Insider attacks leave nine Afghans dead

The toll of insider attacks At least nine Afghans were killed in two insider attacks by Afghan security forces on their fellow officers last week, one of which had the direct support of militants (NYT, AP). In the first, an Afghan police officer and a cook poisoned two officers before insurgents opened fire, killing the ...

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images

The toll of insider attacks

At least nine Afghans were killed in two insider attacks by Afghan security forces on their fellow officers last week, one of which had the direct support of militants (NYT, AP). In the first, an Afghan police officer and a cook poisoned two officers before insurgents opened fire, killing the other four officers at a police post in Helmand Province on Thursday. In the second, three police officers died when another officer opened fire at a mosque in Khost Province on Friday. Afghan and U.S. soldiers tell two different versions of a complicated insider attack that took place last month and left two Americans and three Afghans dead, in one of the recent examples of such attacks, which have dealt a heavy blow to the trust between Afghan and coalition forces (NYT).

And although the Afghan security force numbers are growing even faster than NATO had expected, they remain incapable of securing the country on their own (Post). None of the Afghan army battalions are currently able to carry out operations on their own, while the police force is widely reported to be riddled with corruption, and insider attacks against NATO as well as within the Afghan forces create an atmosphere of distrust. The AP's Kathy Gannon published a must-read on Friday detailing Afghanistan's efforts to improve its police school and strengthen its poorly performing police forces (AP).

The toll of insider attacks

At least nine Afghans were killed in two insider attacks by Afghan security forces on their fellow officers last week, one of which had the direct support of militants (NYT, AP). In the first, an Afghan police officer and a cook poisoned two officers before insurgents opened fire, killing the other four officers at a police post in Helmand Province on Thursday. In the second, three police officers died when another officer opened fire at a mosque in Khost Province on Friday. Afghan and U.S. soldiers tell two different versions of a complicated insider attack that took place last month and left two Americans and three Afghans dead, in one of the recent examples of such attacks, which have dealt a heavy blow to the trust between Afghan and coalition forces (NYT).

And although the Afghan security force numbers are growing even faster than NATO had expected, they remain incapable of securing the country on their own (Post). None of the Afghan army battalions are currently able to carry out operations on their own, while the police force is widely reported to be riddled with corruption, and insider attacks against NATO as well as within the Afghan forces create an atmosphere of distrust. The AP’s Kathy Gannon published a must-read on Friday detailing Afghanistan’s efforts to improve its police school and strengthen its poorly performing police forces (AP).

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid on Sunday rejected as "Western propaganda" a United Nations report that says roadside bombs planted by the insurgent group cause the majority of civilian deaths in the conflict (AP). And French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Saturday that the withdrawal of French combat troops from Afghanistan will happen "a bit more quickly than anticipated," and could be complete before the planned deadline at the end of this year (AFP). U.S. Judge John Bates rejected new hearings Friday for two Yemenis and a Tunisian who have been held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan for almost a decade without trial (NYT). Judge Bates said sufficient new information has not emerged since a previous appeals court ruling against them in 2010.

Afghanistan has featured very little in the fevered U.S. presidential campaigns, highlighting both candidates’ hesitancy to bring up an increasingly unpopular war that they know will be a massive challenge to whoever enters the White House next January (NYT). Although the longest war in American history has lasted for over a decade now, some basic questions still plague the U.S. government regarding negotiations with the Taliban, the rocky relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and what to do about insider attacks.

Better late than never?

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday recommended that legal action be taken against former chief of the Army Aslam Baig and former head of intelligence Asad Durrani for allegedly providing funding to politicians from several different parties to contest the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the lead-up to the 1990 election (AP, Reuters, CNN, The News). Durrani has previously admitted to bribing politicians he thought would be more sympathetic to the military with over $1.5 million, in a case that dates back to a complaint filed against the Army by a retired air marshal in 1996.

During meetings with the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan this weekend, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reportedly demanded that Afghanistan hand over the Taliban commander Mullah Fazlullah, who is believed to have ordered the attack on 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai two weeks ago (ET, Dawn, BBC). Indian Home Minister Shushil Kumar Shinde claimed Sunday that India has "information that Pakistan is helping terrorists" to enter India (ET).

The official Pakistani investigation into the presence of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, based on extensive interviews with the wives, other residents, and neighbors of his compound, has found that no one else in the town knew he was there (Tel). According to one of the report’s sources, a young girl visiting the compound to receive Qur’an lessons from one of bin Laden’s wives accidentally caught a glimpse of the al-Qaeda leader on the stairs, prompting bin Laden to seclude himself in his private area and refuse to even go into the compound’s courtyard for fear of being discovered.

Bizarre records

Pakistan secured a number of odd Guinness World Records this weekend, including the fastest chapatti-making, chessboard-arranging, and household plug wiring (AFP). Beating India at the record for most people singing a national anthem together likely took the sting out of one Pakistani contender’s failure to set the record for most t-shirts put on in three minutes – he was disqualified for not smoothing the 59 shirts down enough.

— Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.

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