Fearing our friends in Afghanistan

Armed ConflictsUnrest, Conflicts and WarAfghanistanHamid KarzaiAl-QaedaWar in Afghanistan (2001-present)

With the war in Afghanistan going badly, Western forces have been ordered to adopt new safeguards to keep themselves from being killed. That's no surprise. The surprise is where the danger comes from: not the Taliban or al-Qaida, but our own allies.

So far this year, 17 Western troops have been killed by official members of the Afghan security forces. On Monday, two British soldiers died at the hands of an Afghan officer after they refused to admit him to their base. Last month, two Americans were killed inside the Interior Ministry, which is supposed to be one of the most secure sites in the country. President Hamid Karzai has refused to prosecute a powerful former governor they blame for the attacks.

So now, soldiers have been ordered to face their desks to the door to avoid being ambushed from behind. They will carry weapons into Afghan buildings where arms were previously banned. And, reports The Los Angeles Times, "anytime a group of Western soldiers is gathered on a joint base to exercise, train or even sleep, one member of the unit is required to be armed and on alert fro possible fratricide attacks." 

It's hard enough to win a war against a clear enemy. It's even harder in a counterinsurgency war alongside firm allies. But trying to kill the enemy while worrying about being killed by your friends is a task that borders on the impossible.

Yet 11 years into this war, that's what we are asking of our troops -- to risk their lives on behalf of people who may murder them. What do you call a situation like this? A failure.

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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