The fight in Afghanistan is referred to as an asymmetric battlefield or a 360 degree battlefield. This is because it is not the standard linear type of fight we have faced in the past in many wars like WWI, WWII, Korea and many other wars of past. The 360 degree battlefield means that there is no real “front line”. The enemy is around our troops everywhere and all the time, inter-mingled with the civilian populous.
We have been calling it a 360 degree battlefield for a while, but it has never been more true than it has over the last 6 years, and especially this week.
A man in an Afghan army uniform shot and killed three American service members on Friday morning in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military command said, the third attack on coalition forces by their Afghan counterparts in a week. The Taliban claimed the shooter joined the insurgency after the attack.
These “green on blue” attacks have been happening for longer than the US Military has been tracking them, which started in 2007. No doubt this year is one of the worst and this last week is no exception with at least 3 of them happening in the last several days.
The two gunmen wearing Afghan National Army uniforms fired on NATO troops at a base in Paktia province of eastern Afghanistan, killing a soldier, according to the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan officials.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, the latest in a rising number of so-called “green-on-blue” attacks in which Afghan security forces, or insurgents disguised in their uniforms, kill their U.S. or NATO partners.
Last week I talked with my old friend, MG Robert Abrams on You Served Radio (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/youserved/2012/08/01/episode-203–mg-robert-abrams-and-michael-gold) and we talked about these green-on-blue incidents and the impact they have on the US warfighters and the relationships we have with our Afghan “partners”.
The fact is that our troops are surrounded, and literally serving “shoulder to shoulder” with the enemy. When it comes to tactics I can’t say I blame out enemy, as it is tactically smart. They have penetrated our Achilles heel as we have no choice but serve with the Afghan security forces in order for us to mentor them. In saying that, in order to be effective, we can’t work them all “kitted-up” in full tactical gear all the time. It just doesn’t work that way, even though that may be hard for some to understand who have never been there.