Garrisons and force protection crowd out other objectives in Afghanistan

March 27, 2009

- Joshua Foust is a defense consultant who has just spent the last 10 weeks embedded with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. He also blogs at Registan.net. Any opinions expressed are his own. -

It is a cliché that, in counterinsurgency, one must be among “the people”. In Iraq, the U.S. Army did this to great effect under the leadership of General David Petraeus, moving large numbers of soldiers off the enormous bases and into smaller, community-oriented security outposts. As a result, in densely populated urban areas like Baghdad, an active presence of troops played a significant role in calming the worst of the violence. The Western Coalition forces in Afghanistan, however, face an altogether different problem. Kabul is not Baghdad – far less of Afghanistan’s population lives there than in Iraq, and the insurgency is concentrated outside the country’s largest urban areas. In many urban areas-Herat in the west, Jalalabad in the east, Mazar-i Sharif in the north-a westerner is far safer in the city itself than out in the countryside.

A rural insurgency is a devil’s game. It is difficult for a foreign counterinsurgent force to concentrate itself to maximize effectiveness, in part because the insurgency itself is not concentrated. When there are no obvious population clusters, there are no obvious choices for bases. Bagram Air Base, the country’s largest military base, is in the middle of nowhere, comparatively speaking – dozens of miles north of Kabul, and a 45-minute drive from Charikar, the nearest city in Parwan Province. FOB Salerno, a large base in Khost Province, is miles away from Khost City, the province’s capital-and the road in between is riddled with IEDs.

The many smaller bases strung in between are surrounded by enormous Hesco barriers, concertina wire, and guard towers. No one is allowed on the base without being badged and interviewed by base security, and in many places delivery trucks are forced to wait in the open for 24 hours before completing their trips to the dining halls, clinics, or technology offices.

There are other ways in which Coalition Forces are separated from the people of Afghanistan beyond their heavily fortified bases. Most transit – on patrol, on delivery runs, or on humanitarian missions – is performed through Mine Resistance Ambush Protection, or MRAP vehicles. These enormous trucks, thickly plated with metal blast shields on the bottom with tiny blue-tinted ballistic glass, make it near-impossible to even see the surrounding countryside from another other than the front seat.

On the narrow mountain roads that sometimes collapse under the mutli-ton trucks, soldiers drive, too, in up-armored Humvees, which are similarly coated in thick plates of armor and heavy glass windows they aren’t allowed to open.

When soldiers emerge from their imposing vehicles, they are covered from head to groin in various forms of shielding: thick ceramic plates on the torso, the ubiquitous Kevlar helmets, tinted ballistic eye glasses, neck and nape guards, heavy shrapnel-resistant flaps of fabric about the shoulders and groin, and fire-resistant uniforms. A common sentiment among Afghans who see these men and women wandering in their midst is that they look like aliens, or, if they know of them, robots.

There is no doubt that MRAPs, up-armored Humvees, and the seventy pounds or so of bullet and blast shielding has saved the lives of countless soldiers. But counterinsurgency is counterintuitive: in the relentless quest to ensure a casualty-free war, it seems the West has begun to engineer its own defeat.

By separating itself so completely from the population it claims to be trying to win-even at Bagram, where there is almost no combat, ever, it is almost impossible for a soldier or civilian to walk outside the gates to purchase something in the nearby bazaar-there remain precious few opportunities to do the gritty work of actually trying to “win hearts and minds”.

The end result is stark: in a war that is desperately short of the troops needed to provide security to increasingly less remote communities, 93% of the soldiers stationed at the Coalition’s primary base never walk outside the gates. Instead of a focus on separating the insurgents from the population – another clichéd pillar of counterinsurgency – the focus seems instead to be simply killing as many of the enemy as can be identified.

It is a brutal catch-22. The United States operates an incomprehensibly sophisticated Army – its ability to see things from afar, monitor and decode transmissions, and snoop on anything electronic is unmatched, and quite daunting.

But without strong Human Intelligence, there is little chance to contextualize the many streams of data they receive each day: is that man digging near the road emplacing a bomb, or is he digging up rocks for his fence? When this man identifies the elder from across the valley as a Taliban commander, is he telling the truth or pursuing some decades-old rivalry? Is that firefight the result of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s foot soldiers, or are they villagers worried their timber harvest might be impounded?

These are the sorts of questions that cannot be answered while holed up on a large base. Military bases are societies in miniature: they have their own politics, their own players, a separate culture, and even their own language. When focused on themselves, they develop into a so-called “garrison mentality” – a focus on rules, administration, and process, rather than accomplishing any larger strategic objectives.

There are entire swaths of territory that have been ceded to the militants in Afghanistan. In some cases, entire districts are essentially “no go” areas, starved of development and even regular security resources. The abandonment of these areas – at a cost in Afghan lives – has not resulted in any punishments or reprimands of the commanders who did so. Rather, they were praised for reducing their own casualties.

It is a mindset bred into the very framework of the U.S. Army. If a soldier dies in combat, his or her commanding officer is investigated. A “15-6,” as they are called, is convened by Court Martial authority, and should any fault be found on the commander’s part, his or her career could be destroyed.

“No one has ever gotten a 15-6 for losing a village in Afghanistan,” a Lieutenant Colonel who worked at the U.S. Army’s headquarters in Afghanistan recently said, “but if he loses a soldier defending that village from the Taliban, he gets investigated.”

Under such a threat, can a mid-level Army officer be blamed for taking few risks? The problem is much higher than individual battalion and brigade commanders: a command obsessed over casualties in the short term misses the chance to create an environment that results in fewer casualties over the long term.

In Afghanistan, that process is growing worse by the month: already in January of 2009, casualties were several times higher than they were the previous winter, when fighting is normally at its least intense.

It is that mentality – severe risk aversion, coupled with attention paid to process rather than outcome – that risks ultimately undoing the Western mission in Afghanistan. As an institution, the U.S. Army seems unwilling to make the difficult choices necessary to create the conditions for peace: a population that is adequately protected from the crime, drug, and war lords, and therefore no longer contributing to the desperate regional instability.

It is also a mentality that can be challenged in small doses from below, but demands concerted action from above. Command at the highest levels is vital in changing course, and admitting that war is actually a terrible and ghastly thing that requires your own people dying to win. It is a choice not many at the top seem willing to consider.

(Photos by Joshua Foust: ANP officer in Charikar, Parwan Province; the Nijrab Bazaar in Kapisa Province and FOB Salerno, in Khost Province.)

Comments

I just returned from Afghanistan. I came as a participant in a Global Exchange program. I was in Kabul but had an opportunity to travel north in Parwan province to a buzkashi game.

What Joshua is saying is spot-on; we are not engaging with Afghans, and this is generating animosity, enabling the Taliban to tell their version of why we are in Afghanistan. This comes from a member of the Afghan Parliament who lives in a province populated with Taliban members. And we are really creating problems for ourselves by accidentally bombing social events, such as weddings, from the air.

The Afghans feel powerless in the face of continued violence, poverty, and lack of opportunity. In our own way, we are keeping ignorance, poverty, and hatred alive in this country. All of this is fuel for the insurgency’s fire, especially among young, uneducated, bored, unemployed and powerless men.

