Mattis’ Islam Denial: ‘Insider Killings’ Are Counterinsurgency Killings

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and General John Nicholson meet with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security Director Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai and members of the Afghan delegation at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 24, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

PJ Media, by Andrew G. Bostom, September 15, 2018:

Trolling for yet more evidence of ignorance and incompetence, Bob Woodward’s crude smear job, Fearwitlessly documented something else altogether: President Trump’s honest, moral understanding of the Afghanistan morass, and its unconscionable impact on our troops:

At a July 2017 National Security Council meeting, Trump dressed down his generals and other advisers for 25 minutes, complaining that the United States was losing, according to Woodward. “The soldiers on the ground could run things much better than you,” Trump told them. “They could do a much better job. I don’t know what the hell we’re doing.” He went on to ask: “How many more deaths? How many more lost limbs? How much longer are we going to be there?”

The continuing phenomenon of so-called “insider killings,” or “green on blue attacks”—where a member of the Afghan Muslim security forces (military or police), in uniform, turns his weapon on U.S. troops, killing or wounding them—validates Trump’s grave concerns.

When U.S. Army Sergeant Major Timothy Bolyard, on his 7th deployment, was murdered by one of our Afghan “ally” insider killers (and Afghan National Policeman), on Spetember 3, he was the highest-ranking enlisted soldier of the Army’s latest advisory brigade dispatched to Afghanistan. Two months earlier, in July, Corporal Joseph Maciel of Task Force 1st Battalion, another unit under the umbrella command of 1st Security Force Brigade, was similarly killed at the Tarin Kowt Airfield in Afghanistan’s southeast Uruzgan Province. An additional two U.S. service members were wounded during this “insider” attack.

Following the July killing and wounding, Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff, notedthat the three soldiers shot were protecting members of the new U.S. advisory brigade that deployed to Afghanistan for the first time just five months beforehand. He stated the Army was moving ahead with plans to create more of the training brigades for deployment, primarily, in Afghanistan. Gen. Milley then added that despite the (July) attack, he would not, “change the mission of the new advisory teams—working closely with their Afghan partners.”

After Sgt Maj Bolyard’s killing less than two weeks ago, Defense Secretary Gen. Mattis concurred, making plain the “advisory” program would continue apace, without questioning either its basic safety for U.S. military personnel, or strategic validity, despite a comprehensive report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, which determined that “training” Afghan security forces continuously for over a decade had been an abject failure. Mattis averred only that “Afghan leaders” had “increased [the] vetting going on… they are bringing in more people that we have helped train to know how to do it, to make certain we’re catching people who have been radicalized.”

Mattis’ comments about “increased vetting” by Afghan leadership to detect “radicalization,” and subsequent remarks at a Pentagon 9/11 remembrance ceremony characterizing the mass murderous jihad terror attacks as “hatred disguised in false religious grab,” are depressingly consistent with his development and evangelistic application of  the counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine. COIN, as adapted by Mattis in 2006 to Muslim battlegrounds, rivets upon his thoroughly bowdlerized view of mainstream, sharia-based Islam, and the creed’s central institution of jihad warfare. John Dickerson’s 2010 hagiography of General Mattis describes the key feature of the COIN manual—“a new concept of risk: troops use less force and accept more short-term vulnerability to build ties with locals that will bring longer-term security”—and how Mattis conceived and acted upon this overarching directive. Mattis “called in experts in Arab culture to lead cultural sensitivity classes.” He also:

…constantly toured the battlefield to tell stories of Marines who were able to show discretion and cultural sensitivity in moments of high pressure,” insisting his troops ” accept more immediate risks—to not shoot, to remove helmets — in order to plant seeds for future peace. [E]ven at the end of the heaviest fighting [in Fallujah, Iraq], Mattis met with sheiks to continue the effort to win over the locals.

With her singular clarity, Diana West, in a June,2010 essay, further identified the Gordian knot intertwining Mattis’ COIN doctrine and our troops’ hideously self-destructive Afghanistan rules of engagement [ROEs]—which she aptly termed “a post-modern form of human sacrifice”:

It is this COIN theory that is directly responsible for the unconscionably restrictive ROEs that have been attracting media attention, a postmodern form of human sacrifice staged to appease the endlessly demanding requirements of political correctness regarding Islam. There is no separating the two. If we have COIN, we have these same heinous ROEs.

