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  • Morning Bell: Afghan Forces Turning Against Their U.S. Trainers

    American troops in Afghanistan face an increased threat from “insider” attacks in which the Afghan forces they are there to help and train are turning their guns on their American partners, raising serious questions about the viability of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

    The attacks, which have killed 40 U.S. and NATO troops so far this year, are also referred to as “green-on-blue attacks,” because the military refers to local forces as “green” and allied forces as “blue.”*

    Who are the Afghan security forces? While the Afghan Army leaders are professional and committed to working with their American counterparts, the recruits are mostly rural, illiterate men who can become disgruntled by cultural differences with their American trainers or susceptible to insurgent bribes or intimidation. U.S. military officials attribute only about 10 percent of the insider attacks to Taliban infiltration, despite Taliban claims of responsibility for most of the attacks.

    There are about 350,000 Afghan security forces, including the police and army. As of October 1, there will be 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is centered on being able to train the Afghan forces so they can eventually face down the insurgent threat on their own. If the number of insider attacks does not abate, it will be increasingly difficult to justify a large-scale U.S. troop presence in the nation.

    Heritage’s Peter Brookes writes in the New York Post this morning:

    Despite efforts by Coalition forces and the Afghan government to combat the violence through better screening, vetting, monitoring and counterintelligence, this isn’t going to be an easy problem to fix.

    The Taliban, the Haqqanis and al Qaeda will continue to look for willing recruits to do their dirty work, developing “penetrations” of the Afghan army and police force to turn on their mentors and trainers.

    The psychological effects of trainees turning their weapons on their trainers is devastating to American troops and the 40 coalition partners in the country. President Obama needs to engage on this issue and seek to raise confidence in his overall Afghanistan strategy. The increase in insider attacks threatens the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, and U.S. officials must work closely with their Afghan counterparts to stop the attacks. President Obama has largely avoided talking about the Afghan war and has focused mainly on troop withdrawal schedules, rather than inspiring confidence in U.S. strategy and showing commitment to U.S. goals in the region.

    While President Obama has been drawing down U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he has attempted to negotiate with the Taliban—despite the fact that the Taliban has renounced neither terrorism nor its support for al-Qaeda. If the Taliban is able to regain influence in Afghanistan without breaking ties with international terrorism, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups could re-establish a haven there.

    Heritage’s Lisa Curtis reminds us that the military gains made against the Taliban over the past two years are “still fragile.” “It would be unwise for the U.S. to make major concessions before the Taliban has renounced international terrorism and demonstrated willingness to compromise politically,” Curtis has written.

    Just a few months ago, the Taliban criticized the Afghan government for moving forward with a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the U.S., saying America’s goal was to prevent the institution of a true Islamic government and to establish an army hostile to Islam that protects Western interests in the region.

    Instead of focusing so much energy and attention on trying to negotiate with the Taliban, the U.S. should be empowering and organizing anti-Taliban elements into a cohesive political force. That includes encouraging Pakistan to end its support for the Taliban—and to stop providing safe haven to any terrorist networks.

    Curtis says the U.S. can still achieve its goals in Afghanistan as long as it does not rush troop withdrawals:

    President Obama’s continued focus on troop withdrawals gives the impression that the U.S. is rushing for the exits, which is creating fear and uncertainty among the Afghans and causing President Karzai to become a less reliable partner. The scope and pace of withdrawals over the next two years should be determined by U.S. military commanders on the ground, not by U.S. electoral politics.

    We cannot forget that the Afghanistan mission is to prevent the country from becoming the terrorist training ground it was before 9/11. While troops are focused on establishing security for average Afghans and fostering a democratic society there, the outcome directly affects the U.S. homeland.

    *An earlier version incorrectly linked the colors to uniforms.

