The Other Tragic Foreign Story: Afghan Fratricide-Style Insider Attacks Are Calls Into Question U.S. Counter-Terrorism Strategy
The U.S. security debacle in Libya has rightly been scrutinized for the past several weeks. The murder of ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Benghazi consulate on September 11 demonstrated the abysmal level of protection for State Department officials in the North African country. An equally devastating story, however, has only partially surfaced from Afghanistan—the “insider attacks” on Western troops by their putative Afghan partners. These assaults hold extraordinary implications for America’s future anti-terror campaign throughout the Middle East and Africa. Such fratricide-type killings stab at the very heart of U.S. military cooperation with allies.
What has taken place in the Afghan war has truly astounding strategic ramifications for U.S. strategy to combat al-Qaeda and its associated movements. Yet, these insider attacks have received little attention from Washington. So far this year, more than 53 American and NATO military personnel have died at the hands of their supposed Afghan comrades-in-arms. Turncoat Afghan soldiers and police have fired their guns on the very Western troops who trained and mentored them to take over the fight against the Taliban once conventional international forces withdraw by the close of 2014. About 50 loyal Afghan troops have also died in these murderous actions.
The “green-on-blue” attacks, as the military dubs them, have frayed the trust that existed between the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and their Afghan allies. These turncoat killings stand to upend the centerpiece of Washington’s evolving strategy to combat a rising Islamist insurgent tide in many corners of the globe.