By Larry Shaughnessy
A new report details the military's approach for countering so-called insider attacks in Afghanistan, which remain a concern but have declined over the past month.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a periodic update to Congress that the U.S. military and its partners in the region have taken four steps to address the problem that triggered concerns about the stability of Afghan security forces ahead of planned NATO withdrawals in 2014.
The plan involves enhanced training that emphasizes cultural awareness, counterintelligence techniques, vigilance, and real-time information sharing as well as implementing a "guardian angel" program, in which one or more coalition troops remain armed and ready when working with Afghan counterparts.
The plan also expands vetting and counter-intelligence operations and efforts to analyze attack patterns.
The Afghan defense ministry also took steps to help reduce the problem by going back and rechecking each service member's background to make sure there was no indications they might one day turn their guns on their brothers in arms.
This year through the end of September, 38 insider attacks killed 53 troops in Afghanistan, including 33 Americans, according to Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. William Speaks. The number spiked in August to 15 fatalities, which included a dozen U.S. forces.
There have been no confirmed attacks since September 29, Speaks said, but some incidents are under investigation.
And earlier this week, a man wearing an Afghan police uniform shot and killed two British soldiers in an apparent "green on blue" attack.