The Pentagon has released the names of the three American soldiers slain in the latest “insider attack” by an Afghan soldier on Saturday against U.S. troops.
Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Md.; Sgt. William M. Bays, 29, of Barstow, Calif.; and Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22, of Youngsville, N.C., were the latest victims of an all-too common occurrence overseas. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The news comes as Trump administration officials are considering sending thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan in an attempt to stabilize the government there. There is currently about 8,000 American military personnel in the country.
The “green-on-blue” murders mark the 100th insider attack by Afghan soldiers against coalition forces (the vast majority of whom are American) since 2008, according to data compiled by the Long War Journal.
Since Jan. 1, 2008, 155 coalition troops have been killed in insider attacks, and almost 200 wounded.
The Taliban has long encouraged its fighters to infiltrate the Afghan National Army and conduct covert attacks against Americans. However, the Taliban only accounts for about 25 percent of insider attacks, according to estimates.
Not only is the allegiance of the Afghan army to coalition efforts largely suspect (even with the U.S. dumping billions of dollars into arming and training the group), the ground warfare branch of the Afghan Armed Forces has completely failed in the face of the Taliban insurgency.
Corruption is rampant within the Afghan military industry. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report added that Washington is paying millions in salaries to “ghost soldiers” who do not exist, enriching the coffers of Afghan officials to the detriment of regional security. “At a minimum, they’re playing defense and are not taking the fight to the Taliban,” SIGAR head John Sopko said in January.
The security environment in Afghanistan continues to unravel, and the Taliban now controls or contests around 40 percent of the country.
The war in Afghanistan commenced as an effort to take out Osama bin Laden and his vast al-Qaida terrorist network inside the country. But now, in 2017, the current mission in Afghanistan is seemingly without an end goal.
There are no objective markers for what would signal the accomplishment of American goals there. The long war continues indefinitely, without an exit plan — much to the detriment of vulnerable U.S. troops stationed in the wilds of Afghanistan.