The theory being that as Afghan army and police "stand up" to the fight, their western allies and mentors can draw down and go home. The Taliban routinely claim every Isaf death, but it was the incident in which they were not involved which has the potential to destroy the heart of Isaf's withdrawal; 42 coalition soldiers have been shot this year by the men they are supposed to be training, 12 this month alone.
Each time one of these "green on blue" attacks occurs, coalition spokesmen play down their significance. They have, we are continually told, no wider significance. There is no common thread, little evidence of infiltration and the majority of such attacks are the result of personal grudges.Oh really?
"One group sees the other as a bunch of violent, reckless, intrusive, arrogant, self-serving profane, infidel bullies hiding behind high technology; and the other group generally views the former as a bunch of cowardly, incompetent, obtuse, thieving, complacent, lazy, pot-smoking, treacherous, and murderous radicals. Such is the state of progress in the current partnering programme."
Over a decade of fighting shoulder-to-shoulder had created mutual loathing that was impossible to camouflage. The mutual grudge match ranged from big issues – night raids, failure to treat Afghan military casualties with the same urgency as their own – to trivial ones - urinating in public, personal hygiene, thievery.
This is, perhaps, worse than finding the ANA is riddled with Taliban sleeper cells. Infiltration can be stopped by counter-intelligence. But what, after this length of time, reduces sheer bad faith?
Pic - "Unfriendly Fire"