Hunting down inside attack perpetrators
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2012, an Afghan National Army soldier walks during a patrol with US soldiers from Apache team, Task force Geronimo in the village of Karizona, Sabari District in Khost Province.
September 21st, 2012
03:29 PM ET

Hunting down inside attack perpetrators

By Wesley Bruer

The killing and capture of Taliban leaders and facilitators indicates Afghan and coalition troops are aggressively targeting those insurgents involved in "green on blue" attacks, which have accounted for more than 50 coalition deaths this year.

In addition to taking extreme measures to ensure safety while effectively training their Afghan counterparts, coalition forces have made it a priority to share and utilize intelligence to kill or capture anyone responsible for the insider attacks.

On Monday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the death of a Taliban member believed to be behind a May 11 insider attack. The casualty report stated that "an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform has turned his weapon against coalition service members," which left one service member dead.

The insurgent, identified as "Mahmood," was killed in a precision airstrike in Kunar Province on September 15 in what the assistance force said was "the result of Afghan and coalition efforts to track down and find insurgents involved with insider attacks."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Green on Blue Attacks • ISAF • Taliban
Payoff? Assessing the Afghan surge
September 20th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Payoff? Assessing the Afghan surge

By Mike Mount

The surge of U.S. forces into Afghanistan is all but over. Within days, the last several hundred troops will have left the country, according to U.S. military officials, ending an almost three-year operation to quash what was widely viewed as Taliban resurgence.

In December 2009, just over eight years after the war in Afghanistan started, President Barack Obama ordered more than 30,000 additional troops to stabilize the country enough so U.S. and international trainers could focus on developing the Afghan security forces.

While the U.S. spent years pouring troops and resources into the war in Iraq, the Taliban used that time to rebuild and start re-taking their traditional stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

Ahead of his decision to move these additional troops into Afghanistan, Obama spent several months reviewing numerous options from his advisers on how he should proceed with the "Afghan surge, as it came to be known. It would be one of his administration’s biggest gambles.

"Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the Taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to Afghan lead," the president said last month while talking to the online community Reddit.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Gen. John Allen • Taliban
Source: Insurgents got onto Prince Harry's base through hole in fence
Britain's Prince Harry at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan on Sept. 7, 2012
September 17th, 2012
04:34 PM ET

Source: Insurgents got onto Prince Harry's base through hole in fence

CNN Wire Staff

The insurgents who attacked an Afghan military base where Prince Harry is deployed may have gotten onto the base by sneaking through a hole in a fence, a British military source said Monday. Officials discovered the hole after the attack, the source said, adding that the attackers - daringly disguised in U.S. Army uniforms - also tried to blow up parked NATO aircraft with hand-held improvised explosive devices.

Prince Harry was about a mile and a half away from Camp Bastion when the attack happened, according to the source. The royal was immediately placed on lockdown, as were other troops who were not fighting the insurgents, the source said.

U.S. Marines, British forces and a U.S. Army unit that just happened to be nearby spent nearly three hours battling the insurgents, the source said.

"This was a well-coordinated and complex attack that we're taking very seriously," a U.S. official said Monday.

It's extremely rare for Afghan insurgents to use U.S. uniforms in their attacks. The last time CNN can identify was more than two years ago, when NATO repelled attacks on two bases in Khost province in August 2010.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Security Brief
September 10th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Panetta and Karzai talk about stalled Bagram handover

By Barbara Starr, with reporting from Chelsea Carter

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai spoke by telephone Monday to discuss a brewing controversy over the handover of detainees being held by NATO forces inside Afghanistan at Parwan prison at Bagram Air Base.

"The Secretary and President Karzai did have a phone call earlier today and expressed a shared commitment to implement the terms of the memorandum of understanding on detention operations in Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman George Little said, Little said the conversation was “cordial.”

Little would not discuss specifics of the dispute but a coalition official told CNN the US is holding on to several Afghan detainees because of concerns about whether Afghan authorities will properly handle their cases and under what circumstances they might be released. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Karzai • Panetta
ISAF: US temporarily halts training of Afghan police over attacks
Members of Afghanistan police and military attend a tactical officer course training by U.S. Marines in Helmand Province in June.
September 2nd, 2012
09:37 AM ET

ISAF: US temporarily halts training of Afghan police over attacks

From Masoud Popalzai, CNN

U.S. Special Operations Forces has suspended the training of Afghan Local Police recruits while it double checks the background of the current police force following a rise in attacks against NATO troops by their Afghan counterparts, an official said Sunday.

The order follows reports that more than 40 NATO troops were killed this year by either members of the Afghan security forces or by insurgents disguised as an Afghan policeman or soldier.

"Current partnered operations have and will continue, even as we temporarily suspend training of about 1,000 new ALP recruits while revetting current members," said Col. Thomas Collins, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"While we have full trust and confidence in our Afghan partners, we believe this is a necessary step to validate our vetting process and ensure the quality indicative of Afghan Local Police."


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.

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.

Afghan insurgents strike U.S. outpost
Afghan police near joint Afghan/NATO base in Kandahar that was scene of an insurgent attack
June 19th, 2012
02:28 PM ET

Afghan insurgents strike U.S. outpost

By Barbara Starr

A band of Afghan insurgents breached a small U.S. outpost in southern Afghanistan early Tuesday, wounding nine coalition troops before all but one of the attackers were killed, two U.S. officials said.

The U.S. officials said at least eight insurgents somehow made their way into the security perimeter at Forward Operating Base Frontenac, in the Arghandab River valley. The area has been the scene of extensive insurgent activity in recent years.

Seven of the attackers were killed and the lone survivor was wounded, the officials said. Neither official could explain how the breach occurred, but initial reports indicate officials believe the insurgents might have had help from Afghan security personnel.

Tuesday's attack follows an incident Monday in which three gunmen in Afghan police uniforms fired on American troops in another location in southern Afghanistan, killing one and wounding several others.


U.S. pulls negotiating team from Pakistan
June 11th, 2012
01:09 PM ET

U.S. pulls negotiating team from Pakistan

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. is withdrawing its negotiating team from Pakistan because after several weeks, the two sides have failed to reach an agreement on re-opening land routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan that have been used to carry supplies for the war.

"We have not reached resolution," said George Little, Pentagon press secretary. He noted that some of the team left Pakistan over the weekend, and others are expected to leave shortly. "We expect others to leave soon unless circumstances change."

The group had been in Pakistan for about six weeks, according to Little.

Little would not say whether the decision to leave came before or after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's remarks last week that the U.S. was running out of patience with Pakistan's safe havens for terrorists including the Haqqani network. FULL POST

U.S. and NATO secure exit route from Afghanistan
June 4th, 2012
06:09 PM ET

U.S. and NATO secure exit route from Afghanistan

By Mike Mount

U.S. and NATO equipment will have a guaranteed route out of Afghanistan after an agreement with Central Asian countries allowing the alliance to completely cut out the shorter Pakistani access routes NATO has used for years.

In a Monday press conference in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that a deal had been struck between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to allow the alliance's equipment to be moved through their territories.  A deal already set with Russia will allow the equipment to be moved directly though land into Europe, and to air bases to fly the U.S. equipment home.

Pentagon officials said talks with the Pakistanis on opening the ground routes through Pakistan to the southern port of Karachi are still ongoing, but have yet to produce an agreement to re-open the routes, known as Ground Lines of Communication or (GLOC). FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Military • NATO • Pakistan • Rasmussen
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