Taliban turning informants of Western forces into 'green-on-blue' attackers
Seven American soldiers on Saturday were wounded in an insider attack at a base in the north of the country, according to officials in Afghanistan.
The Taliban says it was responsible, although that claim has been disputed.
The attack came as the country's defense minister welcomed a decision by the US to deploy four thousand more troops to Afghanistan.
RT: What could have been the reason for this attack? Do you think the Taliban were likely to have been behind it, as they've claimed?
Hekmatullah Azamy: Let’s look at the Taliban spring offensive strategy for 2017. Inside these attacks - be it ‘green-on-blue,’ which is Afghan soldiers killing NATO forces, or ‘green-on-green,’ which is the Afghan forces killing Afghan forces - it is the key element within their new strategy for a spring offensive. But so far there is no claim of responsibility, or no word from Taliban claiming that this guy this perpetrator belong to the Taliban, or had links to the Taliban… in this case they are silent. They only praise that he was a true Muslim and praise the attacker.
To tell you the background, on how this attack happened, or why they were happening in 2012-2013, when the record of the insider attacker was at its peak. There were several motivations for Afghan forces. One was infiltration, where Afghans were sent to carry out this attack. The second was co-option, where serving military or police were recruited by the Taliban for whatever motivations – sometimes because their family was living under a Taliban area, or they were provided some incentives.
I believe today’s attack could be [related to] personal grievances. When I was studying similar cases in 2012-2013, there were several attackers who got frustrated with the behavior of the then ISIS forces, now NATO resolute support mission members. In one instance, I remember clearly where the attacker was triggered to carry out the attack after seeing the American forces eating burgers, while Afghan forces were fasting in the summer, in very hot weather in the South. So I believe this attack is due to personal grievances against the NATO forces.
RT: Is there anything specific about that location, because it has been a target before?
HA: The nature of this attack is very different. Yes, like I said Taliban are trying the most to turn their messengers. They always had their infiltrators that would only pass information from the Afghan army or the police to the Taliban. But in 2017, the Taliban strategy is to turn those messengers to actual attackers. Yet, there is no sign of this attacker having links with the Taliban.
There might be another reason, as well… In the past even, when there was one attack, one insider attack, it would encourage other Afghan national security forces, as well, to do the same. Because for money they would become heroes. Particularly in Ramadan, the Afghan national security forces believe that the doors to Heaven would be opened. We interviewed in the past those perpetrators that were captured, and they would believe that in Ramadan the doors are open, so they need to 'take the shout' to go to heaven.
Muslim Shirzad, Chancellor of Kabul's Jahan E Noor University
RT: What does this attack say about the current state of the US - Afghanistan relations?
Muslim Shirzad: It is a big challenge in front of foreign forces and Afghan government inside of the country, when we are talking about the so-called ‘green-on-blue’ attacks. We had an experience of that in last years. It was big challenge in front of the foreign troops existence in Afghanistan, also Afghan security forces. We have the experience of that in the last month also in the east of Afghanistan, and now in the north of Afghanistan. Indeed at the time that the US is going to declare how many of US troops will come to Afghanistan once again to fight against terrorism, and mission, which turning at advice of Afghan security forces, I think ‘green-on-blue’ [attacks] is a big challenge that Afghan and foreign forces will face.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.