Updated December 26, 2012
American killed in Afghan police ‘insider’ attack (MSNBC, Dec. 24, 2012) – Retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs talks to MSNBC’s Richard Lui about the killing of a U.S. civilian working for the military outside police headquarters in Kabul. (03:47)
By Akbar Shinwari
December 24, 2012
A U.S. civilian working for the military was killed inside Kabul’s police headquarters when a policewoman opened fire in apparent “insider” attack, officials told NBC News on Monday.
The man, a member of the International Security Assistance Forces and a logistics adviser to the Kabul police, was severely wounded and died on Monday in the office of the local police chief, according to Mohammad Zahir, head of the criminal investigation department.
Zahir described the incident as an “insider attack” in which Afghan forces turn their weapons on Western military they are supposed to be working with. …
October 31, 2012
October 26, 2012
The Taliban claimed responsibility for killing two American service members in southern Uruzgan province, in what may have been the latest insider attack against Western troops.
In an emailed statement, Taliban spokesman Jusuf Ahmadi said a member of the Afghan security forces shot the two men the day before, then escaped to join the insurgents.
Maj. Lori Hodge, spokeswoman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said on Thursday that authorities were trying to determine whether the attacker was a member of the Afghan security forces or an insurgent who donned a government uniform.
It was the second suspected insider attack in two days. On Wednesday, two British troops and an Afghan policeman were gunned down in Helmand province.
Before Thursday’s assault, 53 foreigners attached to the U.S.-led coalition had been killed in attacks by Afghan soldiers or police this year.
October 17, 2012
By Pauline Jelinek
October 17, 2012
WASHINGTON — An officer for the Central Intelligence Agency was among those killed in a suicide bombing at an Afghan intelligence office – the latest so-called “insider attack” in the war, according to one current and one former U.S. official.
The attack Saturday in Kandahar province killed four Afghan intelligence officials and two U.S. intelligence officers. One of the Americans has been identified as a female soldier – 24-year-old Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, assigned to a military intelligence company from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
A senior U.S. defense official and a former U.S. intelligence official said the other American was an officer working for the CIA. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information on the record. The officer’s name is being withheld.
The official said the other American was an operative working for the CIA. …
October 1, 2012
A policeman inspects the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan’s Khost province on Oct. 1, 2012. A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform killed 14 people, including three NATO soldiers and four police, and wounded 37, a NATO spokeswoman and local officials said. (Photo credit: Anwarullah / Reuters)
October 1, 2012
A suicide bomber detonated a device in Afghanistan on Monday, killing three U.S. soldiers, one interpreter and four members of the Afghan National Police, a military official told NBC News.
The U.S. soldiers and Afghan police were on a dismounted partner patrol near the center of the Khost region in eastern Afghanistan. The attacker approached and detonated as they were preparing to get back in their vehicles.
Six civilians also died in the attack, Reuters reported. …
A witness told Reuters a suicide bomber was wearing a police uniform.
The bombing followed the killing of two Americans on Sunday in an exchange of fire with Afghan forces. …
September 30, 2012
In Afghanistan, who is in charge? (NBC Nightly News, Sept. 30, 2012) – On Saturday night, an Afghan soldier approached Americans, killing a soldier and a contractor; with that, the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan is around 2,100 in the United States’ 11-year-war in the country. Insider attacks have become increasingly common — and no one seems to have a good answer about how to stop them. NBC’s Lester Holt and Richard Engel report from Kabul. (03:34)
September 30, 2012
An apparent insider attack by Afghan forces has killed a U.S. service member and a contractor, officials said Sunday – bringing the total number of U.S. troops killed inside Afghanistan to 2,000 according to some measures. …
The attack happened Saturday at a checkpoint on a highway in Wardak Province, a defense official said. Two Afghan National Army soldiers approached the checkpoint and had a brief conversation with the troops there. One of the ANA soldiers then shot and killed the American service members and the contractor, officials told NBC News. …
The dead U.S. soldier was identified as Sgt. 1st Class Riley G. Stephens, 39, of Tolar, Texas. Stephens was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The U.S. toll in Afghanistan has climbed steadily in recent months with a spate of attacks by Afghan army and police against American and NATO troops …
The Associated Press reported Sunday that the latest death was the 2,000th member of the U.S. armed services killed inside Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion on Oct. 7, 2001. However, that AP figure did not include those who died after sustaining injuries in Afghanistan or those killed in other countries as part of the same campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban.
According to icasualties.org, an independent monitoring organizationwhich uses the wider definition, the latest death brings the toll of U.S. service members to 2035. At least a further 1,190 coalition troops have also died in the Afghanistan war, it says.
The Brookings Institution, a Washington-based research center, said 40.2 percent of the deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices, with the majority of those after 2009 when President Barack Obama ordered a surge of 33,000 troops to combat heightened Taliban activity. According to the Washington-based research center, the second highest cause, 30.6 percent, was hostile fire.
Tracking civilian deaths is much more difficult. According to the U.N., 13,431 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict between 2007, when the U.N. began keeping statistics, and the end of August. Going back to the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, most estimates put the number of Afghan deaths in the war at more than 20,000. …
Attacks by Afghan soldiers or police — or insurgents disguised in their uniforms — have killed 52 American and other NATO troops so far this year.
