All calm again in Afghanistan

| March 5, 2012 | 16 Comments

Since this is a milblog, of sorts, I guess I have a duty to report on the situation in Afghanistan after the dust up over the Korans that were intentionally defaced by detainees by passing extremist messages written on the pages in a detention facility in Bagram, and then the holy volumes were mistakenly taken to a burn pit to be destroyed by some Joes doing what they were told.

Anyway, our man on the scene in Kabul says that he was all over the capitol yesterday and it seems that things have returned to normal over there. Whatever normal happened to be before the riots last week. I suppose that means that the ANA and police aren’t killing civilians who are protesting by throwing grenades over the fence at Americans. But it’s still your normal, standard, run-of-the-mill shithole. Just less noisy.

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor wonders if Afghanistan was “worth it”. And in Australia, The West calls the Australian mission to Afghanistan “a failure”.

Category: Terror War

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  1. Hondo says:

    Interesting. Normal to rioting and back to normal in around a week.

    I’m beginning to wonder if it’s possible that the “Koran burning” incident was facilitated or staged by an agent provocateur.

  2. Hondo says:

    Clarification: no, I’m not referring to any of the US troops involved when I speak of a possible agent provocateur.

  3. SgtJim says:

    yep, back to normal:

    some minutes ago:

    Suicide bomber struck #3 gate of Bagram Airbase killed two kids, wounded 2 U.S soldiers & two Afghan workers

    btw, yes, it is good the ANA/ANP/AUP not killing any civilians

  4. Bah Bodenkurk says:

    Hondo, what’s agent provocateur? I’ve never heard of that.

    I thought some of the killings of U.S. troops were done by some ANA?

  5. NHSparky says:

    Glad that Obumbles calmed things down. How’s he doing on that lowering the sea level and “saving or creating” eleventy bajillion jobs these days?

    I’d bitch about the $3.75/gal gas, but I didn’t have to burn any to get to work today, since I got one of my rare vacation days–that’s so I can go to work over the weekends and not bust out on our wonderful “fatigue rules” the NRC decided would work so wonderfully–and I’m working more than ever.

    November can’t get here fast enough.

  6. Hondo says:

    Bah Bodenkurk: the Wikipedia explanation in this case is accurate: “An agent provocateur is a person employed to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal or rash act.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_provocateur_%28disambiguation%29

  7. Bah Bodenkurk says:

    Wikipedia, I dunno coach. Thanks for the info, though.

    Anyone know if I’m right or wrong about the ANA killing some of our guys? I remember several distinct instances when they shot at us when I was in Afganiland. One time it was over a dog.

  8. Hondo says:

    Bah Bodenkurk: suit yourself. Google it yourself if you don’t like that definition. You’ll find a shitload. They all boil down to essentially the same thing.

    And yes, ANA (or individuals posing as ANA) have killed US personel on numerous occasions since May 2007. Google the phrase “Attacks By Afghans On US Troops Often Personal” for a decent summary published last month.

  9. Nichevo says:

    There has been an exponential increase in Green on Blue attacks. This increase has coincided with an effort to dramatically increase the size of the ANA, ANP, ANCOP, etc. trying to build the security apparatus of a modern state without the tools available to one means that infiltration is a real concern. The ANA is taking steps to address this but, it will take time. The article Hondo cites is spot on. While infiltration is a major concern, the personal aspects of most attacks, (which the Taliban, Haqqani, etc take credit for even if they had nothing to do with it), can’t be overlooked.
    Working as an advisor within a completely different culture is difficult and it is not something every person in uniform is good at. NATO as a whole needs to consider the personalities, characteristics, and backgrounds of the personnel it assigns to advisory missions.

  10. Cedo Alteram says:

    #1″I’m beginning to wonder if it’s possible that the “Koran burning” incident was facilitated or staged by an agent provocateur.” I see no evidence of such. Just the enemy’s various networks in Kabul and a few larger towns, masking/justifing their actions.

    #9″There has been an exponential increase in Green on Blue attacks. This increase has coincided with an effort to dramatically increase the size of the ANA, ANP, ANCOP, etc. trying to build the security apparatus of a modern state without the tools available to one means that infiltration is a real concern.” This point is correct but I’d add one more. That is the quality of the population at large just can’t sustain such a sized force and never could. We should be concentrating on a small quality force with good recruits. Then we could augment such a force if nesssary with local police or on a micro level temporary militia.

    “The ANA is taking steps to address this but, it will take time.” Thanks to Obama that is something we can’t hope for and why more then any other reason this enterprise will most likely fail.

  11. Nichevo says:

    Cedo,
    Good points. As to the quality of the personnel available to the army, it’s something we have frequently discussed among my team. Much props on the screen name, didn’t expect to be reminded of Tacitus while reading a blog.

  12. Hondo says:

    Cedo: I’m not offering that as a definitive explanation; I merely said I wondered if it was possible. I don’t see any evidence that that occurred either, and the simple explanation (human error) is probably correct.

    However, the Taliban and their allies reportedly operate among civilians, apparently using them as shields, then blame any civilian casualties on US and Allied forces. So I wouldn’t categorically rule out the possibility at this point either. All it would take is for them to convince or coerce someone working “inside the wire” to work for them as well. Hopefully the complete investigation report is both definitive and made public when completed.

    Even if that didn’t happen here – and my guess is it probably didn’t – we probably need to be vigilant against same. Manufactured incidents can have propaganda value too.

  13. Cedo Alteram says:

    #11
    A)”As to the quality of the personnel available to the army, it’s something we have frequently discussed among my team.” Out of curiosity, what do you mean by team?

    B)”Much props on the screen name, didn’t expect to be reminded of Tacitus while reading a blog.” Thanks, been posting more then a year or so with it. A few months ago I actually got into a running comment feud partly about it.

    #12″I don’t see any evidence that that occurred either, and the simple explanation (human error) is probably correct.” K’ then we agree.

    “However, the Taliban and their allies reportedly operate among civilians, apparently using them as shields, then blame any civilian casualties on US and Allied forces. So I wouldn’t categorically rule out the possibility at this point either.” It’s not reported, they do do this. That is the nature of insurgency. To hide amongst the population, making it hard to be eliminated by death or arrest. The insurgent tries to bait the security forces to overreact and take out their frustration on the civilian population, hopefully turning them towards the insurgents.

    “All it would take is for them to convince or coerce someone working “inside the wire” to work for them as well. Hopefully the complete investigation report is both definitive and made public when completed.” They have had some success doing this already. I think a recent and added reason is that people are starting to believe that our enemies are going to win. Why not side with the percieved future victors? The terrorist events over the last two or so years, aren’t about taking over Kabul but embarrassing the government, destroying its credibilty. A key tactical component in any insurgency movement.

    “Manufactured incidents can have propaganda value too.” I don’t think that this was likely engineered so much as exploited by our enemies. Though they have in the past manufactured events, remember the Koran flushing/toilet incident a few years ago? It’s a political war, their ultimate objective is to discredit the government. Military objectives are only one part of that end.

  14. Nichevo says:

    By team, I mean the team I am here with. We are embedded with an ANA Kandak, (battalion) as mentors. Right now the term used is OMLT (Operational Mentor and Liaison Team) but that will soon change to MAT (Military Advisory Team.)

  15. Cedo Alteram says:

    #14 Ah okay. Good luck, pray nothing befalls you and you make it back alright.

  16. Cedo Alteram says:

    Maybe when your finished we could hear of some of your observations.

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