It’s difficult to see how this ends well.
After a decade-plus of war and nation-building in Afghanistan, NATO and U.S. troops are increasingly being thanked for their trouble by traitorous Afghan colleagues – whom they have befriended and trained – who turn on our troops and kill them.
Nor have we talked to anyone in the know who truly believes that whatever peace and civil infrastructure we leave behind will remain intact once NATO and U.S. troops leave in 2014.
Meanwhile, the rules of engagement for our troops are so confining that our men and women are nearly reduced to sitting ducks.
Some 40 foreign troops, including U.S. troops, have been slaughtered by their treacherous “partners” in the Afghan police and military. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai – who treats us as if he’s doing us a favor by letting us build his nation for him – was concerned enough about the increase in so-called “insider killings” that he recently called a meeting of his national security council – on a holiday.
Karzai blames “foreign spy agencies” for the murders. Perhaps. It’s an open secret that Iran is fueling the insurgency, and even supplying it with shoulder-fired missiles. But the truth is, Karzai’s own forces have been infiltrated at an alarming rate by Taliban sympathizers. In addition, the tribal, say-anything, do-anything treachery of the culture also inspires aggrieved individuals to lash out for apolitical, personal reasons. One such murderer killed eight NATO colleagues after an investigation discovered he was taking bribes to allow some people to gain privileged access to military aircraft.
Some we’ve talked to also blame President Obama’s publicly announced departure target for emboldening the opposition and making wary our allies.
Moreover, Voice of America reports, “The number of U.S. military members killed in the war in Afghanistan has surpassed 2,000, with more than half the deaths coming in the past 27 months.”
Two U.S. troops were killed in cold blood by an Afghan colleague Monday, bringing to a dozen the number of foreign troops killed by turncoats this month alone.
The long and the short of it is, you have to wonder if our continued presence in Afghanistan is worth it.
For what it’s worth, we don’t think it is. And we encourage the next president, whomever he is, to turn a fresh, unjaundiced eye toward whether to accelerate our departure from that tortured parcel of earth.
To his credit, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, coalition commander, isn’t budging. “At this particular moment, I don’t believe that we need to contemplate reducing our contact with the Afghans,” he recently told reporters.
We trust that with the keen interest of the highest levels of the Pentagon, more measures can be taken to make our troops more secure from Afghan traitors in their midst. One step that’s already been taken is to allow weapons to be loaded while on base.
We hope increased security will put a stop to these killings, because our tolerance level for that kind of loss of American life is at about zero right now.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey says the right strategy “might not be to pull back and isolate ourselves, but (to) reach out and embrace them even more.”
Afghan military leaders have been slow to see the urgency of this.
“In the past,” Gen. Dempsey said, “it’s been us pushing on them to make sure they do more. This time, without prompting, when I met (defense chief) Gen. Karimi, he started with a conversation about insider attacks...”
One possible reason for that: Traitors have been killing other Afghans at an even higher rate.
We’re glad to hear the Afghan military finally cares enough to speak up. We’re skeptical whether that will truly matter. But, God bless them, our military folks are unbowed.
“The more we can foster a relationship of brotherhood, the more secure that we are,” Gen. Allen says.
We don’t doubt that. But it remains to be seen whether that neighborhood is capable of long supporting brotherhood.