Three Marines Shot Dead By Afghan On Military Base

Another senseless death perpetrated by the people we’re supposed to be helping:

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.

“Let me clearly say that those two incidents clearly do not reflect the overall situation here in Afghanistan,” chief ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Gunter Katz told journalists on Saturday.

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.

As noted the other day after the earlier shooting, this is just the latest in a disturbing trend:

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.

But a coalition spokesman said the killings by the Afghan worker would not be included in that tally as it did not involve a member of the Afghan security forces.

Of course, that leads to the question of how many attacks like this there have been that haven’t been included in the official “Green on Blue” statistics.

It all reminds me of some of the things I learned studying the Vietnam War in college, keeping in mind this was in the 80s just over ten years after the fall of Saigon. At some point during the American involvement, the phenomenon of civilian attacks on American troops began to become a serious issue. That created a problem for American forces because it raised the question of who they could actually trust. Twice this week, we’ve apparently had a person who was working closely with NATO forces, one a police office, the other a civilian apparently, turn on their partners without warning. Put yourself in the boots of the troops on the ground. When things like that start to happen, I have to think they start wondering who they can trust outside of the NATO forces, and that just makes the possibility for a situation to get out of hand.

We need to get the heck out of there as soon as possible.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Military Affairs, Terrorism, World Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DC Loser says:

    From the Taliban perspective, this type of attack is a no-brainer. If you can’t beat them in a “fair fight,” then you fight dirty. This is always been the Achilles’ Heel of our withdrawal strategy. By sowing doubt and mistrust in our Afghan allies, this will make the Afghan Army and security forces so much less ready to assume the leadership of security of their own country.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Remind me again of why we are there?

  3. I think we should have gotten out long ago. We should have just gone, kicked over the Talbian’s sand castle, and gone home.

    But this shows the imperialism:

    Another senseless death perpetrated by the people we’re supposed to be helping

    The killer is by definition not a friendly. If he was at some point, and you lost him, that’s not his fault either. You are their to advance your, not his, interests. That he took up arms against you is pretty straight confirmation of that.

  4. Loviatar says:

    Another senseless death perpetrated by the people we’re supposed to be helping: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell.


  5. @Loviatar:

    You seem to forget that Obama doubled down on the Bush policy shortly after he became President. This is his baby now

  6. DC Loser says:

    Obama “double down” because he listened to the people whose advice was supposedly sage (his generals). He didn’t want to be accused of ignoring the military’s advice. It was Petraeus and then Allen who double down and wanted a surge of US forces before the withdrawal in order to leave Afghanistan in the supposedly good hands of a competent internal security force.