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U.S. soldiers murdered at alarming rate
Posted By Drew Zahn On 12/31/2012 @ 8:26 pm In Front Page,U.S.,World | No Comments
New calculations from WND columnist Diana West suggest the most dangerous murder rate in the world exists not in war-torn Africa or drug-ravaged Columbia, but among U.S.-allied troops being killed by Afghan “friendly” forces.
More than 60 cases of Afghan “allies” murdering members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, were reported in 2012, a rise from 35 so-called “green-on-blue” killings in 2011.
Thus far, the White House has dismissed the killings as few and unrelated, despite rising numbers and repeated claims from the Taliban that the murders are part of an organized campaign to infiltrate the Afghan-Western alliance.
As West pointed out in a recent WND column, Obama campaign adviser and former senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy minimized the attacks as a “very occasional” problem and a sign of “Taliban desperation.”
“It’s very tragic and it’s very upsetting when these things happen,” said Flournoy, who is currently touted as a possible nominee for secretary of defense. “But they are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of a percentage of the overall interactions that are happening.”
“Most of these incidents were caused by personal grievances, by stress situation, or by battle fatigue,” said NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz. “But we must not forget that on the other side we still got almost 500,000 soldiers and policemen who work together.”
Breaking down the numbers, however, West found the murder rate – whereby Afghan police kill the U.S.-allied ISAF soldiers training them – far more than a “tiny fraction.”
For example, of the 500,000 combined forces mentioned by Katz, only a little more than 102,000 of those are ISAF forces, of which American troops make up more than half. Of the 102,000, West calculates, only about 25,000 are actively involved in training Afghani police.
“While NATO and U.S. defense officials play down the murders of American and other Western forces by their Afghan ‘partners’ and trainees as paltry few incidents,” West writes on her website, “the 62 murders we know about in 2012 (it seems likely there were additional unreported incidents) were committed against the estimated 25,000 American and other Western forces who actually do the training and interacting with the 400,000 Afghans in uniform.
“That converts to 248 homicides per 100,000,” she concludes.
To put the rate in perspective, the U.S. murder rate is 4.2 murders per 100,000. Europe’s rate is 3.5; Russia’s is 10.2. Even in Central America, the world’s most murderous sub-region, the murder rate is 17 murders per 100,000.
“Afghanistan’s rate, meanwhile, is listed as 2.4,” West writes, “unless, that is, you are an ISAF trainer-partner, for whom the murder rate in 2012 was  per 100,000.”
“It’s also important to remember that these are not battlefield deaths,” West writes in her WND column. “They are mess hall, gymnasium and barracks deaths – murders inside the community. It is not an unreasonable stretch, then, to compare the 25,000 partners and trainers among the larger group of 500,000 forces to a population of 25,000 university students among a larger community of 500,000 people. Imagine how 62 murders in a school year, even spread across a large statewide university system, would strike us – not as a ‘tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of a percentage,’ and, given the official silence, not taken seriously at all.
“It should be the Scandal of 2013,” West concludes.
The ISAF is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations in 2001. Its main purpose is to train the Afghan National Security Forces, but is also involved in building infrastructure and confronting insurgency.
According to ISAF figures, there is a total of just more than 102,000 coalition troops on the ground, 68,000 of which are American.
In August, the Atlantic reports, Afghan Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar declared the rash of murders as evidence of a widespread Taliban infestation of Afghan law enforcement.
“Thanks to the infiltration of the Mujahideen, they are able to [safely] enter bases, offices and intelligence centers of the enemy,” he said in a statement. “Then, they easily carry out decisive and coordinated attacks, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.”
But the U.S. Defense Department, CBS News reports, maintains the attacks are not generally carried out by insurgents, but rather individual members of the Afghan security forces who may develop a grudge against their Western allies.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged in August that some of the incidents have been connected to insurgent groups, but insisted that the vast majority of the attacks appear to be carried out by people with no known links to, or coordination with, the Taliban or other militant organizations.
“Early in 2012,” West wrote in her column, “I opened a column with this question: ‘Is there a single public official who is examining – who cares about – the murder spree by Afghan security forces against Western troops and security contractors in Afghanistan?’
“Nearly one year has passed, during which 62 Americans and other Westerners have been killed by Afghan forces ‘inside the wire,’” she continued. “The president has yet to call for ‘meaningful change’; in fact, he has said nothing about it. The Congress has said nothing about it. During the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said nothing about it. Such silence is a national disgrace, but it’s an answer to my question. No. They don’t care. Not about the men. Not about their families. What they care about is the story line – the fraud that has kept the national arteries to Afghanistan open, fueling the American-led ‘counterinsurgency’ fantasy that an ally, heart-and-mind, exists in the umma (Islamic world), if only Uncle Sam can mold it and bribe it and train it into viability.”
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