General: Quarter of Afghan insider attacks by Taliban
August 23rd, 2012
05:32 PM ET

General: Quarter of Afghan insider attacks by Taliban

By Mike Mount

About 25% of attacks by Afghan security forces against U.S. and other allied troops in Afghanistan come from Taliban infiltrators, a much higher number than the 10% the Pentagon had estimated, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan said Thursday.

U.S. Gen, John Allen, the chief commander of the International Security and Assistance Force, spoke to reporters Thursday at the Pentagon by video teleconference. He said that by his estimation, a quarter of the "green-on-blue," or "insider" attacks were insurgency-based. But he could not dismiss a Pentagon review that had said only about 10% were by Taliban forces that had sneaked into Afghan military and police ranks.

"This still requires a lot of analysis," he said. "So if it's just pure Taliban infiltration, that is one number. If you add to that impersonation the potential that someone is pulling the trigger because the Taliban have coerced the family members, that's a different number," he said.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • Taliban
Obama to 'reach out' to Karzai over insider attacks
August 20th, 2012
02:59 PM ET

Obama to 'reach out' to Karzai over insider attacks

President Obama is "deeply concerned" about the growing number of deadly attacks on U.S. forces by Afghan security forces, and plans to contact the Afghan president to discuss taking tougher actions, he said Monday.

"I'll be reaching out to President (Hamid) Karzai," Obama told reporters at the White House, adding, "We've got to make sure that we're on top of this."

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Filed under: Afghan Security Force • Afghanistan
August 20th, 2012
06:13 AM ET

Another NATO troop killed by Afghan police officer

By the CNN Wire Staff

Another attacker in an Afghan police uniform killed a member of the NATO forces Sunday in Afghanistan, the latest in a slew of so-called "green-on-blue" attacks.

The incident took place in southern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Karzai • NATO • Panetta
August 17th, 2012
12:43 PM ET

First on CNN: All troops now armed at NATO HQ in Kabul

By Barbara Starr Masoud Popalzai and Chelsea Carter

The uptick in attacks by Afghan security forces against coalition troops has hit home, with all troops at NATO headquarters and all bases across Afghanistan now ordered to carry loaded weapons around the clock, CNN learned Friday.

Gen. John Allen, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, ordered the move, according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the orders. The order, made in recent days, was divulged amid two more so-called green-on-blue or insider attacks Friday.

An Afghan police officer opened fire on U.S. troops in Farah province in southwestern Afghanistan, killing two service members, the NATO-led command said. Two International Security Assistance Force troops and an Afghan service member was wounded by another Afghan service member in Kandahar province, in the south.

The order comes as coalition forces adopt and study measures aimed at thwarting such attacks.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF
Pentagon changing lingo for growing threat in Afghanistan
The transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley is moved by a U.S. Marine carry team during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base. Buckley was killed by an Afghan policeman on August 10, 2012 in one of a growing number of insider attacks. (Getty Photo)
August 14th, 2012
06:52 PM ET

Pentagon changing lingo for growing threat in Afghanistan

By Larry Shaughnessy

The war in Afghanistan is evolving with a growing number of attacks by Afghan security force personnel on American troops, incidents that have been called "green-on-blue" attacks. It's a term that the Pentagon wants to go away.

So far this year the number of such attacks is nearly double the number for the same period last year. And this year 37 Americans have died, compared with 28 in 2011.

"Make no mistake about it, I've been very concerned about these incidents ... because of the lives lost and because of the potential damage to our partnership efforts," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a Pentagon news conference Tuesday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the name "green-on-blue" is a misnomer.
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August 6th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Analysis: Women and children constitute the new faces of terror

Editor’s note: Mia Bloom is an associate professor of international studies at Penn State University and author of "Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists (2011)" and "Dying to Kill: the Allure of Suicide Terror (2005)."

