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As Many As 1,000 NATO Soldiers Shot By Afghan Allies To Date
Posted by The Agonist on April 30th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

An AP exclusive report today says that the US-led coalition has been consistently under-reporting the consequences of “green-on-blue” incidents, where Afghan allies fire on NATO servicemen training or partnering with them, by the simplest method possible – it’s only been reporting incidents that cause fatalities.

So how many wounded might we not be hearing about?

Well, has overall figures for both fatalities and wounded to date and although the US fatality to casualty ratio has historically been lower than, say, the UK’s experience we can get some approximation. There have been 1954 US troops killed and 15322 wounded in Operation Enduring freedom, a ratio of 1:7.8. Given that “green on blue” attacks are at short ranges, launched by surprise, they are probably more deadly than the usual course of combat so let’s say 1:8. (EDIT: my math is faulty there, as JPD points out more deadly means a lower ratio. But 1:8 or 1:7.5 it’s still 900 to 1,000 total casualties of which we’re only being told about a fraction.)

Three days ago, the NYT reported:

So far this year, there have been 11 attacks by Afghan security forces against coalition soldiers, resulting in the deaths of 18 people, 10 of them Americans, according to a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. That is 20 percent of the total of NATO combat fatalities this year. In 2011 there were 21 such attacks leading to 35 deaths, he said. Last year, a classified study commissioned by the American military found that 58 American combat fatalities, 6 percent, came in 26 green-on-blue attacks from May 2007 to May 2011.

The pre-2011 figures don’t seem to include coalition allies but again we’re approximating in lieu of firm NATO figures so that’s a total of 109 deaths – which means somewhere in the region of 872 wounded for a total toll of around a thousand or more shot by their ostensible allies.

That beggars the notion that “they will stand up so we can stand down”. More likely, when they stand up they will shoot at us. But as Joshua Foust wrote in 2011, after a decade of trying, and producing feel-good statements about success just around the corner, “that the Afghan Police still don’t operate in a minimally effective way is a stinging indictment not of them, but of the people training them” – that is, the US.

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