In the Arena

This Just Doesn’t Happen

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Eight CIA officers killed by a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform near Khost? Stunning. The CIA operators, especially those operating in the border areas, are usually, well, covert. This is an amazing breach of security…and the real concern is this one:

The use of an official army uniform could mean any one of three things: that the raid was carried out by the Taliban and the bomber was using a stolen uniform; that he was an army officer assigned to the base who had snapped; or that the Afghan National Army ranks are infiltrated by insurgents. The third possibility would be the most serious concern because it indicates a potentially more pervasive problem.

It’s an especially important concern given the fact that we’re trying to train hundreds of thousands of Afghans for the security forces–and, given the pressure to produce numbers, perhaps not being as vigilant as we should be about who’s being trained and armed. The mission in Afghanistan, always a longshot to succeed (albeit, I believe, a worthy one) just got a lot harder.