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Afghan commander kills 3 U.S. troops in dinner ambush

U.S. marine trains Afghan police recruits in Delaram, Afghanistan.
U.S. marine trains Afghan police recruits in Delaram, Afghanistan.

An Afghan police commander killed three American soldiers on Thursday in the southern province of Helmand after luring them to dinner, ABC News reports. All three men were members of U.S. Special Forces assigned to oversee the recruitment and training of Afghan Local Police units. Sangin district chief Mohammad Sharif relayed the story:

Last night, a police checkpost commander invited three foreign special forces soldiers to a dinner party at the checkpost. He later killed them and ran away.”

NATO officials say they are still investigating the incident and are unsure if it was a rogue shooting or the result of insurgent infiltration. Meanwhile the Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident and allege that the ALP officer fled the scene and joined their group.

This will be the 24th “green-on-blue” incident over the past 12 months, according to ISAF figures, and brings to eight the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan this week.

One U.S. troop was killed on Tuesday by two Afghan National Army soldiers in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan. And on Wednesday a suicide bomber in Kunar province killed three American troops and one civilian aid worker.

As part of its report on the suicide blast CBS News interestingly adds: “There has been no indication that the bomber or bombers in this attack were wearing Afghan uniforms.”

Green-on-blue attacks have become so commonplace that "guardian angels" are now routinely used whenever coalition forces engage in a live fire exercise with their Afghan counterparts. The "guardian angel" is an armed coalition soldier that stands back from the exercise to keep an eye on Afghan troops.

Despite Taliban claims of infiltration a recent U.S. Defense Department report maintains that most attacks are not carried out by insurgents:

Investigations have determined that a large majority of green-on-blue attacks are not attributable to insurgent infiltration of the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces), but are due to isolated personal grievances against coalition personnel.”

Regardless the reason the trend is troubling considering the U.S. is in the midst of transitioning security to Afghan forces as part of a gradual drawdown that will see all NATO combat units exiting the country by 2014.

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