Insider attacks in Afghanistan claiming more American lives - FOX 13 News

Insider attacks in Afghanistan claiming more American lives

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

We now know for sure that it was an insider attack in Afghanistan that killed Army specialist Brittany Gordon from St. Petersburg.

She wasn't the only one killed by a suicide bomber, who was apparently an Afghan soldier.

The military calls these "green on blue" attacks, and they are becoming a successful strategy for the Taliban, by helping the Taliban and frustrating American soldiers.

Just days after her 24th birthday, Spc. Gordon was killed in Afghanistan. According to sources familiar with the incident, the suicide bomber was an Afghan intelligence officer -- a supposed ally of the United States.

This insider attack is the latest in a number of blasts that some say is crippling efforts to return security over to Afghan forces.

The attacks are referred to as green on blue because the Afghanis in are green uniforms, and the Americans, as part of NATO forces, wear blue.

General Anthony Zinni is the former commander of U.S. Central Command at Mac Dill Air Force Base. He says the attacks are extremely troubling.

"It is a serious problem. Obviously, it affects morale, it endangers our own troops, it build mistrust between the Afghans and ourselves," Gen. Zinni said.

Up to 20 percent of coalition casualties are now caused by green on blue violence. The rising pace of the attacks has raised alarms from the warfront to Washington. Gen. Zinni says there needs to be better screening of Afghan soldiers.

"In order to solve this problem, several things have to happen. One, there has to be better vetting of the people that are there, and that's an Afghan responsibility with us overseeing it. Secondly, is to increase our security in these places," Gen. Zinni said.

And the changes need to come soon: just this year alone, more than 50 U.S. and NATO troops have been killed by green on blue attacks.

Among them, Spc. Brittany Gordon, who is the first female soldier from the Tampa Bay area killed in action, in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

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