    Quick Hits:

    • The Labor Department spent nearly $500,000 in “stimulus” cash to advertise the Obama Administration’s “green jobs” efforts, reports The Washington Times.
    • A new State Department advisory board report reveals more of the Obama Administration’s moves toward eliminating the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
    • Corn and soybean prices hit record highs due to the drought across America’s farmland.
    • Greece has become ground zero for illegal immigrants making their way into the European Union.
    • A federal appeals court panel struck down a controversial EPA rule yesterday. Heritage’s Diane Katz has the details.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    46 Responses to Morning Bell: Afghan Forces Turning Against Their U.S. Trainers

    1. glynnda says:

      The only question regarding viability is the viability of our "commander in chief". He not only portrays weakness, which terrorist organizations seize upon immediately, but he IS weak and indecisive. He was not ready for the office when he took and he remains inept at dealing with the Middle East. His meddling in the mess in Syria has turned a relatively stable area into a total disaster. Look at what has happened to Egypt……We need to GET RID OF HIM……I can't wait until November 6th.

    2. Pjohnson says:

      One word: LEAVE

    3. Is Obama going to take credit for this fiasco?

    4. Susan Haines says:

      Thank you, Mr. President. You have endangered our troops time and time again. I can't wait for November.

    5. Henry says:

      The "blue" in the Green on Blue attacks does not reference the uniform color, but the fact that they are friendly forces. Blue is the color which denotes US or friendly forces in military symbology on maps, etc.

      • auhunter says:

        The blue uniform puts a target on every man's back. They should be wearing the standard US combat uniform with a velcroed UN patch on the shoulder. The blue can be spotted from a mile away. How an you conduct clandestine operations when you stick out like a neon sign? I agree with Curtis's remarks it should be the men on the ground making the decisions both as far as combat is concerned and when we should pull out.

    6. Mary......WI says:

      I think unless we go in with "blazing guns" and wipe out the Taliban the USA is wasting lives, time and money. Time to replace Kharzi and time to let our troops do the job CORRECTLY so they can come home.
      To have so many brave soldiers picked off one by one by ruthless Taliban tribe members posing as "good guys" trained by US or NATO soldier I think demands retaliation. Just get the job done correctly….this is just another VietNam. Get in and get out. If Kharzi doesn't like it then let him fight his own battle…..that is if he really, truly cares about his country.

    7. CRNeely says:

      If you read the book "Outlaw Platoon" by Sean Parnell, it becomes clear that this strategy is doomed to failure. The cultures are much too diverse and the Afghan trainees know that the Taliban or other Afghanis know who they are and wil punish them or their families for having consorted with the enemy. It is time to be realistic about what can be achieved by training the enemy.

      • Tom Clark says:

        You are correct, it won't work. There is no bond between Islam and Western style democracy (any democracy). Democracy in essence is outlawed as a man made governmental system at odds with Allah, the Koran and the Sharia. We are after all, the Great Satin, not just to Afghans but all Muslims who adhere to the dictates of Mohammad and the Koran. They are taught in the Mosques and Madrassas to hate us. All this is not surprise.

    8. John MacDiarmid says:

      I agree with most every thing that the Heritage group writes but I must say that I disagree with your analysis that American forces should not pull out sooner than later in Afghanistan. I have two sons that are on active duty serving in comat arms not support MOS jobs. These guys are trigger pullers not POGs. They and all their brothers in arms that have served with them in Iraq and Afghanistan are now of the opinion that it is a lost cause. The administration nor the generals in charge can define victory. I am told that our fighters cannot and do not trust any body over there except those in their own unit. We should declare a glorious victory and bring our boys home. The Afhgan people do not want us. They did not ask us to come. They want us dead. What is it you people do not understand. We have different cultures and the twain shall never meet. That whole country is not worth one American young man's life.

      • Smitty says:

        ….and neither did the Vietnamese want us in Viet Nam, other than to die for them. We never seem to learn from history….and Viet Nam was quite recent. What is wrong with our politicians? We all know the answer to that one. They all need to be slapped 'long side the head for instituting undeclared "wars" and shoving our soldiers into un-winnable conflicts where we go in headlong and out feet-first.

    9. jammin2011 says:


    10. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Didn't Obama tell us that Afghanistan was the "good war" and that Bush's war in Iraq was not? Bush's war was to remove a brutal tyrant that had chemical weapons (now turing up in Syria). The only tyrant we are fighting in Afghanistan is Afghanistan itself. Does it really make a difference if it the Taliban or al-Qaeda, it still boils down to dead Americans that solves absolutely nothing. Once we are out, the entire Middle East will revert back to what it has always been for a thousand years.

    11. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "We cannot forget that the Afghanistan mission is to prevent the country from becoming the terrorist training ground it was before 9/11."

