Afghanistan: whose side are security forces on?

An Afghan soldier killed two British soldiers on a military base in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand, on March 26. The Afghan soldier was killed by ISAF troops, who opened fire on the attacker. That same day, an officer of the Afghan Local Police killed an ISAF soldier in the east of country; authorities did not release the name or nationality of the soldier, or the exact location of the attack. Afghan security personnel have now killed 16 ISAF troops this year. (Long War Journal, March 26)

Tensions between ISAF troops and their ostensible Afghan allies have escalated since last month’s massacre of civilians by a US soldier. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, is accused of walking into two villages near an army outpost in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district and killing men, women and children on March 11. US authorities say Bales acted alone, leaving at night and eventually surrendering at his base. The US military has charged Bales with 17 counts of murder with premeditation, for which he could face the death penalty. He is being held at Fort Leavenworth, after being flown from Afghanistan a few days after the killings. (CNN, March 30)

Violence across the border in Pakistan is unabated, A suicide bomber killed 15 and wounded dozens more in an attack at a funeral in Peshawar the same day as the Panjwal massacre. The attack apparently targeted Khushdil Khan, the deputy speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial assembly (Awami National Party), who has raised an anti-Taliban militia in the area. (Long War Journal, March 11)

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