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kscarbel2

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan..................

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The Washington Post / December 3, 2015

Months after the Obama administration declared combat operations over in Afghanistan, the CIA continues to run a shadow war in the eastern part of the country, overseeing an Afghan proxy called the Khost Protection Force (KPF), according to local officials, former commanders of that militia and Western advisers.

The highly secretive paramilitary unit has been implicated in civilian killings, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force in controversial night raids, abuses that have mostly not been previously disclosed.

The elite Afghan fighters and their American handlers came to Tor Ghar one night in September. Shortly after midnight, wearing tan camouflage and black masks, they entered a village in this remote mountainous area straddling the Pakistan border in search of militants with a Taliban-allied group, said local officials and tribal elders who later spoke with the force’s commanders.

Within minutes, the armed men had arrived at Darwar Khan’s house.

“When my father opened the gate, they shot him dead,” recalled Khan, who was inside the house at the time. “Then, they tossed a grenade into the compound, killing my mother.”

His father was a farmer. His mother was a housewife. It was not the first time the fighters had killed civilians in this strategic region. And it wouldn’t be the last allegation of wrongdoing.

This article is based on interviews with witnesses of six separate attacks by the militia in the past year, as well as court documents in the only known legal case filed against the unit, after one or more of its men shot a 14-year-old boy to death. Three former commanders of the unit, known as the KPF, tribal elders, lawmakers, lawyers, activists and local government officials with direct knowledge of the force and the CIA’s role were also interviewed.

In several attacks, witnesses described hearing English being spoken by armed men who had translators with them, suggesting American operatives were present during assaults where extreme force was used.

In an e-mailed statement, the agency’s spokesman, Dean Boyd, said that “we’ve taken significant steps to help the Afghan National Directorate of Security address allegations of human rights abuse.” The directorate, known as the NDS, ostensibly oversees the Khost force. Boyd declined to comment on any specific claims of abuse.

“We take seriously any allegation of abuse involving foreign liaison services and routinely work with them to rectify such matters,” Boyd said. “Our goal is always to improve the capabilities and professionalism of foreign counterparts.”

On Oct. 15, as President Obama announced that 5,500 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan past next year, he stressed that they would have just two missions — training Afghan forces and fighting al-Qaeda. Yet, throughout this year, there has been an aggressive American effort to stem Taliban territorial gains.

And the CIA, separate from the U.S. military, enjoys looser rules of engagement that have enabled it to expand targets to include the Taliban and its allies, the Haqqani network.

Here in this strategic eastern border province, which has long served as a key gateway for militants entering from Pakistan, the KPF fights in conjunction with the CIA out of Forward Operating Base Chapman.

The KPF “is one of the most effective elements fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and were it not for their constant efforts, Khost would likely be a Haqqani-held province, and Kabul would be under far greater threat than it is,” said a U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity. “This is a group made up of thousands of soldiers who come from the area and consequently have the respect and insights necessary to operate in a professional manner despite the constant engagement with the enemy.”

Afghan government officials acknowledge that the KPF has killed civilians and committed other abuses. But they claim that the Taliban and other insurgents exaggerate the civilian toll. “The KPF has played a very important role in security, and we are happy for their sacrifices,” said Hukam Khan Habibi, the province’s governor.

In Khost, the KPF is more influential than the Afghan army and police, and unaccountable to the provincial government, often acting outside normal chains of command. Locally, militias such as the KPF are called “campaign forces,” an informal name Afghans use for pro-government armed groups.

The KPF is so feared that several people interviewed spoke under the condition of anonymity because they worried for their lives. Others spoke on the record because they wanted their experiences told.

Reports surfaced last year that the CIA was dismantling its Afghan paramilitary units, especially the 4,000-strong KPF, amid the broader drawdown of U.S. forces. But a visit to Khost last month revealed that although there is coordination with the security directorate — the NDS — the CIA is still directing the KPF’s operations, paying fighters’ salaries, and training and equipping them. American personnel were gathering biometric data of alleged suspects, according to witnesses, former KPF commanders and local officials who regularly meet with the force and their American overseers.

One commander, who left the force last month, said that CIA operatives regularly hold planning sessions and that in October he received his salary directly from them. “The orders came from the Americans,” he said. They were “the real bosses.”

“Only in name is the KPF linked to the NDS,” said Mohammad Qadin Afghan, a provincial council member and former KPF fighter who maintains close ties to the force. “They still work for the CIA.”

