US Public Wants out of Afghanistan as 3 Western Troops Killed by Afghan Troops

There were two attacks on US and British troops in Afghanistan on Monday, by members of the Afghanistan armed forces. The American was killed in “the east,” while the two British officers were shot in Helmand province.

The USG Open Source Center translated a Pashto report on the Helmand incidents:

‘ Man in Afghan military uniform kills two ISAF soldiers in south
Afghan Islamic Press
Monday, March 26, 2012
Document Type: OSC Translated Excerpt…

Excerpt from report by private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency:

Kabul, 26 March: An armed man wearing Afghan National Army (ANA) uniform has killed two ISAF soldiers.

ISAF forces say that an armed man who was wearing ANA uniform has shot dead two ISAF soldiers in southern Afghanistan.

(Passage omitted: ISAF statement)

Meanwhile, a well-informed news source in Lashkargah city, capital of Helmand Province (southern Afghanistan), told Afghan Islamic Press this incident took place in a PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) centre of foreign forces in Lashkargah city.

Officials in Helmand and Ministry of Defence have not commented so far.

(Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans, that describes itself as an independent “news agency” but whose history and reporting pattern reveal a perceptible pro-Taliban bias; the AIP’s founder-director, Mohammad Yaqub Sharafat, has long been associated with a mujahidin faction that merged with the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate” led by Mullah Omar; subscription required to access content; http://www.afghanislamicpress.com)’

Bad relations between the US and Afghanis have been fueled by a Qur’an-burning incident, in which the US disposed of the Qur’ans used by prisoners at Bagram prison at an incinerator, and the Panjwai massacre in which a US sergeant stands accused of indiscriminately killing civilians, mainly children.

The gloomy outlook for the war in the short term is being mirrored in a new opinion poll that shows that 69 percent of the US public want to see their country withdraw from Afghanistan. Just last November nearly half of the public still wanted to stay.

Now, only a third say that the US should stick to its timetable for withdrawal by 2014. Most want to get out sooner.

29 Responses

  1. The Qu’ran burning might have been one trigger event, as with the Bales murders, but every door kicked down, every water bottle thrown through a “Hajji” window, every checkpoint degradation, every “troop” telling a villager it’s his DUTY, consistent with the Latest Doctrine, to move back into a ghost market town (anyone remember “strategic hamlets?”) where the “NATO” force will “protect” his family, who responds “With all your guns and technology you cannot even protect yourselves from the fighters. How are you going to protect me?”, every bribe to this or that warlord for this or that tiny “tactical” reason, every pretense that there’s a “nation” there that “we” can deal with or are obliged to feed and grow, all of that, every one of them, are “triggering events” that not only are predictable in advent and effect but are geometrically cumulative.

    “We,” the “US” MIC, that post-national Beast with its fake patina of “patriotism,” sell weapons all over the planet, even gift them to various “factions,” which are then turned against our troops and clients. “We” pay warlords and “insurgents” to drive the trucks and NOT to attack the convoys hauling fuel and munitions to the latest Khe Sanh or Pork Chop Hill that is called “the key to victory in the whole Battlespace.” How is this different from the mythical but trenchant tale of Milo Minderbinder, who chartered Army Air Corps planes and crew to the Germans to bomb the US base for “cost plus six percent,” because it benefitted the “syndicate” Milo built, in which “everybody has a share”?

    And only now is it becoming apparent that the myths the US public has been sold, about how this has all been “vital to our security and national interests,” and now will be paying for into the far future, the whole raison de guerre, are unreal, fraudulent, a throw-away waste (well, to be fair, a huge profit to a few people) of $4 trillion and counting.

  2. It’s sort of interesting that it’s only when our side starts screwing things up that the public decides not to be supportive of the war. I’m not sure what the message is, but it’s interesting.

  3. At least we are providing some kind of universal health care for the Afghans!

  4. General Allen says that the troops just have to expect to be shot by the US ally.

    Mar 26, 2012
    DOD News Briefing with Gen. Allen from the Pentagon

    General Allen on green-on-blue: ” we should expect that this will occur”
    Q: General, going back to green — to the green-on-blue incidents, Secretary Panetta has suggested in his comments recently that this — we’re not seeing — we’re not going to see the end of these and that this is part of the price of war. Would you agree with that?

