By Carlo Muñoz - 09/24/12 06:46 PM EDT
The two "known insider attack facilitators" plotted to set off several improvised bombs inside the coalition outpost in the strike, coalition spokesman Army Maj. Adam Wojack told The Washington Times.
Earlier this month, Gen. John Allen, head of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, ordered a stop to all Afghan training missions and a reduction in joint Afghan-coalition operations due to the increased threat of insider attacks.
The spike in attacks has prompted defense hawks in Congress, including Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq McCain comments won't derail Bergdahl case Senators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), to suggest accelerating the American withdrawal ahead of the White House-mandated 2014 deadline.
In the run-up to the Logar strike, which Wojack said was in the "advanced stages" of planning before the special operations team made its arrests, the two militants were in the midst of recruiting members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and working their way into the ANSF ranks.
“After lengthy periods of surveillance, we made the determination of what their intentions were,” he told the Times. “To prevent this, Afghan and coalition forces conducted a strike to detain them and were successful.”
Wojack could not confirm whether the two men were working under orders from the Taliban or other violent extremist groups such as the Haqqani Network operating in the country.
News of the thwarted attack comes as American and NATO commanders have been attempting to stem the rise in insider attacks by Afghan nationals against coalition troops.
Coalition forces have been "looking really hard" at whether the recent spike in insider attacks against coalition forces can be tied to Taliban double agents working within the Afghan security forces, according to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations Australian Brig. Gen. Roger Noble.
Noble, who briefed reporters on the status of ISAF efforts to quell the insider threat last Wednesday, said the recent spate of insider attacks falls in line with the Taliban's increasing reliance on "extreme tactics" to combat coalition forces in the country.
During the briefing, Noble noted that none of the coalition efforts in place on bases across the country have stopped an insider attack from happening.
Those efforts, including the Army's "Guardian Angel" program --in which U.S. soldiers stand watch over coalition trainers as they work with Afghan troops -- have "ended the attack" by killing the assailant, Noble said.
Until Monday, no insider attack had been prevented before American or NATO troops were injured or killed.
To date, 51 coalition soldiers have died at the hands of rogue recruits to the ANSF or Taliban infiltrators in the country's security forces.
Most recently, Taliban fighters disguised as U.S. Army soldiers launched a deadly attack against Camp Bastion in Southern Afghanistan.
Two U.S. Marines were killed and six American Harrier jets were destroyed during the raid on the United Kingdom's largest military facility in Southern Afghanistan.