On the night they killed his parents, Khan recalled, men outside the compound were yelling in English. Days later, the KPF commander acknowledged to Khan and village elders that the deaths were a mistake, and handed him $11,000 in compensation, Khan and other villagers said.

The target of the raid was Khan’s uncle, who lived next door. He bought and sold Kalashnikov rifles, his relatives said, hardly the high-level type of suspect the CIAtypically targets. The fighters handcuffed him and took him away, and later handed him to the NDS.

Today, his family does not know his whereabouts and has no contact with him. He has not been charged with any crime, and he does not have a lawyer.

“No one is telling us why they have taken him,” said Hekmata, his mother, who, like many Afghans, uses one name.

The CIA is not bound by the Bilateral Security Agreement between Afghanistan and Washington that, among other rules, limits the ability of U.S. military forces to enter Afghan homes. The night raids, for the most part banned in 2013 by former president Hamid Karzai, were quietly reinstated by the U.S.-brokered coalition government of President Ashraf Ghani in an effort to better combat the Taliban. But Afghans consider the intrusions offensive.

The CIA is not subject to human rights vetting procedures under the Leahy Law, which proscribes the use of American taxpayer dollars to assist, train or equip any foreign military or police unit perpetrating gross human rights violations.

The KPF was one of several large paramilitary forces created by the CIA in the months after the Taliban was ousted following the 9/11 attacks. Recruits were drawn from local tribes in Khost with promises of salaries, equipment and conditions that were better than the Afghan military.

The force largely operates along the border with North Waziristan, the Pakistani tribal region that is a nerve center for the Taliban, its ally, the Haqqani Network, and al-Qaeda. Fighters receive as much as $400 a month in salary, twice what a soldier in the Afghan security forces earns. Commanders earn $1,000 or more a month, as much as an Afghan army general. Equipped with night-vision goggles, they drive tan Humvees and armored trucks mounted with machine guns.

CIA operatives often travel along on raids with the KPF in order to call in airstrikes, from U.S. warplanes or drones, if needed, said Sardar Khan Zadran, a former top KPF commander who still maintains close links to the force.

“They are accountable to no one but the Americans,” Zadran said.

After the assault on his home, Khan said he and his brother were brought to the base, also known as Camp Chapman. (It was named after Sgt. Nathan Chapman, the first U.S. soldier to be killed by enemy fire in 2002, while he was fighting alongside CIA operatives.) Khan was interrogated by Afghans, but Americans fingerprinted him and scanned his eyes, communicating with him through an interpreter. Others who were detained in other attacks described the same procedure.

“They capture anyone they want for no reason,” recalled a local storekeeper, speaking partly in broken English, who was rounded up three months ago in a night raid in which he heard voices speaking English. A bag, he said, was placed over his head even after he informed his captors that he has asthma and had difficulty breathing. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution .

A U.N. report on detentions this year found that five detainees arrested in 2013 and 2014 by the KPF together with “international military forces,” presumably American, were held at Camp Chapman and were “subjected to ill-treatment.” Two of them later experienced “torture or ill-treatment” when they were transferred to the custody of the NDS.

Hassan Shahidzai, the head of the NDS in Khost, declined to comment.

When the militia kills, justice is almost always elusive. Six months ago, a 17-year-old student named Javedullah was crossing a KPF checkpoint in Khost city while listening to his earphones. He didn’t hear the fighter order him to stop, and he kept walking. He was shot dead. There was no investigation, only a swift payment of $5,000 to compensate the family, said his father, Sahargul, a farmer.

“They are like the government,” he said. “The only thing I could say was ‘I pardon you.’ ”

During a raid last December, 14 KPF fighters stormed into the compound of a man named Meerajudin and shot his 14-year-old son in the back, killing him, as the boy fled for cover.

“I was begging them to stop firing,” Meerajudin recalled. “I was yelling, ‘He’s only a child.’ ”

The house was not a Taliban redoubt. In fact, Meerajudin was a former mujahideen commander with powerful friends in the government, and he forced an investigation. The KPF, though, only handed three fighters over to the authorities. In an apparent effort to cover up their crime, the militiamen in court documents confessed they placed an AK-47 next to the boy’s corpse, at the order of their commander, to make it seem like he was armed. One was released; the other two received 10-year prison sentences.

