Today’s New York Times carries a long article under the headline “Afghanistan’s Soldiers Step Up Killings of Allied Forces“. The story appears to me to be presented from the angle of military higher-ups who don’t want to withdraw from Afghanistan and point to the failed training of Afghan forces to support their argument that we must stay there:
The violence, and the failure by coalition commanders to address it, casts a harsh spotlight on the shortcomings of American efforts to build a functional Afghan Army, a pillar of the Obama administration’s strategy for extricating the United States from the war in Afghanistan, said the officers and experts who helped shape the strategy.
Not very thinly veiled, there, is it? It is the “officers and experts who helped shape the strategy” who say that we have “shortcomings” in our “efforts to build a functional Afghan Army”. And since that Afghan Army is “a pillar of the Obama’s administration’s strategy for exticating the United States from the war”, well, we just can’t possibly consider withdrawing yet if we have failed on such a central job, can we?
The Times article is based primarily on a study titled “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility” and the Times claims the report is classified:
The 70-page classified coalition report, titled “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility,” goes far beyond anecdotes. It was conducted by a behavioral scientist who surveyed 613 Afghan soldiers and police officers, 215 American soldiers and 30 Afghan interpreters who worked for the Americans.
Hmmm. This Wall Street Journal article from June 17, 2011 references a report with the same title and even has a link purporting to be for the report. That link is now broken and gives a “404 Not Found” response, but searching on the title gives this link, which goes to a 70 page pdf plainly stamped “UNCLASSIFIED” in green at the top and bottom of every page, as seen in the partial screencap above. In addition to not having Truth Vigilantes, it appears that the New York Times has now given up on using fact-checkers, because their claim that the report is classified is in error unless both the classified and unclassified versions of the report just happen to have 70 pages each.
Anyway, if we dive into this report, the executive summary gives us the list of reasons cited by Afghan troops for why they become upset with US troops. Reading this list brings up the question of whether training of US troops is just as much a failure as our training of Afghan troops (quotations here are my transcriptions, the pdf was saved in a form preventing copying): Read more