Members of the Afghan National Army
Two British military personnel, were shot dead by Afghan security forces yesterday. Later a NATO soldier - his nationality has not yet been disclosed - was shot dead at a checkpoint by a 'rogue' policeman. A total of 407 British troops have now lost their lives in this war.
The two British men were a soldier from the Adjutant General's Corp and a Royal Marine. They were killed at point-blank range at the British base in Lashkar Gar in Helmand province. The Lashkar Gah base is home to most senior British commanders and Foreign Office officials in Afghanistan and mainly houses British servicemen and women, although there are also some Americans based there.
The gunman was from the eastern Nangarhar Province and had been in the Afghan National Army for four years according to Ghulam Farooq Parwani, deputy commander of the ANA.
To find an accurate account of the incident is difficult, but it would seem the troops were taken by surprise when the gunman stepped out of a truck during the morning and approached the main gate holding his M16 assault rifle. They shouted that he could not carry the weapon into the base and he replied saying he was there to escort a Kabul delegation. He then continued his approach and opened fire on the men, killing two and injuring a third. Coalition troops who saw what happened then immediately shot the gunman. An American soldier was also shot dead yesterday in a similar attack by an Afghan policeman in the east of the country.
Fifteen NATO troops have been killed by their Afghan allies in the first three months of 2012 - one in six of all coalition dead and 70 members of the NATO forces have been killed in 42 insider attacks from May 2007 until the end of 2011.
Richard North says 'we [the west] lost years ago' but I say the west lost as soon as it decided to interfere in the culture and politics of Afghanistan. This war was unwinnable and therefore the obvious outcome is defeat.
Should we continue with our planned timetable for withdrawal? No. Dr Karl Sandstrom, an expert on Afghanistan, states the increasingly unstable situation will eventually make training impossible to maintain. He continues:
I agree. The difficulty now is Pakistan are no longer co-operative so the exit route will have to be through Uzbekistan. Negotiations with Tashkent are slow. Our troops are trapped and the insurgents know it.