Afganistan on Edge
|Carlo Munoz||August 18th 2012|
Gen. John Allen, commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has taken the drastic step of ordering all American troops to be armed at all times -- even when within U.S. or coalition bases -- as a way to protect against increasing insider attacks.
The order, according to reports by CNN, states that all U.S. personnel will carry a weapon plus a magazine of ammunition around the clock. The weapons will be carried in formerly secured areas, CNN reports, such as U.S. headquarters in Kabul and other coalition and Afghan government installations around the country.
Allen issued the order on Saturday, a day after two members of a U.S. special operations group were killed by a local recruit to the Afghan police force in Western Afghanistan. The two soldiers assigned to a U.S. special forces team assigned to train and equip local police forces in Farah province, were unarmed when they were shot and killed by Mohammad Ismail on Friday.
Their deaths bring the toll of American soldiers killed by their local counterparts to 11 in the past two weeks. Allen's order comes after the Defense Department announced it would begin increasing counterintelligence assets in Afghanistan, to try and uncover Taliban operatives who have worked their way into the ranks of the Afghan military and police.
Pentagon officials have also stepped up the screening process used to pick candidates for the country's growing security forces, focusing on certain personality traits or characteristics that could be a sign of radicalism or allegiance to the Taliban, who have claimed responsibility for several of these attacks
The shootings come as Taliban forces have begun their so-called "Al-Farooq" operations, which is what group leaders have dubbed the ongoing spring offensive against American and coalition forces.
Carlo Munoz writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted.