WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday he is watching developments in Afghanistan "with deep concern" but predicted fewer casualties in the future.
Obama was asked for his reaction to the spate of so-called green-on-blue attacks -- Afghan soldiers and police or terrorists dressed in their uniforms attacking NATO forces.
Obama said he consulted Monday with Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, who is in Afghanistan to meet with Gen. John Allen and his Afghan counterparts, and plans to talk with Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well "because we've got to make sure that we're on top of this."
"Obviously we've been watching with deep concern these so-called green-on-blue attacks, where you have Afghan individuals, some of whom are actually enrolled in the Afghan military, some in some cases dressing up as Afghan military or police, attacking coalition forces, including our own troops," Obama said.
"We are already doing a range of things, and we're seeing some success when it comes to better counterintelligence, making sure that the vetting process for Afghan troops is stronger. And we've got what's called the Guardian Angel program, to make sure that our troops aren't in isolated situations that might make them more vulnerable. But obviously we're going to have to do more, because there has been an uptick over the last 12 months on this. ...
"In the long term, we will see fewer U.S. casualties and coalition casualties by sticking to our transition plan and making sure that we've got the most effective Afghan security force possible. But we've got to do it in a way that doesn't leave our guys vulnerable."