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Thread: Green on Blue: causes and responses (merged thread)

  1. #221
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    Attacks that did not require a safe haven in Afghanistan
    1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway
    1995 Oklahoma City Bombing
    2002 Bali Bombins
    2004 Madrid Train Bombings
    2004 Beslan school hostage crisis
    2005 London bombings
    2006 Mumbai train bombings
    Thousands of terrorist attacks in Iraq, now Syria.
    Contrary to the Ambassador's claims, Al Qaeda in Yemen have been developing some cutting edge tactics and techniques for conducting terrorist attacks against airlines.

    Future attacks will not require a safe haven since Al Qaeda is now largely decentralized and its core becoming less relevant. Terrorists historically have often found safe haven in major western cities by practicing good operational tradecraft and operations security measures. Safe haven for an insurgency and terrorists are two different animals. An intelligent mass murderer could develop a 9/11 like plot in his home and with funding facilitate the development of a cell to conduct the attack. Many will fail, just like the 9/11 should have in hindsight, but due to human error and dumb luck some will succeed. Training for the attacks could have taken place in U.S., much like the actual 9/11 hijackers did with flight school, martial arts training, etc. (flight simulators, recon airport secuirty, etc.). No doubt having Afghanistan was nice, but it isn't necessary to facilitate a major terrorist attack, and now operating from Afghanistan if more likely to result in compromise than success. We would be foolish to assume that any one piece of dirt is critical, and excessive focus on that piece of dirt will blind us to threats emerging from other parts of the world. We created a narrative that we can't escape from.
    Future so called safe havens will definitely include parts of the many of the new Arab Spring countries, Yemen, Iraq, Mali, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Somalia, etc. They will include the world of cyber which result in radicalized individuals in our own cities.

    The Ambassador has a wealth of experience on point in a lot of rough areas, but like all he is subject to personal biases and clings to the narrative that he was part and parcel in creating.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 09:50 AM. Reason: partly copied to the Sanctuary thread, leaving Afg specific points here

  2. #222
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Bill:

    Nope, Amb Crocker is right. AQ hasn't changed its ideology, nor has Taliban nor has Pak Army/ISI. If Taliban & Co were to reacquire Afghanistan, I see no reason at all why they would not resume doing what they had done before.

    This is a semantic point but I'll bring it up. Amb Crocker referred to another 9-11. I referred to another 9-11. None of the attacks you mentioned were on the scale of 9-11 nor were any of them intended to be on the scale of 9-11. Now to your list.

    I think you may be casting your net a little bit wide when you throw in Beslan, and Oklahoma City. Yes obviously attacks can be planned and carried out by other people in other places than Pak Army/ISIland and Afghanstan but the context of the discussion is AQ or AQ affiliated or sympathetic organizations. If you are going to include Beslan, OKC and Tokyo why not throw in the attack on Mecca or the Red Army Brigades in Italy or killing of the guy in Sarajevo that started WWI? And if you are going to include Iraq and Syria why not include Vietnam, Algeria, Cyprus and all the terror associated with the war in central Africa in the 90s and 2000s?

    I did read that some of the London train bombers traveled to Pakistan for training. The failed Times Square bomber traveled to Pakistan for training and the guy from Denver who wanted to blow up the subway traveled to Pakistan for training. And the Mumbai attack was planned and run by the ISI from Pakistan. So I think that if you want to run a big op, especially a big complicated one, are AQ or affiliated, there is only one place in the world you can do that from and that is Pak Army/ISIland now, and Afghanistan if Taliban & Co get their bloody mitts on it again.

    AQ in Yemen may be able to sneak an explosive cartridge on a cargo plane or make jockey shorts that might go bang but those are not ops on the scale of 9-11. In order to do something like that you need a country that likes you to live in. Cyber planning always sounds good but people still have to train somewhere, practice somewhere and make things somewhere. About the only place they can do that now, in the context of which we are speaking, is Pak Army/ISIland or perhaps Afghanistan again in the future.

    We would be foolish to think that any one piece of dirt the only one that is needed to do bad things from. But we would be equally foolish to not to recognize that one particular piece of dirt is critical, and has been critical if you are looking at a particular type of big attack.

