Getting Through

After initial hesitation, the Afghan leadership appears now to recognize the severity of the problem with Afghan soldiers assaulting coalition troops in so-called green-on-blue attacks, said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. “In the past, it’s been us pushing on them to make sure they do more,” he said after Aug. 20 meetings in Afghanistan with senior Afghan civilian and military leaders, including defense chief Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi. “This time, without prompting, when I met General Karimi, he started with a conversation about insider attacks—and, importantly, insider attacks not just against us, but insider attacks against the Afghans, too,” added Dempsey, who arrived in country on Aug. 19. Afghan soldiers and police have attacked coalition troops 32 times so far this year, resulting in 40 coalition deaths and 69 wounded, according to Pentagon officials. That’s a significant spike compared to the 16 attacks that resulted in 28 deaths over the same period in 2011, they said. Dempsey said the key to dealing with the Afghans on this issue “might not be to pull back and isolate ourselves, but [to] reach out and embrace them even more.” (AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (See also AFPS report on President Obama’s comments.)