The so-called insider attacks are considered one of the most serious threats to the U.S. exit strategy from the country. …
September 27, 2012
Army Spc. Mabry Anders was killed in an attack by an Afghan army soldier in Afghanistan on August 27, 2012. (Photo credit: Reuters)
By Phil Stewart and Hamid Shalizi
September 27, 2012
WASHINGTON/KABUL — In the weeks before his death, 21-year-old Mabry Anders had grown increasingly worried that he might not come home from Afghanistan. The Army specialist was battling insomnia and would send brief, worried messages back to his family.
“He talked to me in the day, which would be in the middle of his night,” his father, Dan Anders, said. “He didn’t sleep. He was just worried.”
There were good reasons for concern. During his six-month tour, the Taliban staged a major attack at his base, a suicide bomber had killed one of his brigade’s most revered leaders, and an Afghan villager threw a fire-bomb at a vehicle he was traveling in.
But what Anders may not have expected is that his killer would be an Afghan army soldier, one of those the U.S. military is supposed to be training to take over security of the country ahead of the withdrawal of most U.S. troops by the end of 2014.
A surge in insider attacks (also known as “green on blue” attacks) has prompted NATO to temporarily curtail some joint operations. The move casts doubt on what exactly international forces can accomplish in those places where they cannot work alongside their Afghan allies.
Interviews in Afghanistan and the United States have uncovered new details about the attack on August 27, which also took the life of another U.S. soldier, Sergeant Christopher Birdwell. These include Taliban claims that the insurgents prepared the Afghan soldier for the killings.
“After the shooting incident a group of Taliban came to my house and said that Welayat Khan was their man,” said Nazar Khan, the brother of the Afghan soldier who was killed by U.S. forces after he opened fire on the Americans. …
Interviews with Afghan officials suggest that Welayat Khan was not properly vetted. He was admitted to the force seven months before the attack, despite presenting a fake birth certificate and having gotten a flimsy recommendation from a commander who vouched for him simply because the two men were ethnic Pashtuns, according to Afghan sources speaking on condition of anonymity.
Insider attacks now account for one in every five combat deaths suffered by NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, and 16 percent of all American combat casualties, according to 2012 data. The rising death toll has alarmed Americans and raised new, troubling questions about the unpopular war’s direction. …
Relatives said they were taken by surprise when he joined the Afghan army. His cousin Rahman recounted that Welayat had lambasted Western military forces.
“Welayat had a small radio and liked to listen to news about Afghanistan. He became very upset and angry when there were reports about civilians being killed by airstrikes,” Rahman said. “‘May Allah save us from the hands of these infidels,’” he quoted Welayat as saying. …
In Welayat’s pictures, provided by his brother Nazar Khan, he appears clean-shaven, young, stern looking, with a mass of thick black hair. He has a long face and slender build. In one picture he is gently holding his green beret in his right hand, with his left hand resting on the barrel of a machine gun.
Welayat Khan, an Afghan soldier who killed Army Spc. Mabry Anders and Sgt. Christopher Birdwell in Afghanistan on August 27, 2012 appears in an undated handout photograph provided by his family. (Photo credit: Reuters)
Anders, an Army mechanic from a small town in Oregon, and Birdwell, from Windsor, Colorado, were part of an early morning clearance mission near the Afghan town of Kalagush when the lead vehicle in their convoy hit a bomb. …
The American patrol had the road blocked to ensure security. But the Afghan soldiers approaching in another convoy were not seen as a potential threat, and were allowed to pass. On board that convoy was Welayat Khan.
“They are trained to trust the Afghan soldiers,” Anders’ mother, Genevieve Woydziak, said.
Welayat Khan was sitting at the gun turret mounted on a vehicle in the Afghan convoy. At 8:10 in the morning, as his vehicle passed Anders and Birdwell, Welayat Khan took aim at the Americans and fired.
“The rest of the Afghan soldiers at that point laid their weapons down” to avoid being shot, Woydziak said.
Welayat Khan then jumped out of the Afghan vehicle and started to run. But he didn’t get very far.
An American helicopter arrived in minutes and shot Khan dead less than a kilometer away, according to a U.S. Army spokesman. …
Anders was just 10 years old at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and he enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from high school. He posted lots of photos on Facebook – many showing his sense of humor, even in Afghanistan. …
September 23, 2012
‘It was an execution’ (NBC Nightly News, Sept. 23, 2012) – The parents of a Marine killed by an aide to a local Afghan police commander in an ‘insider’ attack speak out. Lester Holt reports from Afghanistan. (03:43)
September 17, 2012
NATO troops killed in Afghanistan (NBC Nightly News, Sept. 17, 2012) – Afghan security forces turned their guns on U.S. and NATO troops, killing four American soldiers and two British troops. NBC’s Richard Engel reports. (02:49)
By Jim Miklaszewski
NBC News chief Pentagon correspondent
September 17, 2012
Most joint U.S.-Afghan military operations have been suspended following what authorities believe was an insider attack Sunday that left four American soldiers dead, officials told NBC News. …
The suspensions of the joint operations are indefinite — according to one official, they “could last three days or three months.”