    Ultimately though, the point isn't that is it possible that something big could be pulled off from somewhere else. Amb Crocker said that if Taliban gets Afghanistan back, AQ will be back with them. The last time that happened, it was not good.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 09:51 AM. Reason: partly copied to the Sanctuary thread, leaving Afg specific points here
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  3. #223
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    Straying a bit from the thread topic, but I expect David will sort that out...

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    AQ in Yemen may be able to sneak an explosive cartridge on a cargo plane or make jockey shorts that might go bang but those are not ops on the scale of 9-11. In order to do something like that you need a country that likes you to live in.
    Ramzi Yousef hatched an ambitious plan to blow up airliners, assassinate the Pope, and fly a commercial jet into Langley from an apartment in downtown Manila. He might have pulled it off if he hadn't gotten sloppy.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 09:51 AM. Reason: partly copied to the Sanctuary thread, leaving Afg specific points here
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Ramzi Yousef hatched an ambitious plan to blow up airliners, assassinate the Pope, and fly a commercial jet into Langley from an apartment in downtown Manila. He might have pulled it off if he hadn't gotten sloppy.
    He did indeed. He also attended an AQ training camp in Afghanistan I believe. He hid out in Pakistan for a while. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is his uncle. And he finally got picked up in Pakistan. So I would say, his case buttresses my point.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 09:51 AM. Reason: partly copied to the Sanctuary thread, leaving Afg specific points here
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Safe Haven(s) in a new thread?

    Thanks Dayuhan:
    Straying a bit from the thread topic, but I expect David will sort that out...
    Yes I will. The issue of safe haven(s) for AQ and other terrorist groups has appeared before, so I'm not sure if there is an alternative home for these posts, if not a new thread will emerge.

    The new consolidated thread on safe haven, sanctuary, sanctuaries and ungoverned spaces is called 'Sanctuary or Ungoverned Spaces:identification, symptoms and responses':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3905
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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    I missed this BBC Radio 4 programme, but the News website has a story on the issue and this appears in a side-bar.

    Captain Doug Beattie has completed 3 tours of Afghanistan, most recently with the Territorial Army. He told File on 4 about the tribal allegiances which conflict with the work of many Afghan recruits.

    There is a podcast for File on 4, but not yet this programme:http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fileon4

    Do not think of the Afghan Police as your local policeman who really looks after criminality. What you're looking at is a man who is normally illiterate, who is heavily armed, but has no concept of the rule of law. This young man is policing the area he lives in so they have family, friends and tribal leaders coming up to them and asking them to turn a blind-eye when they are moving a poppy crop through a checkpoint - that happens quite a bit."

    "But sometimes there is an insurgent who could be known to the policeman who will ask him to turn a blind-eye so he can carry out whatever he intends to carry out. We know this and we've monitored this in some occasions. It's not because the policemen is aligned to the insurgency, it's not because he is a Taliban who has joined the police, it is because of these external influences against him from his family, from his tribe.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19672852
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I missed this BBC Radio 4 programme, but the News website has a story on the issue and this appears in a side-bar.

    Captain Doug Beattie has completed 3 tours of Afghanistan, most recently with the Territorial Army. He told File on 4 about the tribal allegiances which conflict with the work of many Afghan recruits.

    There is a podcast for File on 4, but not yet this programme:http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fileon4
    It's up now on the link and follow instructions on link:



    .
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-28-2012 at 10:07 AM. Reason: Fix link

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    I think you guys are being too hard on yourselves or have extremely inflated opinions about the abilities of your armies !! The Afghans in general and the Pashtuns specifically see Westerners as violently different in terms of religious, cultural, ethnic and political orientation. To top it all you appear the losing side with a planned departure date !! What did you expect ? To complicate things you have a rabidly anti US country through which your major Lines of Communication pass. I think that you're doing pretty well for now. My solution : shore up the moderates, Hazaras, Shias & Tajiks, kick the Pakis in the balls while you skedaddle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post
    I think you guys are being too hard on yourselves or have extremely inflated opinions about the abilities of your armies !! The Afghans in general and the Pashtuns specifically see Westerners as violently different in terms of religious, cultural, ethnic and political orientation. To top it all you appear the losing side with a planned departure date !! What did you expect ? To complicate things you have a rabidly anti US country through which your major Lines of Communication pass. I think that you're doing pretty well for now. My solution : shore up the moderates, Hazaras, Shias & Tajiks, kick the Pakis in the balls while you skedaddle.
    History will judge the West harshly over the Afghanistan debacle.

