President Obama is pulling troops out of Afghanistan, but they’re not all out yet. This means that many of the troops that remain are in a dangerous spot because they are in a blurred role which puts them somewhere between that of a peacekeeper on the one hand and an instructor for the Afghanistan military on the other. In these roles, Afghan military and police trainees are right beside our troops, and Afghan workers have access to our troops as well.
Last week, six U.S. Marines paid the ultimate price in this scenario, when an Afghan worker killed three Marines and an Afghan policeman killed three others. Sadly, these six are not the first troops killed and will not be the last, as long as we keep them in a situation where the enemy can infiltrate their ranks by the simple subterfuge of pretending not to be an enemy.
The three Marines shot by Afghan police officer are Ryan Jeschke, Matthew P. Manoukian, Sky R. Mote. The names of the Marines shot by the Afghan worker have not been released.
Concerning the worker, there are conflicting reports about whether he was or wasn’t allowed to be armed, with Reuters reporting he turned his own gun on the Marines and the military reporting they don’t know how he got a weapon.
But here’s the bottom line: If we’re not going to fight to win, we need to get our troops home pronto. And if we are going to fight to win, we need to protect our troops by keeping them separate from any Afghans that have access to arms, period.
President Obama has failed miserably in this particular.