27 April 2011

With friends like these...

The Taliban like to make claims.  They take responsibility for probably more events than they actually have any hand in executing.  Sadly, there is no way to actively disprove these claims, so they go unanswered.  The operations in Afghanistan have continued to evolve to the point where I am sure ISAF forces are now beginning to look over their shoulder at their "partners".  A recent event occurred where a senior, 50 year old Afghan pilot decided to start shooting and killed nine people before being slain.  This event, other news agencies report, stemmed from an argument. 
Frankly, my response is WTF?  If one of my Afghan "partners" were to make a move towards their sidearm, I would be drawing, firing and thinking about how fast I could load my next magazine.   
Seriously, the anachronistic Taliban and the psychotic Al Qaeda are an anathema to modern society.  Their ridiculous beliefs (and mind you, I find all religious beliefs ridiculous ) are indefensible, contrary to a modern interdependent society and just plain wrong.  The uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Syria and Tunisia reflect a desire by the population for MORE openness and less oppression - whether from a dictator or an imam.  In Egypt the democratic youth behind much of the uprising are wrestling with the potential risks of alliances with the Muslim Brotherhood. 
There are clear lines denoting right and wrong. 
The beliefs and actions of these people are clearly wrong.  Why we have not simply retreated to a safe distance and exterminated every single one of them through whatever most efficient means possible - mind you I am just plain pissed off here - is a testament as to how much we value being on the right side of the line.

Shooting Incident in Kabul Leaves 9 Dead
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 11:27:00 -0500

Shooting Incident in Kabul Leaves 9 Dead

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2011 - Eight International Security Assistance Force service members and an ISAF civilian died today following a shooting incident in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, military officials reported.

ISAF Joint Command officials provided no other details, citing an ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

In other news from Afghanistan:

Coalition forces killed at least 10 armed insurgents during operations yesterday along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.

Troops used artillery fire after receiving reports that a group of armed insurgents planned to attack their patrol. Several insurgents were killed in the engagement, officials said.

The same patrol later came under attack by another group of armed insurgents. Troops returned fire, killing several more enemy fighters. An air weapons team providing overwatch security for the patrol launched a third engagement after seeing three more armed insurgents maneuvering into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Two were injured and one was wounded, officials said.

In other operations yesterday:

-- Afghan and coalition forces in Khost province's Sabari district captured several suspected insurgents, including the senior Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin leader responsible for all operations in the province.

-- Security forces detained a Taliban leader and several of his suspected associates allegedly responsible for launching attacks on troops in Kandahar province's Dand district.

-- In Helmand province's Sangin district, troops captured three suspected insurgents, including a Taliban weapons trafficker responsible for supplying enemy fighters with money, explosives and munitions.

-- Forces detained two suspected insurgents, including a Taliban leader responsible for coordinating and carrying out attacks on security forces in Nangarhar province's Sherzad district.

-- Security forces found several weapons and drug stockpiles throughout Afghanistan. The operations resulted in seizure of 1 million Afghan afghanis, which is the equivalent of $23,264, more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana, 2,250 assault-rifle rounds, 90 hand grenades, 60 rocket-propelled grenade boosters, 13 82 mm mortar shells, two automatic machine guns, an assault rifle and antiaircraft ammunitions.

Related Sites:
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18 April 2011

Bing West, Critic of Afghan War...

Bing West is one of my favorite military authors, a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam, Assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan, his book The Strongest Tribe, was a company level view of operations in Iraq with observations made form the front line. Like another of my favorite writers, Michael Yon, West gets in with the troops and pays attention. An exceptional scholar and student of history, his latest work on Afghanistan is sobering.

The United States has arrived essentially victorious over the Taliban in Afghanistan. The challenge remains as to "now what". The United States military is the defacto government, providing security, infrastructure and some stability to a nation which has been little more than a collection of tribal regions.

West argues that there is no end game for Afghanistan and we should stick to hunting down and killing Al Queada and Taliban rather than propping up a corrupt government. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan had little governement prior to the war and little in the way of institutions. The only reason it constituted a threat was its ability to harbor large groups of terrorist training camps and a permeable border with Pakistan, not to mention its prime position adjacent to Iran.

Bing West, Critic of Afghan War, Takes Issue With Pentagon - NYTimes.com