WASHINGTON – The rising number of attacks by Afghan forces on international troops is as much a problem for Afghanistan as it is for the U.S.-led NATO coalition and demands a coordinated response, the war’s top commander, Gen. John Allen, said in a statement released Thursday.
“This is not simply a Green on Blue problem; it is a threat to both Green and Blue that requires a Green and Blue solution,” Allen said in a written statement from Kabul.
At least 45 international troops have been killed in insider attacks this year. While many such attacks stem from personal grievances or remain unexplained, others are linked to a Taliban insurgency seeking to disrupt NATO’s strategy of partnering coalition advisers with Afghan units.
Defeating the complex threat requires a coordinated effort from ISAF and the Afghan government, Allen said in the statement. The Afghan government earlier this week announced hundreds of troops had been detained in a broad inquiry into the insider threat, and U.S. has said it is helping Afghanistan recheck the background vetting of the more than 350,000-strong Afghan National Security Force.
In the statement, Allen recapped recent steps in response to insider attacks, including suspending training for some new recruits while existing Afghan Local Police members are rescreened, ordering the establishment of a multi-agency working group, introduction of an anonymous system for reporting threats and beefing up counterintelligence teams working within the Afghan armed forces.
“The sum total of our combined efforts will be that we are better protected,” he said. “Central to success is maintaining and strengthening our bonds with our Afghan brothers and recognizing this is a threat directed at us all.”