Lethal Events in Afghanistan Become Even More Difficult to Decipher
Events on Wednesday, Thursday and early Friday in Afghanistan stand as a stark reminder that killings now take place for such a variety of reasons and by such a variety of groups that assigning blame and motivation becomes extremely difficult.
The dead include two British troops and one Afghan soldier on Wednesday, two American servicemembers in one Thursday event and three Afghan policemen in another, and a large number of Afghan police, soldiers and civilians early on Friday. It would appear that the killing of the US soldiers is the event best understood at this point. From AP in the Washington Post:
A man in an Afghan police uniform shot and killed two American service members Thursday, in what appeared to be the latest in a rash of attacks on international forces this year by their Afghan partners.
In Thursday’s shooting, authorities had yet to determine if the attacker was an Afghan police officer or an insurgent who had donned a uniform to get close to the Americans, said Maj. Lori Hodge, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The assailant escaped after killing the service members while they were out on a late morning patrol in the southern Uruzgan province, she added.
This same article goes on to partially describe the deaths of the two British troops:
It was the second suspected insider attack in two days. On Wednesday, two British service members and an Afghan police officer were killed in an “exchange of gunfire” in Helmand province, the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement. The Afghan officer was not wearing his uniform and the statement said it was not clear who started shooting first.
There appears to be considerable disagreement at this point on just what took place in this encounter. Afghanistan’s Khaama Press has two articles released a little over three hours apart that provide very different explanations. From the first article:
The pair are thought to have been killed by insurgents, though the BBC said an Afghan source claimed the deaths were from a “green on blue” attack – where coalition troops are killed by their Afghan allies.
The later article provides a very different description:
According to local authorities in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, British troops based in southern Helmand province killed two of their comrades in a friendly fire in this province.
Provincial security chief spokesman Farid Ahmad Farhang confirming the report said the incident took place in Greshk district while British troops were patrolling in the area.
Mr. Farhang further added, “A group of British troops opened fire on an Afghan national police and killed him.”
He said, “British troops were then attacked by a group of other British soldiers who were also patrolling in the area, killing two service members.”
The first description describes the British deaths as from insurgents or as green on blue. The second description first says there was a blue on green killing followed by blue on blue friendly fire. BBC is still agnostic on this event, choosing to quote ISAF: Read more →