He was the last person anyone expected to betray them. “Crazy Joe” was an Afghan cop — and a good one, his U.S. comrades believed. That is, until a day in October 2009, in Wardak province south of Kabul. A group of U.S. Army soldiers assigned to work alongside the Afghan police had just sat down to lunch when Crazy Joe opened fire.
“It dawns on me very quickly that he’s not shooting past them. He’s shooting at them,” Army Capt. Tyler Kurth told reporter Jessica Stone.
Two Americans died that day, adding to a growing list of U.S. and NATO troops killed by their ostensible Afghan allies. One of the worst such incidents happened in April, when an Afghan pilot trainee shot and killed eight U.S. Air Force advisors and a contractor in Kabul. Since 2009, 57 coalition troops have died and 64 have been wounded by rogue Afghan security forces. Half the casualties occurred in just the first five months of this year.
In many cases, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its fighters infiltrated Afghan forces with the intention of killing coalition troops. Now the U.S. is deploying 80 counter-intelligence agents to Afghanistan in an effort to prevent Taliban infiltration. The agents will “will enhance the vetting of recruits, review profiles of soldiers who are being trained and generally tighten up the procedures to identify individuals who might be vulnerable to extremists’ appeals,” The New York Times reported.
With the withdrawal of U.S. forces slated to begin next month, it should go without saying that loyal and effective Afghan security forces are a top coalition priority.