Afghan Police Officer Kills Three American Soldiers

Another incident that makes one wonder just what the heck we’re doing in Afghanistan:

KABUL, Afghanistan — A man dressed as an Afghan police officer has killed at least three American Special Forces soldiers after inviting them to eat dinner at a check post in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official said on Friday, in what appeared to be a premeditated killing of American soldiers by their Afghan allies.

The American command in Afghanistan, which functions alongside the NATO-led coalition, issued a terse statement saying that three soldiers were killed by a man in an “Afghan uniform” — standard phrasing used by military authorities here when a member of the Afghan security forces kills a coalition service member.

The coalition did not provide any additional details of the attack.

But Muhammad Sharif, the governor of Sangin District of Helmand Province, where the killings took place, said a police commander had invited the Special Forces soldiers to eat dinner at his check post on Thursday. He then shot them when their guard was down, and fled, Mr. Sharif said.

The problem of Afghan forces killing their coalition counterparts has intensified in recent years in Afghanistan, where’s the military’s nomenclature for such violence — it calls them “green-on-blue” killings — has entered widespread usage. The latest episode, if confirmed, would bring the total number of coalition service members intentionally killed this year by Afghan forces to 34 in 25 attacks. In 2011, a total of 35 were killed in 21 attacks.

Considering that one of our primary tasks at the moment is supposed to be getting the Afghan military and police ready to take over security and such, this kind of things certainly does make things difficult. If our soldiers can’t trust their counterparts, and in this particular case the soldiers were indeed lured to their death, then how is cooperation even going to be possible?

FILED UNDER: Asia, Military Affairs, Quick Takes,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. If our soldiers can’t trust their counterparts, and in this particular case the soldiers were indeed lured to their death, then how is cooperation even going to be possible?

    It’s not going to be possible, and everyone in both parties knows it’s not going to be possible. All we’re really doing now is trying to abandon the country without it looking like we’re abandoning it until after we get out.

  2. stonetools says:

    Of course, if you are a neo-con, this would be a signal to double down. I expect a Charles Krauthammer column calling for us to increase our troop numbers. There is no substitute for victory…..

  3. Mikey says:

    This happens all the time. The administration tries to keep a lid on it, but there’s a clear pattern of this sort of thing, and it is getting worse.

    Time to bring our troops home. And I say that as someone who used to support this mission, and whose friends and brothers-in-arms have done multiple tours there. It’s not worth one more drop of American blood.

  4. James H says:

    A man dressed as an Afghan police officer has killed at least three American Special Forces soldiers after inviting them to eat dinner at a check post

    is it wrong that I find this the most disturbing bit? IIRC, Afghans typically take hospitality very seriously.