The escalating violence — including a NATO airstrike that killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood — is straining the military partnership between Kabul and NATO as the U.S. begins to withdraw thousands of troops sent three years ago to route the Taliban from southern strongholds. …
The U.S. training mission and joint combat patrols are “critical” to the U.S. plan to withdraw all combat forces by as early as the middle of next year and almost all U.S. military from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. …
September 16, 2012
4 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan (MSNBC.com, Sept. 16, 2012) – Four U.S. troops fighting with the NATO-led alliance were killed in another suspected “insider” attack in southern Afghanistan. NBC’s Atia Abawi reports. (02:10)
September 16, 2012
Four U.S. soldiers fighting with the NATO-led alliance were killed in an apparent insider shooting in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, the Pentagon confirmed. …
The shooting took place in Zabol, a southern province where U.S. forces are based, and came a day after two British soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan policeman while returning from a patrol in southern Helmand province — a stronghold of the Taliban-led insurgency. …
One attacker who was wearing an Afghan National Police uniform (ANP) was also killed in the fighting, a source told Reuters.
At least 51 foreign military personnel have been killed in “insider” attacks this year, attacks which have put a heavy strain on trust between the coalition and Afghanistan as they move towards handing security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
The rise in such attacks has led to the training of new recruits to the Afghan army and police being suspended. …
The NATO-led coalition and its Afghan counterparts have created a special Joint Casualties Assessment Team to investigate every attack, which number at least 37 this year.
In more than half of cases, attackers are either killed or escape and the motive never emerges, making it more difficult for the coalition to stem the surge. …
September 2, 2012
U.S. halts training of Afghan police (NBC Nightly News, Sept. 2, 2012) – In the wake of attacks on NATO soldiers, the U.S. has stopped training local Afghan police for a month. Retired Col. Jack Jacobs reports that the mission to train local police may take longer than the political will. NBC’s Lester Holt has more. (01:24)
September 2, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — United States military officials have suspended the training of Afghan Local Police (ALP) in the wake of a deadly series of so-called ‘green on blue’ attacks by Afghan soldiers and police on their international allies.
In a statement late Saturday, Col. Thomas Collins, US Forces Afghanistan spokesperson, said the training has been put on hold in order to carry out intensified vetting procedures on new recruits, and 16,000 existing ALP recruits will be re-vetted. …
Many of the ‘insider’ incidents might have been prevented if existing security measures had been applied correctly, according to the Washington Post which first reported the training suspension. …
Forty-five allied troops have been killed in 34 ‘insider’ attacks this year alone. The Afghan army is implicated in 19 of those attacks, but their training will not be halted.
Last week an Afghan soldier shot and killed two American soldiers on Monday during a dispute in Laghman province in Afghanistan. …
ALP training is a U.S. mission, carried out by Special Forces. Training of uniformed police and army personnel is done under the banner of the NATO operation.
August 27, 2012
Two U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan ‘insider attack’ (NBC “Today,” Aug. 27, 2012) – The shooting deaths of two American soldiers in Kabul by an Afghan colleague are under investigation. NBC’s Atia Abawi reports. (00:40)
By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube
August 27, 2012
An Afghan soldier shot and killed two American soldiers on Monday during a dispute in Laghman province in Afghanistan. The Afghan soldier was then shot and killed by U.S. forces.
“ISAF troops returned fire, killing the ANA (Afghan National Army) soldier who committed the attack,” the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. …
The deaths in Laghman brought the number of foreign soldiers killed this month to 12 …
There have been 33 insider attacks so far this year that have led to 42 coalition deaths. That is a sharp increase from 2011, when, during the whole year, 35 coalition troops were killed in such attacks, 24 of whom were American.
In all, 73 Americans have been killed by so-called “friendly forces” in the nearly 11-year war, with more than half occurring in the past eight months. …
August 20, 2012
The Associated Press and Reuters via NBCNEWS.com
August 20, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — A man in an Afghan police uniform shot and killed a U.S. service member on Sunday, a U.S. Defense Department official said, raising the death toll to 10 in such attacks in the space of just two weeks. …
On Saturday Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to encourage him to work with U.S. commanders to ensure more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits. …
Once an anomaly, these attacks have been climbing in recent months. There have been 30 such attacks so far this year, up from 11 in 2011. …
Including Sunday’s deaths, at least 41 international troops have been killed so far this month in Afghanistan.
August 16, 2012
Attacks on US troops by Afghan forces worsening (MSNBC “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Aug. 17, 2012) – NBC’s Atia Abawai explains what’s behind the worsening attacks on U.S. military personnel by Afghan security and military to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. (03:41)
Analysis by NBC News’ Atia Abawi
August 16, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — A group of U.S. Marines in Helmand province was invited to dinner by a local police commander and his men late last week. A little after midnight, under the dark Afghan sky, the Marines left the police compound and were shot in the back as they walked away. Three were killed.
Last week, seven Americans lost their lives after Afghans they were working with turned their weapons on them.
The military is now designating these incidents in which Afghan troops turn on coalition counterparts as “insider attacks,” (they were once called “green-on-blue” incidents) to account for the non-security personnel also involved in the assaults.
Insider attacks are now at the highest level they have been since the start of the war.
In 2007 and 2008 there were four such attacks and four deaths.
So far this year, there have already been 29 incidents in which Afghans turned their weapons on their coalition partners, killing 37. That’s compared with a total of 21 incidents, in which 35 were killed, in all of 2011.
The spike has startled many and brought calls to find the catalyst for the deadly problem.
Who or what is to blame?
