cultural clash

Hiding Report on Fratricide in Afghanistan Doesn’t Make It Go Away

On January 20, the New York Times carried what they at first thought was a scoop on a “classified” report (pdf) on Afghan military and police personnel killing NATO forces. After they were told that the Wall Street Journal had written on the report back in June, they admitted as much in a correction. They later added another correction after I pointed out that a version of the report clearly marked “unclassified” could be found easily even though the Times referred to the report as classified. It turns out that the report had indeed been published first as unclassified but then was retroactively classified while the Wall Street Journal article was being prepared.

Events over the last few days serve to demonstrate the folly of trying to hide damaging information rather than openly reviewing it and trying to learn lessons from it. The report in question went into great detail to document the cultural misunderstandings that exist between NATO forces and their “partner” Afghan forces, and how these misunderstandings escalate to the point that Afghan personnel end up killing NATO personnel. In the executive summary of the report, we learn that “ANSF members identified numerous social, cultural and operational grievances they have with U.S. soldiers.” Arrogance on the part of U.S. soldiers often was cited, as well.

This clash of social values is at the heart of the newest wave of anti-US and anti-NATO violence in Afghanistan which erupted after an Afghan employee found Korans among materials being burned last week at a NATO base. A part of the response to the Koran burning is that on Saturday, two NATO personnel were killed inside Afghanistan’s interior ministry building. BBC reports that an Afghan police officer is suspected in the shootings:

Afghanistan’s interior ministry has said one of its own employees is suspected of the killing of two senior US Nato officers inside the ministry.

Officials earlier named police intelligence officer Abdul Saboor from Parwan province as the main suspect behind Saturday’s attack.

The NATO response to the killing was swift:

Nato withdrew all its personnel from Afghan ministries after the shooting.

The importance of this move cannot be overstated. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV @JamesRisen Is there one nationwide contract for screening put out by MLB or does each club contract it out? Who's making $$ off this?
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bmaz @conor64 @charlescwcooke Hmmm, what is it; have link?
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bmaz Come on folks, seriously, getting boob jobs for young Melgen hotties probably as close to good Foreign Relations work as Menendez has done.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @stephenbottomly: The real surprise is why anyone believed him in the first place! "@haaretzcom: Netanyahu never believed in a Palestini…
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bmaz RT @OKnox: Menendez allegedly asked for & got Melgen to pony up 649,611 American Express points to pay for stay here http://t.co/dLCanNnNia
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JimWhiteGNV RT @JamesRisen: MLB says it wants shorter games, but teams are telling fans to arrive an hour early to deal with metal detectors. 3 hour ga…
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bmaz @PaulBlu @rickhasen So, if you think that AMK blurb is exculpatory for Menendez, how do you explain Don Siegelman case?
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bmaz @nickmartin "Accessories After the Fact"
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bmaz Don't know where Menendez prosecution will lead, but for all you legal "experts" out there bloating about how weak it is, see Siegelman, Don
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bmaz @rickhasen PIN is foolish? There is a track record there, see: Edwards, John and Stevens, Ted.
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bmaz I feel horrible for Bob Menendez, because he was a Democratic stalwart supporting Don Siegelman! Oh, wait, that's just not true, is it?
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April 2015
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