Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

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New Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan

December 14, 2009

It’s not just the enemy killing U.S. soldiers …

You won’t believe new rules
of engagement in Afghanistan



WorldNetDaily  13 Dec. 09

WASHINGTON – New military rules of engagement ostensibly to protect Afghan civilians are putting the lives of U.S. forces in jeopardy, claim Army and Marine sources, as the Taliban learns the game plan based the rules’ imposed limits.

The rules of engagement, or ROEs, apply to all coalition forces of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Their enactment is in response to Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s complaints over mounting civilian deaths apparently occurring in firefights.

Despite the fact that the newly arrived U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, imposed the more restrictive ROEs to minimize the killing of innocent civilians, however, the Taliban is well aware of them and has its own forces acting in ways to counteract them.

The impact of new restrictions has created increasing frustration and concern among U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops who now are compelled to follow these rules despite the danger of letting the Taliban live to fight again another day.

Critics see the new ROEs being more oriented toward defensive rather than offensive operations, as evidenced by recent charges of murder against two U.S. Army snipers because they had targeted a Taliban commander who reportedly wasn’t holding a weapon.

The actual ROEs are said to be classified U.S. and NATO secrets, but based on individual soldier accounts, those restrictions include the following:

  • No night or surprise searches
  • Villagers are to be warned prior to searches
  • Afghan National Army, or ANA, or Afghan National Police, or ANP, must accompany U.S. units on searches
  • U.S. soldiers may not fire at insurgents unless they are preparing to fire first
  • U.S. forces cannot engage insurgents if civilians are present
  • Only women can search women
  • Troops can fire on insurgents if they catch them placing an IED but not if insurgents walk away from where the explosives are.

Often, rules of engagement require varying levels of approvals before action can be taken. In one case, villagers had tipped off U.S. forces of the presence of a Taliban commander who was threatening village elders.

To get permission to go after him, U.S. troops had to get 11 separate Afghan, U.S. and international forces’ approval to the plan. The approval, however, did not come until well into the next day. By then, the Taliban commander had moved on, to the consternation of the villagers who had provided the tip. Observers have claimed that it can take some 96 hours to acquire all the permissions to act.

In other cases, the use of force against insurgents may be blocked if they lower their guns, only to have those insurgents return later to attack.

Also, ISAF troops cannot engage insurgents if they are leaving an area where an IED has been planted. In one case, insurgents planting an IED had detected the presence of U.S. forces and immediately began leaving the area, tossing evidence of their preparations along the way. U.S. forces could not fire on them.

The ROEs in some cases have gone beyond limiting ISAF troops in their operations. In one case, ROE restrictions were in effect when four U.S. Marines twice pleaded by radio for artillery support in combat action in Kunar Province in Afghanistan – and twice they were refused, before they were killed.

F. Michael Maloof, a frequent G2B contributor, is a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He can be contacted here.

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Cartoon: Obama’s 30,000 Troop Surge

December 7, 2009

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KRAUTHAMMER: To Be (LBJ), Or Not To Be

October 9, 2009

New Soliloquy: To Be (LBJ), Or Not To Be

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER IBD: 9 OCT. 2009

The genius of democracy is the rotation of power that forces the opposition to be serious — particularly about things like war, about which until Jan. 20 of this year Democrats were decidedly unserious.

When the Iraq War (which a majority of Senate Democrats voted for) ran into trouble and casualties began to mount, Democrats followed the shifting winds of public opinion and turned decidedly anti-war. But needing political cover because of their post-Vietnam reputation for weakness on national defense, they adopted Afghanistan as their pet war.

“I was part of the 2004 Kerry campaign, which elevated the idea of Afghanistan as ‘the right war’ to conventional Democratic wisdom,” Democratic consultant Bob Shrum wrote after President Obama was elected.

“This was accurate as criticism of the Bush administration, but it was also reflexive and perhaps by now even misleading as policy.” Which is a clever way to say that championing victory in Afghanistan was a contrived and disingenuous policy in which Democrats never seriously believed, a convenient two-by-four with which to bash George Bush over Iraq — while still appearing warlike enough to fend off the soft-on-defense stereotype.

Brilliantly crafted and perfectly cynical, the “Iraq War bad, Afghan War good” posture worked. Democrats first won Congress, then the White House. But now, unfortunately, they must govern. No more games. No more pretense.

So what does their commander in chief do now with the war he once declared had to be won but had been almost criminally under-resourced by Bush? Perhaps provide the resources to win it?

You would think so. And that’s exactly what Obama’s handpicked commander requested on Aug. 30 — a surge of 30,000 to 40,000 troops to stabilize a downward spiral and save Afghanistan the way a similar surge saved Iraq. That was more than five weeks ago. Still no response. Obama agonizes publicly as the world watches. Why? Because, explains National Security Adviser James Jones, you don’t commit troops before you decide on a strategy.

No strategy? On March 27, flanked by his secretaries of defense and state, the president said this: “Today I’m announcing a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.” He then outlined a civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. [?]

And to emphasize his seriousness, the president made clear that he had not arrived casually at this decision. The new strategy, he declared, “marks the conclusion of a careful policy review.”

Conclusion, mind you. Not the beginning. Not a process. The conclusion of an extensive review, the president assured us, that included consultation with military commanders and diplomats, with the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with our NATO allies and members of Congress.

The general in charge was then relieved and replaced with Obama’s own choice, Stanley McChrystal. And it’s McChrystal who submitted the request for the 40,000 troops, a request upon which the commander in chief promptly gagged.

The White House began leaking an alternate strategy, apparently proposed (invented?) by Vice President Biden, for achieving immaculate victory with arm’s-length use of cruise missiles, predator drones and special ops.

