The burning of Qurans by American soldiers at a base in Afghanistan and a U.S. soldier’s killing spree that ended up killing 16 Afghan civilians has escalated tensions in the war-torn country. Afghan security forces are now turning their guns on their U.S. and NATO counterparts with increased frequency. Just yesterday an Afghan soldier killed two British troops and an American soldier was killed at an Afghan police checkpoint.
An alarming statistic accompanies the grim news. CNN’s Security Clearance blog notes that one-third of U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan so far this year have come at the hands of Afghan security forces:
One third of all American troop deaths in Afghanistan this year has been at the hands of Afghan security forces. [...]
So far this year, 16 of the 46 American service members killed in Afghanistan have died in what are euphemistically called “green on blue” attacks: Afghan troops who have turned their weapons on allied forces.
Gen. John Allen, the top allied commander in Afghanistan, said yesterday that the attacks should be expected to continue, calling them a “a characteristic of counterinsurgency.” “We experienced these in Iraq. We experienced them in Vietnam,” Allen said, adding, “On any occasion where you’re dealing with an insurgency and where you’re also growing an indigenous force … the enemy’s going to do all that they can to disrupt both the counterinsurgency operations.”
Allen also said new procedures are being put in place to reduce the “green on blue” incidents. “[Afghans have] worked very closely within the national director of security to place counterintelligence operatives inside their schools, inside their recruiting centers, and inside the ranks, the idea being to spot and assess the potential emergence of an individual who could be an extremist or, in fact, a Taliban infiltrator,” he said.