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Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:29PM
Press TV interviews Michael Maloof, former Pentagon official

Press TV interviews Michael Maloof, former Pentagon official

This, I think, has emboldened the Afghan Taliban to launch further attacks, then train their weapons on US troops. I think they feel emboldened by the fact that the Karzai government is hurting."
US President Barack Obama says Washington is watching with "deep concern" a hike in the so-called “green-on-blue attacks” on US troops in Afghanistan. The number of insider attacks or the green-on-blue attacks, in which Afghan security forces turn their weapons against foreign forces occupying their country, has increased in 2012. At least 40 US-led soldiers have been killed in such attacks so far this year. The US president stated that “we have been watching with deep concern the so-called green-on-blue attacks where you have Afghan individuals, some of whom are actually enrolled in the Afghan military and in some cases dressing up as Afghan military or police, attacking the coalition's, including our own troops." Insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan, despite the presence of about 130,000 US-led forces in the country. Press TV has conducted an interview with Michael Maloof, former Pentagon official from Washington, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview. Press TV: Martin Dempsey has visited Afghanistan. John Allen also spoke with President Hamid Karzai in recent days, if I’m correct. Can you tell me how worried are Americans about this rising trend of so-called ‘green on blue’ attacks? Maloof: I think they’re very worried about it and it’s going to increasingly become a problem for two reasons. Number one, the Pakistani ISI, or the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, recently issued a fatwa to get all of the terrorist members including the Afghan Taliban to actually attack more of the US troops and also to go against the Karzai government. This, I think, has emboldened the Afghan Taliban to launch further attacks, then train their weapons on US troops. I think they feel emboldened by the fact that the Karzai government is hurting. There have actually been made comments by tribal leaders in Afghanistan that the Karzai government is so corrupt that it’s really a product of the West, and needs to be taken out. I think they feel very encouraged now. And with the US troop drawdown in 2014, they will be gone but the Taliban will remain. They then feel that they can then overthrow the Karzai government. I think that from a US perspective, the concern is very real not only against US troops immediately but also the potential for what it has for the government that it supports in Afghanistan. Press TV: Martin Dempsey has mentioned a proposed vetting procedure for Afghan forces but what about a vetting process for US-led forces and NATO-led forces? Of course, we can’t forget the issue of the urination on dead Afghans, the issue of the Qur’an desecration at the Bagram Airbase. And of course, there are also other issues that top the list of worries in Afghanistan, one of them being the issue of night raids on Afghan households. Is vetting Afghan security forces really the biggest of the troubles right now in Afghanistan? Maloof: I think that the measures that Dempsey might be proposing or has proposed may be too little, too late. One of the proposals, of course, is that the US troops and NATO forces are now armed at all times. You can’t undo what has occurred particularly the desecration of the Qur’an, the killing of women and children, and dealing with a very corrupt regime of the Karzai regime. There has to be a top to bottom effort by Karzai himself to clean his government. He’s been told continually to do so. I think Dempsey wants Karzai to send out an issue, this directive from the top to the bottom, for this activity to stop. I think it’s not going to occur. I will say that if it does occur, it won’t be heated because the Taliban feel that they are in a better position now against the Karzai government. Press TV: Let’s talk about the broader implications and indications of these ‘green on blue’ attacks. Do you think that what’s going on against the US-led forces is maybe another outlet, so to say, of the manifestation of the anti-American sentiment and the anti-occupation sentiments that Afghans have had over the past decade? Maloof: I certainly feel that that’s the case with the Taliban. They have gained in strength even though they were totally decimated after the October 2001 attack by the United States on Afghanistan. But then they came back. I think that’s the feeling among the Taliban that they will always be around and that they will succeed. Now, the Taliban, as far as I say, is a creation of Pakistan. Pakistan used the Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, as a proxy of itself to actually replace the Karzai government. You’re talking a geo-strategic standpoint right now, that from that standpoint, Pakistan feels that Karzai is a creation of the West and that it has to go. And that in order for Pakistan to extend that it believes to be its traditional influence in Afghanistan, that it needs to be able to rid itself of a Western created government. Press TV: Do you think that anybody who is against the US or US-led occupation in Afghanistan is to be considered as a member of the Taliban? Maloof: Well, they’re making new Taliban members all the time every time they desecrate the Qur’an or kill women and children or shoot drones in; they’re creating new recruits for the Taliban. I wouldn’t say that all are members of Taliban but there certainly is an anti-American resentment or, I should say, actually an anti-Western resentment. I think that you’re going to probably see a parallel to what happened after the British left Afghanistan following, and also the US forces, after the Russians left Afghanistan ,and if the rest just clears out. They’ll probably all get back to an internal fighting and bickering again, and possible civil war. If Pakistan has its way, I think it’s probably going to help create more of a government that’s oriented towards its direction. I think Iran is also going to play a big part. It’s probably something that Iran and Pakistan will actually cooperate on in ultimately replacing the Karzai government and certainly to minimize the influence of the Taliban so that both countries can continue to exercise their historical sphere of influence in that country. GMA/JR
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