Careful re-reading of a May 12, 2011, unclassified report by a U.S. Army “Red Team,” commissioned at the outset of a spate of “insider attacks”—applying Mattis’ “COIN tactics,” notwithstanding—revealed the yawning gap between U.S. (and Canadian) soldiers, and Afghans. The report was based upon extensive interviews with U.S. and NATO troops. It showed they were (understandably) disgusted with, and highly suspicious of practices and behaviors of their Afghan military “allies,” the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and Afghan National Army (ANA.), as well as Afghan civilians, sanctioned by traditional Islam, and/or the indigenous culture:

US soldiers… reported pervasive illicit drug use, massive thievery, personal instability, dishonesty, no integrity, incompetence, unsafe weapons handling, corrupt officers, no real NCO [non-commissioned officer] corps, covert alliances/informal treaties with insurgents, high AWOL rates, bad morale, laziness, repulsive hygiene, and the torture of dogs (“given the standing of dogs in Islam.”). Perceptions of civilians were also negative stemming from their insurgent sympathies and cruelty towards women and children.

The report also noted:

… numerous accounts of Canadian troops in Kandahar complaining about the rampant sexual abuse of children they have witnessed ANSF personnel commit, including the cultural practice of  bacha bazi [dancing boys], as well as the raping and sodomizing of little boys.

U.S. soldiers were absolutely revolted by such “abuse and neglect” of Afghan children, while excoriating the “poor treatment and virtual slavery of women in Afghan society,” which they found “repugnant.”

But the most critical observation, diametrically opposed to the delusive and dangerous premises of Mattis’ Islam-bowdlerized COIN doctrine, appeared on page 50, item No. 40, regarding recommendations about how to counter the Afghan attacks on U.S. soldiers:

Better educate US soldiers in the central tenets of Islam as interpreted and practiced in Afghanistan. Ensure that this instruction is not a sanitized, politically correct training package, but rather includes an objective and comprehensive assessment of the totalitarian nature of the extreme theology practiced among Afghans.

The report lamented, in an edifying and alarming elaboration (on p. 38), that a majority of ANSF members believed self-immolating homicide bombers attained “salvation,” while U.S. soldiers killed in action did not. Concordantly, most ANSF members accepted that killed “infidel” U.S. soldiers were condemned to Hell. Moreover, the report further warned about ANSF “religious officers” who espoused that such homicide bombers are Islamic martyrs who gain “Paradise,” and/or promoted the notion that these homicide bombers’ actions are justified. Such Afghan Muslim views, in turn, reiterate classical, authoritative—not “radicalized”—Islamic doctrine on jihad and jihad martyrdom from Islam’s most important canonical sources, i.e., the Koran (see Koran 9:11143:7036:5655:7037:48 on martyrdom, and Islam’s cosmic brothel for Muslims, vs. 98:6 mandating Hell for non-Muslims), and the traditions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad (“hadith,” such as Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Numbers 53 and 54).

A contemporaneous February 17, 2011, Washington Post story demonstrated how the U.S. military’s utter failure of imagination engendered the absurd belief that U.S. largesse would solve a millennium of Afghan Muslim hatred of Jews and other infidels, and the related historic use of mosques to foment and physically supply murderous jihadism. In Kabul’s largest and most famous “blue” mosque, distinguished cleric Enayatullah Balegh pledged support for “any plan that can defeat” foreign military forces in Afghanistan, excoriating what he called “the political power of these children of Jews.” Balegh, who was also a professor of Islamic law at Kabul University, stated in an interview, “I don’t think even a single Afghan is happy with the presence of the foreign military forces here.” May 2011, the Vancouver Sun ran a story about Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung’s “chilling memoir” of her experiences (during 2008) in Afghan captivity for 28 days—stabbed, confined in a dark prison hole, and raped, while being held for ransom. Noting that her captors were not “hardcore” Taliban, Fung characterized them (all too benignly) as a “cunning” family business that abducted foreigners for ransom. Most significantly, one of her captors shared this honest and pathognomonic observation which still eludes Mattis and his COIN-indoctrinated military policymakers: “We are all the same. Taliban is Afghanistan. Afghanistan is Taliban.”

Segue forward 7 years to the resurgent Afghan Muslim vox populi Taliban three months ago in June, and their announcement marking the end of Ramadan, 2018. Admonishing the infidel “American invaders” to  leave Afghanistan, while assuring Afghan Muslims of a bright, fully-sharia compliant future, Taliban leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada claimed it had already liberated “vast areas” of the country—an assessment quite consistent with the latest SIGAR accounting that the Taliban contested or controlled over 40 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts  The good sheik’s message, reiterating traditional Islamic Jew hatred (as Kabul University “academic,” and prominent cleric Enayatullah Balegh had done 7-years before), also denounced the U.S. relocation of our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which further exposes the absolute hatred of American officials towards Islam.”

