The strategy for getting U.S. forces out of Afghanistan depends on training Afghan soldiers and police to protect the country themselves, but on Monday the U.S. military suspended most joint field operations with Afghan forces because so many Americans are being killed by the men they are training.
Afghan government troops — our allies — have turned their guns on NATO forces 36 times this year, killing 51, most of them Americans. That is more attacks than the last two years combined.
The order effectively suspends “until further notice” most of the operations which U.S. and Afghan troops conduct side by side. At higher headquarters, Afghans and Americans will still work together, but in the field small unit operations putting Afghan soldiers alongside Americans — the guts of the U.S. strategy to turn the fighting over to Afghans — will be suspended unless an exception is granted by a commanding general.
Ok, so the focus since 2002 has been to mentor, train and lead the Afghan security forces in a way that would enable them to have and maintain their own Army. In 2007 we began mentoring the National Police in order to teach them ethics, survivability, tactics, and many other tasks. So for 10 years we have been training and mentoring the Army, and for 5 years we have been doing this with the Police, but now all of that is on hold.
It pains me to even entertain the following words I am about to type, but to me it sounds like the enemy has won. There is no reason for us to be there. I have been saying for a while that we need to get out of Afghanistan since our troops are no longer allowed to wage war as we are trained to do, nor allowed to win by any means necessary. So if we are going to suspend the “primary” mission of our war efforts for the last ten years then it is time to leave, because for the last 10 years the way home and out of Afghanistan has been to train the Afghans to secure their own country and provide for its own defense.
Training together at the HQ in Kabul is not going to do squat for the military there, as the quote says, the “guts” of the mission is the small-unit mentoring. Just a few weeks ago it was announced that Special Forces teams had suspended their mentoring of Afghan Special Forces and Commando units, so it looks like this new strategy is spreading to all forces.
One last things I am wondering about…has everything that my team and the hundreds of other ETTs, STTs and any other coalition soldiers who have mentored Afghans done been in vain?