    GEN. ALLEN: I think it is a characteristic of counterinsurgencies that we’ve experienced before. We experienced these in Iraq. We experienced them in Vietnam. And on any occasion where you’re dealing with an insurgency and where you’re also growing an indigenous force which ultimately will be the principal opposition to that insurgency, the enemy’s going to do all that they can to disrupt both the counterinsurgency operations, but also disrupt the integrity of the indigenous forces that developed. So we should be — we should expect that this will occur in counterinsurgency operations and as we saw it in Iraq and we’ve seen it in — historically in counterinsurgencies, but also in Vietnam. It is a characteristic of this kind of warfare.
    link to defense.gov

    • Says the General, reportedly,

      And on any occasion where you’re dealing with an insurgency and where you’re also growing an indigenous force which ultimately will be the principal opposition to that insurgency, the enemy’s going to do all that they can to disrupt both the counterinsurgency operations, but also disrupt the integrity of the indigenous forces that developed.

      Oh, lookie — something between milbabble, and geopolitibabble!

      Gee, sometimes, since “we” so blandly assume that there’s an “enemy” “we” have to be “victorious” over, sometimes it’s just so dang hard to figure out just who or what the “enemy” is. Or what the “mission” is. Other than playing the game of war, and transferring a huge amount of wealth.

      And what’s with the Current Big General marking a difference between other “insurgencies,” and presumably in another category, “Vietnam?” Speaking of “enemies,” and the labeling on clothes in Walmart, so much of which is “Made in Vietnam”? Blah blah stay the course we’re winning just a few trillion more dollars victory is within our grasp…

  5. Almost all Americans bought the neo-con line about the “war on terror” after the horror of 9/11, but today the 99% appear, judging from various polls, to have learned something. We are told, for example, that nearly 70% now want the war in Afghanistan ended. Interestingly, in stark contrast to the war-mongering by the Netanyahu clique, 62% of Israelis also oppose a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran (though more would support it if Americans paid the bill)!

    In both cases, it seems reasonable to assume that many if not most of the individuals have little knowledge of the real historical facts (which are carefully hidden by Israeli and American politicians) and little appreciation for how the world looks from the perspective of the two countries being targeted. Yet, very large American and Israeli majorities evidently oppose, in the case of Afghanistan, an incompetent and brutal war, and, in the case of Iran, an unprovoked war of aggression. Just imagine how large the anti-war majorities would be if Washington and Tel Aviv made an effort to present accurate portrayals of global affairs to their otherwise-occupied populations!

    I propose that henceforth the following distinction be made when polling or generalizing in any way about what Americans (or perhaps Israelis, though I am not familiar with Israel’s tax code) think:

    If more than 50% of your income is earned and derived from income taxed in the normal way just like everyone else, you are in the category “normal;”

    If most of your income is unearned, i.e., derived from privileged sources that are taxed at low rates (e.g., the U.S. rich man’s welfare program known as “capital gains”), then you will be classified in the category “privileged.”

    Then, we will all have a much easier time figuring out why so many of the rich, who never fight, want war.

    • I don’t think they’ve learned anything.
      The public ..’our public’ are turning against these wars because ‘our troops’ are being killed. If it was only a case of the ‘others’ being killed – regardless of numbers ( and in some cases the more the merrier) ‘our public’ would still be happy as pigs.
      Whats amazing ( to me at least) is how many people are surprised when Afghans kill US/NATO troops …”How ungrateful” they cry, because of course if we had foreign troops conducting counterinsurgency ops on our soil we’d be behind them 100%.

  6. @JTMcPhee
    “the Bales murders?”
    Jumping the gun, aren’t we?
    Or do you always believe the government.

    • I think Sgt. Bales is the one who jumped the gun, on the way to jumping the shark for the rest of us.