Almost a century ago, aviation pioneer and nonpareil “poet of the air” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, recounted a mid-1920s episode of “insider” killings of French officers in the North African desert by their ostensible Muslim “ally,” one al-Mammun. Per Diana West’s apt characterization in 2012, “beneath the simple language, the French writer conveys a terrible, irreconcilable truth about Islamic redemption through infidel blood,” Chapter 3 of de Saint-Exupéry’s Wind, Sand, and Stars describes the setting, which foreshadows the grisly event.

Here were men who had never seen a tree, a river, a rose; who knew only through the Koran of the existence of gardens where streams run, which is their name for Paradise. In their desert, Paradise and its beautiful captives could be won only by bitter death from an infidel’s rifle-shot, after thirty years of a miserable existence. But God had tricked them, since from the Frenchmen to whom he grants these treasures he exacts payment neither by thirst nor by death. And it was upon this that the chiefs now mused… I had known of Mammun when he was our vassal. Loaded with official honors for services rendered, enriched by the French Government and respected by the tribes, he seemed to lack for nothing that belonged to the state of an Arab prince. And yet one night, without a sign of warning, he had massacred all the French officers in his train, had seized camels and rifles, and had fled to join the refractory tribes in the interior. Treason is the name given to these sudden uprisings, these flights at once heroic and despairing of a chieftain henceforth proscribed in the desert, this brief glory that will go out like a rocket against the low wall of European carbines. This sudden madness is properly a subject for amazement. And yet the story of Mammun was that of many other Arab chiefs. He grew old. Growing old, one begins to ponder. Pondering thus, el Mammun discovered one night that he had betrayed the God of Islam and has sullied his hand by sealing in the hands of the Christians a pact in which he had been stripped of everything. Indeed, what was barley and peace to him? … [B]ecause of his pact he was condemned to wander without glory through a region pacified and voided of all prestige. Then, truly, for the first time, the Sahara became a desert. It is possible that he was fond of the officers he murdered. But love of Allah takes precedence. “Good night, el Mammun.” “God guard thee!” The officers rolled themselves up in their blankets  and stretched out upon the sand as on a raft, face up to the stars. High overhead all the heavens were wheeling slowly, a whole sky marking the hour. There was the moon, bending toward the sands, and the Frenchmen, lured by her tranquility into oblivion, fell asleep. A few minutes more, and only the stars gleamed. And then, in order that the corrupted tribes be regenerated into the past splendor, in order that there begin these flights without which the sands would have no radiance, it was enough that these Christians drowned in their slumber send forth a feeble wail. Still a few seconds more, and from the irreparable will come forth a new empire. And the handsome sleeping lieutenants were massacred.

Secretary of Defense Mattis remains stubbornly and callously oblivious to the timeless wisdom of Saint-Exupéry, reaffirmed by more than a decade of identical bloody experiences with our Afghan Muslim “allies,” whose own “love of Allah takes precedence.” Simply put, “insider killings” are a direct consequence of Mattis’ failed, morally repugnant COIN doctrine.

Report: Taliban Prepares for Peace Talks with United States

AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

Breitbart, by John Hayward, September 11, 2018:

Taliban leaders are reportedly putting together a team to negotiate with the United States and signaling which concessions they will require to make such talks possible, prominently including a release of Taliban prisoners taken during the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

Reuters on Tuesday quoted “two officials involved with the process” who said Taliban leaders are meeting to select a three- or four-man delegation to meet with American officials. They would then schedule a follow-up meeting to conduct more serious negotiations provided the first meeting goes well and the U.S. demonstrates good faith by releasing Taliban prisoners.

“This meeting will determine the future talks and we would see if the U.S. is serious and sincere in negotiation. We would hand over a list of prisoners languishing in jails across Afghanistan. If they set free our prisoners then we would meet again for another great cause,” one of the “officials,” clearly a Taliban member from the tone of his comments, told Reuters.

The first serious diplomatic contact between the U.S. and Taliban officials occurred in Doha, Qatar, a little over a month ago. Reuters’ sources indicated the head of the Taliban’s office in Qatar would once again take point on negotiations with the United States, although the current chief official is only an interim appointee and will be replaced by a permanent representative.

The American side of negotiations would most likely be headed up by Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, who was named President Donald Trump’s special adviser for Afghanistan last week. Khalilzad is an Afghan-American noted for his skill at dealing with tribal factions.