On Nov. 7, hundreds of angry villagers took to the streets of Khost city. There had been another night raid in which the KPF killed two people, described by the protesters as civilians. The corpses were placed in pickup trucks, and the crowd moved toward Camp Chapman. Some clutched sticks and tree branches. Others carried white Taliban flags.

“Death to Americans,” they chanted. “Death to American slaves.”

It was the latest sign of a growing backlash against the CIA and its proxy. Habibi, the governor, publicly condemned the assault and paid condolences to “the families of the martyrs, as well as the Khost people.” He promised an investigation.

On Nov. 20, less than two weeks later, in an incident first reported by the New York Times, KPF fighters killed a recently discharged Afghan Army soldier and his wife in a night raid in Zazi Maidan district, widely considered a pro-government area, said Mirwais Zadran, the district governor, in a phone interview. On Tuesday, the KPF handed the couple’s relatives roughly $4,500 in compensation at Camp Chapman in front of tribal elders and local officials, added Zadran, who said he was at the meeting.

The provincial council, several of its members said, has received thousands of complaints about the KPF, not just about the deadly night raids, but also about strict roadblocks that can last for hours.

“If their problems are not solved, those people might start cooperating with the insurgents,” said Bostan Walizai, a human rights activist.

At the same time, he and others also worry about the future of the KPF — and the province — as the U.S. military scales down. Most of the fighters have known no other profession and are used to high wages. “If these people lose their jobs, they could join armed insurgent groups or form criminal gangs,” Walizai said.

Even the KPF’s victims want it to continue. They have little faith in the ability of the regular Afghan forces to protect the province. No one has forgotten the Taliban’s seizure of the northern city of Kunduz in September. “The campaign forces would be good, if they didn’t kill innocent people,” Darwan Khan said as he stood near the gate where his father was shot.

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ISIS is making some Afghans long for the Taliban

The Washington Post / October 13, 2015

When the Islamic State fighters seized the Mahmand Valley, they poured pepper into the wounds of their enemies, said villagers. Then, they seared their hands in vats of boiling oil. A group of villagers was blindfolded, tortured and blown apart with explosives buried underneath them.

“They pulled out my brother’s teeth before they forced him to sit on the bombs,” recalled Malik Namos, a tribal elder who escaped the valley along with thousands of other villagers. “They are more vicious than the Taliban, than any group we have seen.”

At war for more than three decades, Afghans are familiar with violence perpetrated by a raft of armies and militias. But even by their jaded standards, the emergence here of ISIS — the extremist organization that arose in the Middle East — has ushered in a new age of brutality.

The radical group adds a fresh dimension to the contest for Afghanistan’s future, a key reason why President Obama is considering a plan to keep around 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan past next year. The Islamic State’s decrees threaten in some areas to reverse U.S.-funded gains in education and women’s rights. And they have made the Taliban, which has also committed atrocities, an appealing alternative in ungoverned regions.

A rare portrait of the group’s rise and of life inside its domain emerged from traveling in Nangahar province — a central battleground of the Islamic State — and in interviews with local officials, tribal elders and more than two dozen villagers who fled areas under the militants’ control. They had found themselves trapped in a fierce new battle for power and territory between Islamic State fighters and the Taliban — with U.S. warplanes bombing both sides — that ended in victory that day for Afghanistan’s latest tormentors.

Even as they mirror the cruelty of their Middle East counterparts, the militants in Afghanistan arose from a different set of circumstances and come to the struggle with a somewhat different outlook. Although in the Middle East the group seeks to create a global caliphate, some fighters here have local ambitions: re-creating the Taliban’s medieval social order, particularly taboos imposed on girls and women, which have waned in many areas since first imposed two decades ago.

The majority of fighters are disaffected Afghan and Pakistani Taliban members, their desertions fueled partly by the revelation this summer that their one-eyed supreme leader,

Mohammad Omar, had been dead for more than two years. Whether they have operational or financial ties to the Islamic State’s home base in Syria, are merely inspired by the group, or are using its name to generate attention remains unclear. Nor is it clear how they are obtaining the substantial funds and heavy weaponry that they wield.

Unlike the conflict in Syria and Iraq, which straddles Sunni-Shiite fault lines, in Afghanistan both victims and attackers are typically Sunni Muslims, from the same ethnic Pashtun tribes. And the struggle in Nangahar is as much for control of the lucrative narcotics trade as it is for religious and regional influence, according to officials from the United Nations.

