Afghan Insider Attacks: Three Things to Know

August 24, 2012

Afghan Insider Attacks: Three Things to Know
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Having just returned from Afghanistan, Linda Robinson, CFR’s adjunct senior fellow for U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy, highlights three things to know about the rise in attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan by members of Afghan forces:

Underlying causes: Robinson identifies two causes for the attacks: "One is insurgent infiltration of the Afghan security forces, and this can also be a conversion to the Taliban cause over time; the other cause of attacks is personal grievances that develop over time between U.S. and Afghan forces."

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Countermeasures: The disparate causes require tailored responses, Robinson says. Mitigating insurgent infiltration requires counterinsurgent measures such as biometric registration of Afghan personnel, while reducing personal grievances "is a bit trickier" and may require increased cultural training and awareness on the part of U.S. and coalition forces.

Impact on the overall campaign in Afghanistan: "As to the overall impact to the campaign in Afghanistan, the seriousness of this increase in attacks can’t be overstated," says Robinson. The plans to maintain a small presence of U.S. and coalition in Afghanistan beyond 2014 in an advisory capacity may be a "nonstarter" if these forces are seen to be at risk.

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