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Turncoat Attacks in Afghanistan Reveal Growing Taliban Threat


The recent spike in so-called “green on blue” attacks could be indicative of a broader Taliban effort to undermine the trust between NATO and the fledgling Afghan security forces.

The surge in attacks by Afghan troops turning their weapons on allied forces -- including two today alone -- is tragic for our armed services and deeply troubling to their overall mission in theater.

There have been seven of these murderous turncoat "insider" attacks in the past two weeks alone, and thirty-four Coalition members have died from similar incidents in 2012.

While Afghans wearing army or police uniforms have turned on and killed US and Coalition forces in the past, the recent spike in these so-called "green on blue" attacks could be indicative of a broader Taliban effort to undermine the trust between NATO and the fledgling Afghan security forces.

It is not clear how many of these insider attacks were premeditated Taliban penetrations of the Afghan security forces versus interpersonal feuds that turned lethal. The U.S. Department of Defense maintains that a majority of these incidents are fueled by individual grievances. In a tribal society, where insults to honor can quickly turn to blood feuds, there seems little doubt that some Afghans have turned to violence because of slights -- real or imagined.

But there have also been penetrations, and Mullah Omar, the Taliban's leader, claims that these recent green-on-blue attacks are the result of a concerted effort to create a divide between NATO and Afghan forces. If this continues, it could sow doubts about the success of the overall effort to train Afghan forces.

The stakes are clear as the entire NATO strategy in Afghanistan is premised upon transitioning primary security control to forces that have been constituted since the downfall of the Taliban.  While US Generals are quick to point out that there are 340,000 Afghan security forces and therefore these attacks are a rarity, that does not address a growing perception that Afghan security forces are not up to the task and instability awaits as the U.S. draws down in 2014.

The Taliban recognizes this uncertainty, and intends to capitalize on it. As the U.S. and NATO presence becomes smaller and the Afghans take charge of their own security, local allegiances will likely be reconsidered and shifted. The Taliban does not have to infiltrate the entire Afghan national security apparatus to create fear and doubt in the average villager.

The strategic intent of these attacks is not that the Taliban will force the U.S. to leave early. The U.S. and NATO are already transitioning out. But our enemies will try to affect perception on the ground as we leave and force those Afghans with little faith in their new security forces to make a choice: join the Taliban, or die.

Editor's note: Buck Sexton will delve deeper into these issues tonight at 6PM ET on The Blaze TV/GBTV, when he will be joined by Capt. Pete Hegseth, who trained Iraqi and Afghan security forces during his time in the US Army.

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