PUBLISHED: 00:54 EST, 1 May 2012 | UPDATED: 01:14 EST, 1 May 2012
The U.S. military is under-reporting the number of times Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American troops.
The U.S. and its Western allies routinely report each time an American or other foreign soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform.
But they’re failing to track insider attacks in which the Afghan wounds – or misses – his U.S. or allied target, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. and its military partners are working more closely with Afghan troops in preparation for handing off security responsibility to them by the end of 2014.
In recent weeks, an Afghan soldier opened fire on a group of American soldiers but missed the group entirely.
The Americans quickly shot him to death but not a word was reported by the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, as the coalition is formally known. It was disclosed to the AP by an unnamed U.S. official.
ISAF also said nothing about last week’s attack in which two Afghan policemen in Kandahar province fired on U.S. soldiers, wounding two.
Reporters learned of it from Afghan officials and from U.S. officials in Washington. The two Afghan policemen were shot to death by the Americans present.
Last Wednesday, an attack that killed a U.S. Army special forces soldier, Staff Sgt. Andrew Brittonmihalo, 25, also wounded three other American soldiers.
The death was reported by ISAF as an insider attack but it made no mention of the wounded – or that an Afghan civilian also was killed.
The attacker was an Afghan special forces soldier who opened fire with a machine gun at a base in Kandahar province. He was killed by return fire.
That attack apparently was the first by a member of the Afghan special forces, who are more closely vetted than conventional Afghan forces and are often described by American officials as the most effective and reliable in the Afghan military.
Coalition officials do not dispute that such non-fatal attacks happen, but they have not provided a full accounting.
The insider threat has existed for years but has grown more deadly. Last year there were 21 fatal attacks that killed 35 coalition service members, according to ISAF figures.
That compares with 11 fatal attacks and 20 deaths the previous year. In 2007 and 2008 there were a combined total of four attacks and four deaths.
ISAF has released brief descriptions of each of the fatal attacks for 2012 but says similar information for fatal attacks in 2011 is considered classified and therefore cannot be released.
Jamie Graybeal, an ISAF spokesman in Kabul, disclosed Monday that in addition to 10 fatal insider attacks so far this year, there have been two others that resulted in no deaths or injuries, plus one attack that resulted in wounded, for a total of 13 attacks.
The three non-fatal attacks had not previously been reported.
Graybeal added that in most of the 10 fatal attacks a number of other ISAF troops were wounded. By policy, the fact that the attacks resulted in wounded as well as a fatality is not reported, he said.
Asked to explain why non-fatal insider attacks are not reported, Graybeal said the coalition does not disclose them because it does not have consent from all coalition governments to do so.
‘All releases must be consistent with the national policies of troop contributing nations,’ he said.
Graybeal said a new review of this year’s data showed that the 10 fatal attacks resulted in the deaths of 19 ISAF service members. His office had previously said the death total was 18.
Most of those killed this year have been Americans but France, Britain and other coalition member countries also have suffered fatalities.
Graybeal said each attack in 2012 and 2011 was ‘an isolated incident and has its own underlying circumstances and motives’.
Until now there has been little public notice of non-fatal insider attacks, even though they would appear to reflect the same deadly intent as that of Afghans who manage to succeed in killing their foreign partners.
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said the army has tightened its monitoring of soldiers’ activities recently and, in some cases, taken action to stop insider attacks.
For example, ‘a number of soldiers’ have been arrested for activity that might suggest a plot, such as providing information on army activities to people outside the military, he said. Some have been dismissed from the Army, but he did not provide figures.
U.S. officials say that in most cases the Afghans who turn their guns on their supposed allies are motivated not by sympathy for the Taliban or on orders from insurgents but rather act as a result of personal grievances against the coalition.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137710/U-S-military-reporting-Afghan-attacks-American-troops–count-soldier-killed.html#ixzz1tQmhjrPl