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Special Operations: Bullies Versus Elitist Killers
   Next Article → LEADERSHIP: Reality Is A Bitch
January 31, 2012: American efforts to discover what causes the infrequent (once every month or two) incidents of Afghan security personnel killing NATO troops were shocked to find that a lot of it is all about culture clash. For example, a random survey of Afghan soldiers and police about how they regard their NATO allies found that the Afghans regard the foreign troops as arrogant bullies who engage in crude (to the Afghans) behavior. Asking the foreign troops the same question about Afghan soldiers and police elicited responses stating that the Afghans were ignorant (often willfully so), while also prone to drug use and stealing. The Afghans were regarded as lazy and not eager to learn military skills. This led to poor use (and care of) weapons, sloppy tactics, bad discipline, poor morale, and unwillingness to keep themselves clean and healthy. The Afghans did not encourage the development of good NCOs (who could supervise and be responsible for their troops). Afghan officers were much like their troops and corrupt as well. Troops and officers would even make deals with the enemy, selling information, or weapons. The Afghans were also brutal towards civilians, especially those not from their clan or tribe. A lot of this was just the result of Afghan culture, which is more brutal than found in the West. Stealing ("loot" in Afghan parlance) and abuse of women and children is considered traditional and the foreigners are seen as insensitive for not respecting this and other Afghan customs.

All this is nothing new and the only way to cope with the culture clash issue is to use troops who are sensitive to these differences and skilled in ways to handle it. The U.S. has their Special Forces, who train for this, and are more respected by the Afghans because of it. But in Afghanistan today many more ordinary troops are interacting with Afghans frequently and on a personal level. There have been efforts to educate the Western troops but this only goes so far. The U.S. Army Special Forces take years to get their troops to a level of skill that does not create culture clash. Despite efforts to speed up the process it still takes a lot of time. As more and more U.S. troops return to Afghanistan the level of "culture fluency" increases but not high enough or fast enough to eliminate the tensions.

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JFKY    Well,   1/31/2012 8:27:15 AM
What DoD seems to be saying, in this interpretation, is, "Afghans can behave in a manner that would get YOU court-martialed." Modernity, means, "change."  IF Afghans and/or the NATO troops expect Afghanistan to change, for the better, things will have to change, to include the idea of professionalism, and the other issues mentioned.
 
Right now, this places NATO in the position of many NGO's, who wish to "help" but not "interfere."  Well here's the news flash, things are bad in Afghanistan, Nigeria, the Congo, as a result of the INHABITANTS and their cultures, and if you truly expect things to get better, those cultures will HAVE to change.  And as long as NGO's or NATO don't want to confront this, but instead hope to be "Sensitive" bad things will continue to occur.
 
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Bob Cortez       1/31/2012 8:41:52 AM
All true, about culture, and we sure have enough relativism here for all to share.
 
We all have to realize that culture is a conscious choice in each and every one.  In Afghanistan, people like their culture as it is and will brook no change from anything they consider fun.  
 
The whole Islamist dealio is simply that the world has changed and Islam, by its nature, is not quite up to the challenge.  A lot are but they leave or 'convert' to other modes of thought, which destroys the Ummah.  
 
Remember that the Swiss were, up until fairly recently, poor as their goats, being known only as mercenaries (The Swiss Guard).  Given the chance they changed and got very rich.  That will not happen in Afghanistan, or in Islam in general.  
 
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esmoore5       1/31/2012 11:44:56 PM
"The United States military has said in a secret report that the Taliban, backed by
Pakistan, are set to retake control over Afghanistan... after NATO-led forces withdraw
from the country, Britain's Times of London newspaper said Wednesday."
 
See:
 
 
 
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trenchsol       2/1/2012 9:19:32 AM
Note that, although, both sides are disappointed with each other,
it is the Afghans who attack coalition force and not the opposite.
DG
 
 
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myhandlewontfi    Strange   2/1/2012 4:39:22 PM
I wonder if we couldnt fight terrorism more effectivly by telling the taliban: We are leaving now, but if you try anymore shit outside afghanistan or have deals with AQ, we will be back. Since I am sure that the talis would like to terrorise the rest of the afghans without interference, they just might keep it. I am not sure it will take less than forty years to reform afghanistan, to a level of acceptability. I think it is very difficult to force people to be democratic. I also think there are many other places on this globe where the 100000 troops in afghanistan can be used to greater effect, not to mention the money. The point of being a superpower is not to get bogged down fighting insignificent people on hte edge of the world, but to stay strong economically and militarily. My fear is that the USA will lose their status as an economic powerhouse, due to the debts of the war on terror. Osama bin ladens greatest and almost only achievement is 9/11, set it against the 50-70 million killed during ww2 or the potential losses from a hot cold war, you will see how potentially stupid it is for you americans, to lose your status as a superpower, hunting down a group of hillbillies with beards and ak's.
 