      And we must not forget that before we entered Afghanistan Russia had tried for ten years to conquer Afghanistan in order to acquire the rich mineral and gem deposits that abound in that country. Mighty Russia left the country with it's proverbial "tail between it's legs." The U.S. has no business losing American troops while trifling in the affairs of a Muslim nation.

    12. John MacDiarmid says:

      I posted a comment. Why will you not post it?

    13. IMCOUNTRY says:

      I understand there are thousands of US civilians in Afganistan as well. What gives? Is this just to raise labor statistics before elections? With the increased attacks how is the death of civilians going to be explained?
      Hussein & Bin Laden are gone. What are we accomplishing now? Our supposed Ally Pakistan harbored Bin Ladin. Let them keep their oil and their poppies. Send our troops home!

    14. Peace And Conflict Resolution says:

      How was it that Greg Mortenson, (Three Cups Of Tea) entered Afghanistan peacefully? Mortenson was not fighting a war and he earned the blessing of the supreme religious leader of the district, from Sayed Abbas Resvi: “Protect and embrace these two American brothers in our midst. Let no harm come to them. Share all you have to make their mission successful. ”

      The only weapon Mortenson carried into the country was his courage and determination to give. At that point of Mortenson’s strange journey, the only empire in his mind he was determined to build was a school.

      What many of us learned from “this longest war” was to open our eyes to the need for simple, uncomplicated, straight-up use of the Constitutional "Declaration of War;" in so doing, we leave no doubt of purpose, and reduce the likelihood that war will be declared.

      Some of us learned that there is no lie too big for government to engage in as its War Machine deceptively prepares its citizens to want to go to war through false flag operations so large in scope that rational minds are unable to believe there are widely disbursed, embedded, compartmentalized human elements within the "War Machine" on every level, who are running a dark agenda… an agenda spelled out in plain view in the stone pillars of “The Georgia Guide Stones.” This very agenda which has always been thrown back in our faces by the War Machine as “balderdash”, is nothing less than the dying legacies of hundred’s of years of the Rothchild’s lineage playing all humanity against each other with Illuminati profits going to the International Banksters no matter who “wins” the wars they finance.

      Here we are, we proud people. We have nearly lost our own country in our patriot zeal
      with the rise of NDAA, the rise of a Department (DHS) who’s very name harkens the Nazi regime renaming America, “Homeland”, offending everyone old enough to hold memories of WWII, and finally defaulting to the militarization of our local police forces, stripping us of Constitutional guarantees, augmented with vast internal spying networks, increasing censorship, a useless controlled main stream media, geo-engineered militarized Black-Ops of our atmosphere, a covey of Manchurian-candidate Aurora-like mind controlled shooters, all strung together by hapless Presidents of both parties, both of which act contrary to preserving our liberty and free will. 

      The real thing I think I learned is, if you serve the military: Ours IS to now question WHY, and no longer just to DO or DIE. There are real White Hats risking much, working to bring us through this tumultuous time, to break the backs of the perpetrators this dark agenda. If I’ve learned anything it is to pray these White Hats prevail.

    15. Gordon Jungwirth says:

      My grandson just returned from Afghanistan and was a trainer there. He stated that he was more afraid of the Afgans he was training than of the Taliban.

    16. sdfultz says:

      Another Obama bashing,
      Why because Bush took us into a 17th century nation of religious zealots and left us there, Literally!
      We cannot change their culture, we can attack them (Taliban or whoever) as needed, but the concept of trying to bring them into the bright new world is ludicrist. we are barely keeping our own children firmly rooted in the 21st century. Oh and don't forget we're broke!
      Afganistans destiny is not going to be decided by America, like any good neigbor we can offer assistance. We need to let them go, like grown children and let them know we are here, if you need us, please don't hesitate to call. I beg to offer that US Military leaders on the ground did determine our exit and when.

      • glynnda says:

        Uhhhh. tell that to the women who were under the control of the Al Quaeda Regime…….are you freaking kidding me????? Killed and/or gang raped in the street by men who see their sleeve fall back from their wrist???? Before A-Q took over in the mid 90's (thanks Mr Clinton for dealing with Bin Laden when you could have) these women were professionals, Doctors, teachers, etc. They were thrown back into the middle ages with the onset of these nuts!

