For the second time in two months, a servicemember in Afghanistan has been slain in an apparent insider attack known as a ‘green-on-blue’ incident. This service member was slain while taking part in Operation Resolute Support by someone within the Afghan military or paramilitary forces.
The soldier, whose name has not yet been released to the public, pending notification of their next of kin, is the sixth American soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in 2018. The attack also caused injury to another soldier, who has also not been named at this time.
General Austin Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, mourned the loss in a statement, saying that the sacrifice of a soldier who volunteered for a mission to the Middle Eastern nation is a “tragic loss” for all who knew him, as well as for those who “will now never know him.”
General Miller also said that the duty of the military now was to “honor him,” and to care for his family and press on with the mission in the region.
This is the second death of a servicemember in a ‘green-on-blue’ assault in the last two months. The first, which occurred in July, claimed the life of U.S. Army Corporal Joseph Maciel, and also resulted in wounds to two other servicemembers.
That attack occurred at an airfield in the center of the country.
Green-on-blue attacks were a common occurrence in Afghanistan as recently as 2014, but they have declined in number since then, likely due to the U.S. draw-down of troops in the region.
However, the military told Congress in 2017 that attacks by ‘trusted Afghan nationals’ on the U.S.-led coalition forces could increase due to the “explosive growth” of personnel in the Afghan military.
Operation Resolute Support, which currently includes a force of more than 16,000 NATO allies, of which more than 8,000 are from the United States, is an operation based around the idea of supporting the Afghan government and military.
Most importantly, the mission hopes to enable the Afghan Armed Forces and Afghan National Police to carry out missions on their own, without the need for NATO support to take on enemies like ISIS-K, the resurgent Taliban, and the Haqqani network.
According to reports from the United States military and the Department of Defense in 2016, that objective seemed to mostly require better training concerning ‘aerial fires,’ or air support for ground maneuvers.
The effort to support the foreign military and paramilitary force in the nation, which began on December 28, 2014, led to the creation of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, or ‘SFAB,’ a military organization dedicated entirely to training and supporting friendly forces.
The unit was activated on February 8, 2018, and is headquartered in the famed Fort Benning, Georgia, which also contains the Military Advisor Training Academy used to educate the advisors.
Even as the United States Military begins to shift more into a support and advisory role in the nation, however, soldiers are still taking part in operations alongside their counterparts.
Mostly, they’re taking part in counterterrorism operations, backing Afghan nationals as they fight the Taliban and other extremist organizations.
General Austin Miller is an individual perfectly suited to leading a fighting force that is hoping to establish stability and to train locals to be able to operate on their own.
General Miller is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and has served in a number of elite units in the Army, including the famed 82nd Airborne Division ‘All Americans’ and the 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
He was also an instructor at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, which taught various skills relevant to counterinsurgency operations to mostly South American soldiers and police.
However, most impressive of all, Miller was on the ground during the infamous Battle of Mogadishu.
He was the ground force commander during the infamous ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident, as well as being a member of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, better known as ‘Delta Force.’
Hopefully, with this quality of leadership in charge of the Resolute Support Mission, American forces will soon be able to return home from Afghanistan, perhaps leaving only a small contingent behind to protect interests in the region.
Then young men like Corporal Maciel and the unnamed deceased from this most recent attack will not have to worry about attacks by allegedly ‘friendly’ forces.