By Mia Bloom, Special to CNN

Before his death during an American raid in 2011, Osama bin Laden's public statements often called on the young people of Muslim countries to rise up against their rulers.

In the documents released in May that were taken from his Abbottabad compound, bin Laden admits that "most of the work in Afghanistan [has] turned to the goal of luring and preparing the youth."

Terrorists do not fit a particular profile. No longer can we expect them to look a certain way, be of a certain age or indeed even that they be men.

For example, at least a dozen women in the Sunni triangle of Iraq targeted American military personnel and Iraqi civilians in "martyrdom operations" - especially from 2006 to 2008. In May 2008, a woman feigning pregnancy killed 36 people during a wedding reception in Balad.

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Filed under: Terrorism
July 26th, 2012
02:09 AM ET

McRaven on bin Laden raid: One of history's "great intelligence operations"

To watch more of Wolf Blitzer’s interview with Admiral William McRaven, tune to “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on CNN Thursday 4-7pm ET and Saturday 6-7pm ET. 

By Jamie Crawford

While it was one of 11 missions carried out by U.S. special forces that night, the head of U.S. Special Operations command said the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will go down as one of the "great intelligence operations in history."

Admiral William McRaven spoke Wednesday before an audience at the Aspen Institute Security Conference on a panel discussion moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The talk was his first interview about the raid with a journalist.

McRaven also touched on some of the other pressing issues facing the U.S. military in the discussion that ranged from serious to light-hearted.

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Analysis: The Afghan balance sheet – a transition to ‘good enough’
U.S. soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai following the shooting of Afghan civilians this month.
March 30th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Analysis: The Afghan balance sheet – a transition to ‘good enough’

By Tim Lister, CNN

The balance sheet for the first quarter of 2012 in Afghanistan does not make for cheerful reading. In fact, it is steeped in red.

In the debit column: a spike in attacks on NATO troops by Afghan soldiers, the Kandahar massacre allegedly carried out by a U.S. soldier and deadly protests prompted by the burning of Qurans.

Add to that slow progress in subduing the Taliban (especially in east Afghanistan), the glacial revival of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan and the growing impatience of NATO members, from Ottawa to Paris, to head for the exit and the outlook doesn’t seem bright.

On the credit side, some of the goals laid out by President Barack Obama in his 2009 speech at West Point, when he announced an increase of 30,000 in U.S. troop numbers, are within sight. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Karzai • Military • Petraeus • Taliban
Discontent among U.S.troops in Afghanistan?
March 27th, 2012
06:41 PM ET

Discontent among U.S.troops in Afghanistan?

By Barbara Starr

When a recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 69% of Americans thought the U.S. military should no longer be fighting in Afghanistan, the reaction from Pentagon leadership was rather predictable. However, there may be a strong undercurrent of disenchantment among the ranks.

Those in a public role were determined to see the glass half full.

"We cannot fight wars by polls," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday. "If we do that we’re in deep trouble. We have to operate based on what we believe is the best strategy to achieve the mission that we are embarked on. And the mission here is to safeguard our country by ensuring that the Taliban and al Qaeda never again find a safe haven in Afghanistan. "

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'Eye in the Sky': the case file on NGA Director Letitia Long
March 9th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

'Eye in the Sky': the case file on NGA Director Letitia Long

By Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

Editor's note: In the Security Clearance "Case File" series, CNN national security producers profile the key members of the intelligence community.   As part of the series, Security Clearance is focusing on the roles women play in the U.S. intelligence community


On May 1, 2011, Letitia 'Tish' Long was at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, watching the greatest intelligence-special operations mission of the past decade, unfold.

"We were anxious. It was tense. There were periods of time when we didn't know exactly what was happening," Long told CNN.

Long and others could do little but wait to see whether months of intelligence preparation would pay off as Navy SEALs raided the compound in Pakistan where they believed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was hiding out.

She was one of only a few women in the room that day, and the only woman who headed a major intelligence agency. FULL POST

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