Posts Tagged ‘operational mentoring and liasion teams’
My fave bit of BruceR’s latest post at Flit regarding the possibility of more U.S. troops being poured into Afghanistan, specifically, the potential of pouring them into Kandahar Airfield (KAF) and having them drop by the neighbouring regions:
Experience has proved the only way you keep the Afghan police alive and honest long enough for them to make a difference is by living with them 24/7, not by driving out on alternate mornings to see if they’re still breathing. Putting more soldiers into KAF, by contrast, will increase the lineups at the French bistro and the Burger King, but will do absolutely nothing to help Afghans.
…about how the individual soldier contributes to the counterinsurgency fight in Afghanistan, in terms that are easy to understand – from the mouth of C.F. Corporal Duane Gyuricska, speaking to NATO’s natochannel.tv:
Does this clip oversimply the task? It does only show a small part of the work. Does it explain the fight better or worse than how mainstream media does now? You be the judge – let me know with your comments.
You can see the entire natochannel.tv video story about Canada’s approach to COIN here.
Why won’t we see/hear this on mainstream media?
Because it’s produced by our side.
To mainstream media, NATO or Canadian government produced video pieces = “falling into line with government propaganda”, while what the Taliban says = “including all sides in the interests of fairness”.
3 Dec 09 Update: Canada’s Man at the US Army/USMC COIN Centre spots the video on youtube.com and shares.
5 Dec 09 Update: The Celestial Junk’s take on the same story.
There will still be a need for security and counter-insurgency operations when Canada’s current mandate expires in 2011, he said. If experienced Canadian troops leave Kanadhar, some other nation, likely less familiar with the local terrain and power brokers, will have to do the job.
Hillier also said there’s also no need for Canadian troops, except in Kandahar or the northeast, and there’s no way Canada can carry out a goodwill mission without encountering frequent violence.
“If you stay in the south and try to do something like training, you will still be in combat. I don’t care what (political) staffers say in the media about how they can find a way to do it. You simply will not. You will be in combat,” Hillier said during a promotional interview for his new book, A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War.
Living behind blast walls and trying to carry out aid and reconstruction projects are futile, and potentially dangerous in a country where NATO and insurgent forces are battling for the trust of the local population.
“It would be like going to shore at Normandy on the sixth of June (1944) and driving around . . . sightseeing and leaving the enemy the opportunity, flexibility and initiative to attack you when they want,” Hillier said … “to have people and staffers coming out and saying that we can do this job in two years or five years, or we can train without being in combat . . . it’s just baloney.”
Get it now?
UPDATE (1): More of the same quoted by Macleans:
Is there a safer way to teach those Afghan recruits? Hillier doesn’t think so. Here’s what he told us about the sort of scenario sketched by Soudas: “You can come up with all kinds of schemes to hide away in a camp and train people for the Afghan army or police, but they lack credibility. If you try to help train and develop the Afghan army or police in southern Afghanistan, you are going to be in combat.”
A “must read” from Thomas Ricks at Foreignpolicy.com, highlighting comments from none other than BruceR, the star of Flit.
My fave highlight:
Afghan National Army military intelligence officers brought an interesting perspective to signals interception: “rather than passively listening [to enemy radio traffic], the ANA had a tendency to get into arguments with insurgents.”
PDF version with some comments here – enjoy!
Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, told CBC News there will be Canadian troops in Afghanistan after parliament’s mandate expires, though “exponentially fewer.”
“I would caution you against saying dozens or hundreds or a thousand, there will be exponentially fewer,” Soudas said.
“Whether there’s 20 or 60 or 80 or 100, they will not be conducting combat operations.”
Soudas said the government would shift focus from combat operations and in-the-field training of Afghan police and soldiers to a development and reconstruction mission.
The military’s training mission will continue, but it will take place in the safety of protected facilities, he said.
The combat-mentoring role currently undertaken by Canadian troops would end, according to the plan.
“You can do training in training facilities,” Soudas said. “And when I say training, I mean Canadian soldiers will not be doing combat training of Afghan soldiers in harm’s way.“
I’m certain our troops will do a first-rate job delivering any training, no matter where it’s done, but what will this do to the relationship between the trainee and the trainer?
How about the potential for Taliban Info-Machine messaging to the effect of, “they come to help, and send you to die?”
I’d love anyone who’s been there, done that to share their ideas on this one.
In all the back and forth regarding Canada’s post-2011 mission in Afghanistan, there are those who say CF troops could stay to train Afghan forces without it being considered a “combat” mission.
One point that’s shared via this post from the US Army/USMC COIN Centre Blog explains exactly why a TRAINING mission must be a COMBAT mission:
“Afghans trust and value those whose caveats permits them to go into combat with them”
Unless, of course, we want a training mission where the Afghan student troops and cops don’t have to respect the trainers.
Great use of resource, that – NOT.
Former CF trainer of Afghan troops BruceR has taken on the sensitive subject of sexual abuse by Afghan security forces. Outside of obvious “catching them in the act” situations, be paints, in more detail, the shades of grey involved in dealing with this problem:
“The question is how to discreetly determine when that’s become inappropriate. You see a beardless boy you don’t recognize spending a lot of time around the police station, or in a uniform two sizes too big for him. He’s not unhappy or bearing any signs of abuse… no one’s beating him, or treating him as obvious chattel. If you ask him how old he is, he likely couldn’t tell you. So is he a sexual object for one of the officers, or does he have a legitimate right to be there? Or a little of both? And how do you investigate that fully in a combat environment without causing unnecessary offense to your comrades? Among mentors in Afghanistan, this constitutes a common dilemma… sometimes handled well, sometimes not well at all. But I’ve never seen the larger issue wilfully ignored, covered up or waved away.”
Good summary as well:
“Having a plan in mind for how to deal with homosexuality and pederasty in the security forces is something every ISAF/OEF mentor should keep in back of mind. This isn’t an issue that’s going to go away. As a former mentor, I can condemn the practice, and say we were always prepared to move to stop it if it became readily apparent, but still feel the Canadian public has been particularly poorly served by its media in this instance due to the sensational and prurient nature of this issue.”