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive
 

Things for India to Do:
US is only interested in it’s own safety. It doesn’t care about Kashmiri militants. Still today, US believes Kashmiri militants groups are not Taliban or AQ. US won’t mind if Pakistan hides all militants and terrorists in Kashmir to save the assets for tomorrow.

1. India should increase the border defense 10 times

2. Increase intelligence to keep track of Pakistan’s movement of militants. All these militants will look for safe shelter in Kashmir or Bangladesh or Assam.

3. Get involved with US to regulate US aid to Pakistan. Every time Pakistan gets unregulated US aid, we feel the effects in Kargil, Mumbai or Kashmir. Confront and convince US about the stability of India.

4. US policy in Pakistan directly affects India. So coordinate with US on policy issues and support US to defeat Taliban, AQ for once and forever.

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive
 

I have not seen the new Obama policy, but I believe the radicalism is just not isolated to Afghanistan or Pakistan. It spreads from Saudi to Indonesia to UK.

Fighting this radicalism shouldn’t be limited to battlefield in Afghanistan, but wherever the sources, madrassas and the mullahs exist.

But seems like Obama is just too focussed in Af-Pak.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Why should the US care about anyone else? Vice versa why should any country care about any one else? If the militants are in Kashmir, they aren’t killing or threatening westerners, thus that is a good thing from their perspective. Plus if there is enough instability then maybe Pakistan will actually be forced to deal with the militants as opposed to coddling them. A nice localized nuclear war between Pakistan and India also serves the western interest. Pakistan will expend much of it’s nuclear arsenal and thus the west won’t need to be concerned over it. Plus they will be busy cleaning up the mess and too busy to export their militancy. Sure they’ll be some fall out to deal with, but over all if India nukes enough of them then they won’t be a threat to the region or the global community. Plus less jobs will be exported to the region and it could help the western economies rebound.

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

David
Islam is a universal religion, muslims live and practice Islam in their daily lives from Johannesburg to Dublin to Manila. Islam is the fastest growing religion in US and Europe. Now what do you mean by radicalism? Islam is a religion based on peace, five pillars of Islam include, 1.Kalima(Saying Allah is One and Muhammad is His Massenger
2.Prayer
3.Fasting
4.Alms (charity) to the poor
5.Haj ( going for pilgrimage once in a lifetime).

Now where is the radicalism part, its just a smear campaign you guys run. You believe what the media tells you, now more and more muslims will stand up and tell you what Islam truly stands for.
Furthermore, Madrassas are where people learn Quran. I went to a Madrassa when I was young and learnt Quran in the afternoons, while mornings went to school. I am a product of a Madrassa and hold an undergraduate degree in business and work in IT. So whats the problem?

Now I ask you, who should take care of those hindu radicals in India who, years back burnt alive the Australian missionaries? what about the killing of christians in Orrissa in 2008, the communal violence they perpetrate repeatedly against muslims in Gujrat and elsewhere? Know the facts before you open your mouth.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

David, you can find the full details of Obama’s Afghanistan/Pakistan strategy here:

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/ 2009/03/27/white_house_white_paper_on_us _policy_to_afghanistan_and_pakistan

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Frank Castle wrote:
“A nice localized nuclear war between Pakistan and India also serves the western interest. Pakistan will expend much of it’s nuclear arsenal and thus the west won’t need to be concerned over it. Plus they will be busy cleaning up the mess and too busy to export their militancy. Sure they’ll be some fall out to deal with, but over all if India nukes enough of them then they won’t be a threat to the region or the global community. Plus less jobs will be exported to the region and it could help the western economies rebound.”

So you think Pakistanis are so stupid and dumb, my friend before things get to that level, we will form an alliance with Iran. Gift them a couple of war heads to nuke Israel, sell nukes to the Saudis and larger part of muslim world, just about anyone from Turkey to Jordan to Syria will be sold nuclear weapons, up for grabs for the highest bidder including Hezbollah and Hamas. Never mind ex-sovieat states, some hot head in the Balkans or some tyrant American enemy be it Hugo Chavez or Raul Castro.
I mean you guys want to ruin us and our economy so remember we also got the balls and brains to counter that. Most of all, before our intelligence predicts an Indian nuclear strike, we ensure we pre-empt and also attack few western interests resulting in painful blow.

I would still assert Islam doesnt preach such ruthlessness but if your thinking is such, I wonder what should be done. Besides, Oil supplies must be shut from the persian Gulf to western economies so they choke and die.
Shame on you Frank, you are among those greedy scavengers who caused the financial crisis in America. Now out of work, you have nothing to do. This is the best you could come up with.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Laura,
Didn’t u worry about your life or safety for a second in that country? Did your family, friends support your travel?

Can you please give us some more information about normal life, women, society in general that we don’t see in media? I have heard they have a huge western shopping mall in Kabul, inside you feel like Paris.

What do Afghans think about outside like Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Americans?

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Frank castle,

“Why should the US care about anyone else? Vice versa why should any country care about any one else? If the militants are in Kashmir, they aren’t killing or threatening westerners, thus that is a good thing from their perspective”

US needs to care because 911 was planned in caves of Pakistan, and actors from Saudi and Germany. People who planned 911, Madrid, Mumbai or London are same. May Americans and Europeans were victims in Kashmir or Mumbai or London. Many Indians were victims in 911.

It is a flat world for terrorists. So it should be a flat world for us too. Lets not let AQ win because we couldn’t talk.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
If Pakistan sells nukes to Iran which are then used against Israel. There would be no need to sell nukes to Hezbollah; Iran would have done the Palestinians a favour. If Iran sells nukes to Hezbollah, what would they give in exchange? Above all else, Pakistan will go down in history as the one who got the balls rolling, that is if anyone is left alive to write history. Now that would be dumb.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

You fail to understand, the radicals won’t be planning attacks on the west if they are busy monkeying around in Kashmir. That’s an Indian problem.
Also, I’m not out of work, but the US economy will rebound faster than the third world.
LOL about Pakistan exporting nukes,you really think the west doesn’t know where all your nukes are? Also how exactly are you going to deliver your nuclear strikes to the West? You can imagine that we are really scared of your arsenal, but it’s really just an excuse to prop up your gov’ts whether they be military dictators or corrupt thieves. Honestly, you’re threats are as laughable as you “democracy”, more like kleptocracy. How much will they steal this yime before the military takes over again and becomes a US pupppet?
I keep hearing Islam is a religon of peace and yeah lots of mohamadists are ready to stand up and behead people to prove how peaceful and just it is.
I look around the world and hear how Islam is such a huge religon and I look where it is and it’s basically all the worst, most backward, corrupt and repressive places on the earth. Interesting isn’t it? Coincidence?

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

It is time the US stopped fooling itself. They know very well that the epicenter of global terrorism is not Afghanistan but Pakistan. There is no use coddling Pakistan. They have bled the US and its allies by deceit.

If they went into Iraq boldly for WMD, Al Qaeda etc which they knew were not there, it is a surprise why they have not gone after Pakistan for the same reason which is true.

The US should use Afghanistan as a base and go after Pakistan. POK should have US bases so that Pakistan does not preserve all its militants there.

Let the US make the correct decision – Go to war with the source of global terrorism – Pakistan. Let the US air force knock out all terrorist installations inside that country including the ISI head quarters. Then let the ground troops march in from Afghanistan and clean up everything.

I am not saying this because I am an Indian. It is obvious to me what needs to be done. It makes no sense to me why the US is not going forward. There are enough references which point at the ISI-Taliban collusion.

