Sen. Carl Levin of the Senate Armed Services Committee announced a report on Thursday on the way the private security contractors hired by the US military (even to guard bases!) are subject to little oversight, are corrupt, and sometimes pass on money or resources to what are essentially Taliban.
That is, the US may be indirectly hiring the Taliban to hit US bases.
At the same time, the some 3000 Afghans serving in the private CIA army in AFghanistan have been accused of carrying out among the worst attacks in that country. Erica Gaston of the Open Society Institute talks about her own experiences on the ground in this regard.
The Open Society Foundation reports the finding of Open Society Institute social scientists that ordinary Aghans blame US and NATO military actions as much or more than they blame the Taliban for civilian losses.
The tendency to blame the US is visible in Todd Pitman’s excellent piece revisiting Marjah. Remember Marjah? This cluster of farm houses in the Taliban poppy-growing region of Helmand Province was supposed to be a demonstration project for Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s counter-insurgency campaign (take, clear, hold and build). All these months later, the US forces have not dislodged the Taliban, and it seems clear that there are places that GIs cannot go without incurring a firefight. That is, the ‘clear’ phase has hit a Himalayan-sized snage. Much less hold and build. It was on the “success” of the Marjah campaign that the long-delayed attack on the major southern city of Qandahar was to have been modeled. I wouldn’t advise the US to try to attack and occupy Qandahar if they cannot even deal with Marjah.
While it won’t yield results soon, the negotiations of the Karzai government with insurgents are likely to point the way toward the end of the foreign military presence and the establishment of a new, more inclusive government in the medium to long term.