The irony is that no one knows more about this kind of warfare than Gen. McChrystal. He was in charge of exactly this kind of “counterterrorism” in Iraq for nearly five years, killing thousands of bad guys in hugely successful under-the-radar operations.

When the world’s expert on this type of counterterrorism warfare recommends precisely the opposite strategy — “counterinsurgency,” meaning a heavy-footprint, population-protecting troop surge — you have the most convincing of cases against counterterrorism by the man who most knows its potential and its limits.

And McChrystal was emphatic in his recommendation: To go any other way than counterinsurgency would lose the war.

Yet his commander in chief, young Hamlet, frets, demurs, agonizes. His domestic advisers, led by Rahm Emanuel, tell him if he goes for victory, he’ll become LBJ, the domestic visionary destroyed by a foreign war. His vice president holds out the chimera of painless counterterrorism success.

Against Emanuel and Biden stand David Petraeus, the world’s foremost expert on counterinsurgency (he saved Iraq with it), and Stanley McChrystal, the world’s foremost expert on counterterrorism. Whose recommendation on how to fight would you rely on?

On Aug. 17, in front of an audience of veterans, the president declared Afghanistan to be “a war of necessity.”

Does anything he says remain operative beyond the fading of the audience applause?

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Cartoon: Fork in the Road | War

October 9, 2009

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Cartoon: Afghanistan – Directions? Obama

October 8, 2009

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Outrage over Bibles destroyed in Afghanistan

June 25, 2009

onenewsnow.com          8 May 09

A Pentagon adviser is blasting what he calls an “egregious” and “politically correct” decision by the U.S. military to destroy Bibles sent to troops in Afghanistan.

Reuters reported earlier this week that Bibles in Afghan languages sent to a U.S. soldier at a base in Afghanistan were confiscated by chaplains and later destroyed to make sure that troops did not violate rules which bar them from sharing their faith. According to the report, the Bibles were destroyed after Al Jazeera television showed soldiers at a Bible class on a base with a stack of Bibles translated into the local Pashto and Dari languages.

Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.) is a Pentagon adviser and military and national security analyst. He finds it mind-boggling to think that military officials would allow Al Jazeera to walk through the front gate of a forward operating base and videotape soldiers conducting a Bible study.

“This is a bit disingenuous, I think, that you would have a Saudi Arabian-sponsored Al Jazeera television network making tapes on an American facility of a Bible group so that they could target and discriminate against our soldiers,” he notes.

Christian troops give up a great deal to put themselves in harm’s way, so they should not have to give up their own personal witness in that environment, according to Maginnis.

“By and large, soldiers should have the right to share their faith wherever they are,” he contends, “and for the political correctness crew to come aboard and declare that we’re going to destroy Bibles because of the sensitivity of the local command, I find egregious.”

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In Search Of Moderate Islamofascists

March 10, 2009

In Search Of Moderate Islamofascists

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, March 09, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Afghanistan: President Obama says negotiation is the key to success in the land that gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden. How would that have sounded to American ears in the weeks right after 9/11?

In an interview published in Sunday’s New York Times, the president said, “Part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of al-Qaida in Iraq.”

From that, he construed: “There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region.”

Jon Boone, Kabul correspondent for Britain’s left-leaning Guardian newspaper, noted in a story on Monday skeptical of the president’s overture, that “until recently U.S. officials worried that the American public would not stomach such overtures.”

Have Americans forgotten the images of September 11? Have we forgotten the non-negotiable demands we made of the Taliban just nine days after the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on our soil?

Recall that former President Bush, before a special joint session of Congress, said:

“Tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al-Qaida who hide in your land” and “close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.”

He added that “the Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.”

Now, however, as Boone was told by Haroun Mir, former adviser to Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, things are all going the Taliban’s way. They are at the edge of Kabul” and have no incentive to switch sides in the present situation.

Indeed, Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi reacted to President Obama’s suggestion by calling it a sign that Americans, after so many years fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan are now “tired and worried.”

Taliban forces right now seem to be uniting and strengthening themselves. Three rival strands of the Pakistani Taliban — those of warlords Gul Bahadur, Baitullah Mehsud, suspected of being behind the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and Maulvi Nazir — have joined together as the Council of United Holy Warriors in anticipation of the coming arrival of 17,000 new armored troops and Marines this year.

Afghan Taliban head Mullah Omar recently urged the Pakistani Taliban to refocus their jihad on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and is in no mood for deals with the Great Satan or its friends in the current Afghan government.

Omar is notorious for his inflexibility. Speaking to Reuters, Pakistani analyst Rahimullah Yousufzai noted: “The Taliban are very rigid in their demands. They actually don’t want to talk unless there is some guarantee that Western forces will leave.”

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai knows this, having failed to engage Taliban moderates despite years of trying.

President Obama is demonstrating a misunderstanding of why the Bush surge turned things around in Iraq. In September 2007, as he questioned Gen. David Petraeus and then-Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker during Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, then-Sen. Obama remarked: “It is not clear to me that the primary success that you’ve shown in Anbar has anything to do with the surge.”

In fact, the “Anbar Awakening,” in which U.S. military successfully persuaded local Iraqi leaders to rebel against the terrorists in an al-Qaida-dominated region written off as beyond hope, would never have succeeded without an assertive U.S. military presence, which was then enhanced by the surge.

Whomever the Obama administration is considering “reaching out to” will likely be the Taliban equivalent of a Goebbels or a Goering. Imagine dealing with them after committing ourselves to a total defeat of Hitler.

After the uncompromising demands we made of the Taliban in September 2001, such a change only would be viewed by Islamofascists worldwide as more proof of the infidels’ lack of nerve.