Thank You, Karma

The Gateway Pundit is reporting an interesting incident in Afghanistan today.

The source of the story is a website reported, via Religion of Peace:

A Taliban vehicle hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by the fighters of the own group in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, leaving at least eleven militants of the group dead or wounded.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army in the East said the incident took in the vicinity of Sherzad district.

The source further added that several Taliban insurgents were travelling in a pickup vehicle when it run over an IED already planted by the insurgents, leaving four of them dead and five others wounded.

In the meantime, the provincial government media office in a statement said at least three Taliban insurgents were killed during a clash with the security force in Khogyani district.

I have no comment.



The New York Times Finally Gets Around To This Story

On August 19th, I posted a story about one consequence of American policy in Afghanistan. The American policy is to ignore the practice of pedophelia that is common among Afghani men. The New York Times is finally telling the story in an article posted today.

The article details some of the aspects of the death of Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr.:

The father of Lance Corporal Buckley believes the policy of looking away from sexual abuse was a factor in his son’s death, and he has filed a lawsuit to press the Marine Corps for more information about it.

Lance Corporal Buckley and two other Marines were killed in 2012 by one of a large entourage of boys living at their base with an Afghan police commander named Sarwar Jan.

Mr. Jan had long had a bad reputation; in 2010, two Marine officers managed to persuade the Afghan authorities to arrest him following a litany of abuses, including corruption, support for the Taliban and child abduction. But just two years later, the police commander was back with a different unit, working at Lance Corporal Buckley’s post, Forward Operating Base Delhi, in Helmand Province.

Lance Corporal Buckley had noticed that a large entourage of “tea boys” — domestic servants who are sometimes pressed into sexual slavery — had arrived with Mr. Jan and moved into the same barracks, one floor below the Marines. He told his father about it during his final call home.

The article reports Lance Corporal Buckley’s final call home:

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

…When asked about American military policy, the spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, wrote in an email: “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.” He added that “there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.” An exception, he said, is when rape is being used as a weapon of war.

We are supporting people in Afghanistan who are as evil as the Taliban. I think it is time to either uphold basic morality and do what we can to change the culture in regard to child sexual abuse or get out. I really don’t see how anyone with a conscience can look the other way when this behavior is going on.

The Border Is Not Our Only Weakness UPDATED

ABC News reported yesterday that three Afghan military officers who were in the United States for a joint military mission have disappeared on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The article reports:

They arrived in the country on Sept. 11, and were reported missing by base security personnel late Saturday. They were last seen at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, Mass.

A Centcom official told ABC News there is no indication that the Afghan men reported missing pose any threat to the public. Officials said all the Afghan military personnel were fully vetted before they arrived

Base and local police and state authorities are working together to locate the three Afghans. There are still approximately a dozen Afghan soldiers still participating in the exercise, which ends Sep. 24th.

…Just last weekend, two Afghan policemen in the Washington, D.C., for a DEA training program at Quantico, Va., also went missing while on a sightseeing trip to Georgetown.

The two men, who were part of a group of 31 Afghan police officers in the U.S. for the multi-week program, were found safe somewhere outside of D.C., but officials would not say exactly where, ABC affiliate WJLA-TV reported.

According to WJLA-TV, the DEA said the two men left the group because they did not want to go back to Afghanistan.

The term ‘green on blue violence’ is used to describe attacks on our soldiers in Afghanistan by people our military is training to defend the country. The fact that this phenomena has a name is an indication that these attacks are not isolated events. So why are we inviting Afghans to America when there are trust issues with Afghani forces? This makes no sense.


WCVB is reporting that that the three Afghani officers have been found.

The article reports:

The three missing Afghani soldiers who went missing during a training exercise at a Cape Cod military base this weekend have been found, a high-level law enforcement source tells Team 5.

…The source tells Team 5’s Karen Anderson the men were taken into custody at the Rainbow Bridge Canadian/US border crossing near Niagara Falls on Monday.

They were identified as Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar.

“They were here for a multi-national military exercise which had been scheduled for a long time. They have been here for a couple of weeks. There’s a lot of speculation that within the military they maybe be trying to defect,” Deval Patrick said.


This Really Bothers Me

I have supported the war in Afghanistan. I believed that we needed to go in and clean out the Taliban and Al Qaeda. I am disappointed that we have not been willing to commit the manpower to do so and that the rules of engagement have prevented us from doing so. I am now at the point where I think the only time we should send our military anywhere is when we arm them to the teeth and tell them to take no hostages. Well, I really must be in the minority on that one.

The UK Telegraph reported today that American soldiers were barred from bringing guns into a talk given by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The article reports:

Around 200 troops who had gathered in a tent at Camp Leatherneck were told “something had come to light” and asked abruptly to file outside and lay down their automatic rifles and 9mm pistols.

“Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy – we just adjust,” said the sergeant who was told to clear the hall of weapons.

