Frienemies Strike Again: Two American Advisors Shot in the Head Inside Afghan Interior Ministry

As if things cannot get any worse over there —

According to USAToday, a gunman killed two American military advisers with shots to the back of the head Saturday inside a heavily guarded ministry building, and NATO ordered military workers out of Afghan ministries as protests raged for a fifth day over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. army base.

The LA Times reported that the details of the killings of the two Americans Saturday remained murky hours after the shooting. Although the NATO’s International Security Assistance Force confirmed the deaths of two of its service members in Kabul, it did not disclosed their nationalities.  However, Afghan officials speaking on condition of anonymity reportedly identified the two as American military officers who were advising the Interior Ministry.

Below is an excerpt from a WSJ report:

Top U.S. military officials said they were still trying to determine the identity of the attacker. But one Western official in Kabul said that the two Americans were shot by an Afghan police official who was upset about the burning of Qurans earlier this week at a U.S. military base.
Coalition officials in Kabul dismissed claims by some Afghan officials that the two Americans were killed by a Western colleague.

Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the two American military officers were found dead in a secure office on the compound by one of their colleagues. It remained unclear who killed the pair, or how the attacker got inside the well-protected part of the ministry, he said.

But other Afghan, Western diplomatic and military officials said that initial reports indicated that the gunman was a member of the Afghan security forces.

Photo by Spc. David Bonnell

Members of the Ministry of Defense Advisors Program hold a meeting with the mock Afghan Minister of Defense during field training at Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex, June 9. The civilians will deploy to Afghanistan later this year to assist the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior become self-sustaining. Photo by Spc. David Bonnell

Also today, the ISAF commander condemns the attack on ISAF personnel at the GIRoA ministry:

KABUL, Afghanistan – “I condemn today’s attack at the Afghan Ministry of Interior that killed two of our coalition officers, and my thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the brave individuals lost today,” said Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force.

“We are investigating the crime and will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for this attack. The perpetrator of this attack is a coward whose actions will not go unanswered.”

“For obvious force protection reasons, I have also taken immediate measures to recall all other ISAF personnel working in ministries in and around Kabul,” continued Gen. Allen.

“We are committed to our partnership with the Government of Afghanistan to reach our common goal of a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan in the near future.”

Damn fake partnership! The military advisors were killed reportedly inside the Command and Control room only accessible by people who know the correct numerical combination. Later news indicate that General Allen has also recalled all international military personnel from the ministries

In January 2012, an Afghan wearing an army uniform shot and killed four French troops and wounded others. Late last year, an Afghan army soldier also shot and killed two members of the French Foreign Legion serving in the NATO force.  Which made French President Sarkozy announced that “The French army is in Afghanistan at the service of the Afghans against terrorism and against the Taliban. The French army is not in Afghanistan so that Afghan soldiers can shoot at them.”

Also in January, an Afghan soldier turned his gun on American military personnel while they were playing volleyball at a camp in southern Afghanistan, killing one and wounding three others before being fatally shot

On April 2011, eight US troops and a US contractor  were killed by an Afghan air force pilot at the Kabul airport.

The NYT reported in early 2012 about a subordinate command’s report on mounting casualties killed by Afghan “allies”:

“Lethal altercations are clearly not rare or isolated; they reflect a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat (a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between ‘allies’ in modern military history).”

Officials have been calling these incidents, “isolated cases and are not occurring on a routine basis.”  The NYT cited a classified report which found that between May 2007 and May 2011, when it was completed, that at least 58 Western service members were killed in 26 separate attacks by Afghan soldiers and the police nationwide. Most of those attacks have occurred since October 2009. This toll represented 6 percent of all hostile coalition deaths during that period, the report said.

This latest attack inside the Ministry of Interior shows that these incidents are not isolated cases perpetuated just by boots-on-the ground soldiers.  We have military officers and unarmed civilians working in all parts of Afghanistan ministries – from Agriculture to Women Affairs.  The military advisors have now been pulled back, but how about the civilians?  Even if they grow eyes on the back of their heads, how can they trust that their Afghan colleagues will not one day pull that trigger?

We are wasting our time with frienemies in Afghanistan.  It’s time to leave and begin reconstruction at home and  not in 2014. It will be appreciated at home.

Domani Spero



Dear State Dept OIG – Please Stop Playing Hide and Seek with Your Reports!

Harold W. Geisel, Deputy Inspector General, Term of Appointment: 06/02/2008 to present

It used to be that we could check the “Featured Items” in the OIG website and get the newest reports straight from the oven.

Sometime back, we’ve noticed that the newest reports were no longer consistently popping up in that section, but are filed in the regional sections of the reports. Which ensures that the reader had to do some digging before they get to read what they’re looking for. Here is what the OIG says about its reports:

Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports are posted on OIG’s Web sites in accordance with section 8L of The Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.), as amended. All reports are reviewed, and redacted when appropriate, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. § 552), and related statues/regulations, plus the President’s memorandum on “Transparency and Open Government”, dated January 21, 2009, and the Attorney General’s FOIA guidelines dated March 19, 2009.

**NOTE: The dates on OIG reports represent the dates the publications were issued/published, not when they were posted to the Web site.

For example, and this is not the first one, we just don’t feel like digging around today — take its “latest” report of its inspection of the US Embassy in the Bahamas. The inspection took place in Washington, DC, between September 13 and 28, 2011; in Nassau,
The Bahamas, between September 29 and October 12, 2011; and in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, on October 2, 2011. The report is dated January 2012. And it is now posted in the OIG’s WHA section and the Featured Items section, but we have no idea when it actually went up online.

Here is the Featured Items section:

Well, I thought, I’d be damn, I am going blind! How could I have missed that report on The Bahamas when it is right there, there sandwiched between Algeria and the Bureau of Administration/GIS?

And then I saw this tweet from the State Department OIG on February 23, 2012 at 9:38 am.  Oooh, I am not going blind, after all!

I hate it when Transparency and Open Government plays tricks with me, I mean, don’t you?  So here is a quick note for the Inspector General of the Department of State:

Dear State Department OIG — Folks, you really need to indicate the dates when you put up your reports online, and stop making us play hide and seek with you. You have posted a note that says “The dates on OIG reports represent the dates the publications were issued/published, not when they were posted to the Web site.” Well, that’s no good, because you got redundant dates there that have no other function except potential confusion.

Let me help you, it’s really quick and easy. See the red circle below? That should be your posted date. Why? Because your OIG reports are only dated by month and year. The report on The Bahamas says: Inspection of Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas Report Number ISP-I-12-08A, January 2012. See? It did not/not say 1/31/12.  So where did that date come from, I’d like to know. And see the red rectangular-ish below? That’s the month and date indicated in the OIG reports.

Do we really need two dates there to confused us?  And I really hate to think of the possibility that these reports are accidentally “slipped” quietly into the queue.

Yes, we really do want to know when these reports are posted for public consumption.  You are very welcome!
Domani Spero