At the end of the clean up, Pakistan’s military should be reduced to size, its nuclear infrastructure entirely dismantled, and POK returned to India. Areas like Pashtunistan, FATA etc should be carpet bombed until the weeds are destroyed.

 

Frank Castle
Have you ever heard or read Eric Margolis. He is a nice guy, and I know you Americans prop up India in a hope they will be able to keep Pakistan in check and subdue Pakistan. But remember we have fought wars with India, we know how to deal with India. You forget you will scare us by threatning to unleash the Indian army upon us.
Eric Margolis has written much about Pakistan and I would suggest you read him.

You think America will rebound faster? I doubt it. The move by secretary Giethner to incourage private investors to rid US banking system of the toxic assets did slightly up the NASDAQ. But the AIG bonuses fiasco didnt go well for the treasury secretary, the President had to come out fully supporting him in the media. It is a big question whether US will come out of the recession quick enough, while you have already bowed to Iran.

“LOL about Pakistan exporting nukes,you really think the west doesn’t know where all your nukes are?”

You gotta be dead sure about this one bro! Pakistan nuclear arsenal is under strict command and control infrastructure in place headed by a Lt. Gen of Pakistan Army’s SPD(Strategic Plans Divisions). What gives sleepless nights to the occupants of whitehouese is precisely the whereabouts of Pakistan’s warheads. A 3000 strong US Marine force is standby in Afghanistan to move in to Pakistan in case of an exigency to neutralize Pakistan nukes, but the problem is the whereabouts.

“I look around the world and hear how Islam is such a huge religon and I look where it is and it’s basically all the worst, most backward, corrupt and repressive places on the earth. Interesting isn’t it? Coincidence?”

No, Toronto, New York, Johannesburg, Dublin, Sydney, Malaysia, Persian Gulf, Eastern Europe Islam is ever where. Muslims were pioneers in science and technology when Europe was languishing in darkness. Islam is fastest growing religion in America, I could name many prominent converts to Islam. You need to correct your perception here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHujiWd49 l4

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Mauryan wrote:
“Let the US make the correct decision – Go to war with the source of global terrorism – Pakistan. Let the US air force knock out all terrorist installations inside that country including the ISI head quarters. Then let the ground troops march in from Afghanistan and clean up everything. ”

Wishful thinking, we have a sying here, SLEEP TIGHT: Pakistan Air Force is awake.

While i see Mauryan you are a strong advocate of US attacking Pakistan, but I never saw you state India attacks Pakistan? why, are you afraid Pakistan counterattack will be a little too much for India. Let me ask you to make clear distinctions here, while Iraq and Afghanistan were an easy game. When you deal with a 170 million strong nation armed with nuclear weapons you need to be little careful.
Now give yourself a rest, you have been trying too hard to push your case you deserve it.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Immediate plan in the region: Declare war on Pakistan until militancy is defeated, ISI dismantled, nukes removed, and Pakistan split into four countries.

Long term plan: Keep each separated country under the supervision of a world power – Punjab under the US, Sindh under UK, Balochistan under Germany, POK returned to India and kept under India’s control, Pashtunistan under NATO or Russia and so on. The plan must be to eradicate militants entirely, execute all terror instigators, wipe out all madrasas, buil roads, hospitals, schools, gyms etc and westernize the area. The countries should have police under the authority of governing nation and no military. Constitution must be written that does not allow religion to rule.

This is the only way global terrorism can be defeated. These people are better off under some kind of colonial power. Winston Churchill was right about this region. He fought in the same area and nearly lost his life. And his opinion still holds true. He was wrong in extending it to the entire sub-continent. But his perspective was limited at that time.

 

Well I’d be more concerned about a nation of 1.2 billion armed with nuclear weapons.
There are lies, damn lies and statistics, do you realize when they say that mohammadism is the fastest growing religion in the US that the raw numbers show that means nothing. The % of mohammadists in the US is infinitesimal. The huge mass of them live in abject poverty in third world states. The smart ones get a real secular education, become apostates and live in the west. These people aren’t jihadis, they have jobs and futures. You get jihadis in place with no hope.
I can guarantee as corrupt as the gov’t is here, it could learn a lot from the cabal of thieves that govern Pakistan. I’m not saying those folks won’t make a killing, just that the average Pakistani isn’t going to see much of it. Don’t worry when the army takes over again after the thieves steal all they can the nukes will be secured again.
So sleep well, can the air force protect you from suicide bombers?

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

YOU and your nukes cannot protect you. I am sure Pakistan knows how to deal with India in a war, just like 90,000 Pak soldiers surrendered in 1971 to a Sikh and a Jew (FACT).

At the beginning of THIS month…

YOU could not protest the Sri Lankan cricketers. Oh yes, you have nukes and are 170 million strong, but you cannot protect your HONORED guests. STILL, the attackers have not been caught!!!

YOU had your physical exercise with your Long March to reinstate the Chielf Justice, which COST Pakistani businesses 10 billion Pak rupees and NOW Zardari is going to go to his Friends Of Pakistan meeting to ask for $10 billion!!

YOU have a suicide bomber walk into a restaurant near Peshawar and…BOOM!…no more restaurant and many dead. A anti-Taliban man was in that place.

YOU have another suicide bomber blow himself up in a mosque in Jamrud! Over 50 dead!!!

It is near the end of the month.

Yes, Umair, yes. We know, we know that Pakistan is 170 million strong.
Please do sleep tight.
Don’t let the Taliban bite.
If they bite.
Pakistan Air Force will strike.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

Joshua,

I suspect the US is going to make another screw up; this time the regional countries will have to clean up the debris.

To Frank Castle,

You seem to have forgotten the old pottery barn rule. If the US breaks it, it has to glue it back. The US is not caring for any nation but simply trying to protect itself, unfortunately, at the detriment of regional neighbors.

To Umair,

Please stop your ranting and how Pak will fight against India. In every blog, that’s all we read; more glorified (?) stories of the Pak army, the ISI and the nukes. Did I say nukes? No one buys Paki stories, not even their old friends, the Taliban, in Swat.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

“the Western mission in Afghanistan.”

—Is still a mystery after eight long years & I bet even those poor souls, the robotic soldiers, have no cue of the why / what/ for whom & whom are they are fighting a war…wonder what could be their motivation factor.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Nikhil,

The phrase is: you break it, you buy it.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

No its “U break it, U own it”

Posted by Outsider | Report as abusive
 

Bulletfish,

Thanks for the correction, but you get the point I was trying to make, i hope.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan has been hopelessly broken from it’s inception. It’s up to the Pakistani people to fix it, and allowing the Taliban to govern a part of your country (laughable to consider it part of your country when you can’t govern it but whatever.
The Pakistani Army can’t even control it’s own territory and the Indians are supposed to shake in their boots. Why would anyone take a nation that just part of it away to it’s enemies a serious threat? The Pakistani military is so tough that it can’t even protect visiting sports clubs. I’m sure people are beating down the door to travel to or have events hosted in Pakistan.
Worry more about your own corrupt craven government and the suicide bombers killing innocent Pakistani’s before you start threatening people with your nuclear arsenal. Clean up your own house and stop blaming others for the mess of your own creation. Your people voted in the current gang of thieves and allow radicals to fester and grow.
How’s that might air force doing at keeping US drones from attacking at will in your territory at will?