I realise my opinion here may make me unpopular, so try and tell me why i am an idiot, instead of just swearing at me.
 
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Gerry       2/1/2012 10:10:00 PM


I wonder if we couldnt fight terrorism more effectivly by telling the taliban: We are leaving now, but if you try anymore shit outside afghanistan or have deals with AQ, we will be back. Since I am sure that the talis would like to terrorise the rest of the afghans without interference, they just might keep it. I am not sure it will take less than forty years to reform afghanistan, to a level of acceptability. I think it is very difficult to force people to be democratic. I also think there are many other places on this globe where the 100000 troops in afghanistan can be used to greater effect, not to mention the money. The point of being a superpower is not to get bogged down fighting insignificent people on hte edge of the world, but to stay strong economically and militarily. My fear is that the USA will lose their status as an economic powerhouse, due to the debts of the war on terror. Osama bin ladens greatest and almost only achievement is 9/11, set it against the 50-70 million killed during ww2 or the potential losses from a hot cold war, you will see how potentially stupid it is for you americans, to lose your status as a superpower, hunting down a group of hillbillies with beards and ak's.
 
 

 

I realise my opinion here may make me unpopular, so try and tell me why i am an idiot, instead of just swearing at me.

Actually I think most people in the US would agree with you. For them the job was completed after the Taliban government was toppled and the Al Quada base camps were destroyed way back when. The idea of building a nation that was never a nation, and only a group of tribal areas of influence was absurd to begin with. But the US decided it had a need to do so. Now after more than 9 years we have built a nation of tribes who want to keep what they always did in the past as a national entity. Meanwhile they continue to steal, rob, cheat, double deal, and do all those wonderful things they have always done. The US should have returned its forces three months after the invasion, job done.

 
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JFKY    Gerry and MyHandle   2/2/2012 9:03:46 AM
EXCEPT, that the Taliban will be busy celebrating their "victory" over the Infidel, by "driving out NATO" and I expect they will GLADLY support AQ or its successors in their plans.  Why wouldn't they?  They will have "won."  Do you think that if we just told the Nazi's to lay-off or we'll be back, they would have listened?
 
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WarNerd       2/2/2012 11:00:44 AM
The question is to come up with an adequate response for the next time al-Qaeda or one of it's ilk take a crack at the US.  I don't think that the PC types will let the military adopt a "kill them all and let their god(s) sort them out" approach, which is probably the only lower cost alternative.
 
Frankly, I give the US less than 2 years after the pullout before a major terrorist incident occurs.  And I'll bet that it traces back to a terrorist infrastructure based in Afghanistan.  Nothing against Afghanistan, just that I think it is obvious that one of the defenses needed for a terrorist safe area is a location that is physical isolationed / difficult to access by the modern world so that it is not possible to support the numbers of troops needed to winkle the terrorist organization out of a terrified into non-cooperation population dominated by small tribal groups.
 
When all those troops and much of the equipment come out of Afghanistan a lot of the drone capability is going to stay in the region to shred al-Qaeda operations in Yemen, Somalia, and the Sudan, mostly based from ships offshore, beyond al-Qaeda’s reach. Expect there will also be expanded ‘assistance’ programs supplying intelligence and drone firepower and against group advertising the al-Qaeda brand name across Africa. Afghanistan will remain their only reliable safe area for the future.
 
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Colin Campbell       2/2/2012 1:09:56 PM


I wonder if we couldnt fight terrorism more effectivly by telling the taliban: We are leaving now, but if you try anymore shit outside afghanistan or have deals with AQ, we will be back.  

I doubt that anybody would believe that threat.


 
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Gerry       2/2/2012 7:50:00 PM







I wonder if we couldnt fight terrorism more effectivly by telling the taliban: We are leaving now, but if you try anymore shit outside afghanistan or have deals with AQ, we will be back.  



I doubt that anybody would believe that threat.
It would have been a valid threat, and the Taliban weren't the problem to begin with. It was Al Queda. After three months and the destruction of the Al Queda infrastructure and a threat to return when ever needed would have been sufficient.
 To spend 9 addional years and many live to build a nation that never existed is folly. Pakistan will be the source of the next terrorists that strike the US, not Afganistan. Are we going to nation build in Pakistan as well?
The Taliban may end up overthrowing the government of Pakistan and gaining access to their nukes. Their will always be a general willing to side with the terrorists and give the right codes. So what will the terrorists do with the Nukes? Probobly send them into India, who will retaliate, by blowing Pakistan and the Taliban out existance. End of problem, and no need for the US to be involved.
 





 
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