Rahmat Gul / AP
In an attack in Kabul, a US soldier was killed and injured on another Saturday morning. The attacker was a member of Afghanistan's national defense and security forces, NATO said in a statement.
Other Afghan soldiers killed the attacker immediately, NATO said. The name of the killed American has not yet been published. NATO described the wounded soldier who had been flown to Bagram Airfield as being in a stable condition.
This is the third time that an Afghan soldier has killed an American counterpart this year, known as an "insider attack". Reporter Jennifer Glasse tells our Newscast team.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in September that the Afghan forces would reinforce the security clearance in response to these attacks. "They bring more people we've helped to train, to know how to do it, to make sure we catch people who have been radicalized," Mattis told reporters.
Insider attacks are among the many data points that can track the progress of the 17-year war in Afghanistan. At its peak in 2012, there were 44 such attacks, Jennifer reported.
"We think the reasons for these attacks are complex," said General John Allen in 2012 to NPR's Tom Bowman. Allen was the American commander-in-chief in Afghanistan at the time. He said Tom's insider attacks could be triggered by Taliban infiltrators, NATO-Afghan dispute, and even Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
In 2012, when the US pulled down the number of troops from its highest level of about 100,000, there were between 70,000 and 90,000 US troops in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, David Welna of NPR reported that the figure was between 14,000 and 15,000.
US officials have also stressed that the Afghan security forces are critical to American success in Afghanistan. "The Afghan security forces are incredibly brave and courageous," John Nicholson told Rachel Martin in the Morning Edition. "But they need our help."
From March 2016 to September 2018, Nicholson commanded the missions of the US and NATO in Afghanistan. He said that the Afghan security forces have noticeably improved in recent years – especially Afghanistan's special forces and air forces.
"The reforms they are undertaking internally – the retirement of senior officers, the professionalization of their troops – it's a new army," Nicholson told Rachel. "It did not exist when the war started."
In another noteworthy insider attack last month, an Afghan guard shot down the American general responsible for training and advising the Afghan security forces in Kandahar. Brig. General Jeffrey Smiley was shot twice in his limbs, Tom reported. The attack killed two high-ranking Kandahar officials and wounded several others, including the provincial governor and two Americans. The American Commander-in-Chief in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller, also present, escaped without being hurt.