    US and Brit politicians must carry the can for this but the US and Brit militaries also come out of this poorly. Then as per normal the politicians will get off scott free and the "generals" may... just may, suffer reputational damage but will not lose their pensions. Once again the price for political and military incompetence is paid by soldiers with their lives and physical mutilations.

    What remains bizarre is the almost universal knee jerk blind loyalty displayed towards the politicians and generals - whose performance varies between plain incompetence and criminal negligence - by the rank and file soldiers. This I suggest is a psychological pathology worthy of study.

    .
    Last edited by JMA; 09-30-2012 at 06:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I missed this BBC Radio 4 programme, but the News website has a story on the issue and this appears in a side-bar.

    Captain Doug Beattie has completed 3 tours of Afghanistan, most recently with the Territorial Army. He told File on 4 about the tribal allegiances which conflict with the work of many Afghan recruits.

    There is a podcast for File on 4, but not yet this programme:http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fileon4
    These issues and potential risks would be obvious to those who a have worked with indigenous troops.

    Once again the old "hardy annual" of the lack of continuity among Brit (and also US) troops leads to a lack of expertise in not only this aspect - being the understanding of Afghan culture - but all aspects of military operations in the Afghanistan theatre that contributes to the overall crisis.

    In terms of the Brits a six month tour bestows "Afghan expertise" on a soldier. A whole six months... wow!

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    Default A "too true" -- and a not likely...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post
    I think you guys are being too hard on yourselves or have extremely inflated opinions about the abilities of your armies !!
    Accurate assessment on your part and correct on both counts. The latter problem leads directly to the former. That uncharitable opinion is also influenced heavily by US domestic -- and electoral -- politics. JMA is right to assert that both the Politicians and the Generals bear responsibility for most of the errors (of commission and omission...) but the US milieu virtually demands that the Generals accede to anything, no matter how stupid, the Politicians want and that those Politicians (and by both affinity and direction, the Generals) never admit error. Dumb way to do business but we've managed to live with it for a couple of centuries...
    ... you have a rabidly anti US country through which your major Lines of Communication pass. I think that you're doing pretty well for now. My solution : shore up the moderates, Hazaras, Shias & Tajiks, kick the Pakis in the balls while you skedaddle.
    Sound advice. Regrettably the US Foreign Policy 'establishment' would have conniption fits at the mere thought the 'unequal treatment' thus shown -- or of admitting that the entire early moves were ill advised. They will also dismiss that last part, they having never subscribed to the reality that if one grabs an opponent there, hearts and minds will follow.

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    Default Agreed -- but...

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Once again the old "hardy annual" of the lack of continuity among Brit (and also US) troops leads to a lack of expertise in not only this aspect - being the understanding of Afghan culture - but all aspects of military operations in the Afghanistan theatre that contributes to the overall crisis.
    As always I totally agree militarily and practically but still cite the political infeasibility of longer tours for both nations. In both nations, the domestic political desirability will always outweigh the military optimum unless there is an existential issue. In Afghanistan (and Iraq) there was no such issue.

    Both Armies knew all that so they accepted the rules. That excuses neither Army for not doing a better job of training or placing rotations to maximize the capability attainable. Both could have done a far better job at that but Gurkha's comment about "inflated opinions" allied with super egos interfered...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    As always I totally agree militarily and practically but still cite the political infeasibility of longer tours for both nations. In both nations, the domestic political desirability will always outweigh the military optimum unless there is an existential issue. In Afghanistan (and Iraq) there was no such issue.

