NBC News reports this morning that U.S. officials say two American service members were killed and as many as 8 to 10 were seriously wounded in what appears to be a so-called “green on blue” attack in Afghanistan. An ISAF Senior Official tells NBC that the incident occurred when a gunman wearing an Afghan Security Forces uniform opened fire during a meeting at a special operations outpost in eastern Wardak province. Officials say today’s deaths mark the first time Americans have been killed by enemy contact in the country in more than 2 months, and are so far classifying it as a “terrorist” attack because they believe it was carried out by a member of the Afghan Local Police or an insurgent posing as ALP. The Taliban is also now claiming responsibility for the killings. The violence comes as Chuck Hagel returns Monday from his first trip to Afghanistan as Defense Secretary. The American-Afghan relationship grew more strained over the weekend when President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of holding talks and colluding with the Taliban to undermine stability in the war-torn nation. Speaking Sunday, the Afghan President also said a pair of Taliban bombings over the weekend were “in service of America,” suggesting the violence was aimed at convincing the Afghan people that international forces were needed beyond their 2014 withdrawal deadline. Hagel denied the allegations, but the implication is clear: relations with the Afghan government are deteriorating. Among the recent evidence: The U.S. is again delaying the transfer of control of Bagram Prison over to Afghan forces. But the Obama Administration has an additional laundry list of foreign policy and national security concerns, both directly and indirectly related to Afghanistan. Last week the debate over the White House’s drone program heated up following Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster. And now there is word that the Air Force has stopped reporting data on Afghan drone strikes. This is all not to mention the continued discussion and conflict over the future of the prison at Guantánamo Bay. Some lawmakers are criticizing the recent decision to hold the trial of Osama bin Laden son-in-law and former Al Qaeda spokesman Abu Ghaith in New York City. While the trial raises many concerns, including security, evidence shows that only seven of the detainees held at Gitmo have been convicted by military tribunals at the base. So how is the government juggling these different, yet connected, national security issues? We’ll try to answer that and more when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
Rick Hertzberg, Staff Writer, The New Yorker (@RickHertzberg)
Tommy Vietor, Fmr. NSC Spokesman/ Partner/Cofounder of Fenway Strategies (@tvietor08)
Leigh Gallagher, Assisting Managing Editor, Fortune (@leighgallagher)
Wes Moore, U.S. Army Captain (RET.)/ Author, “The Other Wes Moore” (@wesmoore1)
Taiye Selasi, Author, Ghana Must Go (@taiyeselasi)
Claudio Lavanga, NBC News from Rome