Fed Up: Top Gen. Allen ‘Mad as Hell’ About ‘Insider’ Attacks in Afghanistan
With the death toll in Afghanistan reaching 2,000 on Sunday, many are taking a closer look at the startling number of “insider” attacks that have occurred over the past year.
President Obama’s plan for the majority of U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014 calls for training Afghan security forces in how to defend their own country, however, a record number of those troops are instead turning their weapons on Americans.
According to Reuters, a stunning 1-in-5 combat-related deaths in Afghanistan by NATO-led forces in 2012 has been an insider “green on blue” attack, comprising roughly 16% of American casualties.
“I’m mad as hell about them, to be honest with you,” Gen. John Allen — the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan — said on “60 Minutes” Sunday. “We’re going to get after this. It reverberates everywhere, across the United States. You know, we’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign. But we’re not willing to be murdered for it.”
Here is video of the interview: Allen reiterated that the “vast majority” of Afghans are “with us” in the fight, saying there are a number of Afghans who have even died protecting American troops, but that the attacks definitely represent a weak spot in our defenses.
“The enemy recognizes this is a vulnerability,” Allen explained. “You know, in Iraq, the signature weapon system that we hadn’t seen before was the IED. We had to adjust to that. Here, I think the signature attack that we’re beginning to see is going to be the insider attack.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai blames terrorists, partially foreign fighters, for the attacks.
He explained: “They’re still there, and they have the ability continue ten years on to come and hurt us– to kill your troops, to kill our troops, to kill our civilians. We must question, then, how come they’ve returned?”
“60 Minutes” cameramen spoke with a number of the fighters, who said they support al-Qaeda. One of the leaders said the Taliban are responsible for the attacks, and that al-Qaeda fighters are flooding in to help.
“There are many groups that have [al-Qaeda fighters]; we can’t do this without them…They are masters of everything, for example making IEDS, something we don’t know how to do. But they are teaching us. They are also master engineers, and good with all weapons…” he explained.
Last week, Obama adviser Michele Flournoy said the attacks are a “very occasional” problem that represent the Taliban’s increasing “desperation.”
“It‘s very tragic and it’s very upsetting when these things happen,” she remarked, “but they are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of a percentage of the overall interactions that are happening.”