declare victory and get out

Military Slowly Gaining Perspective on Insider Attacks in Afghanistan

Citing a “former American official”, the New York Times today dubbed insider, or green on blue, attacks as “the signature violence of 2012″ as it provided information directly from an Afghan soldier who turned his gun on US troops on May 11 of this year in Kunar province, killing one US soldier and wounding two as the US soldiers were visiting the Afghan post where Mahmood, the attacker, was stationed.

The Times points out that despite the Taliban’s claims that they have many infiltrators within Afghan forces, in the case of Mahmood, he took the initiative in approaching the Taliban once he decided that he wished to carry out an attack. It appears that local opinions where he was stationed played a role in shaping his decision:

But until May, he worked and fought alongside foreigners without incident. The change came in the Ghaziabad District of Kunar, where he ended up after the start of 2012, he said.

The area is thick with Taliban, along with Islamists from Pakistan. Many residents sympathized with the insurgents and often complained to Afghan soldiers about the abuses committed by Americans and the failure of Afghan soldiers to control much of anything beyond the perimeter of their own outpost, Mr. Mahmood said. The Taliban, they glorified.

Listening to villagers, Mr. Mahmood became convinced that the foreigners had killed too many Afghans and insulted the Prophet Muhammad too many times. He wanted to be driving them out, not helping them stay. The villagers’ stories “strengthened my desire to kill Americans with my own fingers,” he said.

The article provides hope that the military is finally gaining a real perspective on the issues highlighted in the seminal report “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility” (pdf), which the military first retroactively classified and then embraced as it raced to respond to the growing crisis of insider attacks by preparing “training materials” implementing (in a very crude way) some of the recommendations from the report. But it now appears that the military is stumbling its way toward a deeper understanding of how cultural flashpoints are symptomatic the larger problem that the US simply is not welcome in Afghanistan:

But behind it all, many senior coalition and Afghan officials are now concluding that after nearly 12 years of war, the view of foreigners held by many Afghans has come to mirror that of the Taliban. Hope has turned into hatred, and some will find a reason to act on those feelings. Continue reading

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emptywheel @p2wy Glove box. And this goes back to when I worked in industry w/AmericanESL speakers, which made it kind of a problem.
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emptywheel @p2wy I use Irish slang a lot, for obvious reasons (also sometimes forget I'm supposed to call it a "glove compartment")
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emptywheel @KimZetter I was just thinking it must be hell on Wired's editorial staff.
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emptywheel @TimothyS Also, "Did SAIC and Raytheon oversee some catastrophic mis-implementation of CIA's reporting system in the aughts"?
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emptywheel RT @saftergood: New CRS report examines the growing frequency of mass shootings http://t.co/0U59Yr6fRd
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emptywheel Fr weekend: We ought to consider report that Adm Rogers overly focused on CENTCOM given claim US will "deter" China. https://t.co/xSXEPa01DZ
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emptywheel @TimothyS Speaking of which, you may find this of interest. https://t.co/nShubBLB7W
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emptywheel @billmon1 Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
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emptywheel The Things Our Allies Tell Us — Or Don’t, Middle East Quagmire edition https://t.co/qkxTdrHLJo
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emptywheel And at the very least a pre-USA Freedom Act implementation canary would have been useful. https://t.co/xXtKpl3B1M
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emptywheel Methinks we've now gotten to the "doth protest too much" stage for these clowns. https://t.co/NE14lzv1u1
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bmaz @ScottGreenfield I hope you have a nice laser color printer. It really jumps in color.
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