Parsing the Data

One of the challenges of combating “green-on-blue” attacks in Afghanistan is sifting through the data to determine the motivations behind these incidents, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, International Security Assistance Force commander, told reporters on Aug. 23. “We don’t have enough data from those who have participated in the attacks to be able to make any kind of a definitive conclusion,” he said during a videoconference from his Kabul headquarters. About 25 percent of the attacks appear linked to Taliban activity, such as insurgents infiltrating Afghan security force units, but this figure is hard to pin down, said Allen. In other cases, Taliban elements have apparently coerced Afghan troops to fire on the coalition by threatening to harm the troops’ families, he said. Other times, violence seems to have resulted from personal disagreements and animosity between an individual Afghan soldier and coalition members, or from an Afghan’s particular grievance, said Allen. “This still requires a lot of analysis,” he said. So far this year, 40 coalition troops have lost their lives and another 69 were wounded in these attacks, according to the Pentagon. (Allen transcript)