Insider attacks and the Taliban

It is still unclear what happened at the Afghan National Defence University on Tuesday. What we do know is that a man in Afghan army uniform opened fire killing Maj Gen Harold Greene, the highest ranking US officer killed overseas since Vietnam, and wounding many more. Inevitably those with an axe to grind have seized on the episode to show how Barack Obama is getting it wrong…


“The Taliban’s recent campaign of high-profile attacks is calculated to accompany a global PR strategy highlighting the fact that U.S. and coalition forces will soon be leaving Afghanistan and abandoning its weak and ineffective government. The Taliban wants everyone to know it will soon dominate all aspects of life in Afghanistan once again,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

“I have told the president privately and publicly that my biggest concern is that America will end its mission in Afghanistan just short of the goal line. … So let me reiterate: if the president decides to re-think his strategy, including withdrawals, deadlines, and policy restraints, particularly on certain associated terrorist networks, he will have my support.”

There’s plenty more in this vein. But as I write here, such insider attacks are rarely a reflection of Taliban strength – although they do suggest that building trust with Afghan forces remains a problem.

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