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

Frank Castle you are despite trying to bark and draw me to respond. I ignore your rubbish, keep barking I dont care to respond. Keep wondering How’s that might air force doing at keeping US drones from attacking at will in your territory at will?

F*** YOU

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Ah profanity the last resort of a beaten man. All your tough talk amounts to nothing when faced with the harsh facts. Pity, but then again the discussion wasn’t very interesting anyways.

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

Once again Frank F*** YOU

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

and Frank if you respond me again my reply would be the same as below. If you think this is my defeat and your victory. So be it, you get what you deserve. There is no final victory and there is no final defeat in an argument, you must know this.
The harsh facts you are talking about is your bullsh*t, fact is the CIA ran Operation Cyclone the longest most expensive covert op to arm the Mujahideen against Soviets. Today it is haunting those who started it all.

Pakistan was born on 14th August 1947 and survived despite many odds, today’s situation is challenging no doubt. But Pakistan will emerge more stronger.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Well if you cut and run then you have lost the argument. If you have don’t have anything worth saying other than profanity maybe it’s best you surrender the field. The Pakistani people deserve better than they have in power now and it’s a shame that they can’t seem to get anything better than thieves or military dictators. Of course your jingoistic attitude doesn’t help anything.

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

Frank I agree we dont have the best of leadership, we are unlucky in this regard. What we probably need to do is to show a 100% committment to our country. But let me tell you the challenges are termendous, there is corruption, misuse, injustice, exploitation, Pkaistan political setup has been largely feudal, there is illetracy. Things will take time to fix, the US is in a financial mess, it didnt happen overnight. The state in which Pakistan is today, didnt happen overnght, but it’ll take time and energy to fix things.
Pakistan Army suffered 8500+ casualties, including the Surgeon General, senior officers and men. Do you acknowledge this sacrifice? now you would say no big deal, this is Pakistan’s war.
I would also say, if you are unable to do good to someone, atleast the least you could do is to leave them alone. Leave Pakistan alone, if we are strong we will overcome the enemy and stand on our own feet. Only time will tell which way it goes.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “Pakistan Army suffered 8500+ casualties, including the Surgeon General, senior officers and men. Do you acknowledge this sacrifice?”

Only 8500+? How about those who wore civilian clothes and were buried during Kargill war? How about all those who infiltrated into Indian side of Kashmir and died at the hands of Indian soldiers? How about those who got slaughtered inside Afghanistan when the US bombed the day lights out of the Taliban? Pakistan could air lift only 800 of its “brave” soldiers after making a deal with the US. The unofficial count must be twice that. Just because Pakistan disowned them or lied about their involvement, it does not mean you should exclude it from the count.

Don’t worry Umair. More are going to be “sacrificed”, either by the US military or by the Taliban. For every Indian soldier or civilian your Islamic brothers kill, you will lose five times that many soldiers. It is the law of karma. And your country is paying for its dubious acts over the years.

 

I understand that things in Pakistan are messy and that the west certainly bears a responsibility for some of it. I acknowledge that much sacrifice and suffering has been borne by the Pakistani people. I just wish they would direct their energies towards their real enemies rather than trying to blame everything on outside forces. Pakistan can’t continue to try to play both sides. Either choose to clean up your own house, deal honestly with the radicalism and corruption or continue to let militants flourish and blame the west or India.
I admit I often push buttons intentionally to stir up arguments but I honestly wish that reasonable people could work together to deal with extremists and radicals who only seek to destroy and only offer lip service to religion.

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “But let me tell you the challenges are termendous, there is corruption, misuse, injustice, exploitation, Pkaistan political setup has been largely feudal, there is illetracy.”

Oh, I thought Pakistan was a land of milk and honey, a vibrant democracy and a great nation. Wasn’t it you who was screaming at the top of your voice such words?

Oh, I understand. You are talking to an American (I don’t know if this frank guy is really an American or a non-Pakistani in disguise). When it comes to Americans, Pakistan is poor, sick, pregnant, has venereal disease etc.

When you talk to Indians, Pakistan is vibrant democracy, full of promise and hope.

Which one of them is a lie Umair? Have you guys spoken anything other than lies all these years? Don’t worry, truth is being revealed slowly by peeling of the layers of lies your countrymen have covered it with over the past 60 years. The first lie, FYI, was that Muslims needed a separate nation. In 1971 that was proved wrong. After that it has been one damn lie after another. America is paying its tax payers money for believing your lies. So it is time they went for the truth.

 

Frank Castle writes: “I honestly wish that reasonable people could work together to deal with extremists and radicals who only seek to destroy and only offer lip service to religion.”

Dream on! Crocodiles do not understand the value of mercy and kindness. They wag their tails to knock down their prey. Dogs on the other hand are different. They have feelings and intelligence. America has to stop keeping crocodiles for pets. Dogs are better. You already have UK, Australia etc for dogs. Why is your country trying to get the crocodile to fetch the ball? It wants to eat you and not play with you.

 

In my point of view, America is misguided by some criminal minded politicians. They are driving the country in the wrong direction. First of all, Taliban has nothing to do with terrorism. George Bush did like Taliban because taliban refuge George Bush to get his pipeline.Also, George Bush did not like them because they established partial Sheria and partial traditional political system and George Bush does not like Islam at all. His point of view, the world should be Christian.
I do not understand what the hell this administration is doing. Just talk with taliban and kick out the Al-Kiedah from Afghanistan that all. If the Afganistani war derive by religious hatred than keep doing it until it satisfied the hate.

 

Mauryan
Which one is India, dog or crocodile? whats your take? I would bet a chamaleon, always changing color according to the master.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
You ALWAYS evade or deviate from EVERY fact about Pakistan stated to you. Yet, you waste no time at all to keep on telling us that Pakistan has nukes and is 170 million strong. I summarized previously the events that had occured in Pakistan during this month and yet you refuse to acknowledge them.

At the beginning of THIS month…

YOU could not protest the Sri Lankan cricketers. Oh yes, you have nukes and are 170 million strong, but you cannot protect your HONORED guests. STILL, the attackers have not been caught!!!

YOU had your physical exercise with your Long March to reinstate the Chielf Justice, which COST Pakistani businesses 10 billion Pak rupees and NOW Zardari is going to go to his Friends Of Pakistan meeting to ask for $10 billion!!

YOU have a suicide bomber walk into a restaurant near Peshawar and…BOOM!…no more restaurant and many dead. A anti-Taliban man was in that place.

YOU have another suicide bomber blow himself up in a mosque in Jamrud! Over 50 dead!!!

It is near the end of the month. I wonder what April will bring.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “Which one is India, dog or crocodile? whats your take? I would bet a chamaleon, always changing color according to the master.”

We are talking about Pakistan here my dear friend. India does not need masters. We have gone past that stage long ago. We don’t beg for alms like your country. Our businesses have begun to buy out companies abroad and are thriving. If any of your corrupt ministers buys a Jaguar, tell him that it is now owned by an Indian company. So give up equating your country with others. Your habitat is turning into mud. Wait for the death.