        Really want to deal with Afghanistan…..quit sending them money and help…..they'll take care of the whole terrorist issue once that happens.

        • Bobbie says:

          gee, I wish I would've read yours before his. I don't always agree with his comments, this one was making sense but reading his without mentioning innocent lives kept them out of mind. Thanks to you, it won't happen again!

    17. will says:

      I'm a Vietnam vet who spent a year patrolling the rivers of the Mekong Delta. Daytime patrols were all about medevacs and other good-will efforts only to be shot at during nighttime patrols… often by some of the same folks we helped earlier in the day. So I guess what I'm saying is that we've seen this movie before, so perhaps it's time to stop fighting this kind of war. And maybe it's time to rethink this "Training Ground" meme. That is a perfect example of us fighting the last war. It is far more likely that any additional training /planning will occur somewhere other than a country that has no love for any outsiders. Hang a couple of surveillance satellites, keep some tough guys and some well-paid informers on the ground for confirmation, and let the drones/bombs/missiles fall if they must.

    18. JimmyFreedom says:

      That is an act of war by the standing army of a recognized government. If we had a President that wasn't a Muslim conspirator, we would wage war on the country of Afghanistan.

    19. toledofan says:

      Since Obama has been in office the mission in Afghanistan has been blurred; it's just not well defined. So, either we define exactly what we want to accomplish and develop a plan to support it, no matter what it takes, or leave.

    20. Chris says:

      These green on blue attacks started and continue to increase as the President’s strategy is playing out. Those mostly rural, illiterate men (as you refer to them) are not stupid and know one thing–that our President's decision is pretty much their own death warrants. Furthermore, all those illiterate troops who are working with us/ for us will have to bear the brunt of our failed mission in Afghanistan. What we are talking about a Presidential Failure here which has destabilized Afghanistan. It has made our troops targets. It was political expedient strategy which is causing the loss of our own troops and soon those same illiterate troop’s lives when the Taliban and others take over….

    21. timpclimber says:

      Afganistan was not, is not a nation. It is a group of tribes, ruled by their chiefs and mullas who believe that outsiders are not to be trusted because they will bring evil ideas that will pollute their way of life. It was a mistake to stay and try to build a nation with people who don't want to be a nation. Again we are sacrificing the best of our young blood on a people who don't want us. We would be better using our troops to protect and control our own borders to stop drugs and illegals.

    22. Smeethow says:

      With all the turmoil in the middle east and the rise of the moslem brotherhood the whole area is a terrorist training ground. If our soldiers aren't allowed to fight to win why stay.

    23. Oldman vet says:

      Our elected officials in Washington are no longer leaders, rather they only desire to remain there. Consequently, they are no longer willing to fight wars and have not done so since WWII. We have the most powerful military in the world, but the politicians play politics with them. If we are fighting a war we should solely fight to win. Go to war, use all our resources, forget about politics, win and then get out. Korea, Vietnam and now the middle east have not and can not be successful with the current approach to war.

    24. Erfs says:

      Hahaha, I love how we are hating on Obama for trying to STOP a war. Don't we want to stop spending billions on a worthless cause? If this was the other way around the other argument would still be made. Nothing this president does would ever be 'right' to some people. Stop, think, and don't use your emotions, but rather your mind. Grow up and start thinking rationally you imbeciles. Or this country is doomed.

      • Non Compos Mentis says:

        Name calling doesn't help your argument. It reflects poorly on your judgement. I suggest you repost with a reasonable argument minus the insults.

    25. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Again, American soldiers killed by the very ones they are "Training". Russia didn't suceed and neither will we if we continue with the way we are going. This country figts like we did in the Revolution, does anyone remember hisory lessons, the British in their bright red coats formed a line and the continental army just mowed them down, well now it's reverse. These men KNOW their caves, caverns etc, WE DON'T, unless we drop a series of bombs (even this doubtful) we will be there hundreds of years and not suceeding.

    26. Ben C. says:

      Great comments. After reading "Unveiling Islam" the futility of our presence is crystal clear. All I have to do is visit my local Sam's Club to witness the persisting culture of Islam – and this is in our country. It is not our mission to bring them into the twentieth century. Sooner or later those oppressed by the radical element will rise up. Sadlly it appears this will happen much later rather than sooner.

