Jason Leopold Exclusive: Reference Guide Instructs US Military Personnel to Respect Afghan Culture In Order To Prevent “Green On Blue” Attacks

Jason Leopold at Truthout got his hands on an unclassified, For Official Use Only, Army “pocket reference guide” that instructs troops how to respond to and avoid “green on blue” attacks. Leopold reports:

US military personnel in Afghanistan have been told to “respect Islam, Koran or a mosque” and “Afghan women, elders and children” in order to prevent so-called “green on blue” attacks, where Afghan security forces turn their weapons on the coalition soldiers who have trained them, according to an unclassified Army pocket reference guide given to all US military personnel in the country obtained by Truthout.

The reference guide, “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan Green on Blue,” referred to as a “smartcard,” was distributed to military personnel in early February, right around the time “green on blue” attacks started to increase, along with a detailed “handbook ” under the same name, which Truthout is seeking from US Army Training and Doctrine Command under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The handbook was the subject of a previous FOIA request filed in April by conservative author Bob McCarty. Last week, McCarty withdrew his request after he was informed a new FOIA exemption created with the passage of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes “critical infrastructure security information” to be withheld unless a requester can justify why the public interest outweighs the withholding of those types of records.

Truthout obtained the “Inside the Wire Threats – Afghanistan Green on Blue” reference guide from a US military official who recently returned from Afghanistan. It is marked “For Official Use Only” and was approved by Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, deputy chief of staff for operations, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan. A US military official described it as a “handy pocket tool that all troops in theater can fold up into fours and carry with them.”

Leopold goes on to report that in the “Friendly Forces Prevention Tools (Blue)” section of the reference guide, one of the bullet points says a “bond of trust” should be established “between ANSF and ISAF members” and that US troops should “avoid arrogance, i.e., belief that ISAF culture is superior to Afghan culture.” Moreover, US service members should “maintain professionalism, respect, and dignity of ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] officers and soldiers.”

“Avoid public rebukes; counsel in private jointly with ANSF chain of command,” states another bullet point in that section, and “involve ANSF in patrol briefs, de-briefs, AARs [After Action Reviews], and social/sport activities.”

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