      Would you feel better, in advancing the Narrative’s obscuration of Sgt. Bales’ “losing it,” if the word used was “homicide” instead of “murder?” What word would you use to describe the mechanism of Pat Tillman’s death, and what happened next?

      And no, I very clearly do not scarcely ever believe “the government,” which as you maybe know is made up of a whole bunch of different parts that each have their designated lies and liars and spinners and, thank G_d, a few brave souls who are still capable of being outraged and blowing the whistle, even though it lands them in naked solitary lockdown. Do you approve of how “the government,” the part I bet you have an affinity for, has treated Bradley Manning, for example?

  7. What happened? I thought USA was having so much fun the last 10 yrs? The OBL killing rejuvenated us didn’t it? Remember all the celebration, how happy we were that finally he was dead….Now you want out? Oh wait Iran on the horizon….Why would Muslims think we were at war with them? Don’t they have CNN? It should be “You break it,you buy it” instead it’s “you break it,stay a little longer, then leave”

    • That’s a tautology, right? Even our generals know that “the ANA” is a meaningless reification.

      And do you really think you or the rest of us will ever know “the facts” for sure, or that it matters in the playing of the Great Game? But let us keep manufacturing “reasonable doubt,” as a cover for the inevitable “strategic rearward advance to previously prepared positions,” an old Mil-def for the word “retreat,” which was never to be uttered…

      • No, the ANA is a real thing, not a reification.

        I see three possibilities:

        Someone who bought a uniform in a market;

        Someone who joined the ANA for this purpose;

        Someone who joined the ANA legitimately, and had a change of heart.

        The rest of your comment reads like an excuse not to bother trying to know the truth, so you can choose your own adventure. Kindly go back and read my comment, read your reply, and note which one of us has made up a story he wants to hear, vs. which one of us is trying to understand the truth.

  8. Isn’t it just possible that some Afghans don’t like to kill other Afghans just because the US military tells them to. And isn’t it just possible that some members of the Afghan army might see the Taliban as a preferable alternative to Kabul. And if you piss off enough of these gun toting soldiers, a few will change sides before our troops have a chance to duck.

    “Kill for Kabul” might not be a viable battle cry. And “kill for the USA” might really be counterproductive.

    • I haven’t seen anyone dismiss any of the possibilities you mention.

      Now, you’re turn: isn’t it just possible that someone not in the ANA can get his hands on a uniform?

      BTW, I’m not sure you know this, but pro- and anti-Taliban Afghans have been shooting at each since well before the United States became involved. No, really!

  9. I probably represent a growing number of people who agreed with going into Afghanistan, but think we’ve bungled the job and should have left years ago.

    • Too bad the “going in” part was not tailored to effect the nominal excuse, “crushing al Quaeda,” which trillions of dollars and millions of tons of ordnance and materiel and huge “bases” and “doctrines” as barren as the rocky valleys and shifting as the dust and sands in that place have not managed, if you believe the Quaedahype.

      But then that’s never been what the whole exercise was all about, if you dig down, has it?

      • But then that’s never been what the whole exercise was all about, if you dig down, has it?

        Initially, it was. If you read about the light-footprint, CIA-led phase of the war up until Tora Bora, that’s exactly what the exercise was about. The United States initially went in very light, and conducted very targeted missions. Do you remember who captured Kabul? Hint: not American or NATO troops.

        Unlike the Iraq War, the main force war and occupation were not a part of this mission from the beginning. Afghanistan is more an example of mission creep.

    • After ten years we should cease the counter-insurgency, nation-building campaign, as Afghans clearly are not prepared to come together in agreement on running a modern nation. Their entire history runs counter to the idea. We also should give up on the idea that pouring more money into Pakistan will result in anything resembling a joint U.S.-Pakistan vision of mutual interests.

      Nevetheless, we should continue the counter-terrorism program in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. We should advise both Afghanistan and Pakistan that we will depart militarily, and the financial aid spigot will be turned off. in other words, we will leave them alone to determine their own fate.

