Afghans, Coalition Work to Avert ‘Insider’ Attacks

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2012 — Afghan and coali­tion lead­ers are work­ing to lim­it “insid­er threat” killings in Afghanistan, the com­man­der of U.S. and NATO forces there told reporters here today.

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen said at a Pen­ta­gon news con­fer­ence that Afghan and coali­tion forces have changed their oper­a­tions to address the killing of coali­tion mem­bers by Afghan sol­diers or police forces, also known as “green-on-blue” events.

Fif­teen coali­tion mem­bers have been killed in such events this year. “I think you’re aware that trag­i­cal­ly we had one overnight, as two young British sol­diers were killed in Hel­mand province,” Allen said.

Afghan lead­ers have put in place an eight-step vet­ting process, Allen said, and have placed coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence oper­a­tives in army and police schools, recruit­ing cen­ters and with­in the ranks “to spot and assess the poten­tial emer­gence of an indi­vid­ual who could be an extrem­ist or, in fact, a Tal­iban infil­tra­tor.”

The gen­er­al said some break­throughs have tak­en place, as Afghan inves­ti­ga­tors have arrest­ed peo­ple in uni­form who poten­tial­ly could have been per­pe­tra­tors of “green-on-blue” vio­lence.

“So the process is actu­al­ly work­ing,” he added.

Allen said he has direct­ed Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force troop-con­tribut­ing nations to increase train­ing for their deploy­ing forces. ISAF troops, he added, have changed sleep­ing, bas­ing and guard arrange­ments to bet­ter-pro­tect coali­tion troops.

“Between what the Afghans have done for them­selves, what we’re doing for our­selves and how we’re part­ner­ing togeth­er, we seek to reduce this tragedy to the max­i­mum extent pos­si­ble,” he said.

While the Tal­iban take cred­it for all such attacks, Allen said, the major­i­ty are not a direct result of Tal­iban infil­tra­tion. But it’s no secret that the Tal­iban have for some time tried to infil­trate Afghan forces and ele­ments that sup­port Afghan and coali­tion forces direct­ly, he not­ed.

In most cas­es, the rela­tion­ship between Afghan and coali­tion troops is strong, the gen­er­al said. Still, he acknowl­edged, the attacks are one char­ac­ter­is­tic of coun­terin­sur­gency cam­paigns.

“We expe­ri­enced these in Iraq, [and] we expe­ri­enced them in Viet­nam,” Allen said. “On any occa­sion where you’re deal­ing with an insur­gency and where you’re also grow­ing an indige­nous force — which will ulti­mate­ly be the prin­ci­pal oppo­si­tion to that insur­gency — the enemy’s [going to] do all that they can to dis­rupt the coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions, but also dis­rupt the integri­ty of the indige­nous forces that devel­op.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)