From our partners at The Agonist
An Afghan police commander and several of his men killed three U.S. soldiers in the southern province of Helmand, turning guns on them after inviting them to a dinner to discuss security, Afghan officials said on Friday.
The men were all American special forces members and were killed on Thursday night while attending a meeting in the Sarwan Qala area, in what appeared to be a planned attack by rogue Afghan forces.
“During dinner, the police commander and his colleagues shot them and then fled. The commander was Afghan National Police in charge of local police in Sangin,” a senior Afghan official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Sangin is a district.
“It looks like he had drawn up a plan to kill them previously,” the official said.
That makes 7 US dead from these “green on blue” attacks this week alone, and 30 dead this year so far – 14% of all US military deaths in Afghanistan this year. That’s up from 20 in 2011 and only 4 in 2008. [more]
In fact, there is a striking pattern at work that should be front-page news here. Green-on-blue attacks have been countrywide, in areas of militant insurgency and not; they continue to escalate, and (as far as we can tell) are almost always committed by actual members of the Afghan military or police who have experienced the American project in their country in a particularly up-close and personal way.
…The number of these events is, after all, startling, given that an Afghan who turns his weapon on well-armed American or European allies is likely to die. A small number of shooters have escaped and a few have been captured alive (including one recently sentenced to death in an Afghan court), but most are shot down. In a situation where foreign advisors and troops are now distinctly on guard and on edge — and in some cases are shadowed by armed compatriots (“guardian angels”) whose job it is to protect them from such events — these are essentially suicidal acts.
So it’s reasonable to assume that, for every Afghan who acts on such a violent impulse, there must be a far larger pool of fellow members of the security forces the coalition is building who have similar feelings, but don’t act on them (or simply vote with their feet, like the 24,590 soldiers who deserted in the first six months of 2011 alone).
We continue to be given public statements that the drawdown and transition in Afghanistan are on course – but of course they aren’t.