Our blindside….

Richard Fernandez has a great post on the inside job. 

One of the Taliban’s favorite tactics has long been the “inside attack”, in which the enemy first gains your confidence or pretends to be one of you and then attacks from within. In 2006, a Canadian Civilian-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) officer sat down to talk to villagers “about access to clean water and other basic needs under Canada’s area of responsibility”.

After the soldiers removed their helmets, a common practice and show of respect, Abdul Kareem, a sixteen-year old boy, almost split Greene’s brain in half by hitting him with an axe. Kareem tried to hit again but was instantly shot -and killed- by other members of the platoon. The platoon then came under heavy fire while waiting for a US Army medical evacuation helicopter.

The Canadians had the advantage of combat power, training and goodwill. All of that lost to just one thing: duplicity. The sucker punch is an awesome thing. The inside attack has been widely employed in the past. An Afghan policeman killed 5 British soldiers in 2009. In 2010 a double-agent Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, blew himself up while attending a meeting inside a CIA installation killing 7 agency personnel. In April 2011, a man wearing an Afghan police uniform shot and killed 2 US trainers. In May 2011, “eight American troops and a U.S. contractor died Wednesday after an Afghan military pilot opened fire during a meeting at Kabul airport”. These are just a few examples, but there are many, many more.

It’s not just the article but the comments that are a great read. 

UPDATE related. 

On Saturday, a Taliban suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up inside a heavily guarded compound in northern Afghanistan as top Afghan and international officials were leaving a meeting.

The blast killed two senior Afghan police commanders and wounded a German general in command of coalition troops in the region. Two German soldiers and two other Afghans were also killed in the blast that came just weeks before a planned drawdown of U.S. troops begins this summer.

The bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest inside the governor’s complex in Takhar province, where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting with members of the international coalition.

Among the dead was Gen. Daud Daud, regional police commander in northern Afghanistan. Daud was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics and a former bodyguard of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that provoked the U.S. invasion.

Also killed in the Saturday blast were provincial police chief Gen. Shah Jahan Noori, a secretary to the governor and one of Daud’s bodyguards, the health director said.

Gen. Markus Kneip, the NATO force’s commander for nine northern provinces, was among the wounded, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in Berlin.

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5 thoughts on “Our blindside….

  1. JB, you and I know that this is only one of many blindsides. The size and scope of our involvements militarily generally runs to the ridiculously large. The infrastructure requirements to support the force is a huge blindside. Sledgehammer to drive nails. We end up losing sight of the military goals and focus on the process way too much. Much of this I blame on Senior Officers trying to climb that proverbial ladder on the backs of his soldiers. With your background I know you know bigger is not better for the most part.

  2. The actual strategic value of these “blind sides” is far less than their propaganda value.

    Most of these incidents are not caused by actual ANSF who are influenced by the Taliban. Rather most are caused by:
    -Taliban in ANSF uniforms [a shocking number of these turn out to be foreigners in ANSF uniforms]
    -Personal disputes [bar fights with guns . . . Afghans can be prickly and are honor sensitive]
    -Organized crime

    Organized crime pose a bigger threat to the ANSF than Taliban infiltration.

    Another propaganda victory by the Taliban is to use citizens of ISAF countries as suicide bombers against ANSF and GIRoA targets. At least 1 Britisher was used as a suicide bomber against the Afghan MoD building a few weeks ago. In recent weeks several other European and other ISAF country nationals have been caught fighting for the Taliban. [since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bosnia, Azerbaijan, Albania, and other muslim countries are part of the coalition, a large percentage of suicide bombers are from ISAF countries.]

    This feeds the widely believed conspiracy theories that ISAF backs the Taliban and Pakistani Army against the ANSF and Afghans; which in my view is the largest single cause of anti international sentiment inside Afghanistan today.

    The ANSF needs to be allowed to conduct their own “blindside” attacks against the Taliban, including by using Pakistani nationals hired by the ANSF. NDS has the means, but ISAF is impeding this. Since most of these “blindside” attacks necessarily would need to take place inside Pakistan, there are sensitivities.

    Chilihntr, well said. Many ISAF forces [98 K Americans plus 50 K non Americans] are not fighting with, through and by the Afghans as they should. Surging Afghan capacity is far cheaper than direct ISAF action.

    In recent weeks, we have been a lot more vocal comments by Turks, Russians and Indians blasting ISAF for blocking ANSF development and arguing for more direct ANSF capacity building by their own countries. [Which means they think NATO is leaving.] Why doesn’t Obama say that America and ISAF welcomes their increased contribution to Afghanistan provided the GIRoA approves? Put up or shut up.

  3. Anan, he (the President) will not welcome anything that puts one more foreign or American troop into Afghanistan. His master political ambitions would not be well fueled by more vs. less troops there.

  4. Chilihntr, why would Obama oppose increased Turkish, Russian and Indian involvement with the ANSF and Afghanistan?

    One of the largest reasons NATO and the US opposed surging ANSF capacity before November, 2009, was because of fears that this would force Pakistan to back Al Qaeda and the Taliban against their mortal enemies . . . the ANSF.

    Do you think that this is Obama’s belief?

    If so, are the Afghans, GIRoA, ANSF, Russians, Turks, Indians, Iranians correct that Obama and the US wants a weak ANSF?

    Is Obama considering letting extremist parts of the Pakistani establishment rule Afghanistan through the Taliban?

    Many Afghans already believe this. Notice how the old Northern Alliance is considering making their own anti Taliban militias versus fighting through the ANSF like they have so far.

  5. I say again: “His master political ambitions would not be well fueled by more vs. less troops there.” Everything, and I mean everything he does has a political motive.

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