One group that would seem like the obvious culprit is the Taliban. They have claimed to infiltrate the Afghan National Security Forces, consisting of both the military and police, to help kill NATO troops from the inside.
Last year, the group called on more Afghans in uniform to join their cause and turn their weapons on the “foreign invaders” because of their access and proximity.
NATO does not deny some of the attacks have been from Taliban insurgency infiltration – but they attribute the trend to more than that.
“There was infiltration; that is correct, we can acknowledge that,” said Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force based in Kabul. However, he said most of the attacks could be blamed on more basic warfare issues.
“The main reasons for those green on blue incidents are personal grievances, stress situations and what we call battle fatigue,” Katz said.
He attributes about 10 percent of the insider attacks to Taliban infiltration, and blames the remaining 90 percent on individual motives. …
A former commander of the Afghan Border Police, Gen. Aminullah Amarkhil, blames the attacks on a disrespect of the Afghan culture by foreign forces.
“The main reason for these attacks is that the foreign troops have on many occasions humiliated the Afghan culture and religion,” Amarkhil said. “They’ve entered Afghan homes without permission, killed innocent civilians, they’ve bombarded wedding parties, they’ve entered our mosques with dogs, burned the Holy Quran. All of these are the factors that have contributed to the Afghan army or police being infiltrated by people who have been humiliated by the foreign troops.” …
August 11, 2012
U.S. Marines shot dead in Afghanistan (NBC Nightly News, Aug. 10, 2012) – Three Marines were killed instantly, and the fourth was seriously wounded but the gunman escaped. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (01:21)
August 11, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — Three U.S. Marines were shot dead by an Afghan worker on a military base in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official told NBC News, raising to six the number of American service members who died in rogue attacks in the country in 24 hours.
The shooting took place on Friday night in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, not far from where three U.S. Marines were killed by an Afghan gunman earlier in the day, Dawood Ahmadi, spokesman for the Helmand province governor, told NBC News’ Atia Abawi on Saturday.
In the earlier incident, an Afghan police commander opened fire on the U.S. service members after inviting them to a meeting to discuss security, according to Reuters. Another service member was injured in that attack. …
Reuters reported that the Marines killed in the latest attack were shot dead by a base employee who turned his gun on them. Military sources said the man had not been wearing a uniform and it was unclear how he got hold of the weapon. …
Green on blue shootings, in which Afghan police or soldiers turn their guns on their Western colleagues, have seriously eroded trust between the allies as NATO combat soldiers prepare to hand over to Afghan forces by 2014, after which most foreign forces will leave the country.
The NATO force says there have been 26 such attacks on foreign troops since January in which 34 people have been killed. Last year, there were 21 attacks in which 35 people were killed. …
[It] was a bloody week for NATO forces in Afghanistan. Earlier on Friday, the Pentagon confirmed that three U.S. service members — including a senior Army leader — and an American aid worker were killed Wednesday by a suicide bomber in Kunar province.
The victims included Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, the most senior enlisted soldier for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Griffin, 45, of Riverton, Wyo., was a Bronze Star recipient who first enlisted in the Army in 1988.
Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y., and Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga., were also killed. USAID foreign service officer Ragaei Abdelfattah was identified as the other victim.
On Tuesday, two gunmen wearing Afghan army uniforms killed a U.S. soldier and wounded two others in Paktia province in the east.
Violence in Afghanistan is at its fiercest since U.S.-led Afghan troops overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. Insurgents have extended their reach from traditional strongholds in southern and eastern areas to parts of the country once considered safe.
April 27, 2012
Afghan special forces demonstrate a raid for rescuing a hostage during a showing to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, unseen, at the commando training center in Kabul, Afghanistan, in April 2012. (Photo credit: Musadeq Sadeq/AP via The Christian Science Monitor)
By Anna Mulrine
April 27, 2012
The latest killing of a US soldier at the hands of an Afghan counterpart – this time of a US Special Operations Forces soldier by a US-trained Afghan commando – raises anew concerns about America’s ability to build a credible Afghan security force before 2014, when US combat forces are scheduled to leave the country.
In total, so-called green-on-blue killings now account for 20 percent of the 84 NATO casualties in 2012.
The fatal shooting during a joint night raid Thursday marks the first killing of a US Special Forces operative by one of the elite, highly trained Afghan commandos, who are meant to be more carefully vetted than their conventional force counterparts. Largely as a result, the commandos have been widely praised by US forces for their competence. …
March 26, 2012
An Afghan policeman checks a man entering the police station near the gate of a joint civilian-military base where two British soldiers part of the NATO forces were killed south of Kabul in Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Abdul Khaleq / AP)
The Associated Press, Reuters, and NBC News’ Cheryll Simpson via MSNBC.com
March 26, 2012
Three NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan on Monday in two separate attacks apparently carried out by members of local security forces.
A gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform killed two NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, while another was shot in eastern Afghanistan by an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police.
The deaths appeared to be the latest in a string of so-called “green on blue” attacks in which Afghan security forces have turned on their international colleagues or mentors.
The incident in which two died took place in Lashkar Gah in the southern Helmand province, an Afghan security source told Reuters. …
“The individual who opened fire was killed when coalition forces returned fire,” NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement about that incident. …
The Lashkar Gah base is dominated by British forces and a NATO official told The Associated Press the two victims were British soldiers. …
In a later statement about the shooting in eastern Afghanistan, ISAF said: “According to operational reports, the ISAF service member was shot by an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police as the security force approached an ALP checkpoint.” …
Insider attacks have mounted in recent months as tension between Afghanistan and its foreign backers rises over a series of incidents including the burning of Qurans at a NATO base and the killing of 17 villagers in southern Kandahar for which a U.S. soldier has been charged.
