Is NATO that stupid?

I have to wonder what elementary school drop-out is up at NATO running things and making decision? It does not take even a High-school diploma to figure out this is not a good idea or will turn out well.

Taliban militants, who have shunned violence, are being provided monthly cash incentive of £100, besides being given amnesty for all crimes such as murdering children, beheadings and hanging women.

“Members of the Taliban who give up their fight are being paid £100 a month and will be allowed to keep their guns in a new initiative to end the insurgency,” the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.

Paying the Taliban not to fight is like giving a rapist free hookers so he doesn’t rape innocent women. Sure it will accomplish what you want in the short term, but over time it will become too expensive and you make them dependent on you.

Once we cut off the payments then they will go back to doing what they have to in order to survive, which means attacking us or the Government of Afghanistan. You cannot buy your way out of a problem like this.


A great career that is not ending 3

GEN David Petraeus has ended his military career after 37 years in uniform, but he is not leaving civil-service to this country. 

Gen. David Petraeus is bidding farewell to the Army that has been his life and the troops that have been his family for 37 years.
America’s best-known general is taking off his uniform before starting a new chapter as the 20th director of the CIA next week, where he will keep waging war on al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, but in a far different manner.

The soldier-scholar-statesman is to be sworn in as the nation’s spy chief on Sept. 6, less than a week before the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

It’s a sharp and unexpected career turn for the man many thought would ultimately become the top officer in the land – chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – after six command assignments, including four in war zones. He is credited with turning around the Iraq war and helping pivot the still uncertain campaign in Afghanistan.

After taking a step-down from the Commander of CETCOM to assume command of ISAF, GEN Petraeus could have easily become the Chairman of the JCS. Heck there was even talk of making him a 5 star General for a while by some in Congress. Yet he has decided to take over as the Director of the CIA as a civilian. He has punched every ticket needed, and it would not surprise me to see his next job after this as President. It may not be in 2012, but I could see him being elected in 2016. 

This is not good for our efforts in Afghanistan

Well it seems that NATO is coming clean on a raid that happened in Gardez back in February. It is not good for NATO and there is no doubt our enemies will use this in their propaganda and media campaign. It is one thing to make a mistake, it is something else to lie and attempt to cover it up and then have to confess.

I think NATO forces, and especially US forces have lost a lot of trust amongst the Afghan people over this one, or soon will.

NATO forces on Sunday have admitted killing five Afghan civilians, including three women, during a night raid on a home in the southeast of the country in February, after initially denying involvement.

The NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement Sunday that its troops were responsible for the women’s deaths in a village near Gardez, the capital of eastern Paktia province, on February 12.

Two newspapers — the New York Times and Britain’s The Times — said Monday that the foreign troops involved in the shooting were members of US special forces who tried to cover up the deaths by removing bullets from the bodies.

President Hamid Karzai has called for night raids to be banned.

NATO said its troops had entered the house on Feb. 12 in Gardez district of Paktia province, “believing an insurgent was inside”. They killed the two men because they carried weapons, although later learned they were not insurgents.

“We now understand that the men killed were only trying to protect their families,” Brigadier General Eric Tremblay, spokesman for NATO-led forces, said in the statement. The three women were killed during the shooting, NATO said.

ISAF said soon after the incident that the three women were found bound and gagged but the latest statement said the claim was based on a report by troops unfamiliar with Islamic burial customs.

Nighttime Raid Rules tightened up 1

I was a little mixed when I first read this article a while back, but after a lot of consideration I think I can agree why they did this. If you balance what our forces achieve while doing these vs. the harm we do to ourselves, I am sure the hard far outweighs the achievements. When you are trying to execute successful COIN strategies and not alienate the people, then limiting the number of nighttime raids to the ones that are absolutely necessary is a pretty good move. Of course like with anything, orders can be misunderstood and not executed as ordered or too much. It takes a fair amount of common sense when trying to execute warfare at all levels. Lets just hope the Commanders between the top and the bottom don’t get overly conservative on this one.

