The Marine Corps’ top officer is trying to soothe the rattled nerves of his troops in Afghanistan, who saw six of their comrades gunned down by Afghan security forces Friday.
Gen. James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, sent a letter Tuesday to commanders telling them the attacks show that, in fact, America is winning the war against Taliban insurgents.
“When faced with the stark reality of what has just happened, it would be easy to give in to the belief that these attacks indicate we are losing the fight,” Gen. Amos wrote in his letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times. “In fact, the opposite is true.”
“These attacks are occurring because we are winning the fight in [regional command southwest],” he said. “Over the last four years we have steadily improved the security situation in Helmand [province] Historical casualty levels have steadily declined. Afghan security forces have made dramatic improvements in dependability, capability and performance.”
The Marines suffered their worst so-called “green-on-blue” fatalities in one day. On Friday, an Afghan police officer shot and killed three Marines with the 1st Special Operations Battalion. That same day, three Marines assigned to a training unit were killed by an Afghan policeman in Helmand.
The slayings come amid a rise in Afghan security forces turning on U.S. forces. The Taliban claims responsibility for infiltrating the Afghan army and police with assassins.
The command says there have been 26 Afghan-on-American attacks this year, resulting in 34 deaths.
Gen. Amos’ letter to generals and commanders says:
“Faced with our undeniable momentum and his own failure, the enemy is increasingly forced to resort to spectacular attacks. I am confident that these recent attacks were carefully crafted to drive a wedge between us and our Afghan partners. This is a common theme in the latter stages of a counterinsurgency operation. We saw the same thing in Iraq after the balance had tipped in our favor.
“I need each of you to talk about these attacks with our young Marines — particularly those deployed. At the same time don’t miss the chance to discuss these attacks with our families who are undoubtedly anxious. Ensure [that] all concerned understand that these attacks are, ironically, a measure of our effectiveness — a clear demonstration of the fact that the enemy is off balance and increasingly desperate.”
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