The White House began seeking direct talks with the Taliban in July as part of a strategic shift intended to conclude the war in Afghanistan. Before that, the U.S. position was that Afghanistan’s internationally recognized government in Kabul needed to take the lead on negotiations. The Taliban adamantly refuses to bargain with Kabul because it deems the government a wholly illegitimate puppet of the United States.

The Taliban has been described as “willing, but not desperate” for negotiations. In this analysis, military pressure from the U.S. combined with diplomatic pressure from Afghanistan’s neighbors and Islamic religious leaders has convinced the Taliban to “evolve” and consider compromises to achieve its two core objectives, returning to power in Afghanistan and evicting foreign troops.

A significant number of Taliban movers and shakers has decided these objectives cannot be secured by brute force but can be largely won through negotiations with a war-weary Washington and nervous Kabul.

Instead of demanding the immediate exodus of all American troops, the Taliban will ask for a firm exit “timetable” and possibly accept the presence of small foreign units to secure Kabul and fight the Islamic State, which is also a Taliban objective.

Instead of overthrowing and executing the government headed by President Ashraf Ghani, the Taliban might seek the orderly dissolution of his government and the installation of “caretaker” officials until a new constitution is drafted and Taliban seats are secured at the table of power in Kabul.

The Taliban might have decided the time is right for peace talks because Afghanistan will hold a presidential election in April 2019 and it would become much more difficult to rewrite the constitution and install a “caretaker” government after the election. Much of the Taliban’s recent military action could be seen as an effort to shake the Afghan people’s faith in the Ghani government so profoundly that they will not resist Taliban demands to replace it.

These negotiations face four major obstacles: it would take years to reach a settlement, and bloodshed in Afghanistan would continue all the while; the U.S. will resist Taliban leaders inserting themselves into civilian government, and especially into Afghanistan’s military apparatus; the Taliban will insist on writing their harsh interpretation of Islamic sharia law into the constitution, outraging human rights advocates and Afghans who do not wish to live under Islamist domination; and there is little guarantee the Taliban will not use violence to seize the rest of the loaf after half a loaf is given, especially if its fighters wind up sprinkled through the Afghan military.

Also see:

Analysis: Pentagon continues to underestimate al Qaeda, downplay ties to Taliban

Screenshot from video produced by the Taliban in Dec. 2016 that emphasized the ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban. Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Taliban founder Mulla Omar (center, top) are shown side by side in an image that promotes the martyrs of jihad.

Long War Journal, by Bill Roggio, July 5, 2018:

The US Department of Defense continues to ignore fundamental facts in spinning its latest narrative. Yet again, the Pentagon underestimates al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan while downplaying the group’s ties to the Taliban. The Pentagon claimed that al Qaeda’s “core members are focused on their own survival” and “there is no evidence of strategic ties” between al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Except, the Pentagon and the US intelligence community has consistently been wrong about al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan, and evidence of strategic ties between the two groups does indeed exist.

The Pentagon made these latest claims in the “Threats from Insurgent and Terrorist Groups” section (pages 25 & 26) of its most recent biannual report, Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan. The report was released earlier this week. The paragraph discussing al Qaeda and the Taliban is excerpted in full below [emphasis added]:

The al-Qa’ida threat to the United States and its allies and partners has decreased, and the few remaining al-Qa’ida core members are focused on their own survival. The remnants of the organization likely reside along the southeast Afghanistan border with Pakistan with a smaller element in isolated areas of northeast Afghanistan. Some lower- and mid-level Taliban leaders provide limited support to al-Qa’ida; however, there is no evidence of strategic ties between the two organizations and the Taliban likely seeks to maintain distance from al-Qa’ida. In addition, al-Qa’ida’s regional affiliate, AQIS, has a presence in south and southeast Afghanistan, and in Pakistan, and is composed primarily of militants from within the broader South Asia region.

Underestimating al Qaeda, yet again

The Pentagon report employed language that was used consistently during the Obama administration that downplayed al Qaeda’s strength. Phrases such as “few remaining” (General Joseph Dunford, 2013), “remnants” (President Barack Obama, 2014), and “focused on their own survival” (General John Campbell, 2015), were uttered by the President and his top commanders for Afghanistan numerous times.

Beginning in 2010, CIA Director Leon Panetta claimed that al Qaeda had only “50 to 100, maybe less”leaders and operatives based in Afghanistan. FDD’s Long War Journal repeatedly refuted this estimate and even used the US military’s own press releases on raids against al Qaeda in Afghanistan to rebut the claims. Panetta’s estimate was repeated numerous times by intelligence and military officials, unchanged, for nearly six years. Additionally, the US military claimed that al Qaeda was confined to the northeastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan.