 

be a true friend to the Afghan, not just their liberator.

give them a goat for their next wedding(along with some of Nappa Valleys finest Sauvignon Blanc, Australia,s Penfolds Grange and the Holy Grail;Margaret Rivers Leeuwin Estate Cabernet SAuvignon) and they will give you 10 goats to fuel the embers of a succulent New Years Eve just beyond the horizon.

show them,in a secure environment, that we too can adorn ourselves in beautiful clothes. then let the afghan warrior host you in their secure environment and break bread together, drink wine, be merry.

take them for a holiday in Biaritz, let their children play and learn with all the children of the world, see their joy, and peace.

show the afghan, that we the people of the liberation can also be people of refinement, and purveyors of peace and goodwill.

help the Afghan to find their equilibrium in their worlds’ and they will no longer be a friend to the Taliban who will be forced to wander the reaches of the Earth, like the desert sand that is carried through the deserts by the wind of change.

be a friend to the afghan, and they will teach us the true meaning of peace and HARMONY.

Posted by brett kenneth sweeny | Report as abusive
 

Why is it that no one in this discussion is talking about natural gas and crude oil except Shahin? This is the crux of the matter. The soviet Union exerted it’s influence to control these energy reserves around the Caspian Sea. Now the U.S. government has stepped into the same pit of quicksand. I doubt the the U.S. outcome will be any better than the Soviet. I am puzzled as to why universities still teach history. No one in this century has learned from the experience of Alexander the Great or the British in Afghanistan (read Kipling too).

Any nation trying to control to resources that are not only harmful to the environment but we will also run out of one day must be as a matter of policy in denial or mindlessly corrupt. If logic and reason were to prevail amongst public policymakers (read ” the Art of War”), the use of military force to secure fossil fuels would have been ruled out just for the cost in treasure let alone the terrible human cost of war. Imagine if the trillions of dollars spent in Iraq was used for alternative energy and conservation measures. We might have even avoided the world economic collapse.

At the end of the day the resources of the Afghani people belong Afghanistan. If we believe in self determination, Afghanistan should decide how they will live, worship, engage in commerce and govern themselves. We for our part have never considered our actions regarding our relations with Afghanistan and for that matter the Middle East. Perhaps as a nation it is time for us to recognize the fallibility of our judgment and improve that judgment by rebuilding our own house instead of someone else’s.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive
 

To brett kenneth sweeny:

Spot on! I will have to take your word for it on the wine list, though. I’m more of a merlot guy. :)

NATO forces need a better form of diplomacy in the field. The insurgency moves amongst the people. It seems we must follow suit. And to do so, we must first learn to respectfully communicate with the people. We have the greatest military the world has ever seen (gotta brag on ‘em). But somehow we have to find a way to be humble and focused at the same time. Our soldiers are doing a great job, but they need diplomatic assistance, even in (maybe especially in) combat zones.
I truly believe that we can and will help the Afghani people stablize their lands. But so many more lives can be saved yet by listening to and respecting the wishes of the people. We came to stop al Queda. Al Queda leadership is now in Pakistan. We must show the Afghan that we WILL NOT abandon them when we catch Osama bin Laden (and we WILL find him). We must trust them first. This is not our home, and we don’t know whats best for it. We must help in any way we can, but we must LET THEM LEAD US in stablizing their country.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

It seems that the focus on keeping soldiers alive and in one piece is a shift in focus or goal to perserve life and not continue to go to war in the same way we have before. It’s easy to talk about sacrifice when it is not you or yours.

Also, the roads with EIDs, maybe it’s time for drone vehicles or robots to patrol roads prior to use by combat soldiers. More drone air planes recording activity on these roads. Hey, this could be big business for denfense spending-why not.

Posted by Pam M | Report as abusive
 

Umair says:

“Pakistan Army suffered 8500+ casualties, including the Surgeon General, senior officers and men. Do you acknowledge this sacrifice? now you would say no big deal, this is Pakistan’s war.
I would also say, if you are unable to do good to someone, atleast the least you could do is to leave them alone. Leave Pakistan alone, if we are strong we will overcome the enemy and stand on our own feet. Only time will tell which way it goes.”

Why don’t you ask men like Rt. Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, if he acknowledges sacrifices? Why don’t you ask the ISI? Why don’t you ask the Pak Army itself? These are the non-state actors, who train, support, assist, the Taliban, tip them off continually, as more Pakistani soldiers and U.S. soldiers die.

Pakistani army has no interest in defeating Taliban or Al-Qaeda. Pakistani Army and ISI want to prolong and protract this war as long as possible to get as much money as possible from the U.S. so the Fauji’s and their families can live comfortably, buy their nice cars, nice clothes, go out for fancy dinners, all on the continual blood of Pakistani soldiers and the poor U.S. tax payers who have just bailed out every corrupt financial institution in the U.S.

It is horrible how the Pak. soldiers have died and left behind their family members in mourning, it is absolutely tragic. The soldier is always the greatest of all humans, as they are willing to give up everything in exchange for nothing, no matter what country they are from.

The problem here is that the wafer thin elite in Rawalpindi and Islamabad in those gated communities, I am sure you live in one, UMAIR, those people decide the fate of Pakistan and use Islamic Radical Extremists to further their own political agenda, that is to keep India and Afghanistan destabilized.

You really should tell your Fauji friends to stop this corruption and quit fueling Radical Islam against India. Pakistani’s who have lived in western countries often tell me how Pakistan is like a mental prison, where you constantly get Mind Fxxked with Islam mixed with hate, conspiracies and revenge and politics. You cannot deny this my friend as talk shows in Pakistan are still fictitiously still creating elaborate blame conspiracies of 26/11 on India itself, just like how Hamid Gul blames 911 and mumbai as “Inside” jobs on Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, see youtube interview.

If Islamabad and Rawalpindi don’t change their polarizing hate propaganda towards India, there will be a series of events, originating from Pakistani soil, planned by Pakistan itself. The fate of Pakistan, whether it survives as a peaceful, non hate, none plotting, non-proxy jihadi army neighbour rests solely on Pakistan’s gated communities with uniforms.

We just ask that you clean up your terrorists in Pakistan, by smashing down the doors of the Pak. Army and ISI plotters who help the Taliban and the Proxy Armies in Kashmir.

It is they who will bring about the levelling and destruction of Pakistan, if India ever decides to retaliate on the next Mumbai it gets.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Umair says:

“The harsh facts you are talking about is your bullsh*t, fact is the CIA ran Operation Cyclone the longest most expensive covert op to arm the Mujahideen against Soviets. Today it is haunting those who started it all.”

Response: Actually you forgot to mention Pakistan, Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul was responsible for the death of a million Afghans, I read recently in an article. The Soviets left in 1988 and 20 years after, Pakistan has not left and has kept on harnessing the terrorist infrastructure to keep its neighbours on either side in a hightened state due to all the jihadi proxy army strategic assets unleashed on Kabul and Kashmir. Pakistan is the one who is haunted and will continue to fester and roast in its own SHXT.

“Pakistan was born on 14th August 1947 and survived despite many odds, today’s situation is challenging no doubt. But Pakistan will emerge more stronger.”

Pakistan is limping along on free IMF beggar bowl food and money and military handouts. Pakistan is too morally weak to sustain a true democracy, the only way for Pakistan to survive is with the dictatorship of its Corrupt Military. Pakistan will not emerge stronger, but is already weakening, it could not even protect a bus of the Sri Lankan cricket team, for god’s sake! You brag of the Pak Military, but you guys can’t even stop the Taliban, an unprofessional, uneducated army of losers! Pakistan is headed towards a slow death, corruption and disintegration. Eventually the FATA, NWFP will goto Afghanistan and Sindh and Baloch will separate into separate sovereign states and Punjab and Azad Kashmir will return back to India, on its own accord for economic and financial survival. Your corrupt military will be disbanded and your nukes sitting in a the Indian War Museum.

Keep supplying the jihadi proxy armies and keep helping the Taliban, this will be the fate of Pakistan, you reap what you sow.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Looks like Pakistan is about to fall over.

I just hope that before they surrender to militant islam, they do the honourable thing and surrender their nuclear weapons to the UN first.

That way, at least they fall with dignity.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive
 

John Smith,

Pakistan will not fall apart as soon as we think. However, judging by the list of incidents that have happened during March alone, I am not surprised by your comment.

Pakistan will state these attacks are the main reason it needs aid to fight the terrorists. However, they the ISI will keep their links with the Taliban to warn them of US attacks.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

The amusing part is that the ISI are the terrorists or at least their handlers and all that money will end up in Swiss bank accounts of the gang of thieves running things. They need to stock up for the inevitable flight from either the military or militants who take over once they have stolen as much as they can.

Posted by frank castle | Report as abusive
 

Lets face it! MONEY is at the heart of most problems. China will be making a fortune on Copper in the Jalrez Valley so why not have them solve these Taliban problems. Its their Copper now, their investment in money it should be their problem. They solved the drug trade problem when the West tried to make opium addicts out of their people. Fight drugs in England and the States and make Asians addicts. Thank you Masons! If China tried I bet that they, without any Judeo-Christian ethic would win like they did against the West in the most cruel, bloodthirsty, disgusting way. But win they would! John

Posted by ginsengjohn | Report as abusive
 

Frank Castle,

Yes it’s true, I think the Pak. Elite are storing U.S. beggar bowl money in Swiss Accounts as “Flight” money, as they leave a disintegrating Pakistan, they can continue to live in Afluence and Wealth. The average Pak is too oblivious to have the courage to storm a protest the gated communities in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Joshua has made some great observations here that I wholeheartedly agree with. However, the comment stream is absolutely incredibly off track and off subject. Folks, this article is about a tactical mode of operation on the ground in Afghanistan that hinders the Coalition and is therefore bad for Afghanistan. The United States Army, the very organization who claims to “Own The Night” has ceded the night to the Taliban and whoever else wants to use it to cover their deeds.

This is not about Pakistan, nukes, or petty nationalist digs. While Pakistan is important, nukes are important, and petty nationalist digs must be set aside, it would be nice to stay on topic.

The topic at hand, the risk-aversion of the US Army in particular and the Coalition in general, and how that hinders efforts to provide security for the people, the average Afghan who would dearly love to just live his life without threat on a daily basis, is an important subject. If this subject were explored in depth, and if calls were being made loudly for the Coalition to DO THEIR JOBS, then perhaps we would find that it will not require 1 troop per every 20 residents to provide the necessary security. Why don’t we try that?

Part of the reason that the risk aversion and rewards for less casualties program are so entrenched is because there is no outcry against ineffectiveness until it gets to the point that the whole region is threatened with instability. All politics is local, folks. It is the error of ceding a village, it is the error of ceding the night in a number of villages in Afghanistan, that destabilizes Islamabad. It is precisely these behaviors that has allowed the resurgence of the Taliban and the threat to Pakistan to grow.

It’s the tactical errors on the ground around the FOBs where Americans hole up at night that makes everyone less secure.

That’s what Josh was pointing out.

Anyone care to stay on topic?

 

John writes: “If China tried I bet that they, without any Judeo-Christian ethic would win like they did against the West in the most cruel, bloodthirsty, disgusting way. But win they would! John”

Surely they would. Their record in Tibet speaks for itself. Countries under their “protection” – North Korea, Burma etc are classic cases of freedom and liberty. I know China is itching to take Taiwan under its wings and teach its people about democratic values and human rights.

Welcome to Afghanistan. The Soviets blew their chance to convert Afghanistan into a Burma. But they had issues to settle with the Americans. But Chinese? They are the largest trading partners with the Americans. So they can go into Afghanistan and turn them into a desert as well. No one will come on their way. Also you are most welcome into Pakistan as well. Pakistani brothers are itching to fall into your embrace and you two can form the most vivid brotherhood alliance ever known to humans.

 

Why bother talking about what the article says? Do you think anything said here or anything the average person says or thinks will affect what goes on in Afghanistan for real?
I don’t know what’s sillier, actually discussing this article like we can do anything about it or listening to bragging from third world countries about the size of their armies and their nuclear arsenals. Do you think either of these nations armies or nukes mean anything when compared to the developed nations? They have enough power to keep each other in line, but really as world powers? The only reason people care is if their nukes get in to someone else’s hands. Let them nuke each other back to the stone ages, which wouldn’t be a far trip for most areas in these nations, because they seem to want to.
I’m sure if we respect these backwards people customs and goat shagging or whatever it is they do things would be great. Let’s lose some coalition lives so they can grow their beards and herd sheep as seems to be the high point of their civilization. The only thing the west wants out of Afghanistan is a place that won’t produce terrorists. So you can try to waste civilized lives to uphold their desire to be xenophobic goat herders or just depopulate the area and harvest the resources. The real aim should be to be more bloodthirsty than the taliban, make people scared that a NATO airstrike may fall on their village if they don’t report the militants. It’s better to be feared than loved in a hell hole like Afghanistan.

Posted by Steve Rogers | Report as abusive
 

Your reporter doesn’t see the bigger picture. Exploding expensive missles uselessly in the mountains makes perfect sense…. If the reason to stay in Afghanistan was simply to consume military assets for the profit of the US defense establishment. Rumsfeld said long ago there were no more lucrative targets. Consider that the people that keep our forces there really don’t want peace but “commerce”. How much does a Hellfire missle mission plus CIA support cost? No war, no sales.
The only lucrative target still being hit is US taxpayers pockets. When Afghanistan won’t sell enough anymore, our news giants will dutifully report the next big threat. We should be grateful we are currently killing only small numbers of people. With this new concept of preemptive strikes being moral, we could be doing a lot more damage somewhere else.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

@Wishful thinking, we have a sying here, SLEEP TIGHT: Pakistan Air Force is awake.
-posted by Umair

Indians believe in the saying “Those with power remain silent”.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

I am seeing that the people are involved with irrational discussion. I have strongly feeling that we may turn our discussion into a beneficial idea sharing.The world is a great place only if we give up our hatred, anger, stereotype, prejudices, and establish mutual respect, patience, sharing thoughts, and gaining knowledge.

 

Steve,
I dont see many illegitimate chilren of hitler on this blog. Welcome!

The problem with nuclear war is that its impact cannot be contained. A nuclear war between India and Pakistan will generate enough nuclear dust to give you skin cancer.So think again!

The Areas you are talking about were flourishing civilization since the time when your ancestars were still living in Caves. Read about Indus valley civilization, Silk route, Bamiyan to enlighten yourself.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

Shahin
“The world is a great place only if we give up our hatred, anger, stereotype, prejudices, and establish mutual respect, patience, sharing thoughts, and gaining knowledge.”

http://tmir.org/_wsn/page3.html

“The Arabs are mentally slave to West. The consequences, we all will face in the future, its only because the American dog Kuwait.”
— & then they have the cheek to preach loudly to others…

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Patrick
“We have the greatest military the world has ever seen (gotta brag on ‘em). “

—Yeah, the greatest military the world has ever seen is hunting a 80 yr. old man for the last 8 years….(worth bragging)

Old Blue
“and how that hinders efforts to provide security for the people, the average Afghan who would dearly love to just live his life without threat on a daily basis, is an important subject.”

