US Troops at Greater Risk Under New Afghanistan Approach

Troops Are Getting Embedded Closer to the Front Lines

Though US troops are nominally “advisers” in Afghanistan, the new approach, with its substantial escalation of the war, is expected to be dramatically more dangerous for rank-and-file troops being deployed, and likely to lead to an increase in casualties.

Lt. Gen. McKenzie

That’s because the “adviser” label is applied no matter where the troops are deployed or what they’re doing, and in the new Afghan escalation, many of those US troops are being embedded more deeply than ever before.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie confirmed that the military’s view is that the troops are being put into increased danger, warning that casualties are likely to result.

Advisory embedding at higher levels of the Afghan military has been common, but these moves rarely put US troops out anywhere near combat situations. The new strategy is likely to put many of them right on the front lines with the Afghan military.

This is a problematic situation, because not only does it risk casualties for US troops engaged in combat, but close proximity to Afghan combat troops has, historically, led to a substantial increase in insider attacks killing and wounding US troops as well.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.