Troops angry over Catch and Release

Catch-and-release of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan angers troops

Just read the article and feel the frustration…


…More than 500 suspected Taliban fighters detained by U.S. forces have been released from custody at the urging of Afghan government officials, angering both American troops and some Afghans who oppose the policy on the grounds that many of those released return to the battlefield to kill NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians.

A marine stationed in southern Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province told The Examiner that efforts to detain insurgent fighters are "worthless."

Earlier this year, his unit held a man known to be working with the Taliban. The Marines had gathered evidence that the man was transporting hundreds of pounds of bomb-making equipment and explosives for the Taliban. But, shortly after they captured him, he was set free.

"Less than two weeks later, we saw the same guy walking through the bazaar," said the marine, who spoke on condition that he not be named. "He recognized us. I wanted to shoot him right then and there. We got the guy, and yet there he was, walking around planning to kill again, and we couldn’t do a thing about it."…


6 thoughts on “Troops angry over Catch and Release

  1. This is a “big” problem. Many ANSF advisors and ISAF soldiers have discussed this issue.

    One of the major reasons for this, is that even now the Afghan MoI has no system to college educate police [and prosecutors and judges.] Part of this relates to insufficient funding for MG Pattang’s ANP Training Command. It is a serious indictment of the failure of the UN, EU, Germany, Japan, Turkey and international community to contribute to Afghan MoI. [they wasted a lot of money without achieving much for it. Russia and India were not permitted to help MoI.]

    The US didn’t contribute significantly to the Afghan MoI until Pres Obama’s change in US policy in November, 2009. [US policy use to be to focus on the ANA while other countries focused on MoI.]

    Afghanistan’s small number of judges and prosecutors are a small fraction of what is necessary to deal with the current court caseload. As a result, MoI releases most detained Taliban without a trial or review.

    Turkey offered to train many thousands of ANP officers in Turkey provided other countries paid for the air flights, and provided other countries paid for the operational costs for the ANP. Caldwell has accepted this Turkish offer. But it will take many years for this process to generate educated prosecutors, judges and police officers. The first batch of 576 ANP officers just started [future classes will be larger.] UAE and Jordan have also offered to train thousands of MoI officers inside the UAE and Jordan.

  2. In addition there is the human factor. No matter how many of whatever you train, there is nothing to stop a prosecutor, judge, or police chief from freeing anyone for a bag of money. How many Afghan pilots left US bases never to return?

  3. Chuck, you have a point. This is why it is important to have a large number of trained lawyers on the GIRoA payroll. So that corrupt judges can be easily replaced [not an option now, corrupt judges can’t be fired because the alternative is no judge.]

    Afghans value grey beards, age and experience. They won’t easily accept young judges unless they have some kind of education credential. Another reason to get large numbers of young trained lawyers in the MoI.

    Finally, senior judges should be highly paid. The MoI budget should be fully financed by the international community to enable this.

    Despite this, some level of corruption will persist, as it does in Pakistan and Iran. But even getting the Afghan judicial system to Pakistani and Iranian levels would be a major accomplishment.

  4. It is outrageous that the Afghan Air Force does not college educate more of its officers . . . to save money, since the international community refuses to pay for it.

    This stupidity has lead to Afghan Air Force Mi17s, AN-32s, AN-26s wearing out faster than they should. This is also likely to lead to faster wearing out of currently flying Mi-35 attack helos, and C-27 transportation aircraft.

    To save hundreds of millions of dollars in college education and training expenses, we are losing many billions of dollars worth of equipment.

    Penny wise, pound foolish.

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