Before Monday’s attack, 13 members of the NATO-led force had been killed this year in what appeared to be attacks by members of Afghan forces, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces, General John Allen, told a U.S. Senate committee last week.
About 70 members of the NATO force have been killed in 42 insider attacks from May 2007 to January this year. …
March 1, 2012
Two more U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan (MSNBC-TV, March 1, 2012) – An Afghan soldier and a literacy teacher shot and killed two American soldiers in Afghanistan Thursday. This is the latest in a series of deaths as anti-Americanism rises in the country following the accidental burning of Qurans by U.S. soldiers. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (02:09)
The Associated Press and NBC News’ Courtney Kube via MSNBC.com
March 1, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — Two American soldiers were killed Thursday in a shooting by an Afghan soldier and a literacy teacher at a joint base in southern Afghanistan, officials said, the latest in a series of deaths as anti-Americanism rises following the burning of Qurans by U.S. soldiers. …
Thursday’s killings raised to six the number of Americans killed in less than two weeks amid heightened tensions over the Feb. 20 burning of Qurans and other Islamic texts that had been dumped in a garbage pit at Bagram Air Field near Kabul. More than 30 Afghans also were killed in six days of violent riots that broke out after the incident. …
One of the gunmen was wearing civilian clothing and the other was believed to be a member of the Afghan army, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement. …
The Associated Press quoted a U.S. official as saying three attackers were believed to be involved, two of whom were subsequently killed. He said the third may be in custody. …
A district chief in southern Kandahar’s Zhari district said the shootings took place on a NATO base when an Afghan civilian who taught a literacy course for Afghan soldiers and lived on the base started shooting at NATO troops. Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi said the shootings occurred at 3 a.m. and that NATO troops returned fire and killed the man and an Afghan soldier.
Mohammad Mohssan, an Afghan Army spokesman in Kandahar city, confirmed the incident occurred at a base in Zhari and involved two Afghans, one of whom was a soldier, who opened fire on coalition troops from a sentry tower. He said both were killed.
The shootings on Thursday were the latest in a series of attacks by Afghan security forces — or militants disguised in their uniforms — against Americans and other members of the international alliance. Last month the Pentagon released data showing that 75 percent of the more than 45 insider attacks since 2007 occurred in the last two years.
More than 75 NATO ISAF troops have been killed by Afghan forces in the past 5 years. …
Hundreds of advisers were pulled out of ministries and other government locations after an Afghan gunman shot and killed two U.S. military advisers on Feb. 25 inside their office at the Interior Ministry. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the ministry shootings, saying they were conducted in retaliation for last week’s Quran burnings, but no one has been arrested in the case.
An Afghan soldier also killed two U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan on Feb. 23 during a protest over the Quran burnings. …
February 28, 2012
By Matt Smith
February 28, 2012
Troops in white gloves and camouflage carried a pair of flag-draped caskets off an Air Force transport in Delaware Monday as the bodies of two senior U.S. military officers killed inside Afghanistan’s interior ministry arrived home.
Air Force Lt. Col. John Loftis and Army Maj. Robert Marchanti II were gunned down Friday when an Afghan intelligence officer turned his gun on them inside the ministry, an Afghan counter-terrorism official told CNN. Loftis was a career Air Force officer, while Marchanti was a veteran of Maryland’s National Guard. …
Marchanti taught physical education in Baltimore County schools for 17 years before resigning to become a full-time, active-duty guardsman. His last assignment was at Carney Elementary, in Baltimore’s northeastern suburbs, where kindergarten teacher Beth Avil described him as a “gentle giant.”
“He was this big, burly guy, and here he was making these connections with these little tiny kindergarteners,” she said. “You might think they’d be intimidated, but they had this instant bond.”
Marchanti “loved to work with struggling learners,” tutoring them on reading skills in the school’s computer lab, Avil said. …
When he left, Avil said, Marchanti told them not to worry — he was going to a desk job. He worked as a construction planning officer in Baltimore, overseeing renovations of National Guard facilities, said Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, a National Guard spokesman.
Marchanti was deployed to Afghanistan in September with a unit attached to the Army’s 29th Infantry Division, serving as a “mentor and adviser” to Afghan national police officers, Kohler said.
Both men were fathers — the 48-year-old Marchanti had four children and a grandchild, while Loftis had two daughters, the Air Force said.
Loftis, meanwhile, was part of an Air Force special operations unit and had already served one tour in Afghanistan. He was killed just days after his 44th birthday, his mother, Chris Janne, told CNN affilliate WPSD in Paducah, Kentucky. …
Loftis began his Air Force career as a missile officer. But he changed specialties in 2007, receiving training in Pashto — one of Afghanistan’s two major languages — and went to Afghanistan as a public affairs officer with a NATO provincial reconstruction team, the service said.
In 2009, then-Maj. Loftis was featured in a story by the Air Force News Service, which noted that he had been given the Pashto name “Esan” — meaning “The Quality of Being Generous.” He had been based at Hurlburt Field, near Fort Walton, Florida, before his last deployment.
