a statement claiming credit for today’s attack, but has claimed similar incidents in the past and has promoted these kind of operations in its propaganda.

Today’s insider attack is the first recorded in Afghanistan by The Long War Journal in more than a year. The last recorded attack was on April 8, 2015, when an Afghan soldier killed a US soldier and wounded two more in an attack at the governor’s compound in Jalalabad, Nangarhar. The attacker was killed after US troops returned fire.

The Long War Journal has recorded 92 insider attacks in Afghanistan since Jan. 1, 2008; 150 Coalition soldiers and personnel have been killed and 187 more have been wounded in those attacks.

However, many insider attacks remain unreported. If an attack by Afghan personnel does not result in a death or injury, and it is not reported in the press, the Coalition will not release a statement on the incident.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the predecessor of Resolute Support which was disbanded at the end of 2014, told The Long War Journal in March 2012 that “these statistics,” the number of attacks that did not result in a casualty are “classified.”

“[A]ttacks by ANSF on Coalition Forces … either resulting in non-injury, injury or death … these stats as a whole (the total number of attacks) are what is classified and not releasable,” Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, ISAF’s former Press Desk Chief, told The Long War Journal. Cummings said that ISAF is “looking to declassify this number.”

More than four years later, the exact number of insider attacks in Afghanistan has not been declassified.

For more information on insider or green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan, see LWJ report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.

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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