War On Terror: It's now clear why so many U.S. troops have fallen prey to Afghan insider attacks: The administration disarmed them while arming their Afghan trainees, making them sitting ducks.
With U.S. and NATO troop deaths from so-called green-on-blue attacks climbing past 100, military brass last week reversed a standing order requiring troops to remove their magazines from their weapons while quartered inside bases with their "trusted Afghan partners."
Rogue Afghan soldiers or police have easily gotten the jump on their trainers, shooting them in cold blood with the rifles and ammunition issued by the U.S. Ten of our troops have died this way in just the past two weeks.
The number of insider attacks this year already exceeds the total for last year. Since the start of 2012, there have been 32 attacks resulting in 40 deaths, many more than last year's 21 total attacks.
Earlier this month, an Afghan security commander ambushed U.S. troops. The officer, who was helping U.S. special forces train the local police force, lured elite U.S. soldiers to a Ramadan meal at his outpost to talk security. He then opened fire on them at close range, killing three and wounding one.
The Taliban took credit for the attack. The terror group released a video indicating it has heavily infiltrated the Afghan national army and police force.
"I opened fire on three Americans who were sitting together," a rogue Afghan soldier, identified as Ghazi Mahmood, says while smiling for the camera. "The reason I killed them is because they have occupied our country. They are enemies of our religion."
He said that there are many other uniformed Afghans "looking for the opportunity to kill infidels."
Now, after years of denying the attacks were anything but an "isolated" problem, U.S.-led command has finally let American soldiers carry loaded weapons at all times to protect them not just from terrorists but from the Afghan security forces they're training.
The policy reversal exposes the suicidal nature of the prior order. Even as our disarmed soldiers were being systematically ambushed and gunned down by their Afghan counterparts, high command continued to co-locate entire Afghan military units inside U.S. bases.
As a gesture of trust toward these Muslim partners, commanders ordered U.S. soldiers to remove their magazines from their weapons while training and working alongside them.
The Afghans, however, were allowed to remain armed.
Further exposing them to "friendly fire," American troops generally removed their heavy Kevlar body armor once they got inside the base.
Disarming the Afghans would have been the obvious solution. But of course that would expose this whole "training partnership" as the farce it really is.
Training and standing up a national security force in Afghanistan is the linchpin of President Obama's withdrawal strategy. He has set a 2014 deadline for troop pullout.
But the Pentagon is already reducing troop presence by 30,000 by the end of the summer. Many of the remaining soldiers will switch from fighting to training and advising Afghan forces. This means even more of them will be exposed to insider attacks.
But we're not just training Afghans to replace soldiers. We're hiring them to protect our soldiers right now, and many of them have also turned on our soldiers.
Obama has insisted on using Afghan security guards for base security as a way to limit the size of the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan.
Hiring local Afghans to protect troops obviates the need to deploy some 20,000 additional troops as MPs, or to move existing troops out of combat roles.
Obama's rush to withdraw has needlessly cost at least 100 soldiers' lives and wounded countless others.