Insider attack claims lives in Afghanistan

Insider attack claims lives in Afghanistan

Insider attack claims lives in Afghanistan

An Afghan villager talks to Afghan soldiers about an attack in this photo. AFP photo

A NATO soldier and a civilian contractor have been killed in a suspected insider attack in eastern Afghanistan, the latest in a series described by a top U.S. general as “the signature attack” of the Afghan war.

The assault on Sept. 29 night also resulted in at least two Afghan army casualties, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said yesterday, without providing further details.

The deaths followed “a verbal dispute” during a joint operation in Sayedabad district of Wardak province west of Kabul, the provincial governor’s spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told Agence France-Presse.

The scale of the so-called green-on-blue assaults is unprecedented in modern warfare, and has seriously undermined trust between NATO coalition forces and their Afghan allies in the joint effort against Taliban insurgents.

“I’m mad as hell about them, to be honest with you,” top NATO commander General John Allen told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program recorded before the latest incident. “We’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign, but we’re not willing to be murdered for it,” the commander said, according to excerpts of the interview released by the network.

Allen said that just as homemade bombs had become the signature weapon of the Iraq war, he believed that in Afghanistan, “the signature attack that we’re beginning to see is going to be the insider attack”. The latest death takes the total number of ISAF troops killed in 36 insider attacks this year to 52, accounting for about 15 percent of all coalition casualties in the war.

NATO attributes about 25 percent of the attacks to infiltration by Taliban insurgents into Afghan security forces while the rest are believed to result from cultural differences and personal animosities between the allies.