Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Uneasy Separation in Afghanistan

It seems weird that we're approaching the full withdrawal date for the Afghanistan war, and I personally don't think it's going to go well when we're gone. But Barack Hussein will get all kinds of kudos for bringing another war to an end, and because he's all about scoring political capital in national security policy (compared to actually making Americans safer), it's all to be expected.

More on this throughout the next year. Meanwhile, at the Los Angeles Times, "Hard feelings on both sides as U.S. winds down its Afghan role":
SUROBI, Afghanistan — Col. Babagul Aamal is a proud veteran of 28 years in the Afghan National Army. Short and fit, with a thick black beard, he's a leader who blurts out exactly what he's thinking.

"I don't talk politics — I talk facts," Aamal said, wearing a sweater beneath his uniform in his unheated command office on a dusty base 40 miles east of Kabul.

It shames him, Aamal said, that he is not allowed to wear his pistol when he enters the fortified gate of the new American military base next door. Though he's a brigade commander, he's required to stand before an airport-type scanner with his arms raised, almost in surrender.

Yet when Americans visit Aamal's base, they are not searched. They are offered chai tea. And they bring half a dozen soldiers armed with M-16s, so-called Guardian Angels on the lookout for "insider attacks" by Afghan soldiers.

"Afghan generals get searched by low-ranking foreign soldiers," Aamal said. "Our soldiers see this, and they feel insulted."

As American troops shift from combat to advising, the ominous specter of insider attacks has strained the relationship between the two armies.

Sixty-two Western coalition troops have been killed this year in 46 such attacks, leaving many American soldiers deeply suspicious of their erstwhile allies.

At the same time, some Afghan officers and soldiers say they feel abandoned and patronized. After 11 years, they say, certain Americans still don't respect Afghan customs.

Moreover, they complain that the United States is pulling out without providing the weapons and equipment needed to hold off the Taliban.

"The Americans have the weapons, so they go wherever they want. It's like this is their country," the brigade's public affairs officer, Maj. Ghulam Ali, said with a weary shrug.

RELATED: At the New York Times, "Motive Unclear in Killing by Woman in Afghan Force."