NATO spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that a directive would be issued soon to set down the new rules.

Nighttime raids on private homes have emerged as the Afghans’ No. 1 complaint after Gen. Stanley McChrystal limited the use of airstrikes and other weaponry last year. The U.S. and allied nations have made protecting the population a priority over the use of massive firepower as they seek to undermine support for the Taliban.

“It addresses the issue that’s probably the most socially irritating thing that we do – and that is entering people’s homes at night,” Smith said Wednesday at his office in Kabul. He would not elaborate pending a formal announcement.

The U.S.-led force has become increasingly sensitive to complaints by Afghan civilians as part of a renewed effort to win support among the public and lure people away from the Taliban. Night operations risk offending Afghan sensitivity about men entering homes where women are sleeping.

Rafiullah Khiel, a Finance Ministry employee whose uncle was detained by NATO forces during a night raid last fall, said the distraught women and children in the compound were rounded up and locked in a watchtower for several hours while soldiers searched the dwellings. Khiel said the soldiers told the family that they had information that the uncle, a pharmacist, was treating Taliban fighters.

“This is just unacceptable to us, to our traditions,” Khiel said, holding back tears as he recounted the ordeal during an interview in a home on the outskirts of Kabul. “These kinds of actions, these wrong decisions, just make people turn against them.”
The inability of the Afghan government to stop what many of its constituents consider abuse in turn generates support for the militants.

Smith said complaints about civilian deaths from airstrikes had dropped sharply after McChrystal’s order last year, but Afghans are “not seeing enough difference in our nighttime operations.”

He acknowledged the possible tactical issues in limiting nighttime action, which gives troops with sophisticated night vision equipment an upper hand and provides an element of surprise. But he said the problem needed to be addressed in the effort to win the confidence of Afghan civilians and keep them from supporting the Taliban.

“We’re not going to be in a position to stop all that activity,” he said, suggesting more operations could be carried out during the day in less dangerous areas.

While the July order by McChrystal ranged from limiting airstrikes to insisting that international troops be accompanied by Afghan forces, Smith said the upcoming directive would deal specifically with night raids.

Regional officials welcomed the shift, saying it would help improve relations between the NATO forces, the government and civilians.

“In the past we had several complaints because of civilian casualties during night raids,” said the acting governor of the volatile Khost province that borders Pakistan, Tahir Khan Sabari. “If these things happen during the day, that won’t happen as much. It’s also good for relations between the government and the public.”

According to a recent U.N. report, 98 Afghan civilians were killed last year during search operations – 16 percent of those killed by pro-government forces. The U.N. said the overall percentage of deaths attributed to Afghan and NATO forces dropped last year. The report credited the decline to NATO’s new emphasis on protecting civilians and curbing airstrikes.
Still, the report singled out a late operation on Oct. 16 in Ghazni province in which a joint Afghan-international military force opened fire when entering house, killing an elderly couple, their 35-year-old son and a 10-year-old granddaughter.

“The conduct of pro-government forces during night raids and searches continues to be of concern, particularly regarding excessive use of force resulting in death and injury to civilians,” the U.N. said. “Concerns have ranged from allegations of ill-treatment, aggressive behavior and cultural insensitivity, particularly toward women.”

Ghazni, a volatile province southwest of Kabul, was the site of new allegations that civilians were mistakenly targeted on Thursday. NATO insisted the four people killed were insurgents, but villagers claimed they were civilians – a father, two sons and a neighbor.

About 500 angry demonstrators chanted slogans against the United States and the Afghan government as they carried wooden coffins holding the bodies to the provincial capital of the same name.

“They had no weapons, no grenades, not even one single bullet was found in their home,” Abdul Samad, the victims’ relative, told Associated Press Television News. “All those killed were innocent people … We are asking government officials to think about us all the time and not only today. If there is any matter of concern, they should discuss it with our elders.”