An Afghan policeman killed two US soldiers in an attack at a US Special Forces base in Wardak province today. The attack is the second green-on-blue, or insider attack, that has been reported in the past four days.
The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that two US soldiers from the US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), the command under which many US special operations forces operate, were killed by Afghan personnel.
“Two US Forces-Afghanistan service members died in eastern Afghanistan today when an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform turned a weapon on U.S. and Afghan forces,” the ISAF statement said.
ISAF told The Long War Journal that the attack took place in the Jalrayz district in Wardak, and that two US soldiers were killed and several more were wounded.
The policeman opened fire on US soldiers with a machinegun that was mounted to the back of a pickup, killing two US soldiers and wounding eight more, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. US soldiers returned fire, killing three Afghan Local Policemen, including the policeman who initiated the attack.
Today’s attack on US Special Forces troops took place one day after President Karzai ordered US Special Forces to leave Wardak province after publicly accusing them of murdering Afghan civilians (a charge the US military says is without basis). Special Forces train the Afghan Local Police, the locally raised police force that is often accused of numerous crimes against civilians.
Today’s attack is the second green-on-blue, or insider attack in which Afghan forces turn their guns on ISAF personnel, in four days. On March 8, three Afghan soldiers assaulted a US base in Kapisa province, and killed an ISAF civilian adviser and wounded three US soldiers.
So far this year, there have been three green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan. Three ISAF soldiers and one civilian adviser have been killed in the three attacks since Jan. 1. The first attack took place on Jan. 6 in Helmand province.
Last year, green-on-blue attacks accounted for 15% of Coalition deaths. The attacks have tapered off in recent months as partnering of Afghan and Coalition troops has been reduced. [See LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.]
Insider attacks a key part of Taliban strategy
The Taliban have claimed to have stepped up their efforts to infiltrate Afghan security forces as well as “lure” and encourage Afghan security personnel to attack ISAF troops and advisers.
In October 2012, Taliban emir Mullah Omar released an Eid al-Adha message that urged followers to “[i]increase Increase your efforts to expand the area of infiltration in the ranks of the enemy and to bring about better order and array in the work.” The statement continued: “We call on the Afghans who still stand with the stooge regime to turn to full-fledged cooperation with their Mujahid people like courageous persons in order to protect national interests and to complete independence of the country. Jihadic activities inside the circle of the State militias are the most effective stratagem. Its dimension will see further expansion, organization and efficiency if God willing.”
Omar had previously addressed the issue of green-on-blue attacks at length in a statement released on Aug. 16, 2012. Omar claimed that the Taliban “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year,” and 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.]