“In our areas, the time of the Taliban is now over,” declared Ahmad Ali Hazrat, a lawmaker in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, a dusty city where Osama bin Laden first lived when he arrived in Afghanistan in 1996. “We are in a new drama.”

Since the withdrawal of most U.S. and international troops in December, ISIS has steadily made inroads in Afghanistan. A report last month from the United Nations’ al-Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team found that the group — also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh — has a growing number of sympathizers and was recruiting followers in 25 of the nation’s 34 provinces.

Even so, conversations with villagers, as well with Afghan officials and elders, suggest that the group’s extremist ideology does not have strong support among most Afghans.

In Nangahar, on the Pakistani border, the militants have gained the largest foothold, with a significant presence in more than a quarter of the districts of the province.

Since late July, tens of thousands of people have fled the region on foot. Many come to Sar Shahi, a hamlet roughly 20 miles east of Jalalabad, where they have squatted in unfinished houses or in the craggy yards of friendly residents.

On a recent day, as a gentle breeze blew through the hulk of a half-constructed dwelling, the villagers clamored to tell an outsider of how their valley died.

In the summer of 2014, about 100 fighters from the Pakistani Taliban arrived from across the border. They were fleeing an offensive by the Pakistani military to flush out insurgents and soon joined forces with a faction of the Afghan Taliban, ethnic Pashtuns like themselves.

“We gave them sanctuary,” said Omar Jan, an elderly laborer. “We gave them houses to live. We gave them the land.”

It was an opportune time for a militia to emerge. A new U.S.-backed power-sharing government was paralyzed by infighting. Overstretched Afghan security forces were preoccupied fighting a resurgent Taliban. The Taliban itself was in the midst of an internal factional struggle.

Pakistan, too, was under pressure from the United States to tackle the Taliban insurgents it had long supported and permitted to build havens on its soil. That had the unexpected consequence of pushing more hard-line militants across the border into Afghanistan.

In January, ISIS’s leaders in Syria announced the creation of their “Khorasan” branch, using an ancient term for an area that includes Afghanistan and Pakistan. By the spring, reports of Taliban defections and Islamic State recruitment surfaced. At first, the visitors and local Taliban members remained allies.

“For almost one year they were friends,” recalled Zirak, another villager. “They were walking with each other.”

By this summer, though, there were hints of a transformation. At mosques, villagers noticed that the Pakistanis and some Afghan allies had adopted the austere Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam, though the vast majority of Sunni Afghans practice the moderate Hanafi strain.

“They were telling everyone they were better Muslims than us,” said Nazar, a 38-year-old laborer who, like many Afghans, uses only one name.

In July, clashes erupted after the Afghan Taliban raided the homes of the Pakistanis and found a large cache of weapons. On that day, the visitors, who now included dozens of defectors from the Afghan Taliban, put aside their white Taliban flags and raised the black flag of the Islamic State.

“That’s when we understood they had become Daesh,” said Rostam Sayeed, 20, a laborer.

The Taliban and ISIS fighters fought fiercely for control of the valley. As many as 25 civilians, including children, were killed. “The bullets were coming and going from both sides,” said Zirak. “All we could do was lie on the floor and pray.”

During periods of calm, ISIS fighters used loudspeakers to urge Taliban members and villagers to defect. “ ‘Mullah Omar is dead,’ they said. ‘You should join us,’ ” Jan recalled.

Many did, attracted by ISIS’s organization, weaponry and ability to pay handsome salaries, as much as $500 a month.

One morning, a U.S. drone strike targeted both sides, killing several ISIS fighters and dispersing them into the mountains, residents said. But militants returned with reinforcements and heavier weaponry, including large machine guns and missile launchers. They pushed the Taliban out of the valley.

Black-clad fighters, many with long hair and beards, went door to door. They ordered villagers to leave their houses and farms within hours. They seized livestock and crops. They shut down scores of schools and Islamic madrassas and destroyed electricity lines and cellphone towers.

The fighters included some foreigners from Chechnya and Uzbekistan, villagers said. They did not see any Arabs, but U.N. investigators said in their report that some 70 Islamic State fighters from Iraq and Syria are now fighting in Afghanistan.

Houses of suspected Taliban loyalists were burned. In some villages, the militants lured tribal elders and residents to the mosque, where they were taken hostage. In total, more than 120 men were abducted and taken into the mountains.

