This weekend has been a particular bloody weekend for NATO troops in Afghanistan. Six U.S. and British servicemen have been killed in southern Afghanistan. An Afghan police official killed four U.S. soldiers at a remote outpost today in southern Afghanistan. Earlier this weekend, an attack on Camp Bastion in Hellmand province killed two U.S. soldiers and injured 9 others. The attack, which came as a surprise, also destroyed six Harrier aircraft and seriously damaged two others.
According to the Guardian, the attackers were all dressed in U.S. Army uniforms. Green-on-blue attacks have become a serious problem in Afghanistan and is assessed as a serious threat to the international mission in Afghanistan.
In 2012, more than 50 NATO soldiers have been killed at the hands of those they are supposed to mentor or fight alongside. There has been concern at the highest level, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Units have been told to take special precautions, but that is often easier said than done. With 15% of the total deaths of allied soldiers killed by so-called "green-on-blue" fire, it is a problem that is difficult to resolve.
Could it be that the United States and NATO are fooling themselves? For years, the public has been told that progress is making progress in Afghanistan. These statements have been made both by the Bush and Obama administrations.
Earlier this year President Obama signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with President Karzai. The agreement has set a timeline for transferrring NATO responsibility for security of Afghanistan to the Afghan government.
Over the past year there has been a concentrated effort to train Afghan forces for that task. Unfortunately the results have not as rosey as some would make us believe. The green-on-blue attacks are a symptom of the reality of Afghanistan.
Hours after the firefight ended, and just a few dozen kilometres away, a "very reliable" member of the Afghan local police turned his gun on two British soldiers. He was not known to have Taliban connections, but had confessed suicidal thoughts to a colleague.
"We understand that he had mental health problems," said Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial governor. "A day before the shooting this man was talking with another ALP guy and said 'I can't bear to continue with my life any more, I prefer death to life'," Ahmadi added. Guardian
Just a few hours later, four U.S. soldiers were killed and three others wounded. The incident occurred at 2:30 a.m., when an Afghan policeman opened fire on the soldiers.
According to Ghulam Jelani Farahi, the province's second most senior police officer, a man named Adel opened fire. He initially called out to the soldiers that his checkpoint was surrounded by Taliban and asked for help. When Americans came to rescue the Afghan police, Adel opened fire with an AK-47.
Lately there has been a lot of spin that the Taliban has been defeated, but reality seems to point in a totally different direction. The Taliban appear to be emboldened by the fact that NATO troops are already streaming home for good on a daily basis.
This obviously takes violence in the workplace to a higher level. How can NATO troops be expected to trust their Afghan partners? It would be tough. Soldiers know that there is an inherent risk in what they do, but having to watch your back to ensure you don't get ambushed by your allies is something else. Somehow in any risk one takes, he wants the odds in their favour. These odds have shifted to the other side.
Britain and the U.S. have paid the highest price in young lives and Canada has also lost 158 soldiers, which is a lot for a population of just over 31 million. One would hate to think that all those soldiers and the countless civilians died just to return to the status quo when it all ends.
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.