— Whoa! Here come the US Cowboys….

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Steve Rogers
“Do you think either of these nations armies or nukes mean anything when compared to the developed nations?”

—Huh! What did these ‘developed nations’ do when Russia invaded Georgia? anything???

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Chirkut

“The Areas you are talking about were flourishing civilization since the time when your ancestars were still living in Caves.”

— They still live in their isolated ‘mind-caves’ blissfully unaware of humanity…

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Steve Rogers writes: “Do you think either of these nations armies or nukes mean anything when compared to the developed nations?”

First your people rape the rest of the world, take away all it was wearing, leaving her stark naked, turn her to prostitution and now you are fighting for the eradication of the same?

Funny comment Steve. Guess what, you are beginning to sound like the Taliban – Rape victim is punished instead of the persons who committed the crime.

And Mr. Steve Rogers, your people now have contracted the venereal disease that you made others get. And it is only going to spread. Enjoy what others have been given all these years.

 

I see these great civilizations have gone back to the caves these days.
Also Russia is one of the developed nations that’s why it got away with what it did.

Posted by Steve Rogers | Report as abusive
 

Steve Rogers writes: “Russia is one of the developed nations that’s why it got away with what it did.”

They fell apart in 1991 remember? They were tight wrapped by Communism until then. Their civilization breathed for the first time in 70 years after Communism was defeated. But Russians belong to the same kind of people – those who are clever and destroy others with cold blood. The world is paying for what they did over centuries.

 

To Shahin:

Do not let them deter you. You are helping, instead of making fun of people. You have shown kindness, and they will see you as weak. To be a sheep among wolves, the only trick is not to run. Wolves attack from behind, using the fear of the sheep to expose itself and run. Don’t run. Let them chase their tales, round and round, in a karmic circle until they get dizzy and fall down. You will not be popular with many of the posters on this forum, but keep trying anyway. These forums have definitely opened my eyes to the way others of the world view themselves and their peers. I hope you gain something here, too. You are light in this world. Please keep SHINING!

I love you.
Peace.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

“same kind of people – those who are clever and destroy others”
- Posted by Mauryan

“your people now have contracted the venereal disease that you made others get”
- Posted by Mauryan

“your people rape the rest of the world”
- Posted by Mauryan

“And it is only going to spread.”
- Posted by Mauryan

In the sport of baseball, this is referred to as “batting the cycle”. And you are one hell of a hitter.
Please continue to spread our “disease” if you like. We are tired of it. But you, Mauryan, definitly have the tools to wield that weapon. Who has wronged YOU? If you continue to live in the past, the world will leave you there. If you preach hate and fear for the future, you WILL BE RIGHT. If you use this hate to make yourself strong, you will fade away that much quicker. I am an American. We are learning this fact, and I fear we may not “get it” in time. Hopefully, we are realizing that our feeling of being “wronged” by the British should have left our hearts the day they left. Don’t forget, just forgive.
Strength is privilege, not a right. Abuse the weak, physically or verbally, and they will rise against you. And so the cycle continues. Show kindness to your foes, not magnamity when it suits you. Help someone, not attack them. I promise you will feel better. And they will too.
No one is or ever will be “educated”, but we are ALL learning.

I love you.
Peace.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

Steve,
Your thoughtless words are not helping. Everyone will group me with you, so for crying out loud, HELP! These are real people you so carelessly dismiss as unimportant, and maybe someone will think our soldiers and leaders have your heartless outlook. Our soldiers are dying for your arrogance. It’s not some f’ing video game. The world is listening here. For real.

I love you.
Peace.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

Patrick
“In the sport of baseball, this is referred to as “batting the cycle”. And you are one hell of a hitter.
Please continue to spread our “disease” if you like. We are tired of it. But you, ‘Patrick’, definitely have the tools to wield that weapon. Who has wronged YOU? Mr. Osama Bin Laden & his Al-Queda? If you continue to live in the past, the world will leave you there. If you preach hate and fear for the future, you WILL BE RIGHT. If you use this hate to make yourself strong, you will fade away that much quicker. You are an American. YOU must learn this fact, and I fear you may not “get it” in time. Hopefully, you shall realize that your feeling of being “wronged” by the Islamists should have left your hearts on the day 9/11. Don’t forget, just forgive.
Strength is privilege, not a right. Abuse the weak, for instance the Taliban, physically or verbally, and they will rise against you. And so the cycle continues. Show kindness to your foes, not magnamity when it suits you. Help someone, not attack them. I promise you will feel better. And they will too.(OSAMA confirms affirmative)
No one is or ever will be “educated”, but we are ALL learning.” (at whose cost & lives? heard the word ‘redemption’?)
I love you.
Peace.

—Almighty have mercy & hopefully in the dawn of the future we won’t have to bear ‘loud-cheap advises-from-the hypocritical westerners’

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Patrick
—Steve & Umair are a thousand times better-off than you, they speak but what they sincerely perceive as true, & not behave like two-faced snakes…

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

I think this is also the reason that the US Army had no problem droping white phosphorus on Fallujah a couple of years ago. They are afraid of casualties, they know that the superior technology can only go so far in close combat, so they would rather not go in and bomb some buildings with artillary from 10 miles away. We are STILL in Iraq, with 4000+ casualties, and now in Afghanistan we are drumming up war again, only this time we are in economic recession.

 

Patrick writes: “Show kindness to your foes, not magnamity when it suits you. Help someone, not attack them. I promise you will feel better. And they will too.”

Mr. Patrick,

Talking is easy. If you put yourself to test, I can bet your human emotions will take over. If you are such a forgiving person, I dare you to take a back pack and walk into Tora Bora or southern Afghanistan all by yourself, showing kindness and mercy to everything there. When you meet with Bin Laden, forgive him, embrace him and allow him to cut you up while you pray to the Lord for forgiving the ignorant.

Criminals must be punished no matter who they are. Bin Laden organized one of the greatest crimes against humanity by killing innocent people. He is hiding inside the lawless regions of Pakistan (how about the rest of it, on second thoughts). And he is able to survive this far because of the support he is getting from criminal minded people and organizations in the area. The problem will not stop with just getting Bin Laden. The whole system has to be cleaned up. When we get there, there will be a realization that the root cause is even larger – greed of “civilized nations” that needs to be addressed. And so on.

The world is like a well manicured lawn. Weeds will always grow. You cannot show mercy to the weeds if you want to keep the lawn and the yard perfect. Once in a while you have to clean up and good grass will go with it too.

One cannot talk of idealism in a war zone. Gandhi paid a price for it. Remember that India is the only country in the world that could produce the Buddha, Gandhi and numerous such people. Because of the such people, most of India has remained benign. If Lincoln had preached mercy and forgiveness, the US would be two countries now, armed to the teeth and looking just like India and Pakistan. There are times when you have to be the police and when you have to be a priest. You cannot switch roles in the wrong context.

 

No rape victims shall go unpunished in Pakistan. Honor killings will continue.

