One of the most serious problems that our military experiences as they fight terrorism in foreign nations is determining who is the enemy and thus represents a deadly danger. This is not a new problem at all, as American GIs tragically learned fighting the Viet Cong fifty years ago.
American soldiers are often integrated with the military forces of the nations in which they are operating. This might be in a training role, or they may go into combat together. But are these forces that ostensibly appear to be allies really all that they claim to be?
Tragically, not always. In some cases they are militants who have infiltrated American-led forces clearly for the purpose of killing Americans and disrupting military operations. An example of this just happened as an Afghan soldier killed three Americans and wounded one more.
“Three US soldiers were killed and another wounded during a joint US-Afghan military operation Saturday in Nangarhar province, US officials told CNN.
“The Pentagon named the three soldiers Monday as Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore; Sgt. William M. Bays, 29, of Barstow, California; and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22, of Youngsville, North Carolina.
“An American official said the soldiers were shot in an apparent insider attack, also known as a ‘green-on-blue’ incident because of the color-coding system used by NATO. During such assaults, members of the Afghan security forces are known to target US and other NATO soldiers.
“The shooter in Saturday’s incident was an Afghan army commando, Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said. He said the assailant was killed by Afghan forces.”
This is what you get when human life is held very cheaply. No doubt this Afghan traitor knew he would be killed as he committed this attack. But there is also little doubt that he was willing to pay that price to kill Americans and sew distrust among allied forces.
In evidence of the fact that the Taliban terrorist organization is alive and well, we learn that it took credit for this murderous attack.
“Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the militants claimed responsibility for the attack.
“‘A Mujahid (freedom fighter) infiltrator of the Islamic Emirate who had enrolled himself in the Kabul government’s army attacked American soldiers in Lata Band area of Achin District in Nangarhar province today in the afternoon,’ said a written statement in Pashto obtained by CNN.”
These are tenacious groups that we are fighting. Recall that we have been fighting them in Afghanistan to one degree or another for about 15 years. And if there is an end in sight, it’s not very obvious.
We are dealing with very hardened fighters who are willing to engage in guerrilla warfare and to infiltrate themselves into allied forces as part of their strategy. To conclude that this battle will be neither easy nor quick is to make an incredible understatement.