Six Marines were killed in Afghanistan earlier this month, allegedly by Afghan soldiers they were serving alongside. These Marines are among 31 American and NATO soldiers killed this year alone by Afghan allies. In response, NATO is implementing several new policies to protect its troops.
NATO and American soldiers are now required to carry loaded magazines in their weapons at all times in case of an attack. Additionally, one or two NATO soldiers on each mission will be in charge of monitoring the Afghans on the mission. These “Guardian Angels” identities’ are not disclosed to Afghans, and they’re instructed to be continually ready to return fire should the Afghans attack.
Of the 31 attacks this year, only a couple have been connected with Taliban infiltration. The number of attackers who acted alone suggests a level of unrest within the forces set to take over the country in 2014.
Fotini Christia is an assistant professor of Political Science at MIT and an expert on Afghanistan.