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
emptywheel Been in a meeting. ANyone write the Trump treats the GOP like they're a chump limerick yet?
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emptywheel @billmon1 That's part of what makes him dangerous. But also more in tune than the rest.
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emptywheel @billmon1 I got that. It is possible he is egotistical AND better at reading a crowd (and therefore more --ick-- emphathetic) than the rest.
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emptywheel @onekade The third branch has been way too gutted to take away tools critical to their power, IMO. @leahmcelrath
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emptywheel @onekade FWIW, my point on Davis is 1) I'm not crazy abt her being jailed but 2) judges have tools to enforce contempt, that's important
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emptywheel @nittacci I doubt I'll ever love him more than Carr, so I'll always have that to fall back on.
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emptywheel @billmon1 I think he'd be right if it weren't for Bernie. He's feeding a real angst.
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emptywheel @onekade No. That if ACLU invests a ton in winning legal battles and then wins they can always be blown off bc cooties.
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JimWhiteGNV @shenebraskan Thanks. We love it already. Carpet measurement is tomorrow. I am relentless now...
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emptywheel @onekade I get your point. But if your colleagues win big legal wins but it never means anything than what good does it do?
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emptywheel @billmon1 Nah. I think he knows precisely which buttons he is pressing and it's not just about his ego.
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emptywheel @billmon1 But he is highly attuned to audience.
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September 2015
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