Though details are unclear, it appears that the death count regarding “green-on-blue” incidents in Afghanistan have been raised by three as a gunman wearing an Afghan uniform shot and killed three American troops in southern Helmand.
Green-on-blue is a name for when Afghan security forces attack their Western allies. There have been 25 of these in the last year. In the case last Thursday, which took the lives of three members of the Marine special operations force, it is unclear as of yet whether the killer was an Afghan force or a militant dressed up as one.
As Arabic media presented the situation, the attacker was the commanding police officer at a checkpoint who invited the U.S. Special forces to join him for dinner, Thursday, and subsequently ambushed them. It is not clear, however, if this report is correct.
The Taliban, meanwhile, had claimed responsibility for another such incident earlier the week when Afghan national Army soldiers opened fire on NATO troops, killing one U.S. service member and wounding two others.
The Taliban has also claimed the attacker here, whom they identified as a member of Helmand Police by the name of Asadullah, has joined the insurgency, after having helped the U.S. train Afghan Local Police troops. Whether this is an opportunistic brag or a legitimate claim is uncertain.
Over thirty coalition service members have been killed by Afghan forces, or insurgents so dressed, and this outshadows the twenty deaths of 2011, and the four between 2007 and 2008. The distrust Afghan solders and police hold against the U.S. as they train them to bar the Taliban from regaining dominance seems to be mounting.
The men killed have been identified by the Defense Department as Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, of Conyers, Ga.; Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, of West Point, N.Y.’; and Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, of Laramie, Wyo.