    27. reggiec says:

      It has always been my belief that trying to change over 1,260 years of indoctrination accomplished by Islam and a millinium more of tribal divisions in Afganistan would fail.

    28. Liliane Thomas says:

      Is it not weird that other networks don't say much about Marines being killed in Afghanistan?

    29. Donald DaCosta says:

      This article is disturbing on a few levels. First it evinces a level of ignorance on the part of the the Heritage Foundation concerning the nature of the enemy. Second it attributes the violence to the “tried and true” politically correct but demonstrably false notion that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are recruiting from “mostly rural, illiterate men who can become disgruntled by cultural differences with their American trainers.” Can become disgruntled by cultural differences? Would those differences have anything to do with their religious beliefs? I suspect, emphatically, yes.

      Few, and perhaps, hopefully, a growing number of people in the west, recognize and are willing to openly state that what America and the world are facing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere around the world, is the growing threat of Islam and its intent to become, not the predominant religion but the only religion, globally. Many otherwise impartial commentators are unwilling to risk being labeled religious bigots or Islamophobes, the hysterical, hypocritical accusations that inevitably and consistently spew from the mouths of the predominant Muslim contingents, most notably CAIR, and their useful idiots in the press, Hollywood, academia and, most significantly and troublesome, from many of our elected officials in Washington and the higher echelon in our military.

      The “religion of peace” is anything but. The evidence is there for anyone willing to remove the blinders, surreptitiously, patiently and cleverly attached through years of indoctrination that allows the adherents of the so called “religion of peace” to perpetuate, permit and encourage violent Jihad where they can get away with it and quiet but determined infiltration where the violence option is not yet ready for prime time.

      Its mind boggling to see and hear the political leadership around the world accuse Israel for its “inability and intransigence” with regard to accepting a peaceful solution to the Palestinian question as if it has been the former who've unilaterally committed the violence and aggression in the region for the past 60 + years. Equally so here in America where obvious Islamic inspired violence like the Fort Hood massacre, despite the killers shouting Allahu Akbar while in the process of committing murder, is officially labeled workplace violence while those thankfully rare instances of non Islamic inspired violence is labeled “terrorism.” Refusal to accept what is right before our eyes and ears threatens defeat by a violent ideology intent on installing and replacing all man made law with Islamic law, Sharia.

      As a recognized and well respected “think tank” of conservative intellectuals the Heritage, getting up to speed with regard to the true nature of Islam and the threat it represents, would be most welcome. I would suggest they start with a meeting with freshman Congressman Alan West, listen respectfully and carefully to what he has to say, review the mountain of supporting evidence and proceed from there as their conscience dictates.

    30. Young man, old vet says:

      I am a member of an Army unit preparing to deploy to Afghanistan within the next 60 days. I can vouch for the fact that the threat of being murdered by our "counterparts" is first and foremost among our topics of shop-talk. It's a master stroke by the Taliban if even a portion of these attacks are legitimately planned operations. It's only a matter of time before a coaltion-force member acts preemptively to a perceived threat, real or not, and creates a new PR nightmare for ISAF.

    31. Beckyac says:

      I agree with CRNeely-if doesn't work don't keep making the same mistake, there are other ways to protect our country, stricter immigration laws and enforcement, sanctions etc. we are not responsible for the whole world but we can be a shining example.

    32. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The solution to this problem is simple: On Day 1, Romney should cancel the pullout.

    33. Carl says:

      I think we either leave or stay there till who knows when? It's hard to give democracy to tribal people that can't read and have no consept of a country.

    34. Larry says:

      We have not leaned from our experience in Vietnam that is now occurring in this country. During my time in Vietnam I did not trust my counterpart. These people and their government at out to get anything from us including money and our troops lives. After we and the other NATO troops leave, the country will fall back into the pre 9/11 time

    35. Rand says:

      Heritage writer LISA CURTIS has mastered the art of understatement…"The peace with the Taliban is Still Fragile in Afganistan. What a revelation!! Please spare us the obvious and say something like… The Afgan War is a meat grinder that wrecks morale and mocks our alleged "purposes" for being there. Again, we can thank Imam Obama and the Perfumed Princes at the pentagon for prolonging this pointless exercise.

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