      With one exception: We will continue to monitor activity and collect intelligence (electronic, photographic, etc.) in the area using a variety of techniques that do not require a presence in each country. The minute we perceive a terrorist threat developing in either country, we reserve the right to hit it and hit it hard, with drones, missiles, and even the insertion of special forces.

      • Post-script to my post above. After hitting the devoping terrorist threat, we return to the status quo ante, including the rapid exfiltration of special forces after they have done the job.

        In time, Afghanistan and Pakistan may see it in their best interest to nip the terrorist threat in the bud, rather than let it fester until we come in and do the job.

        • We should advise both Afghanistan and Pakistan that we will depart militarily, and the financial aid spigot will be turned off. in other words, we will leave them alone to determine their own fate.

          …just like we did in Iraq. I remember when people, left and right, were assuring me that Iraq was going to “blow up” and “fall apart” as soon as we left.

          Not so much, as it’s turned out. Hopefully, this strategy of an announced withdrawal will work out as well in Afghanistan. I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on it, but then, what choice do we really have?

      • Do people in the ranks of Experienced Players vie for “naming rights” on various Pronouncements of Policy? Who gets the rights for this arrogant bit of “we reserve the right” aggressivism?

        The minute we perceive a terrorist threat developing in either country [and per the larger doctrine, anywhere else in the world], we reserve the right to hit it and hit it hard, with drones, missiles, and even the insertion of special forces.

        Is that the “Cheney Doctrine?” The “Wolfowitz Doctrine?” It’s not your own, since it’s been in the air for quite a while now, demonstrating the moral vacuity, the intellectual poverty and the coming economic bankruptcy of “our” play in the Great Game.

        And it’s just a cliche, but why is it that there’s so much “intelligence” to be gathered, and so little “intelligence” in what’s done with it?

        And a dialectologist just has to love “exfiltration,” what a rich cover word for a multitude of sins…

        Not to worry, though, sir, people in the ranks you indicate you belong to are well provided for, and very secure.

        • “Who gets the rights for this arrogant bit of “we reserve the right” aggressivism?”

          Nothing “arrogant” about it. Every nation, including the United States, has the right to take out a serious threat existing in another country, if that country will not do anything about it. Apparently, in your world-view the U.S. was “arrogant” for invading Afghanistan and disposing of the Taliban, who offered shelter and assistance to Al Qaeda in its attack on the U.S. What do you say? Should we have sent a United Nations rapporteur to establish a “negotiating process” with the Taliban and Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks?

        • There you go again, Bill. Nothing “arrogant?” The notion that true sovereignty belongs to the City on the Hill, that “we” on the basis of some presidential fiat can go kill anyone anywhere on the planet because “we” determine that they constitute some kind of “threat?” Yah, and “the US” has done such a bang-up job of “disposing of the Taliban,” and you tell us Al Quaeda is alive and well all over the planet. “Mission Accomplished!”

          Look, of course this is a waste of time. You speak for the Narrative, of American hegemony, and have all the talking points and puffed history ready to hand. Imply that I would want some squishy “”negotiating process” with the Taliban and Al Quaeda”? It ain’t even worth calling that a “straw man.” And one has to love the line about “every nation has the right to take out (‘take out,’ hey? that’s really TOUGH sounding) a serious threat existing in another country, if that country will not do anything about it.” Does that include all the Dirty Tricks and Secret Squirrel Strategems that the Experienced Players are always cooking up, “regime change” and undermining other economies, surrounding other nations with tiny-target-time weapons of mass destruction? How about the CIA’s poisoned cigars and other assassination attempts aimed at Fidel Castro? Did he “take out” JFK, via that Commie stooge, L.H. Oswald? By your logic, he had the RIGHT to do that.

          But you know that’s the way the world is, or the way the Experienced Players cause it to be.

      • Actually, I did read the book, one of them at least: Gary Schroen’s “First In: How The CIA Spearheaded The War On Terror in Afghanistan.”