In August, 10 hostages were accused of being Taliban supporters, as cameras rolled. They were told to kneel down on mounds of freshly dug earth. Underneath the dirt were explosives. Their execution was later publicized in a slickly produced video.

“Even the Jews and the Christians would not kill Muslims in that way,” said Malik Namos, who recognized his brother, Mohammad Yunus, in the video.

In Dih Bala, a district west of the valley, the fighters allowed villagers to remain as long as they followed their decrees. To trigger fear and obedience, the fighters grabbed five men and accused them of providing coordinates for the U.S. airstrikes against their comrades.

They beheaded the men in a central market, said residents, and placed their heads and torsos on a road. Then they ordered people to drive over the body parts.

In the mosques, ISIS fighters have enshrined Wahhabism as the main brand of Sunni Islam and have forced madrassas to teach its beliefs.

On one day, in the village of Loi Papin, an ISIS commander took to the mosque’s loudspeaker: “If you have four sons, two should join us. If you have two sons, one should join us.”

Within hours, families were sending their boys.

“They are living under their control, so they have to join them,” said Jameel Kaminyar, 23, a farmer who lived under the militants’ rule for two weeks before fleeing. “They are the government now.”

In Dih Bala and Kot, another district, families with unmarried daughters have been ordered to raise white flags over their houses, one for each girl in the family. Families with widows had to raise red flags. The females, the militants informed villagers, would provide wives for newly recruited fighters.

“If we don’t accept these commands, the Daesh will behead us,” said Hayatullah, 23, a police officer who fled Kot recently with his family.

In other areas, ISIS fighters told residents they had the authority to marry any widows of Taliban fighters, viewing them as spoils of war.

Yet there have not been reports of mass rapes like those committed against non-Muslim ethnic Yazidis in Syria and Iraq. Most women in Nangahar are Pashtun, like their new masters, and are protected by ancient codes of honor.

Still, villagers say the decree to raise flags is an omen. In Afghan tribal society, a woman who is sexually assaulted is often forced to marry her attacker.

“Of course they will take these women to rape them,” said Hazrat, the lawmaker.

In recent years, the Taliban’s oppressive social codes have not been enforced in many areas, as the Taliban tried to win popular support. In some parts of the country, girls are allowed to attend school. Hard-line attitudes against music have softened. Public executions have been reduced.

Now, ISIS fighters, led by former hard-line Taliban members, are restoring the puritanical way of life in some areas. They have ordered men to grow long beards. Women cannot leave their houses without wearing the traditional head-to-toe blue burqa and must be accompanied by a male relative. Smoking is banned, and shops that sell cigarettes have been shut down.

They have also created a unit that tells people how to live their lives morally — like the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

“Since Allah has conferred control of these areas to ISIS,” according to a flier distributed to villagers, all people must attend Friday prayers. The flier also echoed the Taliban’s long-standing ban on narcotics.

In practice, though, ISIS fighters, like the Taliban, have done nothing to stop opium trafficking. The U.N. investigators said that the Taliban and ISIS are clashing over lucrative drug and smuggling routes, vital to their abilities to acquire more weapons and recruits.

But the harsh decrees and punitive actions of ISIS have led to a rethinking of the Taliban.

“There’s a huge difference in the way the Taliban was treating the people and the way Daesh is now,” said Hayatullah. “I prefer the Taliban any day.”

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Will someone please remind me why brave American soldiers are putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan?

The thoroughly corrupt country’s government, police and military are untrustworthy.

The American taxpayer has, not by choice, wasted billions of dollars there in a country that is allowed to produce heroin for the global market.

This is a country where it is socially acceptable for men to rape young boys, their sex slaves, contradictory to American values. Our employees in Washington oddly instruct our soldiers to ignore it. (http://www.bigmacktrucks.com/topic/41486-decorated-green-beret-booted-after-striking-afghan-police-commander-who-raped-boy-12-and-beat-up-mother/#comment-301270)

What is the clear mission objective?

How is our presence in the interest of the United States ?

As of October 18th, 2016, there have been 2,386 reported U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan. 20,049 American soldiers have been wounded. And there were 1,173 U.S. civilian contractor fatalities.

 

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Afghanistan: US Marines headed back to HelmandProvince

CNN  /  January 13, 2017

Approximately 300 Marines will deploy to Afghanistan's HelmandProvince this spring, returning to the scene of some of the fiercest battles in America's 15-year-long engagement there.