Major General Mark Gurganus later said he gave the order because Afghan troops attending the talk were unarmed and he wanted the policy to be consistent for all.

This is just not smart. What would have happened if there had been an attack on the base at that particular moment? Now we are sending our soldiers into harm’s way and taking their guns away. Whoever made that decision should immediately be relieved of his command.

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Some Comments From Someone Who Is There

This entry was posted on Power Line on November 9. I delayed in posting it because I was waiting for permission from the writer. I am posting a small amount of what he said, please follow the above link to read the rest.

Pete Hegseth, founder of Vets For Freedom, is now posted to Afghanistan, where he is training Afghans as well as American and coalition troops. His reports on the situation there are as knowledgeable as any you can find. Here is his latest dispatch, hot off the press:

Pakistan. With haven across the border, the insurgency is literally able to regenerate itself faster than we can degrade it. Likewise, conditions have not yet been made inhospitable for insurgents in either Afghanistan or Pakistan, so insurgents flow back and forth. Insurgent leadership operates openly in many parts of Pakistan, training, equipping, and indoctrinating young fighters to join the so-called “jihad.” Insurgent safe haven in, and support from, Pakistan is the single largest inhibitor to success and stability in Afghanistan.

Afghan Government. As I noted in previous emails, few Afghans view the administration of President Karzai favorably—undermining the national government’s ability to be seen as legitimate. More damningly, the government’s ability to project positive influence to the local level remains minimal. Basic local governmental functions—such as dispute resolution, swift justice, good education, and land management—are going unmet, providing a tailor-made opportunity for the Taliban to fill the void.

Taliban. Speaking of the Taliban, they have proven to be a very resilient, adaptive, and ideologically dedicated bunch. They’re not giants, and not liked by most Afghans. But their militants—along with regional shadow governments—remain potent and influential. The way I see it, the Taliban wouldn’t kill the head of the “High Peace Council” unless they felt fairly confident they don’t need to negotiate with the Coalition or Afghan government. We’re killing lots of them, but they still believe time, history, and God is on their side.

Timeline. The perception of our pending exit looms ever larger, marginalizing our influence by the day. Afghans are already starting to look through, and past, the Coalition (e.g. Karzai saying he’d side with Pakistan if they went to war with us) and hoarding supplies, weapons, and equipment for whatever is coming next (i.e. “gettin’ while the gettin’s good).

Population Response. The people (especially non-Pashtuns) don’t like the Taliban and don’t want them to come back. But, at the same time, they’re quietly terrified that the Taliban’s return is inevitable (and arming themselves accordingly). I’ve yet to meet a single Afghan who believes the situation here will improve once we leave. My orbit is admittedly limited, but I regularly speak with Coalition and Afghan elements from across the country—mostly mid-to-low-level folks—and the answer is universally the same. Similarly, while impressive tactical gains have been made throughout the South, there is limited evidence that the population in those areas have truly shifted their longer-term allegiance to the Afghan government or security forces.

Coalition Warfare. 49 nations are involved in the Coalition—but only a handful contributes on a meaningful scale. This is not to indict the soldiers from the other 40+ countries—most would love to contribute more. Yet, national (political) caveats limit their locations, missions, and activities. These nations therefore become more of a hindrance than an asset; consuming time, energy, and resources that could be spent more effectively. This fact is the worst kept secret in Kabul.

Afghan Capabilities. The lack of education and level of ignorance in Afghanistan is staggering. Literally, only 1 in 10 men who join the Afghan National Army can write his own name, and only slightly more can count. Similarly, the origins of our effort here is an enigma to many Afghans. September 11th is burned in our brains, but is largely unknown to Afghans outside of large cities. That said, Afghans are not dumb—they are savvy, resourceful, and generous people. But they are also prone to conspiracy theories, propaganda, and rumors. It’s no wonder the Taliban are so effective in using local communications mechanisms to shape the narrative—portraying the war as imperial aggression rather than self-defense and support for democratic governance.

Afghan Security Force Viability. In previous emails I’ve discussed this topic in the context of funding and force size. Those critiques remain. However, time has increased my concern about the long-term viability of the force. At a recent press conference, Afghan security forces acknowledged that “their goal is to no longer defeat the insurgency, but to create capable security forces.” Similarly, there is a great deal of doubt—especially at the soldier level where new Afghan combat outposts are being established—whether Afghans will maintain the initiative or just abandon contentious postings when we leave.

Similarly, the lack of Afghan urgency is readily on display at our center. At the end of a recent partnered class (meaning both Coalition and Afghan), and following a robust and engaging discussion on insurgent groups, the hand of an Afghan student shot up. I called on him. He spoke and the interpreter translated—looking very embarrassed. Sheepishly the interpreter said, “he [the Afghan soldier] wants to know when he can go home [for the day].” It was 2:00pm.

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