This incorrect assessment of al Qaeda’s was proven wildly inaccurate when in Oct. 2015 US forces killed more than 150 al Qaeda operatives in an attack on two al Qaeda training camps in the Shorabak district in the southern province of Kandahar. After the raid on the al Qaeda camps, US military spokesman Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner described the raid as “one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan.” It took US and Afghan forces more than four days to clear the two camps, with the aid of 63 airstrikes. Shoffner’s description of the al-Qaeda facilities indicated that they had been built long ago.

“The first site, a well-established training camp, spanned approximately one square mile. The second site covered nearly 30 square miles,” Shoffner said. “We struck a major al-Qaeda sanctuary in the center of the Taliban’s historic heartland,” he added.

After the Shorabak raid, the US military was ultimately forced to concede its estimate of al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan was wrong. In April 2016, Major General Jeff Buchanan, Resolute Support’s deputy chief of staff, told CNN that the 50 to 100 estimate was incorrect based on the results of the Shorabak raid.

“If you go back to last year, there were a lot of intel estimates that said within Afghanistan al-Qaeda probably has 50 to 100 members, but in this one camp we found more than 150,” he said.

The estimate of al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan was revised upwards to about 300.

Yet, in mid-December 2016, General John Nicholson admitted that the US military killed or captured 50 al-Qaeda leaders and an additional 200 operatives during calendar year 2016 in Afghanistan. And in Sept. of 2016, Nicholson said that US forces were hunting al Qaeda in seven of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

The US continues to hunt al Qaeda leaders to this day. Most recently, in late April the US announced that it killed a dual-hatted al Qaeda and Taliban leader in an airstrike in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. The jihadist was described as “a senior AQIS [al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent] and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander” who “controlled fighting forces in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Additionally, al Qaeda’s leaders do not appear to be “focused on their own survival.” Al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, As Sahab, has increased its production of videos and other materials since mid-2015. Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri and his heir apparent, Hamza bin Laden, have released numerous statements during this timeframe, while al Qaeda central has dispatched leaders to direct the fight in other theaters, such as Syria. These are not the actions of a group that is focused on survival.

Clearly, the US intelligence community and the military has consistently underestimated al Qaeda and its strength in Afghanistan, and continues to do so to this day.

“Strategic” al Qaeda and Taliban ties

The Pentagon report also stated that “there is no evidence of strategic ties between the two organizations and the Taliban likely seeks to maintain distance from al-Qa’ida].” The groups have long been tied and there is indeed evidence to prove it.

In December of 2016, the Taliban issued a video that emphasized its continuing alliance with al Qaeda. The video, entitled “Bond of Nation with the Mujahideen,” is replete with imagery and speeches that promote the enduring Taliban-al Qaeda relationship. In one section which promoted the martyrs of the Afghan jihad, al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Taliban founder Mulla Omar (see image above) were shown side by side. Also shown is Nasir al Wuhayshi, Osama bin Laden’s aide de camp who was promoted to lead al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, not in Afghanistan.

“Bond of Nation with the Mujahideen” also included clips of a speech by Sheikh Khalid Batarfi, a senior official in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. LWJ believes he is likely part of al Qaeda’s global management team. Batarfi praised the Afghan jihad and stressed that the ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban remain strong.

The video is clear evidence that the Taliban, as recently as Dec. 2016, did not seek to “maintain distance from al-Qa’ida,” as the Pentagon claims.

Al Qaeda leaders’ oaths to the Amir-ul-Mumineen [“Emir of the Faithful”], or the head of the Afghan Taliban, is solid evidence of continuing ties between the two groups. Osama bin Laden’s pledge to Mullah Omar was maintained up until the US killed Osama in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. Both the Taliban and al Qaeda have noted multiple times that the oath endured the Taliban’s loss of control of Afghanistan after the US invasion in 2001.

Zawahiri swore allegiance to Omar after Osama was killed, and again swore an oath to Mullah Mansourafter the Taliban announced Omar’s death in 2015. Mansour publicly accepted Zawahiri’s pledge in an official statement released on Voice of Jihad. After the US killed Mansour in May 2016, Zawahiri again issued a public pledge to his successor, Mullah Haibatullah, who is the Taliban’s current emir. While Haibatullah did not publicly accept Zawahiri’s oath, he also did not reject it. Haibatullah is considered to be far more radical than his predecessor, and he served as the Taliban’s chief judge for Mansour, so he would have given approval for Mansour’s acceptance of Zawahiri’s oath.

Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, al Qaeda’s branch in south and central Asia, also has publicly declared its allegiance to the Taliban.