Pakistan will not be ready for democracy until it leaves the 8th century behind.

The Americans are seriously delusional if they they think these Pakistani’s who practice these backwards things are serious and honest in fighting extremist Islam.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

“In the sport of baseball, this is referred to as “batting the cycle”. And you are one hell of a hitter.
Please continue to spread our “disease” if you like. We are tired of it. But you, Mauryan, definitly have the tools to wield that weapon. Who has wronged YOU? If you continue to live in the past, the world will leave you there. If you preach hate and fear for the future, you WILL BE RIGHT. If you use this hate to make yourself strong, you will fade away that much quicker. I am an American. We are learning this fact, and I fear we may not “get it” in time. Hopefully, we are realizing that our feeling of being “wronged” by the British should have left our hearts the day they left. Don’t forget, just forgive.
Strength is privilege, not a right. Abuse the weak, physically or verbally, and they will rise against you. And so the cycle continues. Show kindness to your foes, not magnamity when it suits you. Help someone, not attack them. I promise you will feel better. And they will too.
No one is or ever will be “educated”, but we are ALL learning.

I love you.
Peace.”

- Posted by Patrick

I wish more people would think like you Patrick, truly wise words, some people on this blog need to take notes.

Posted by Glad | Report as abusive
 

—Almighty have mercy & hopefully in the dawn of the future we won’t have to bear ‘loud-cheap advises-from-the hypocritical westerners’

–Patrick gives that with “I love you”.

I think when the bomber nuked Hiroshima/Nagaski and killed 250,000 ?? and gave diseases to generation—he also said “I love you”. 100,000 innocent Iraqis (read as children, kids, men and women) got killed in a show of firepower to take out their former friend Sadaam Hussain–al with I love you. But Shahin, you keep on shining since patrick wants it. Interesting. Cannot get hold of such nice guys so easily off the net. Also read that it is not Isreal who is bombing the kids in school in Gaza it is US–it is all US support–I love you again.

Indian-Pakistanis can verbally nuke but westerners do in reality–the reality shows–I love you Patrick and would like to teach you american football, baseball and cricket too.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@We are STILL in Iraq, with 4000+ casualties, and now in Afghanistan we are drumming up war again, only this time we are in economic recession.
- Posted by Aron

-For a change let us count the innocent killed by Westerners.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

I like to make one thing clear that “Honor Killing” is not Islamic. It is a babarious practice from pre-Islamic time (Jahilila). To punish somebody in the accusation of adultery it requires four witness and permission of the Kadi (Sharia court judge). Those who are trying to push their evil practices they are enemy of Islam.

 

Unless we go to an absolute, no holds barred war, we will lose big time…count on it!

Posted by akamaial | Report as abusive
 

Courtesy Umair
Excerpts from- Inter Services Pubilc Relations, Pakistan

“The term extremism is generally used to elucidate the activities or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived political centre of a society.”
“. 9/11 is indicative of frustration coming to an extreme juncture, thus reaching its critical mass and exploding in the form of terrorism.”
“US needed Pakistan to organize proxy war against … Soviet Union, by promoting Jihad culture through religious outfits that were showered with weapon, money and other resources… thus the Jihad culture acquired roots here in Pakistani society. Pakistan’s geo-political location rendered it appropriate to be used as a centre of all activities…”
“The current state of instability in Pakistan is a result of a series of direct intercessions in Afghanistan by USSR and the United States.”
“Madaris have a failing in the course they teach one sect as true Islam and others as false . This insufficient education makes these students amateurs and quacks, fodder for the ever increasing disharmony among sects.”
“Taliban established peace in Afghanistan for the first time ever since 1979. Osama Bin Laden along with his Arab and non Arab accomplices remained in Afghanistan till US piloted attack following the incident of 9/11.
United States, West and international community should be relentlessly harked back that Pakistan’s current fatalities at the hands of extremists and terrorists is because of our coalition with them, either against Soviet invasion or being used as a front line state in Global War on Terrorism. Pakistan did not get any thing in return except adding enemies for itself both at domestic and global arena.”

“India is investing greatly on these terrorists to cause instability in Pakistan”
“India incorrectly assumed that Pakistan is behind the indigenous Kashmiri’s struggle…”

—Umair, How come almost every Pakistani & govt. agencies have the ‘same’ sound-bytes to offer- do the universities in Pakistan conduct special brain-washing & anti-India / anti-west courses? I would love to attend one such course.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

emptiness & fullness
set opponents off on the wrong track so that they can never fight with you. when opponents come to attack you do not fight with them but rather set up a
STRATEGIC CHANGE to confuse them (can’t be that hard)
and make them uncertain, deflecting them from their original intention to attack, making them reluctant to fight with you.
when Sima Yi was going to attack Zhuge Liang, Zhuge took down his flags & put away his battle drums, opened the gates and swept the road.
Yi suspected an ambush, so he withdrew his forces and fled.(variations on this theme could be fun)
when you induce others to construct a formation while you yourself are FORMLESS then you are concentrated while the opponent is DIVIDED.

what is orthodox to you ,make opponents see as unorthodox; visa versa. this is inducing others to construct a formation. to be able to use the unorthodox as orthodox & use the orthodox as unorthodox, CHANGE in a whirl, making yourself UNFATHOMABLE to opponents, is being FORMLESS. once the opponent’s formation is seen, then you mass your troops against it. since your FORM is not revealed, the opponent will surely divide up his forces for security.
when you are concentrated into one while the opponent is divided into ten, you are attacking at a concentration of 10 to 1, so you outnumber the enemy.
do not go to the trouble of elaborate preparations.

while being deeply entrenched & highly barricaded, NOT allowing ANY INFORMATION about yourself to BECOME KNOWN, go out & in formlessly attacking & taking unfathomably. harry & confuse enemies so that they divide their troops in fear, trying to cover themselves on all sides. it is like climbing a high mountain to spy on a citadel!
don’t let the enemy know where you will clash, for if they know they will mass their strength to resist you.
the more defences you induce your enemy to adopt the more impoverished your enemy will be.

so if you know the place and time of battle you can join the fight from a thousnd miles away.
[excerpts from the Art of War by Master Sun]

Posted by sweeny | Report as abusive
 

I like to make one thing clear that “Honor Killing” is not an Islamic teaching. It is a babarious practice from pre-Islamic time (Jahilila).Islamically to punish somebody in the accusation of adultery it requires four witness and the verdict from a Kadi (Sharia court judge). Those who are trying to push their evil practices in the name of Islam they are the enemy of Islam.For everyone to know that there is no Sharia court in the world for last 100 years except Sauidi Arabia.

 

Mullah Shahin
“For everyone to know that there is no Sharia court in the world for last 100 years except Sauidi Arabia.”

—Care to spell out what’s it’s track record for the up-liftment @ empowerment of women.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

I disagree with what the journalist has said about us losing the COIN war because of us being behind too much armor and protection. We’re losing the COIN war not because of us trying to protect ourselves, but simply because there are too many rules and we worry more about popular opinion than really winning a war. We are not able to fully implement our warfighting tools to ensure a victory, no matter how much we disagree with it but the the dirtiest player wins. Additionally, we protect ourselves so much because the country and the majority of the people are not worth risking ourselves anymore than we already do. As a numerous deployer myself I will say that it is not worth it at all.

Posted by Kris | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •