News / USA

Congress Probes 'Insider Attacks' Against Coalition Forces in Afghanistan

U.S. Capitol in Washington (file photo)
U.S. Capitol in Washington (file photo)
Cindy Saine

A congressional panel held a hearing on Wednesday on the increasing number of "insider attacks" by Afghan forces and Afghan private security guards on U.S. and NATO troops they are supposed to protect.  Senior U.S. Defense Department officials say a majority of the attacks are motivated by personal issues and are not controlled or directed by insurgent groups.  

U.S. Defense Department officials told members of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that since 2007, the attacks have killed 70 people and left 110 others wounded.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon, a Republican from California, outlined the problem.

"No less than one percent of Afghan forces and security guards have attacked coalition forces," said McKeon. "This is 42 attacks too many, and the new process must do better."

New security procedures were implemented after an attack in March 2011 that killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded four others.  The parents of one of the soldiers who was killed, Army Specialist Rudy Acosta, attended the hearing.  The Acosta family is asking lawmakers to take action to prevent a similar tragedy, saying that U.S. forces in Afghanistan should guard themselves, and not be guarded by Afghan nationals.

Representative Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington state, joined McKeon and others speaking at the hearing in offering condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan.

"It is indeed a very serious and troubling situation," said Smith. "Our troops are in Afghanistan to protect the Afghan people and to protect their government.  And to be turned on by the very people they are fighting with and for, undermines the entire operation and places our troops at an unacceptable level of risk."

On January 20 of this year, an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops, which prompted France to threaten to withdraw its combat forces from Afghanistan earlier than planned.  This week, an Afghan soldier shot and killed a NATO service member in southern Afghanistan.  

When asked why U.S. and NATO forces use local contractors to guard their bases, Gary Motsek, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, gave this answer:

"Generally speaking, contractors perform well and provide essential support to the conduct of our operations within Afghanistan," said Motsek. "Without them, under the present conditions there, we would have to divert approximately 20,000 troops from essential combat tasks to perform non-combat related security functions.  And our allies in Afghanistan are in a similar situation."

Defense department officials testifying at the hearing said local commanders on the ground can decide to use U.S. forces to guard a base, if they determine that it makes sense to do so.

Army Brigadier General Stephen Townsend said the United States is taking steps to reduce the threat of insider attacks by improving vetting procedures, including weekly biometric checks of contractors, and by providing cultural training to Afghan security forces and private guards as well as to U.S. service members.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. and other foreign contractors from Afghanistan as of March, which, analysts say, could raise even more security concerns.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid