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Thread: Possible Fixes for Afghanistan

  1. #1
    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Ft. Meade, MD

    Default Possible Fixes for Afghanistan

    This link (PDF) CAC Card Access Only takes you to a penetrating commentary by LtCol Asad Khan, USMC(Ret) whose insights about counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan deserve to be read by anyone remotely connected with COIN and OEF. His remarks [in red] follow remarks by Afghan expert Thomas Johnson in an interview featured in Newsweek.

    What I ask the Council to comment on is the following quote from the article:

    NEWSWEEK: You spoke to village leaders and Afghan politicians. What were some of the issues they raised concerning the presence of American troops?

    THOMAS JOHNSON: Well, it was almost [unanimous] in my conversations with Afghan politicians in the east of the country, especially in Kunar and Nangarhar: these gentlemen were complaining bitterly about what they call American night operations, where we will go into a village in the middle of the night and round up military-age people for interviews or actually take away mullahs that we suspect being involved in the insurgency. I had a very interesting conversation with Governor [Gul Agha] Surzai in Nangarhar who actually said to me, I think somewhat for effect, that he had threatened to resign in a conversation with President Karzai concerning these types of operations because they're counterproductive to all kinds of policies that they're trying to pursue at the provincial level to gain the trust and confidence of the villagers. When the Americans or the international forces come in and do snag-and-bag type operations such as this, it has a tendency to set back other types of initiatives that the provincial governments might be pursuing in these same
    village areas. So this is a very damning development that I heard constantly in my conversations with not only tribal leaders but politicians in the east of the country.
    The treatment of clerics and religious leaders/scholars is extremely sensitive. The clerics have more credibility than the government. The clerics define Afghanistan's sole unifying principle (Islam) and the Friday Mosque sermon is the primary IO outlet for most of the country, especially among a population that is 80% illiterate and enjoys no national media or communications infrastructure. The Taliban engages these Mullahs. We must view them as significant spheres-of-influence if we hope for any enduring success in OEF.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 10-31-2008 at 01:22 AM.


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