116 days. The United States military went 116 consecutive days without losing a U.S. service member to enemy action. That ended April 8, 2015, when an Afghan soldier opened fire on coalition forces, killing at least one as of yet unidentified American, according to Dan Lamothe at the Washington Post.
It’s notable that this period of relative peace and stability was upended with an insider attack. U.S. strategy in Afghanistan hinges on its ability to train and equip a viable national security force within the country. That strategy has been plagued by Afghan soldiers or police members who have turned their weapons on their American counterparts, dubbed green-on-blue attacks. These attacks range in their motivations. Sometimes members of the Taliban or their sympathizers infiltrate Afghan security units. Sometimes Taliban fighters simply don military uniforms and impersonate Afghan soldiers. Lastly, some insider attacks have no connection to the Taliban at all, and are mere manifestations of tension or dispute.
“We’re doing everything we can to help the Afghan Security Forces succeed, so we don’t have to go back, so we don’t have to respond in an emergency because terrorist activities are being launched out of Afghanistan,” the president said.
This recent violent incident could cast doubt on the stability of the situation in Afghanistan and across the western Asian region.
Three American contractors were killed and one was wounded at the hands of an Afghan soldier in a January attack purportedly orchestrated by the Taliban.
And last month, a Canadian soldier was shot and killed conducting counter-Islamic State operations in northern Iraq. The soldier, Sgt. Andrew J. Doiron, was reportedly killed by Kurdish forces who may have mistaken him for an enemy fighter.
Your humble Pentagon correspondent has never been one of the "cool kids" in the world of Washington media, and never has that been more evident than in my failed attempts to interview Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the roughly 50,000 Democrats running for president.
To the media, Buttigieg is so hot right now that he could melt the stealth coating off an F-35 – which is actually not as hard as it sounds. He is fluent in more forms of communication than C-3PO – in April, he offered his condolences to the French people for the Notre Dame fire in perfect French. He's had no problem getting media coverage from all sorts of media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times, or even Fox News.
Your intrepid Pentagon correspondent was briefly on Mayor Pete's schedule, when his director of campaign operations Max Harris set up an interview for Feb. 26. But less than an hour later, Harris emailed back to say he might have to reschedule the interview due to scheduling conflicts.
Four months of silence followed. (To be fair, his campaign manager Lis Smith did confirm in March that Buttigieg had formed an exploratory committee to run for president.)
Department of Veterans Affairs photo via Military.com
Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
The union representing 260,000 Department of Veterans Affairs employees recently won a "cease and desist" arbitration ruling against the department's posting of lengthy lists of firings, suspensions and other disciplinary actions in violation of the Privacy Act.
The two oil tankers crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran are being assessed off the coast off the United Arab Emirates before their cargos are unloaded, the ships' operators said on Sunday.