“He was very much committed to what he was doing in Afghanistan,” his mother said. “He felt that the way to help the people there was to become their friends, and he trusted them.”
Loftis and Marchanti were killed in a spasm of violence that followed the burning of copies of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, in what U.S. President Barack Obama has called an accident. The Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said investigators believe their deaths were “100% linked to the Quran burning” because their killer had spent two months in a Pakistani religious school. …
February 26, 2012
By Randall Chase
February 26, 2012
DOVER, Del. — A sister of one of two U.S. military police officers killed in the violent backlash in Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base says relatives of both men are devastated by their deaths.
Amanda Meland, the oldest sister of Cpl. T.J. Conrad of Roanoke, Va., who was posthumously promoted to sergeant, said he had spoken recently about the violent protests. Conrad, the father of a 7-month-old baby, deployed to Afghanistan in January and was to have celebrated his 23rd birthday on March 6. …
The bodies of Conrad and Sgt. Joshua Born, 25, of Niceville, Fla., both assigned to the Army’s Fort Stewart in Georgia, were returned Saturday to the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base.
On Thursday, an Afghan soldier turned his gun on foreign troops, killing the two American soldiers, during a riot outside a U.S. base in Nangarhar province, officials have said.
Rising anti-American sentiments in that country over the Quran burnings have resulted in two more American deaths since: two U.S. military advisers — a lieutenant colonel and a major whose names were not immediately released — were found dead in their office with shots to the back of their heads. …
Contacted by AP, Meland said Conrad was in good spirits Wednesday when she and other relatives last spoke with him via Skype. She added: “… He did say that things were starting to get crazy from the backlash.”
Conrad, the father of a 7-month-old baby, deployed to Afghanistan in January. He would have celebrated his 23rd birthday on March 6. Meland said Conrad’s widow, Holly, was not at the couple’s house when military officials initially came to notify her of his death.
“They had come earlier, but she was not there. She had actually just mailed out his birthday package,” Meland explained.
Conrad was born in Newport News, Va., and was still a toddler when his family moved to Roanoke, where he was a member of the wrestling team at Northside High School. After high school, he joined the Army Reserve, switching a short time later to active duty. …
Meland said the deaths of Conrad and Born, whose relatives also attended Saturday’s casualty return, have left both families devastated. …
February 25, 2012
2 U.S. Army officers shot dead in Afghanistan (NBC Nightly News, Feb. 25, 2012) – High-ranking Americans are gunned down in the place they thought was the safest in Afghanistan — the heavily guarded Afghan Interior Ministry in the center of the capital Kabul — after days of rage over burnings of the Quran. NBC’s Atia Abawi reports. (03:14)
January 20, 2012
American soldiers training Afghan police officers in 2010. A report cites growing friction between the ostensible allies. (Photo credit: Damon Winter / The New York Times)
By Matthew Rosenberg
January 20, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — American and other coalition forces here are being killed in increasing numbers by the very Afghan soldiers they fight alongside and train, in attacks motivated by deep-seated animosity between the supposedly allied forces, according to American and Afghan officers and a classified coalition report.
A decade into the war in Afghanistan, the report makes clear that these killings have become the most visible symptom of a far deeper ailment plaguing the war effort: the contempt each side holds for the other, never mind the Taliban. The ill will and mistrust run deep among civilians and militaries on both sides, raising questions about what future role the United States and its allies can expect to play in Afghanistan.
Underscoring the danger, a gunman in an Afghan Army uniform killed four French service members and wounded several others on Friday, according to an Afghan police official in Kapisa Province in eastern Afghanistan, prompting the French president to suspend his country’s operations here [link added]. …
One instance of the general level of antipathy in the war exploded into uncomfortable view last week when video emerged of American Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters. Although American commanders quickly took action and condemned the act, chat-room and Facebook posts by Marines and their supporters were full of praise for the desecration.
But the most troubling fallout has been the mounting number of Westerners killed by their Afghan allies, events that have been routinely dismissed by American and NATO officials as isolated episodes that are the work of disturbed individual soldiers or Taliban infiltrators, and not indicative of a larger pattern. …
The Wall Street Journal [June 17, 2011] reported on details of the investigation last year. A copy was obtained by The New York Times.
“Lethal altercations are clearly not rare or isolated; they reflect a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat (a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between ‘allies’ in modern military history),” it said. Official NATO pronouncements to the contrary “seem disingenuous, if not profoundly intellectually dishonest,” said the report, and it played down the role of Taliban infiltrators in the killings. …
Although NATO does not release a complete tally of its forces’ deaths at the hands of Afghan soldiers and the police, the classified report and coalition news releases indicate that Afghan forces have attacked American and allied service members nearly three dozen times since 2007. …
The classified report found that between May 2007 and May 2011, when it was completed, at least 58 Western service members were killed in 26 separate attacks by Afghan soldiers and the police nationwide. Most of those attacks have occurred since October 2009. This toll represented 6 percent of all hostile coalition deaths during that period, the report said.
“The sense of hatred is growing rapidly,” said an Afghan Army colonel. He described his troops as “thieves, liars and drug addicts,” but also said that the Americans were “rude, arrogant bullies who use foul language.” …
The United States soldier was killed this month when an Afghan soldier opened fire on Americans playing volleyball at a base in the southern province of Zabul. The assailant was quickly gunned down. The deadliest single incident came last April when an Afghan Air Force colonel, Ahmed Gul, killed eight unsuspecting American officers and a contractor [link added] with shots to the head inside their headquarters. …
In a 436-page report, the Air Force investigators said the initial coalition explanation for the attack — stress brought on by financial problems — was only a small part of Colonel Gul’s motivation. His primary motive was hatred of the United States, and he planned the attack to kill as many Americans as possible, the investigators said.
There have been no reported instances of Americans’ killing Afghan soldiers, although a rogue group of United States soldiers killed three Afghan civilians for sport in 2010 [link added]. Yet there is ample evidence of American disregard for Afghans. After the urination video circulated, a number of those who had served in Afghanistan took to Facebook and other Web sites to cheer on their compatriots, describing Afghans of all stripes in harsh terms. …
The 70-page coalition report, titled “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility,” — which was originally distributed as an unclassified document [in early May 2011 ] and later changed to classified — goes far beyond anecdotes. It was conducted by a behavioral scientist who surveyed 613 Afghan soldiers and police officers, 215 American soldiers and 30 Afghan interpreters who worked for the Americans. …
The list of Afghan complaints against the Americans ran the gamut from the killing of civilians to urinating in public and cursing. …
The Americans were equally as scathing. “U.S. soldiers’ perceptions of A.N.A. members were extremely negative across categories,” the report found, using the initials for the Afghan National Army. Those categories included “trustworthiness on patrol,” “honesty and integrity,” and “drug abuse.” The Americans also voiced suspicions about the Afghans being in league with the Taliban, a problem well documented among the Afghan police. …
July 10, 2011
Left: Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids, who was killed July 9, 2011, in Panjshir province, Afghanistan. Right: Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle of Marshalltown, who was wounded in Afghanistan on July 9, 2011. He was driving an armored vehicle and exchanged fire with an Afghan security officer who authorities say had just shot and killed Sgt. 1st Class Terryl Pasker of Cedar Rapids. (Photo credit: DoD Des Moines Register)
By Tony Leys
July 10, 2011
An Iowa National Guard soldier from Cedar Rapids was one of two Americans shot and killed by a national policeman in Afghanistan on Saturday. Another Iowa soldier was wounded as he exchanged fire with the attacker.
The dead Iowa soldier was identified Sunday night as Sgt. 1st Class Terry Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids. The wounded soldier, Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle of Marshalltown, killed the attacker during the gunfight, officials said. …
The second American killed in Saturday’s attack was a civilian law-enforcement official, said Col. Gregory Hapgood, a Guard spokesman. The colonel said he didn’t know the man’s identity or home state.
The incident happened in Panjshir province, one of the most peaceful areas of Afghanistan. Panjshir is a small province north of Kabul that has long resisted the Taliban. It is considered so safe that U.S. soldiers often walk around without wearing helmets or body armor, and they don’t routinely ride in the large, heavily armored trucks American soldiers use in most other parts of the country.
Hapgood said he didn’t know whether the Iowa soldiers were wearing protective equipment. He said the soldiers were riding in two armored pickup trucks, which are commonly used in Panjshir, and they were on their way to a development project.
He said Eipperle drove the lead truck through an impromptu checkpoint, and saw the Afghan police officer wave down the second truck. The officer fired through the driver’s side window, killing Pasker and the American civilian, he said. Eipperle jumped out of his truck and exchanged fire with the gunman. Hapgood said he didn’t know the extent of Eipperle’s injuries, but he said the wounded soldier was being treated at a hospital in Afghanistan. …
Pasker is survived by his wife, Erica; his parents, Mary and David Pasker of Blairstown; a brother, Andrew of Lisbon; and two sisters, Christine Ross of Oakland, Tenn., and Rebecca Southard of Salem, Ore. …
Pasker had been in the military since 1990, and this was his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. …
July 9, 2011
Shooter was bodyguard Afghanistan’s second ranking intelligence official
Afghans stand at the scene where an guard opened fire at a NATO-escorted reconstruction convoy in Dara, Panjshir province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, July 9, 2011. An Afghan guard opened fire at a NATO-escorted reconstruction convoy after an argument Saturday, killing a service member and a civilian working for the coalition before being killed by return fire, a provincial police chief said. (Photo credit: Stringer / AP)
The Associated Press and NBC News via MSNBC.com
July 9, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan guard on Saturday shot dead two NATO troops accompanying a reconstruction team convoy traveling in a northern province, police said.
Police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh said the shooting took place in the Darah district of Panjshir province, about 62 miles north of the capital, Kabul.
Jangalbagh said the shooter was a bodyguard working for the country’s second highest-ranking intelligence official.
He said the shooter stopped the convoy, engaged in an argument with NATO troops and opened fire.
Jangalbagh said another NATO soldier fired back and killed the shooter. …
An Afghan government official, who did not want to be named, told NBC News that the two NATO soldiers who were killed were Americans….
April 27, 2011
Shooting follows string of attacks by Afghan forces against their NATO-led mentors
Afghan pilot kills 9 Americans (MSNBC, April 27, 2011) – An Afghan Air Force pilot shot and killed eight NATO service members and one contractor at an airport in Kabul. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (01:18)
The Associated Press, Reuters, and NBC News via MSNBC.com
April 27, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — Eight American troops and a U.S. contractor died Wednesday after an Afghan military pilot opened fire during a meeting at Kabul airport — the deadliest episode to date of an Afghan turning against his coalition partners, officials said.
The Afghan officer, who was a veteran military pilot, fired on the Americans after an argument, the Afghan Defense Ministry said.
The shooting occurred in an operations room of the Afghan Air Corps at Kabul airport.
“Suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, shooting started,” said Afghan Air Corps spokesman Col. Bahader, who uses only one name. “After the shooting started, we saw a number of Afghan army officers and soldiers running out of the building. Some were even throwing themselves out of the windows to get away.”
Five Afghan soldiers were injured. At least one Afghan soldier was shot — in the wrist — but most of the soldiers suffered broken bones and cuts, Bahader said.
An Afghan pilot who spoke on condition of anonymity identified the gunman as Ahmad Gul from Tarakhail district of Kabul province. The shooter was killed in the incident.
The suspect’s brother, Dr. Mohammad Hassan Sahibi, said he had been battling financial troubles. Sahibi said his brother had no ties to insurgents. …
It was the seventh time so far this year that members of the Afghan security forces, or insurgents impersonating them, have killed coalition soldiers or members of the Afghan security forces. …
The shooting follows a string of attacks by Afghan forces against their NATO-led mentors carried out either by “rogue” soldiers or by insurgents in uniform who have managed to infiltrate their ranks. Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks on government and military installations across Afghanistan.
Before the airport shooting, the coalition had recorded 20 incidents since March 2009 where a member of the Afghan security forces or someone wearing a uniform used by them attacked coalition forces, killing a total of 36. It is not known how many of the 282,000 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in these type of incidents.
According to information compiled by NATO, half of the 20 incidents involved the impersonation of an Afghan policeman or soldier. The cause of the other 10 incidents were attributed to combat stress or unknown reasons. …
Afghan who killed 9 Americans acted alone (MSNBC.com, April 29, 2011) — An Afghan pilot who gunned down nine Americans acted alone and was armed with two weapons when he began his rampage, according to preliminary findings of the shooting investigation, NBC News reported Friday. Investigators have found no connection between the shooter and the Taliban, but they have not conclusively ruled out that possibility, NBC news said. … Full story
The Americans have been identified as:
December 1, 2010
Soldiers killed when rogue officer turned weapon on American trainers
An Army carry team with the transfer case containing the remains of Pvt. Buddy W. McLain at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. (Photo credit: Steve Ruark / AP)
By Anne Gearan
December 1, 2010
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — Several of President Barack Obama’s top national security advisers stood on a silent, windy tarmac Wednesday night to watch as the bodies of six U.S. soldiers killed by a rogue Afghan policeman returned to U.S. soil.
The six were killed in Afghanistan on Monday when the border policeman turned his gun on his American trainers as the group headed to shooting practice. The gunman was killed in the shootout in Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the officer had enlisted as a sleeper agent to have an opportunity to kill foreigners. …
The dead are Sgt. Barry E. Jarvis of Tell City, Ind.; Pfc. Jacob A. Gassen of Beaver Dam, Wis.; Pvt. Buddy W. McLain of Mexico, Maine; Spc. Matthew W. Ramsey of Quartz Hill, Calif.; Pvt. Austin G. Staggs of Senoia, Ga.; and Staff Sgt. Curtis A. Oakes of Athens, Ohio.
[Note: All of the men served with the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.]
Marine Gen. James Cartwright, who is the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led a delegation of U.S. officials to pay respects. The unusually large group that flew from Washington included national security adviser Tom Donilon and several senior National Security Council advisers. Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy and Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey and several senior Pentagon officers also attended. …
Defense Secretary Robert Gates ended an 18-year ban on media coverage of the returns last year.
The families of Jarvis, Gassen and McLain allowed media to watch and photograph the transfer of caskets Wednesday.
The attack was the deadliest of its kind in at least two years. It underscored one of the risks in a U.S.-led program to train enough recruits to turn over the lead for security to Afghan forces by 2014.
Attacks on NATO troops by Afghan policemen or soldiers, although still rare, have increased as the coalition has accelerated the program. Other problems with the rapidly growing security forces include drug use, widespread illiteracy and high rates of attrition.
This is the deadliest year of the nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, with more than 450 U.S. troops killed. More than 1,300 U.S. forces have died there since the war began in 2001, a majority of them in the past two years as fighting has intensified and Obama ordered more than 30,000 reinforcements.
The U.S. now has about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, a record. Obama plans to begin withdrawing some forces in July, on the way to an eventual transfer of security control to the Afghan forces now being recruited and trained under U.S. and NATO supervision.
Related reports on this site
Two U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Over Koran Burning (Feb. 24, 2012)
American Killed by Rogue Afghan Inside Kabul CIA Office (Sept. 26, 2011)
Afghan Guard Turns Gun on Americans (July 9, 2011)
Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers (April 27, 2011)
Koran Burned, Many Dead (April 3, 2011)
Afghan Policeman Kills U.S. Troops (Dec. 1, 2010)
Iraqi Soldier Guns Down U.S. Troops (Sept. 8, 2010)
Afghan Soldier Kills U.S. Troop (Dec. 29, 2009)
Iraq Insurgent Infiltration (May 2, 2009)
Iraqi Soldier Kills U.S. Troops (Nov. 13, 2008)
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