Another key indicator that the Taliban’s relationship with al Qaeda remains strong to this day is the ascendance of Sirajuddin Haqqani to serve as one of the top two deputies to the Taliban’s emir as well as its commander of military operations. Sirajuddin is closely allied to al Qaeda. The Pentagon, in a previous section of the Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan report, noted that “Sirajuddin Haqqani’s role as a Taliban deputy probably increased Haqqani influence within the Taliban leadership.”

The Haqqani Network, which is a powerful and influential faction of the Taliban, is known to have very close ties to al Qaeda, and maintains these ties to this day. Numerous designations of Haqqani Network commanders detail the close ties to al Qaeda. (Designations of other Taliban leaders not part of the Haqqani Network also detail close ties to al Qaeda.) The US, in its covert drone campaign in Pakistan, has killed multiple al Qaeda leaders who were sheltering in areas controlled by the Haqqanis.

The Pentagon cannot explain how the Taliban seeks to distance itself from al Qaeda while promoting Sirajuddin to the top echelon of its leadership cadre.

The US military has demonstrated time and time again that is unable to properly assess al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan as well as its close and enduring ties to the Taliban.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

UTT Throwback Thursday: US Already Apologizing to the Enemy in Afghanistan – Again

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Sept. 7, 2017:

At what point do American citizens call for our military generals to be tried for criminal negligence as well as Aiding and Abetting the enemy for continuing their grossly unprofessional conduct and failure to make the slightest effort to understand the enemy 16 years after 9/11?

In February 2012, General John Allen apologized to muslims because allied forces “improperly disposed of Qurans.”

This week U.S. Major General James Linder apologized to muslims in Afghanistan for offending them by dropping leaflets containing the image of a dog with the Islamic shahada on it – “there is no god but allah and Mohammad is his messenger.”

Americans have just redeployed to Afghanistan and the United States is already apologizing to Islamic leaders.

Why don’t U.S. leaders man-up and  begin speaking to the Islamic world in language they understand?

How about our leaders tell the Islamic world to end the global jihad or we will obliterate it.

How about our leaders tell Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, and all the other Islamic countries funding the global jihad that if they do not turn the money spigot off immediately, the U.S. will turn their countries into parking lots – and keep their money.

How about our leaders shut down every Islamic school, mosque and organization that teaches jihad, seize the property, and arrest their leaders.

What if, and this is a big IF, U.S. generals actually read sharia and come to understand the enemy so they will realize that apologies from them endanger U.S. troops and emboldens the enemy.

The United States is again surrendering to an enemy we should be decimating.

Suicide attack strikes largest US Base in Afghanistan

Bagram Air Base (cnn.com)

Raw Story, by Tom O’Connor, Sept. 6, 2017:

Posted with permission from Newsweek

A suicide bombing struck the U.S.’s largest military base in Afghanistan Wednesday, hours after an Army general apologized for dropping leaflets found offensive by many in the Muslim country.

An explosion rocked the entrance to Bagram Air Base, located near Kabul, causing a number of casualties. The attack, which has been claimed by the Taliban Islamist militant group, comes hours after Major General James Linder apologized for spreading images of a dog, which is considered an unclean animal in Islam, holding a Taliban flag, which bears the words “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The phrase is an Islamic expression of faith known as the shahada and stems from the Quran.

“An explosion occurred outside an entry control point at Bagram Airfield at 5:38 p.m. local time today,” a statement said, according to Reuters.

“The explosion resulted in a small number of casualties,” it said, adding that the airfield was secure and the incident was being investigated.

The Taliban said the attack was intended to “avenge” the leaflets, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The latest assault comes weeks after President Donald Trump announced a new strategy to the U.S.’s longest-ever conflict, which began after the U.S. invaded in 2001 to overthrow the Al-Qaeda-allied Taliban after the 9/11 attacks. Nearly 16 years later, different U.S. administrations have struggled to stem ongoing insurgencies by the Taliban and, more recently, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), as well.

Trump has pledged more troops, but said he would no longer reveal soldier counts or other details of operations in order to avoid information falling into enemy hands. Trump said “nation-building” would no longer be a priority and that Washington would focus on “killing terrorists.”

The Pentagon revealed last week that there were 11,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, about 2,600 higher than previously reported. The true number of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and Syria is believed to be higher than the official figures as well, but the Pentagon refused to disclose these counts.

This is a developing story. More information will be added when it becomes available.

This ‘offensive’ leaflet made the Pentagon apologize to Muslims

Keith Binns | Getty Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Sept. 6, 2017:

Here’s the leaflet that the Pentagon deemed so offensive to Muslims that it warranted an official apology from a U.S. commander, according to journalists who posted the leaflet on social media.

