Success and failure in the fight in Afghanistan

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Success and failure in the fight in Afghanistan

Let’s start with the absurd ISIS propaganda (from Marine Corps Times):

Al-A’maq, a news agency for the insurgent force, claimed ISIS fighters killed an American and wounded seven Afghan soldiers in a battle in the Deh Bala area of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, according to translations done by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.

Not so much according to US Forces-Afghanistan:

“As the Afghans defeat the enemy in Nangarhar, we continue to receive daily reports from the insurgents of their successes. Those claims are false,” he added.

The Islamic State offshoot, known as ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed in their news release that a joint attack by Afghan and U.S. forces on the villages of Jaharwazi and Mariz was repelled by insurgents.

“The clashes resulted in the death of a Crusader soldier and the wounding of seven apostates. The rest fled and managed to survive,” ISIS-K alleged in its statement.

Resolute Support did not collaborate that sequence of events.

“Those types of notifications happen very quickly,” a Pentagon spokesman said in reference to any alerts concerning casualties. “But we have not heard anything of a U.S. soldier being killed.”

Meanwhile, the terrorists are going after a Children’s welfare non-profit, because somehow in their warped mind that makes sense:

Gunmen set off explosives before opening fire on a provincial office of the aid group Save the Children in Afghanistan, killing at least one person and wounding more than a dozen others, local officials say.

At least 14 people were hurt in the attack Wednesday in Jalalabad and had been evacuated to the Nangarhar regional hospital; however, the number of casualties could rise as the gun battle with assailants continued, hospital spokesman Inamullah Miakhial said.

Afghanistan's Tolo news service, monitored by Al-Jazeera, said an initial blast in the attack was caused by a suicide car bomber.

The BBC quotes local journalist Bilal Sarwary as saying police told him that Afghan commandos were trying to flush out the attackers, who were on upper floors of the building armed with heavy machine guns, grenades and rocket-propelled grenades.

“Winning the hearts and minds” has never been a terrorist strategy, but I am hard pressed to figure out how this was a good move on any level.

There is some good news though, as the Afghan Special Ops have been quietly racking up a series of successes that shows their vastly increased war fighting abilities:

U.S. and Afghan forces raided a Taliban prison in Helmand province Jan. 20, rescuing more than 60 Afghan security forces, senior Afghan defense officials told Military Times.

U.S. officials provided few details about the operation.

“Afghan Special Security Forces conducted the operation in the Baghran District Center of Helmand province on Jan. 20,” Army Lt. Col. Koné Faulkner told Military Times. “U.S. coalition service members were present for the operation.”

The secretive operation is the second major Taliban prison raid in the province in the last week. In the past several months, four Taliban prison raids have been carried out by Afghan forces, three of those occurred in Helmand.

The end state for US involvement is clearly an Afghan military that can protect their own, so the importantce of this success can’t be overstated.  It’s great to see them able to pull off these missions.

One last clip from Military Times I am including because it’s something I’ve complained about (including on this blog) for well over 10 years now:

The U.S. military did not provide its service members with explicit guidance or training on how to report instances of child abuse by Afghan forces prior to 2015, according to a report released Tuesday.

While the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, found no evidence that the Defense Department condoned these human rights violations by Afghan forces or instructed service members to ignore the abuse, the department didn’t provide troops with the proper training on how to report such incidents.

The report was conducted at the request of 93 members of Congress and released to them in June 2017. After receiving the report, Congress removed the clause in defense spending that allowed Afghan units accused of human rights violations to continue receiving U.S. funds.

I’m not going to go into the abuse, if you want to know about it, you can Google "bacha bazi" and see just how sick this is.  But there was never any actual direction on how to deal with it.  I didn’t witness it directly (thank God) but every Friday morning the Egyptian hospital on Bagram would open the gates and treat the children for medical issues.  It was almost always young boys.  It was disgusting on a level I can’t fathom, but the Army never actually explained to us what to do about it, there was no guidance, and as far as I can tell, the policy was to turn a blind eye.   Hopefully now that guidance is explicit, because if there was ever something deserving of a no-tolerance mentality, this is it.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.