The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, said Thursday that the troops have "no delusions about the difficulty and the challenges they're going to face."

The Marines will be tasked with training and advising Afghan soldiers and police in the volatile opium-rich province. Afghan security forces there have been locked in constant clashes with Taliban insurgents, who have managed to reestablish a significant presence.

Helmand sits in the country's southwest. While geographically large, it is very rural and contains only about 3% of the Afghan population.

"The enemy has fought hard for Helmand," Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon last month.

Nicholson said the Taliban "receive much of their funding from the narcotics trafficking that occurs out of Helmand," adding that "there's a nexus here between the insurgency and criminal networks that's occurring in Helmand that makes Helmand such a difficult fight."

"This is a mission we've always been ready for," Lt. Gen. William Beydler, who oversees Marines in the region, told reporters last week.

The contingent of Marines will replace US Army advisers currently carrying out the mission, forming "Task Force Southwest," to be commanded by Brig. Gen. Roger Turner Jr.

"They continue to need international support," Turner said of the Afghan troops, noting that US personnel would be focusing on intelligence and logistics advice.

Some of the troops will be operating in the vicinity of CampLeatherneck, the one-time home of thousands of Marines in Afghanistan.

"The Marine Corps has a deep operational history in Afghanistan, particularly Helmand Province," Turner said, with Beydler noting that Marines first deployed to the province in 2001 and later fought battles against insurgents in Sangin and Marjah, where Marines took some of their heaviest casualties.

But the two officers were quick to downplay any symbolism in returning to a region that the Marines left after the end of formal combat operations in 2014.

"I wouldn't read into this from a symbolic standpoint," Beydler said. "It just so happened that it turned up now and we're ready and we're going."

Neller struck a similar tone, saying, "The simple reason why we're going back is because someone asked us if we could do this and I said, 'yes.' "

Turner noted that there would be some advantages to going back, particularly when it came to rekindling relationships with America's partners in the Afghan army.

"These are folks who we fought alongside and who we fought with and we bled with, and we think there'll be a real synergy in reestablishing relationships," Turner said.

"We have a lot of blood, sweat and tears invested in Helmand, and so I think a lot of the Marines are really excited about this opportunity to go back and work again with our Afghan partners," Turner added.

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We can no longer be the world's policeman, nor can we afford to be. I can't see the point of brave Americans putting their lives on the line for a country on the other side of the world whose government is utterly corrupt and allows the production of opium for global heroin distribution. It's not our neighborhood, not our battle. 2001 to present day 2017......that's long enough to realize that it's a never-ending fight. The Soviet Union learned their lesson and threw in the towel.

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“Rome has grown since its humble beginning that it is now overwhelmed by its own greatness.”

                                                                                                                                                     -- Livy

 

 

 

 

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“We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let's get out!”

Donald Trump / November 21, 2013

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Associated Press  /  June 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday. The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, the official said.

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“We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let's get out!”

Donald Trump / November 21, 2013

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June 10, 2017 - Three US soldiers were killed and another wounded by an Afghan army commando during a joint US-Afghan military operation Saturday in Nangarhar province.

June 17, 2017 - Seven American soldiers were wounded in an "insider attack" by an Afghan soldier at a base in northern Afghanistan. The Afghan soldier shot a rocket-propelled grenade into the back of a Navistar MRAP.

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just found out my neighbors grandson is based in Kabul as a driver of an MRAP

never know when a "friendly" is not

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2 hours ago, hatcity said:

just found out my neighbors grandson is based in Kabul as a driver of an MRAP

never know when a "friendly" is not

We learned that in Vietnam, it's a shame that the lesson was forgotten by the last CIC with his unicorns,and rainbow view of the world.

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32 minutes ago, 41chevy said:

We learned that in Vietnam, it's a shame that the lesson was forgotten by the last CIC with his unicorns,and rainbow view of the world.

Paul, it was the George W. Bush administration (2001-2009) that established our long-term presence in Afghanistan. Obama merely continued it. And isn't it interesting how policies remain essentially the same irregardless of who is in office.