Above the photo of the lion chasing the dog, the leaflet said in Pashto, according to Reuters:

“Take back your freedom from the terrorist dogs and cooperate with coalition forces so they can target your enemy and eliminate them.”

The leaflet was air-dropped over Parwan Province, Afghanistan, Monday night. The airdrop was commenced as part of a psychological warfare campaign encouraging locals to join with coalition forces in their fight against the Taliban. Bagram Air Base, reportedly the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, is located in Parwan Province.

The controversy over the leaflet is centered around the dog in the image, which is sporting the Taliban flag. The same slogan used by the Taliban is also on the jihadi flags of extremist groups like the Islamic State, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and Hamas.

But Afghan locals have apparently become enraged by the leaflet, because the verse inscribed on the dog (although widely understood in modern times as a jihadi slogan) is also a popular Quranic verse expressing commitment to Islam. The Shahada expresses a belief in God and Islam’s Muhammad as God’s prophet, or messenger.

Moreover, a dog is considered unclean by some sects of Islam, so having Islamic texts on a dog may cause offense to some Muslims, even if that dog is sporting a slogan that is used by the Taliban to commit jihad against innocents.

“The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam,” Major General James Linder said in a statement late Tuesday. “I sincerely apologise. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide,” he added, pledging “to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable.”

Upset Afghans plan on protesting the “unforgivable” offense the leaflet apparently caused to Muslims.

“Those who have committed this unforgivable mistake in the publicity, propaganda or media section of the coalition forces will be tried and punished,” said Parwan Province Governor Mohammad Hasem.

Ghulam Bahauddin Jilani, a provincial council head, also called for “whoever is responsible” to be “arrested and put on trial.”

The situation has “sparked riots” across the country, CBS News reports. Calls for legal repercussions for seemingly harmless activity is commonplace in much of the Islamic world, where the punishment for offending Islam is sometimes death or a severe beating.

The controversy is erupting two weeks after President Trump committed to continuing the war effort in Afghanistan for an indefinite amount of time.

Trump’s Afghanistan speech does not match reality. Here’s why

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Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, Aug. 28, 2017:

There’s a growing trend in this administration in which the president tweets or gives voice to a set of policy guidelines, but the policy outcome from his administration is the exact opposite. This is because the president surrounds himself with political and military leaders who share the swampiest of swamp mentality — the very crowd he campaigned against last year and inveighs against to this very day. This is quite evident as it relates to Afghanistan, especially with all the conservatives fired from the West Wing.

As I noted last week, I agree with the broad rhetoric in Trump’s Afghanistan speech. We should focus only on our interests, transform from counter-insurgency to counter-terrorism, and use soft power to cut off funding and support for terror from Pakistan and other countries rather than trying to own the insufferable political problems of the country. But the policy he actually signed off on, both because of the reality in Afghanistan and the mindset of those championing and implementing it, is precisely the opposite of what he discussed: It’s an open-ended nation-building exercise in social work, endangering our troops in the worst form of combat, which we won’t control but the capricious Afghan government will.

The strategy in Afghanistan doesn’t add up

On the one hand, in order to buy support for indefinite continuation of the status quo, proponents of the plan dramatically downplay the American investment and risk in Afghanistan. They say we are only sending a few thousand soldiers, they are only there to advise, train, and mentor, and that the Afghanis will take control of their own destiny. Luke Coffey of the Heritage Foundation expressed as much in a column we published and noted that this is not like the combat operations in the Obama-era surges because “today the Afghans are in the lead.”

This is a scenario that doesn’t exist. It is a hypothetical situation in which we defeated the Taliban, we have a stable and trustworthy Afghan government that controls most of the country, and we just need a few thousand troops and a few more years to train up the Afghan security forces so they can retain the gains and we don’t risk throwing 16 years of investment and lives down the drain.

The truth, however, cannot be farther from that scenario, and everyone has admitted it.

Everyone agrees the Taliban control more ground than at any point since 9/11, with the ability to strike anywhere, including well outside the Pashtun areas. Everyone agrees that the Afghan army and government are as corrupt, divided, and infiltrated as ever before. Thus the risk of green-on-blue attacks (attacks on coalition forces by Afghan forces), which decimated our forces during the 2011 surge, is just as potent today. Just in June alone, 11 soldiers were killed or wounded by green-on-blue attacks.