        It’s hard to read stuff like that, which lays out so clearly, if inadvertently, how foolish the whole endeavor was and is, and how every “fail” right up to the present stuttering and staggering toward “exfiltration” was presaged by Schroen’s inadvertent, all-unaware send-up of the bits of Afghanity (Teflon “loyalties,” avarice, incompetence, tribal drives, etc.) he thought he was “managing” and of his own mission. Which was “about” a whole heck of a lot more than “very light,” and it was interesting that Schroen would have been so unhappy about how poorly “targeted” so many of the Washington-vetted, Doctrine-driven actual power projections (including, of course, dropping GPS-guided “smart bombs” on “American Assets”) actually were — relative even to what he was nominally to accomplish, the renascence of the Northern Alliance, that ill-fitted patchwork of shifting self-interests. Along with a bunch of less avowable “geopolitical” goals.

        And another one: Krakauer’s “Where Men Win Glory.” Or get killed by “friendly fire,” that murderous oxymoron. Again highlighting the massive fraud and incompetence that are so much of the substance of the whole Global Power Projection. A few little PowerPoint headings, crafted to hornswoggle the Patriotic Masses and keep the money flowing, concealing so much theft and corruption and dysfunction.

        Do you remember who captured Saigon? Hint: Not American or Australian or South Korean troops. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

  10. The should be irresistible offer to all concerned there – is:

    The US will leave as soon as you Guys make a deal!

    I know that’s supposed to be the plan but the Devil is in the detail. Like what do the Taliban get in order to play house?

  11. There is some recent history there.

    The Soviets rumbled into Afghanistan in 1979 to rescue a weak communist regime. The seven years of war since the U.S. intervention, though, look familiar to the Russians.

    Many challenges that bedeviled the Soviets confront the American operation today, the retired envoys and generals said. Among them are vicious tribal rivalries, a weak central government, radical Islamists, power-hungry warlords, incompetent or corrupt local military commanders, failing infrastructure and the complexity of fighting guerrilla groups. The former officials also cautioned that trying to bring democracy to Afghanistan, or anything resembling it, will be as fruitless as their attempts to install communism.

    “You may elect a parliament, you may invite parliamentary delegations from Afghanistan to visit Europe, but it means nothing,” said Boris Pastukhov, whose service as Soviet ambassador began in 1989, the year the Red Army withdrew. “The decisions by parliament cannot be compared with the decisions of a jirga,” a tribal council.

    However, they also seemed to voice genuine concern about the U.S. troop buildup.

    The Soviets also were convinced that superior numbers, firepower and training would make it possible to avoid the mistakes that the British and others had committed stretching back to Alexander the Great, former Ambassador Tabeyev said.

    “History didn’t listen to us,” said Tabeyev, who’s now 81. “All our efforts to restore peace in the country . . . this was a flop in the end.”

    The fundamental problem in Afghanistan is that it isn’t a country in the way the West thinks of countries, said retired Lt. Gen. Ruslan Aushev, who did two tours there and left as a regimental commander.

    “There has never been any real centralized state in Afghanistan. There is no such nation as Afghanistan,” said Aushev, who’s a former president of the Russian Caucasus republic of Ingushetia and now heads a veterans group in Moscow. “There are (ethnic groups of) Pashtuns, Uzbeks and Tajiks, and they all have different tribal policies.”

    As a result, any occupation force will spend much of its time propping up a government that has little relevance outside Kabul and trying to corral disparate ethnic groups and tribes into a national army that’s often unwilling to fight, Aushev said.

    Read more here: link to mcclatchydc.com

  12. Amazes me that anyone tried anymore “Up The Khyber”.
    I grew up on the tales as a child, and I have seen the mountains from Pakistan – they are awesome! Looked like The Rockies to me

    As the “Moral High Ground” has been lost by the US, if there ever was any, it is UN Nego time from here.

    “Between 1849 and 1947 the military history of the frontier was a succession of punitive expeditions against offending Pashtun (or Pathan) tribes, punctuated by three wars against Afghanistan. Many British officers who went on to distinguished command in the First and Second World Wars learnt their soldiering on the North-West Frontier, which they called the Grim.”

    link to en.wikipedia.org

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