Allen Not Prepared to Scale Back Security Cooperation

Despite the sharp uptick in “green-on-blue” violence in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the top US and coalition commander there, isn’t recommending scaling back the coalition’s training and advising activities. “At this particular moment, I don’t believe that we need to contemplate reducing our contact with the Afghans,” he said on Aug. 23 during a videoconference with Pentagon reporters from his Kabul headquarters. These incidents involve Afghan security personnel turning their weapons on coalition troops without provocation. Allen said his command is “putting greater emphasis” on ensuring that coalition personnel are undertaking the proper protective measures. For example, he recently authorized all coalition personnel to carry a loaded magazine with their service weapon while on base. However, he stressed that relationship building is at the core of the coalition’s training and advising missions. “What we have learned is that the closer the relationship” with Afghan forces, “the more we can foster a relationship of brotherhood, the more secure that we are,” he said. There are tens of thousands of daily interactions between coalition troops and Afghan forces fostering a “growing friendship and a deeper relationship,” he said. (Allen transcript)