A paper weapon to defend against “green on blue” attacks
August 22nd, 2012
03:30 PM ET

A paper weapon to defend against “green on blue” attacks

By Barbara Starr

It's a fold-up pamphlet that any U.S. service member in Afghanistan can stick inside a uniform pocket and forget, or perhaps re-read often enough that it just might save their lives if they are attacked by uniformed Afghan personnel.

The title "Inside the Wire Threats - Afghanistan Green on Blue" says it all.

The number of U.S. and coalition troops killed by Afghans who turn their weapons on coalition forces is at an all-time high. The U.S. military says it's doing everything it can, from increased security measures to improved training, to help troops respond more quickly.

The pamphlet, which troops started to receive in February, is marked for "official use only" to ensure it is not distributed and read by the public, including the Taliban.

But a Defense Department official described portions of it to CNN. He said it advises troops under attack, who have their own weapons on them, to "resolve the situation with forces at hand" and not wait for backup. Unarmed troops at meetings or dining halls have been vulnerable in the past, but now, all are carrying their weapons preloaded with a magazine of ammunition. Weapons must be within arm's reach at all times, according to U.S. military sources.

The pamphlet also offers broad indicators of behaviors by Afghans that could indicate they are a threat, the Defense Department official said.

Things to watch for include if the person: complains about other countries or religions, advocates violence, undergoes a personality change, becomes isolated and doesn't want to be around others, speaks in favor of radical ideology or shows undue interest in coalition base headquarters or living quarters.

According to the official, so far, the U.S. believes 40% of recent attacks by Afghan security personnel against the coalition are due to Afghan members' own combat or emotional stress, and 15% are a result of intimidation by the insurgency or actually being recruited by it.

About 10% come from impersonators who are not part of the military. But in more than 30% of the cases, a clear reason for the attack is not found, the official said.

Troops are now also getting stateside training in how to recognize and deal with insider threats before they deploy to Afghanistan, the Defense Department official said.

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