(CNSNews.com) – In the past week, four U.S. troops have been killed by men wearing Afghan army or police uniforms --bringing to 17 the number of these killings this year and 64 the number since 2007.
Prior to 2007, the U.S. military did not keep track of the number of U.S. troops killed by Afghan soldiers and police.
The so-called “green on blue” attacks are a growing problem for the U.S. military, as coalition troops increasingly fall victim to the very same Afghans they are training to take over security responsibilities when most NATO forces leave the country at the end of 2014.
A U.S. military spokesman said three U.S. troops were killed Friday in Helmand province (southern Afghanistan) by a man wearing an Afghan uniform.
According to reports from various media outlets, the three soldiers with U.S. Special Operations Forces were killed by an Afghan national police commander who invited them to dinner to discuss security.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for today’s attack, adding that the Afghan police commander--who had been helping U.S. forces train Afghan police--has now joined the insurgency.
The fourth American was killed on Tuesday, reportedly shot in eastern Afghanistan by two men wearing Afghan National Army uniforms.
(On Thursday, two Afghan soldiers tried unsuccessfully to shoot more NATO troops outside a military base in eastern Afghanistan, but NATO troops returned fire, killing one of the attackers.)
In total, 31 ISAF troops, including 17 Americans, have been killed by men in Afghan army uniforms so far this year. These 31 "insider" deaths are on track to exceed the 35 that occurred in all of 2011.
A total of 100 soldiers from the U.S.-led international coalition have died in green-on-blue attacks since May 2007 when the Pentagon began keeping track of American fatalities stemming from insider attacks. The U.S. has suffered 64 percent of those deaths. The rest involved troops from other countries who are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Through media accounts and data provided by the Pentagon, CNSNews.com has been tracking the killings of U.S. service personnel perpetrated by members of the Afghan security force or individuals wearing its uniform. The Afghan National Security Force includes both the Afghan military and the national police.
"We are confident that those isolated incidents will have no effect on transition or on the quality of our forces," the Associated Press quoted Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, a spokesman for NATO troops, as saying.
So far, since the war started in October 2001, at least 1,970 U.S. soldiers have been killed or fatally wounded in and around Afghanistan. Over 70 percent of those deaths have occurred since President Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009.