Retired General reacts to Afghan soldier’s surprise attack - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Retired General reacts to Afghan soldier’s surprise attack

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Retired general Sam Wetzel says there's no part of Afghanistan where an American soldier can feel safe. Even when training the local people to defend themselves, the risk of a green on blue attack is ever present.

The phrase 'green on blue' is based on standardized military symbols used to represent armies on a map. Friendly forces are blue, enemies are red, and green are supposed to be neutral. Today's news is big talk because of the victim's rank, but General Wetzel says this is not a new problem.

"A lot of our other soldiers- NCO's and officers -have been hit by these guys disguised as Afghan soldiers," says retired Lt. Gen. Sam Wetzel of the U.S. Army.

The man was wearing an Afghan soldier's uniform and he went through the necessary background checks to get training, but the general calls anyone who engages in this type of unscripted behavior a terrorist.  General Wetzel remembers terrorist attacks in so-called allied countries dating back to the Cold War. He learned that he was close to being assassinated himself when some Red Army Faction terrorists were captured in Germany.

"They found my picture and a sketch of how to get into the Abrams Building, right down to room 120 where General Wetzel's office is. That was in June of 1984," Wetzel continues.

Wetzel doesn't envision there will be any policy changes resulting from this incident.  He stresses the importance of not giving up in the face of challenges.

"The training has got to go on, to make sure they're completely able to take care of their own country once we leave.  Personally, I don't think we should ever completely abandon Afghanistan," says Wetzel.

Right now, President Obama's plan is to gradually withdraw troops from Afghanistan until there are none left by the end of 2016.

As the general pointed out, anytime the army is in a foreign country attempting to train a populace to defend itself, there is no way around the risk that one of those people in training could secretly be a terrorist.  He adds that a similar situation could unfold right here at home too.

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