AS IF our troops in Afghanistan don’t have enough to contend with:
U.S. troops fear for safety after tense transfer
Prison, inmates in Afghan control
September 10, 2012
The U.S. military on Monday turned over its main battlefield prison and about 3,000 inmates to the Afghan government amid fears that the regime may release hundreds of Taliban insurgents who pose a danger to American troops.
The prison is being transferred amid a spike in insider, or “green-on-blue,” attacks in which Afghan police officers or soldiers turn their weapons on their international trainers. The U.S. military command in Afghanistan has moved to shore up a flawed screening process that has allowed Taliban sympathizers to serve alongside Americans.
“We have a serious trust problem with the Afghan security forces, as evidenced by the escalating ‘green on blue’ shootings,” said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and an Army contractor. “Turn[ing] over Afghan prison keys to these same people will only make matters worse and cost more American lives.”
“Now, the Bagram prison is converted to one of Afghanistan’s regular prisons, where the innocents will be freed and the rest of the prisoners will be sentenced according to the laws of Afghanistan,” Mr. Karzai said.
Though not discussed publicly by NATO, a concern about recidivism was evident in the fact that the command conducted painstaking negotiations to ensure that the U.S. maintains some influence on inmates in the prison near Bagram Airfield, north of the capital, Kabul. The U.S. also asserted the right to hold scores of particularly dangerous captives when it signed an agreement in March to cede control of the prison.
“Some 99 percent of the detainees captured before 9 March have already been transferred to Afghan authority, but we have paused the transfer of the remaining detainees until our concerns are met,” said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition.
The March agreement calls for a temporary U.S.-Afghan commission to review who will be held and who will be released.
The U.S. built the Parwan Detention Facility in 2009 as an improvement in living conditions for detainees who had been held in converted airfield hangars. The Army Corps of Engineers continued to add beds, bringing capacity from about 1,600 to more than 3,000.
In late 2010, Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, who ran the U.S. detention task force, gave reporters a glimpse into the harried world of capturing, transferring and releasing battlefield combatants in a war that began a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Of 5,500 people detained in 2001, 1,100 were deemed dangerous enough to be shipped to the Parwan site. About 500 were released. Of those, just a few were recaptured subsequently on the battlefield.
Since then, the U.S. has shifted more detainees to government control, swelling the prison population to more than 3,000.
The mistrust on detention issues was evident at the transfer ceremony Monday.
The AP said there are 2,000 Afghan police officers at the prison, and it quoted one of them, Ashna Gul.
“We are Afghan, and they are Afghan. They are Muslim. We are Muslim,” Mr. Gul said. “We can see each other through the steel windows. Sometimes we are laughing and joking with the prisoners and they are happy with our guys.”
Said Mr. Maginnis: “Afghan prisons are full of Taliban and other radicals. Turn them over to questionably reliable Afghan security forces and then stand back as radicals ‘escape’ to join the fight, killing and wounding more Americans. Turning over prison keys at this point is a shot to the foot.”
Team Obama Responds To Rash Of Afghan Troops Killing U.S. Troops By Blaming U.S. Troops, Ordering Them To Undergo Islamic Sensitivity Training
September 25, 2012
(NY POST) Afghan security forces, our supposed allies, are slaughtering American troops. Thirty-three soldiers have been killed by “green on blue” attacks this year alone. The situation is so bad that the training of Afghan forces has been temporarily suspended.
How has the Pentagon responded?
By blaming our troops.
Top officials believe culturally offensive behavior is the motivation behind the killings, so it’s stepped up Islamic sensitivity training for our troops.
If you don’t want to be shot in the back by your Afghan training partners, the Pentagon advises, don’t offend their religious sensibilities. Don’t kick your feet up on a table, for instance, and never ask to see a picture of their wives and kids. “There’s a percentage [of attacks] which are cultural affronts,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a recent interview. Dempsey echoes the concerns of Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, the Afghan National Army’s chief of staff, who earlier this month argued both sides need to do more to “teach” foreign troops Islamic traditions and values to reduce the chance of violent reactions to cultural slights. “It is our duty to teach this to them. Our indifference about these issues causes the incident,” he said.
In the past three years, uniformed Afghans have murdered at least 97 US and NATO troops.
The Taliban has taken credit for many of the attacks, but the Pentagon has been reluctant to admit widespread infiltration of the Afghan security forces it’s training.
Standing up a national army and police force that can protect the US-sponsored government in Kabul is the linchpin of President Obama’s announced 2014 withdrawal strategy.
Some 120,000 American and other foreign troops mix closely with 350,000 Afghan security forces. Afghan trainees and guards are co-located on US bases, where they share bathrooms, gyms and mess halls.
To avoid offending them, US commanders are putting troops through intense Muslim sensitivity training. Among other things, they’ve been ordered to:
* Wear surgical gloves whenever handling a copy of the Koran.
* Never walk in front of a praying Muslim.
* Never show the bottom of boots while sitting or lying across from a Muslim, which in Islam is considered an insult.
* Never share photos of wives or daughters.
* Never smoke or eat in front of Muslims during the monthlong Ramadan fasting.
* Avoid winking, cursing or nose-blowing in the presence of Muslims — all viewed as insults in Islam.
* Avoid exiting the shower without a towel.
FED UP: TOP GEN. ALLEN ‘MAD AS HELL’ ABOUT ‘INSIDER’ ATTACKS IN AFGHANISTAN
October 1, 2012
By Erica Ritz
With the death toll in Afghanistan reaching 2,000 on Sunday, many are taking a closer look at the startling number of “insider” attacks that have occurred over the past year.