    Both Armies knew all that so they accepted the rules. That excuses neither Army for not doing a better job of training or placing rotations to maximize the capability attainable. Both could have done a far better job at that but Gurkha's comment about "inflated opinions" allied with super egos interfered...
    Ken, I raise this point again - the "C" word - so as to ensure that this critical factor is not lost in the churn of misinformation and the search for reasons for the lack of performance.

    I continue to be amused that there are little or no offers of how greater operational continuity could be achieved given the imposed limitations or what improved system could be sold to the idiots in your congress (that would have some chance of success).

    ...or maybe someone may be willing and able to support the current failed system... (thereby possibly gaining a few "Brownie points" in the process). Any takers?

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    We cannot seem to focus on the right things. I see this effort going nowhere and, frankly, a waste of time that could be better applied. I find it funny that the general in charge of the effort can't seem to get fully behind it.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...258_story.html

    By Kevin Sieff and Richard Leiby, Updated: Friday, September 28, 3:55 AMThe Washington Post KABUL — A new Afghan army-issued guide explains to soldiers here that when their Western counterparts do something deeply insulting, it’s likely a product of cultural ignorance and not worthy of revenge.

    Eleven years into the war in Afghanistan, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural understanding, officials say, contributing to a string of insider attacks that have threatened to undermine the military partnership. Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan counterparts.

    To address a laundry list of cross-cultural pitfalls — and to avoid their potentially fatal consequences — the Afghan Ministry of Defense this month introduced a pamphlet called “Cultural Understanding — A Guide to Understanding Coalition Cultures.”

    The 18-page training guide, written in Dari, will soon be distributed to Afghan military leaders across the country. The booklet will be taught in three one-hour sessions to all soldiers as well as new recruits.

    It is intended to “strengthen our understanding of our [NATO] counterpart,” according to an English translation of the pamphlet that was provided to The Washington Post. But in doing so, it also reveals seemingly minor — and rarely acknowledged — cultural faux pas that have created palpable tension between the two forces.

    “Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you,” the guide instructs.

    “When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind,” it explains. “They may even do this to you if they are proud of the job you've done. Once again, they don’t mean to offend you.”

    And another tip: “When someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no means trying to offend you. They simply don’t know or have forgotten the Afghan custom.” Pointing the soles of one’s shoes at someone is considered a grievous insult in Afghanistan.

    The guide also warns Afghan soldiers that Western troops might wink at them or inquire about their female relatives or expose their private parts while showering — all inappropriate actions by Afghan standards.

    As NATO winds down its mission here, the “Cultural Understanding” guide marks the Afghan army’s most significant effort to identify long-standing points of contention and confusion between the two forces.

    Despite those points, the coalition is described glowingly, often in florid language.

    The United States is “a little like a lovely carpet. Different colored strands combine to make a beautiful whole.”

    NATO’s coalition is described as a “work of art.”

    The task of laying out a set of commonly misinterpreted behaviors fell to Brig. Gen. Mohammad Amin Nasib, the bearish, affable head of religious and ideological affairs at the Ministry of Defense, and his senior military adviser from the NATO side, Michael W. Gore, a mild-mannered Navy commander and chaplain.

    “Some would argue that we’re too late, but any time is the right time to promote understanding of each other’s culture,” Gore said. “The Golden Rule goes a long way in any culture in helping to foster tolerance and understanding.”

    Nasib wasn’t quite as buoyant. “Unfortunately, it’s too late,” he said. “It should have been done early.”

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    In terms of the Brits a six month tour bestows "Afghan expertise" on a soldier. A whole six months... wow!
    Expectations for learning progress must have been lowered.

    Back in 1941, having seen six weeks of the French campaign easily qualified for being a Blitzkrieg expert in Britain. In fact, most who were considered experts of this then-new thing had seen it not at all or had seen only about two weeks of it, and in a secondary area of the theatre.


    Presently, I am imagining how Churchill tells Montgomery to first spend a year in Egypt and learn a lot before taking any action.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    As always I totally agree militarily and practically but still cite the political infeasibility of longer tours for both nations. In both nations, the domestic political desirability will always outweigh the military optimum unless there is an existential issue. In Afghanistan (and Iraq) there was no such issue.

    Both Armies knew all that so they accepted the rules. That excuses neither Army for not doing a better job of training or placing rotations to maximize the capability attainable. Both could have done a far better job at that but Gurkha's comment about "inflated opinions" allied with super egos interfered...
    As a follow up...

    I read in that Washington Post article about the concern that after 11 years in Afghanistan lamenting the cross-cultural issues which remain. One wonders whether any of the new generation of soldiers know that famous quote out of Vietnam to illustrate the point?

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    I continue to be amused that there are little or no offers of how greater operational continuity could be achieved given the imposed limitations or what improved system could be sold to the idiots in your congress (that would have some chance of success).

    ...or maybe someone may be willing and able to support the current failed system... (thereby possibly gaining a few "Brownie points" in the process). Any takers?
    JMA, for the love of God, stop trolling. What point are you trying to prove besides parading your annoying approach (on second thought--don't answer that)?

    If you haven't figured it out by now, folks have stopped feeding the pigeons for the most part when one comes flopping into threads looking for trouble, because dealing with the #### is a pain in the ass.

    Go back to the RLI thread and stay industrious there.

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    Some additional data on "green-on-green" attacks, that is insider attacks within the Afghan Army and police:

    Afghan troops killing colleagues in greater numbers

    Even as attacks by Afghan security forces on NATO troops have become an increasing source of tension, new NATO data shows another sign of vulnerability for the training mission: even greater numbers of the Afghan police and military forces have killed each other this year.

    So far, Afghan soldiers or police officers have killed 53 of their comrades and wounded at least 22 others in 35 separate attacks this year, according to NATO data provided to The New York Times by officials in Kabul. By comparison, at least 40 NATO service members were reported killed by Afghan security forces or others working with them.

    Both figures fall under what officials call insider attacks, and both numbers have climbed sharply over the past two years, Western officials say. But while officials say that a vast majority of attacks on Western forces are born out of outrage or personal disputes, the Afghan-on-Afghan numbers are said in larger part to reflect a greater vulnerability to infiltration by the Taliban.

    Further, there are concerns about cultural clashes within the rapidly expanding Afghan forces themselves, Afghan and NATO officials say, raising questions about their ability to weather the country’s deep factional differences after the NATO troop withdrawal in 2014.

    “Three decades of war can play a pivotal role in the internal causes,” said Maj. Bashir Ishaqzia, commander of the Afghan National Police recruitment center in Nangarhar Province. He said one of the biggest challenges for the army and police forces was a lasting “culture of intolerance among Afghans, as well as old family, tribal, ethnic, factional, lingual and personal disputes.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Expectations for learning progress must have been lowered.

    Back in 1941, having seen six weeks of the French campaign easily qualified for being a Blitzkrieg expert in Britain. In fact, most who were considered experts of this then-new thing had seen it not at all or had seen only about two weeks of it, and in a secondary area of the theatre.
    We have a saying: "In the land of the blind the man with one eye is king."

    The cycle continues:

    "In Afghanistan and Iraq, army units served six months in heatre.40 Every British soldier knows the routine well: one spends two months learning the job, two months doing it and two months counting the days until you go home for ‘tea and medals’, as the saying goes."

    Ledwidge, Frank (2011-07-15). Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan (p. 35). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.
    Presently, I am imagining how Churchill tells Montgomery to first spend a year in Egypt and learn a lot before taking any action.
    Under those circumstances you do the best you can. The general practice is to look for those with the best experience to lead new ventures (be they anything from an invasion to a patrol).

    ...but it is not merely time in theatre that counts it is time in combat with a variation of situations. Not sure sitting in Bagram counts for much other than for the "field hospital" there which by all accounts is the best the Brits have ever had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    JMA, for the love of God, stop trolling. What point are you trying to prove besides parading your annoying approach (on second thought--don't answer that)?

    If you haven't figured it out by now, folks have stopped feeding the pigeons for the most part when one comes flopping into threads looking for trouble, because dealing with the #### is a pain in the ass.

    Go back to the RLI thread and stay industrious there.
    LOL... I guess that means you have nothing to contribute on this issue

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