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Clinton, both Bushes and Obama all "forgot" or ignored the lessons learned than. President Obama did add to the risk by disallowing troops in combat areas to carry side arms on base, which emboldened the "friendlies" to act.  Paul

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4 hours ago, 41chevy said:

Clinton, both Bushes and Obama all "forgot" or ignored the lessons learned than. President Obama did add to the risk by disallowing troops in combat areas to carry side arms on base, which emboldened the "friendlies" to act.  Paul

I've never read that Paul. To the contrary, I read that American and NATO service members were instructed to always carry a loaded magazine in their weapons to save precious moments if attacked by Afghan forces.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/world/asia/afghan-attacks-on-allied-troops-prompt-nato-to-shift-policy.html?_r=1&hp&pagewanted=all

I did read was contractors were only allowed to "carry weapons in accordance with Afghan laws and regulations."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withdrawal_of_U.S._troops_from_Afghanistan#cite_note-WPBSA120131120-94

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2 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

I've never read that Paul. To the contrary, I read that American and NATO service members were instructed to always carry a loaded magazine in their weapons to save precious moments if attacked by Afghan forces.

 Regulation #190-14 issued by the Department of the Army in March 1993, just two months after President Clinton assumed office is still in effect in 2016. That change in regulations applied only to the Army, not other branches of the U.S. armed forces restricted the authorization to carry firearms to personnel engaged in law enforcement / security duties, and to limited personnel stationed at facilities where there was “a large expectation that  Army assets would be jeopardized if firearms were not carried”:

a. The authorization to carry firearms will be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or Department of the Army (DA) assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm will be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms.

b. DA personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties will be armed.

c. DA personnel are authorized to carry firearms while engaged in security duties, protecting personnel and vital Government assets, or guarding prisoners.

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27 minutes ago, 41chevy said:

 Regulation #190-14 issued by the Department of the Army in March 1993, just two months after President Clinton assumed office is still in effect in 2016. That change in regulations applied only to the Army, not other branches of the U.S. armed forces restricted the authorization to carry firearms to personnel engaged in law enforcement / security duties, and to limited personnel stationed at facilities where there was “a large expectation that  Army assets would be jeopardized if firearms were not carried”:

a. The authorization to carry firearms will be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or Department of the Army (DA) assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm will be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms.

b. DA personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties will be armed.

c. DA personnel are authorized to carry firearms while engaged in security duties, protecting personnel and vital Government assets, or guarding prisoners.

So based on what we know, General John R. Allen authorized Army personnel to carry firearms in Afghanistan, and always with a loaded magazine. Or at least, that's my perception.

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1 hour ago, kscarbel2 said:

So based on what we know, General John R. Allen authorized Army personnel to carry firearms in Afghanistan, and always with a loaded magazine. Or at least, that's my perception.

Yes he did, There is a valid threat in his view as a Marine, as opposed to the desk jockey at the Dept of Army. The Army is the only branch specified in the regulation for non carry. Not the Marines, Air Force or Navy. Stupid regulation  with no validity in most commanders with any back bone.

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Pentagon 'wasted $28 million' on Afghan camouflaged uniforms

BBC  /  June 21, 2017

US taxpayers unnecessarily spent $28m on uniforms for the Afghan National Army, according to the US inspector general tasked with overseeing the war.

In a scathing report, John Sopko said that officials bought "forest" pattern uniforms, despite the country's landscape being only 2.1% wooded.

The decision was "not based on an evaluation of its appropriateness for the Afghan environment", he wrote.

A former Afghan defence minister chose the pattern in 2007, he says.

In the 17-page report, Mr Sopko writes that Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak chose the privately owned pattern over a cheaper pattern that the US military already owned.

US officials, who had been searching for patterns online with Mr Wardak, authorised the purchase because he "liked what he saw", they wrote at the time.

"My concern is what if the minister of defence liked purple, or liked pink?" Mr Sopko told USA Today in an interview.

"Are we going to buy pink uniforms for soldiers and not ask questions? That's insane. This is just simply stupid on its face.

"We wasted $28 million of taxpayers' money in the name of fashion, because the defence minister thought that that pattern was pretty."

For years, Mr Sopko's office has criticised the Pentagon for wastefulness during the United States' longest war.

In January, he told a think tank in Washington there was evidence that Taliban leaders had instructed commanders to purchase US fuel, ammunition and weapons from Afghan soldiers, because it is cheaper.

Senator Chuck Grassley called the uniform decision "embarrassing and an affront to US taxpayers".

"Those who wasted money on the wrong camouflage uniforms seem to have lost sight of their common sense," the Republican senator added.

The Pentagon is currently considering raising the level of US troops in Afghanistan, with a formal announcement expected this week.

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