News / Asia

NATO: Most 'Green on Blue' Attacks Due to Grievances, Stress

Ayaz Gul
ISLAMABAD — At least seven coalition soldiers have been killed by Afghan security forces or gunmen wearing their uniforms in the last week alone. NATO said Monday that such attacks are often the result of personal disputes and will not derail the coalition's plans to transfer security responsibilities to local forces by the end of 2014 is on track.  
Coalition officials say they are working with their Afghan partners to try to mitigate “green on blue” attacks, a reference to the color of Afghan and NATO uniforms.  
German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, NATO spokesman, speaks at a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2012.German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, NATO spokesman, speaks at a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2012.
German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, NATO spokesman, speaks at a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2012.
German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, NATO spokesman, speaks at a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2012.
​NATO spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz told reporters in Kabul Monday that contrary to Taliban claims, the number of attacks by insurgent infiltrators are in the "single digit."
“So when we talk about the insider threat or some call them again green on blue incidents, we talk about 27 incidents so far in this year and we had 37 people killed in those incidents… And most of these incidents were caused by personal grievances, by stress situation, or by battle fatigue,” said Katz.
The NATO spokesman described them as isolated attacks that neither depicted the overall picture in the country nor threatened the Afghan security transition plan.
“Yes we had 27 very tragic incidents. We take them very very seriously," he said. "But we must not forget that on the other side we still got almost 500,000 soldiers and policemen who work together, as we speak right now actually, in order to crush the insurgency and fight for more stability and security here in this country.”
Brigadier Katz said Afghan authorities are now further tightening up the vetting process for new recruits in the Afghan army and police force.  NATO is also reemphasizing the need for foreign troops to further understand local cultural sensitivities.     
After presenting his credentials to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, new U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham also noted the rise in attacks by Afghan forces on coalition service members.

Ambassador Cunningham told reporters that the United States will work very closely with Afghan authorities to prevent these “painful” incidents from happening in the future.
“This is obviously of great concern to us as it is to your authorities," Cunningham said. "We are working to try to understand why this is happening and believe that there are probably several reasons why this has happened and not just one reason and not just through infiltration.”
Two attacks on Friday left six Americans dead.

The first incident occurred when officials said an Afghan police commander invited three U.S. Marines to a meal at his checkpoint in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province. The police commander fled the scene after opening fire.
In the second attack, officials said late Friday an Afghan civilian employee working at a NATO base not far from the earlier shooting turned a gun on coalition members, killing three American troops.

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Comment Sorting
by: Peter Dow from: Aberdeen, Scotland
August 20, 2012 11:39 PM
The competent answer to green on blue attacks is to split up the Afghan army into two distinct forces -

* a national Afghan army which Afghans pay for and is commanded by the Afghan president and whichever general he/she wants to appoint. (dark green)

* a NATO-ISAF auxiliary force of Afghans, funded by the US and other NATO counties and international donors. This would be commanded by our generals. (light green)

So there should be two green armies - each of a different shade of green. Karzai's dark green he would use to defend himself and his capital. Our light green we would use to defend our supply routes and to support our operations in Afghanistan generally.

Only when the Afghan economy had grown to the point that they could afford to pay for a big enough army to defend the whole country would we transfer our light green army over to Afghan national control and then we could leave Afghanistan in the hands of Afghans.

So long as we are paying for an Afghan force we must retain political control over it otherwise it fuels corruption and does little or nothing to help to fight the enemy we are trying to defeat and the green-on-blue attacks simply undermine political support for the whole Afghanistan / Pakistan mission.

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by: Peter Dow from: Aberdeen, Scotland
August 20, 2012 11:38 PM
Afghan forces. Green-on-blue attacks. The solution.

The Afghan National Army, the "green" force is rotten, if not to its core then to much of the periphery. Some of the green is more like gangrene (gan-green, get it! )

The problem I see is in the disconnect between the political control (Karzai) and the funding (mostly from the USA but anyway internationally funded).

Wikipedia: Afghan National Army
"The new Afghan National Army was founded with the issue of a decree by President Hamid Karzai on December 1, 2002"

Karzai as the "duly" (ahem) elected president of Afghanistan is perfectly entitled to run an Afghan national army but Afghans should pay for that themselves.

Afghanistan is a poor nation and could not afford that much of an army but if they paid for it themselves, at least the Afghan national army would likely be honest, accountable to Afghans and take on limited tasks - secure the presidential palace, military headquarters and might be up to defending the capital Kabul and surrounding land, maybe.

Now the issue is this - to secure all of Afghanistan, even to secure our supply routes, we need lots of troops and it makes sense to have some kind of Afghan force to help us - but we need a bigger and better green force than the Afghans can afford to pay for. (Also why would a national Afghan force want to prioritise defending our supply routes? They wouldn't want to.)

So the West, NATO needs to pay for some green Afghan forces - that's a good idea, if, if, if, if and only if, those green forces we are paying for are auxiliary to NATO-ISAF - run by NATO-ISAF - under the control of a NATO general, maybe an American general if you could find a good one to do it.

That way we would only recruit capable Afghans into the green force we pay for and interact with daily. We'd be sure our green troops were loyal - wouldn't shoot our blue troops.

No way would we have any incentive to spend our own money on disloyal incapable Afghans in green uniform so we would not do it, if we had political and military control over our green forces, which we would have if they were called "The NATO-ISAF Afghan auxiliary force" - with no pretence of them being an Afghan national force under Karzai.

However, some idiot has come up with the idea of paying Afghans to have an army funded by us but controlled by Karzai so there is no accountability. The people in charge, deciding who to recruit, can recruit bad soldiers because they get paid more by the US for soldiers, whether they be bad soldiers or not.

Why wouldn't Karzai and this guy Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammad Karim, Commander of the Afghan National Army recruit junkies, thieves, murderers and agents for the Taliban into the Afghan National Army?

Why wouldn't they recruit anybody they can find into the Afghan national army if, for every soldier they can name, they get paid more US dollars?

Where's the incentive for Karzai and Karim to recruit only good soldiers? There isn't any incentive at all.

Again the US ends up funding corruption.

If a green soldier kills a blue then who gets held responsible in the chain of command?

Nobody gets held responsible.

Who should get held responsible? The US and NATO should. We should blame ourselves for paying anything for an army which we do not have any political control over.

What on earth does Panetta (and what did Gates before him) think he is (was) doing trusting this guy Karzai and his general Karim with billions of US tax-payer dollars to pay for a green army?

Why are NATO defence ministers happy with the poor leadership from NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis? Shouldn't the NATO leaders have spotted this fatal flaw in green troop organisation and tried to re-organise green forces as I suggest here, if they know what they are doing (which they don't)?

by: Lara
August 15, 2012 10:23 AM
Lots of Russian troops were also shot in their backs when they were leaving Afganistan

by: Seawash from: Kabul
August 14, 2012 2:36 AM
To anybody in this world who would listen!
Afghanistan is not a country in which people could live normally, for God sake throw some nuclear bombs on this country and get rid of it forever.
With all what is happening here it is impossible that generations to come won't be suffered and live somehow, tribal conflicts, Suicide attack, heading off with the threads, power breaking, poverty, narcotics and powerful mafia with a weak government that all officials are looking after their own benefits.
Not only for me for more than thousands people it is hell, not a country.
An addicted gunman took all what I had by the point of gun barrel and stabbed me in the head, I am complaining to police; actually he (The robber) is a powerful man because his uncle used to be a commander. “The responsible guy says”

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