President Obama’s plan for the majority of U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014 calls for training Afghan security forces in how to defend their own country, however, a record number of those troops are instead turning their weapons on Americans.
According to Reuters, a stunning 1-in-5 combat-related deaths in Afghanistan by NATO-led forces in 2012 has been an insider “green on blue” attack, comprising roughly 16% of American casualties.
“I’m mad as hell about them, to be honest with you,” Gen. John Allen — the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan — said on “60 Minutes” Sunday. “We’re going to get after this. It reverberates everywhere, across the United States. You know, we’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign. But we’re not willing to be murdered for it.”
He explained: “They’re still there, and they have the ability continue ten years on to come and hurt us– to kill your troops, to kill our troops, to kill our civilians. We must question, then, how come they’ve returned?”
“60 Minutes” cameramen spoke with a number of the fighters, who said they support al-Qaeda. One of the leaders said the Taliban are responsible for the attacks, and that al-Qaeda fighters are flooding in to help.
“There are many groups that have [al-Qaeda fighters]; we can’t do this without them…They are masters of everything, for example making IEDS, something we don’t know how to do. But they are teaching us. They are also master engineers, and good with all weapons…” he explained.
Last week, Obama adviser Michele Flournoy said the attacks are a “very occasional” problem that represent the Taliban’s increasing “desperation.”
“It‘s very tragic and it’s very upsetting when these things happen,” she remarked, “but they are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of a percentage of the overall interactions that are happening.”
A Letter from a U.S. Soldier to his Dad.
September 26, 2012
Michael Yon: Yesterday a concerned father forwarded to me a letter from his son in Afghanistan. I confirmed authenticity, and republish with permission:
I am fed up. I cannot believe the lack of attention the recent changes in this war is receiving by the media or the country. I think I saw one thing on CNN about the following subject, but I had to dig extensively to find it. The purpose of this letter is to let you know of the garbage that our soldiers are going through right now. With this knowledge, I hope that you take action by writing your congressmen.
First, because of the recent green on blue incidents or “insider threats” as the new buzz phrase dictates, all coalition forces in Afghanistan have completely stopped partnering with the ANA, AUP, and ALP in order to prevent the death of anymore CF casualties by ANSF or Taliban disguised as them. This is also greatly spurred by President Karzi’s indifferent attitude and lack of action to take measures to prevent further insider attacks.
Second, because of this massive change in policy (and complete change in mission) all U.S. forces are forbidden to actively patrol their AO and are to remain on their respective COPs/FOBs. There are only a few exceptions to this rule and they all pertain to “hardening” highway 1 in our AO. We have received orders that clearly state that all CF will no longer be allowed to drop air to ground munitions within the country of Afghanistan. This preempts Karzi’s announcement that will be made shortly that states the above mentioned order, making it a tactical directive that he is ordering.
To the first point: Our mission in Afghanistan is to partner with the ANSF on all levels. Now the policy makers are telling us that we are not allowed to do that and further more we are to take immediate measures to secure ourselves from the ANSF that are co-located with us. So the question now becomes, what is our mission? Furthermore, the implication is that we have absolutely no reason to still be in this country if we are not partnering with the ANSF. So why are we here?
To the second point: I don’t think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders, but that is precisely what is happening in this war right now even as I write this letter. The soldiers of the U.S. never engage the enemy unless we know that we have will always have the tactical advantage in defending ourselves, that advantage is the use of close air support and air weapons team. To take those weapons away from us is to level the playing field for the enemy and thus exposing our soldiers to more danger. In the school house they teach us that the minimum ratio that we are to engage the enemy with, is a 3:1 ratio. In other words, we have the highest probability of winning because we don’t fight fair. The sound tactical principles behind this teaching have saved lives. The very presence of aircraft over our foot patrols has also saved lives and now our chain of command is being told by our political leadership that this is now not allowed. If we are not partnering with the ANSF and we are not actively patrolling to prevent our enemies from massing their attacks on our COP and we can’t drop a bomb on the enemy that we have positively identified, than what the hell are we doing here?
Give us a mission or send us home. I honestly have no preference on what the politicians decide, as long as they just make a decision. Of course this will be a terrible inconvenience on the current elections so I am sure we will be forgotten, which really does not seem to be too different for how things have been going for the last eleven years.
Do YOU Believe Obama supports our troops?
Rep. Allen West: The Speech Obama SHOULD HAVE Delivered at the UN September 25, 2012. PEACE through STRENGTH!
Representative Allen West (R-FL) had some choice words for President Obama’s speech to the United Nations Tuesday, saying that rather than justify the attacks on American outposts throughout the Middle East by mentioning a “silly” YouTube video, Obama should have stood unequivocally firm in defending American values.
West specifically begrudged Obama’s comment that the future “must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” or any other religion.
So what would West have said?
Modeling his opening after the president’s line, West says he would have issued a much sterner warning to those who dare attack us. He wrote on his Facebook page:
My statement to the United Nations would have been, “The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence.” [Emphasis added]
West added in his analysis of the president’s speech:
[Obama] continues to offer up apologies instead of defending our hard earned First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. There is no message to this silly video trailer, and it is beneath the dignity and esteem of the Office of the President of the United States to mention it at all. When tolerance becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide. I shall not be tolerant of the intolerant.