Thus, Afghanistan is worse than ever before. And this is precisely why many feel an urgency to do something in the first place. After all, on June 13, Secretary Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “we are not winning in Afghanistan” and warned that “right now … the enemy is surging,” and there is a “need for urgency.”

With this in mind, how can it be that a few thousand “advisors” and “mentors” will change a calculus that 150,000 coalition forces under the same General Mattis, as CENTCOM commander in 2011, couldn’t break through?

Who are we kidding? By default, this will be a continued massive nation-building mission, but one with no understanding of what the Afghan government can do or how they will do it. As Captain Jarrin Jackson, a company commander during the Obama-era surge, told us during a podcast, training Afghan security forces is the most dangerous job imaginable and is nothing but nation-building at every stage. Nothing has changed since then. The Afghan army needs American soldiers to procure basic supplies for it. The Afghans are just as compromised as ever before. Our soldiers are engaged in the most dangerous combat — counterinsurgency patrolling in villages where they are ambushed, often by the very forces they are “mentoring.”

This is why those who are closely involved in the McMaster axis in Washington are so giddy about the announcement. Max Boot, who clearly is in the know about what is actually being implemented, was honest about it. “Back to Nation Building in Afghanistan. Good!” was the title of his New York Times op-ed. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are ecstatic.

Again, if this was a plan involving a mere few thousand soldiers just engaging in counter-terrorism from outside the danger zone and not trying to hold together ground for counterinsurgency, why is the establishment foreign policy crowd so happy? Moreover, by definition, working with Afghans and having them lead the way is the opposite of counterterrorism; its counterinsurgency.

And as I mentioned before, it’s the worse form of combat. Our guys are stuck in the most vulnerable situations attempting to hold unholdable ground with soldiers who can shoot them, compromise their mission, or lead them into an ambush at any moment. And the much-vaunted government we are working with is currently negotiating with and infiltrated by the Taliban.

The problem in 2011 was that the Afghan government knew every operation ahead of time and somehow that information often got out to the enemy. This is likely how we suffered the worst tragedy in modern naval special warfare when we lost 25 special ops personnel, primarily members of Seal Team 6, just a few months after that team killed Bin Laden. A helicopter full of troops, in what later became known as “Extortion 17,” was shot out of the sky by an ambush, in which the enemy clearly knew our location. A similar insider attack occurred when a corrupt Afghani colonel lead an attack at a Kabul airport, which killed 8 U.S. airmen, the greatest loss of life for the air force since 2001.

The generals are the problem, not the solution

The same generals who failed us in Afghanistan for a generation, the same generals who are more political and politically correct than politicians, the same generals who covered up Extortion 17, are now the foxes guarding the henhouse. Mattis was commander of CENTCOM during the failed surge. Votel and Nicholson are part of the same crowd of generals Trump was expected to fire. At some point, we can’t blame everything on Obama when these people went along with it.

Remember, these are the same generals who went along with Obama’s social engineering, not only with women in all areas of infantry but with the transgender agenda. Now they are pushing back against Trump when he wants to end this nonsense. Some of you might feel uncomfortable criticizing generals on military strategy or harboring a thought that they don’t understand or care about our strategic interests or the lives of their troops. But their enthusiastic support, and even insistence on social engineering should put to rest any notion that these people are any different from left-wing politicians in Washington. This is a sad epidemic that has hurt our military leadership over the past generation. It is the reason many of us know flag officers who have left the service because they were so disgusted with the political correctness, social engineering, lack of strategic thinking, and even lack of basic understanding of the threats we face.

After all, McMaster refuses to even recognize the problems of Islamic supremacism, and Mattis thinks Israel is an apartheid state. How in the world could we go to battle or even identify an enemy with such a mindset? How can pro-transgender and pro-Muslim Brotherhood generals lead us to victory or even identify what victory looks like or what engagement serves our national interests?

Trump himself recognized this problem during the campaign. One of the boldest statements from Trump during the campaign, one which endeared him to many voters, was when he finally spoke the truth about the politicized generals. Trump declared at the Commander-In-Chief Forum last September that “generals have been reduced to rubble” and that “they have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing to our country.” Yet, not only has he failed to fire them, he has elevated some of them to top civilian posts. This is beyond Orwellian.

If Trump really meant to change direction in Afghanistan, he would first have fired those who broke our mission there and those who have turned our military into something that former Marine Jude Eden warned is “more ready for motherhood than for warfare.”

In reality, it would be better to choose the first 10 names in the telephone book to identify strategic interests in the Middle East than the current crop of generals. The only thing worse than not having a winning strategy in the Middle East is sending our troops into harm’s way without such a strategy, without even identifying the enemy and their threat doctrine.