Tags: Afghanistan | America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | War on Terrorism | Derek Harvey | insider | attacks

Col. Harvey: Insider Attacks Constant Risk in 'Volatile' Afghanistan

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 12:00 PM

The threat of insider attacks will be a constant for as long as the United States remains in Afghanistan, says retired Army Col. Derek Harvey.

"The Afghan government, the ministry of interior and the ministry of defense have worked real hard to do screening and to make sure that they have procedures in place," Harvey said Wednesday during an appearance on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"But the situation there is very volatile, and it takes one or two people on occasion to strike out," he said.

"The challenge here is you have to be on guard, aware of your surroundings, and the personal security team has to be prepared. It's a problem that we have there because of the nature of the environment."

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An Afghan dressed in a military uniform killed an American soldier and wounded at least two others when gunfire broke out Wednesday after a U.S. Embassy delegation’s visit to eastern Afghanistan, according to The Washington Post.

U.S. soldiers killed the assailant in a shootout. Citing officials, the Post reports that one Afghan soldier also was killed and two others wounded in the attack. There are conflicting reports about whether the assailant was a member of the Afghan army or an insurgent disguised as one.

Jalalabad, the location of the attack, is situated in the eastern part of Afghanistan in what Harvey described as a "bowl surrounded by mountains."

"It's an area that's been heavily influenced by the Kahani groups and others over the years," Harvey said. "It’s about the region, but the valley itself and the government there is fairly capable and supportive.

"It takes one or two, that's all it takes for them to persuade or motivate someone to take an active violence against a U.S. member, a coalition member," he said, adding, "They also strike out at the government officials there."

Stopping the threat of insider attacks is a tricky thing, Harvey says.

Officials have "done just about everything they can and still maintain a level of engagement that is needed in order to continue to build governance, political outreach and partnership with the Afghan security forces. It's going to be a risky environment for the near term."

It’s important to maintain good counter-intelligence and continually re-evaluate people, he said.

"You need to ... have reporting going on from inside the chain of command about people that might be behaving strangely," said Harvey. "Usually someone has gone home and been convinced or motivated by something" and returns radicalized.

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The threat of insider attacks will be a constant for as long as the United States remains in Afghanistan, says retired Army Col. Derek Harvey.
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