The International Security Assistance Force reported that a senior ISAF member was shot and killed today by an “alleged contracted security guard” in southern Afghanistan. The killing is the third green-on-blue attack in the country within the past two weeks.
According to the ISAF press release, the suspected gunman has been killed and the scene has been secured. The name and nationality of the slain ISAF member was not disclosed, and ISAF and Afghan officials are investigating the incident. The release did not say whether anyone had been injured in the attack.
The attack appears to have taken place in Zabul province, as Ghulam Gelani Farahee, the deputy police chief for the province, said he had been informed of the incident, which took place at a remote location, the Los Angeles Times reported. He also said that the alleged attacker, who was known as a “local guard,” had been contracted by NATO.
Today’s attack is the third since Sept. 21, when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on US special forces near Gardez in Paktia province, killing three and wounding one more before being shot by US forces in return fire [see LWJ report, Afghan soldier kills 3 ISAF special forces troops in Paktia].
Less than a week later, on Sept. 26, an Afghan National Army soldier at a military training base in the Gerda Serai district in Paktia province opened fire on a US soldier, killing one and wounding several others [see Threat Matrix report, Another green-on-blue attack in Paktia]. The gunman was killed immediately after the attack. The attack was quickly claimed by the Taliban in a text message.
According to The Long War Journal‘s statistics, today’s green-on-blue attack is the 11th so far this year. Since Jan. 1, 2008, there have been a total of 83 attacks, resulting in the deaths of 139 Coalition personnel and the wounding of 156 more. Casualties from insider attacks so far this year amount to nearly 10% of total Coalition casualties, down from a high of 15% last year, but significantly higher than the 6% in 2011. For more information, see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.
The relative 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.