Thursday, January 19, 2012

You think they would have learned this earlier...

ISAF limits details of troops killed by Afghans

By Tom Vanden Brook - USA Today
Posted : Tuesday Jan 17, 2012 21:38:47 EST

Military commanders in Afghanistan have stopped making public the number of allied troops killed by Afghan soldiers and police, a measure of the trustworthiness of a force that is to take over security from U.S.-led forces.
The change in policy comes after at least three allied troops have been killed by the Afghan troops they trained in the past month and follows what appears to be the deadliest year of the war for NATO trainers at the hands of their Afghan counterparts.
The International Security Assistance Force in Kabul had responded to previous requests for details on cases where Afghan troops — screened and trained by ISAF and Afghan officials — have turned their weapons on NATO troops.
Navy Lt. Cdr. Brian Badura said ISAF has a new policy to release only limited information about casualties, leaving the responsibility for detail to the troops’ home countries. The policy went into effect in the latter half of 2011, he said.
Since 2005, more than 50 troops had been killed and 48 wounded by Afghan troops, according to data released before the policy changed and USA Today research. In 2011, Afghan troops killed at least 13 ISAF troops.
Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said information about the killing of U.S. troops by Afghan troops or police is important because it shows whether the U.S. withdrawal plan is realistic.
“It’s not just a matter of the number of ISAF or U.S. troops getting attacked. The real question is will this force be loyal to the government?” he said. “The constant question has to be, ‘Did you rush out to set impossible levels of quantity without addressing the quality of Afghan security forces?’“
President Obama has said he intends to hand off security responsibility to the Afghan government in 2014. NATO forces train Afghans to fill the ranks of the country’s military and police forces to keep the Taliban insurgency from regaining power.
There are about 306,000 Afghan soldiers and police, and the force is scheduled to grow to 352,000 by October. The United States has spent $11 billion to train and equip those forces in the past year.
In 2012, Afghan security forces have killed at least one ISAF member. In the latest incident, a man wearing an Afghan army uniform killed a coalition soldier, ISAF said Jan. 8. Two days later, the Pentagon said Pfc. Dustin P. Napier, 20, of London, Ky., had died from small-arms fire on Jan. 8 but released no further details.
More than a third of the attacks stemmed from combat stress as opposed to Taliban infiltration, an ISAF review of incidents found last year. About one-fifth of the attacks were caused by insurgents goading or coercing Afghan troops.
Infiltration of local forces is a common tactic among insurgents anywhere, said Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the RAND Corp.
“In general, they are part of a broader insurgent effort that involves assassination, intimidation and infiltration,” Jones said. “Insurgents have been doing it for decades — actually centuries — in Afghanistan and other wars.”

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