(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Deadly attacks on coalition soldiers by their supposed Afghan allies seem to be on the rise in 2012, with seven American troops killed last week alone.
While these so-called “green on blue” assaults — referring to the color of the soldiers’ uniforms — are detrimental to the NATO mission of transferring full security responsibilities to Afghan security forces by 2014, the coalition doesn’t believe they’ll spread to the point of being crippling.
NATO spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz says the likely reason they’re happening is not because of overall dissatisfaction with the coalition effort but more likely due to “personal grievances, by stress situation, or by battle fatigue.”
Katz acknowledged that the 27 attacks this year that have led to 34 fatalities — the majority of them American — are tragic, but he said taken in the context of 500,000 Afghan soldiers and police, “green on blue” incidents are still very rare.
He also dismissed a Taliban claim that it’s the group’s infiltrators who are mainly responsible for the assaults, saying only a few of the incidents can be directly tied to Taliban members who’ve disguised themselves as government soldiers.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Evan McKirdy, Tim Hume and James Masters, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN
Steve Visser and Masoud Popalzai, CNN
Sheena McKenzie, CNN