One Man Human Terrain Teams for IW

Over on the Pak side of the Durand Line, the tribes are restless. Over on the ISAF side, attention may finally be paid to getting Pashtun irregulars into the fight against the Taliban. This could work. The Taliban themselves are Pashtun irregulars. Students of American military history are aware of the use of indigenous scouts, but up until recently the weakness and illegitimacy of Karzai’s regime made any paramilitary forces organized along local, district, provincial or tribal lines unacceptable. Finally, after almost seven years, propping up the regime we installed in Kabul after deposing the Taliban may not be the first priority.

The Pashtuns are not a tribe, but an ethnic and linguistic community of tribes, khels, clans, and Mafia families. Some of these people in RC East still retain traditions like respected maliks, or chiefs, discussion of issues by jirgas or tribal councils, enforcement of jirga decisions by arbakai, or tribal police, and applying muscle against interlopers with warrior bands of Kalashnikov-waving lashkars.

We haven’t really tried to make use of these tribal irregulars because the Amriki still don’t have enough fluent Pashto-speaking, snake-eating, scalp-taking, ear-collecting 18A Dog Soldiers to spare from DA hunting HVT’s. My perception has been managed to think that our potential Tony Poe’s are too dependent upon what terps, academics and Karzai’s guys tell them. Or maybe our military and intelligence communities no longer appreciate unconventional, loose-cannon characters who actually could thrive outside the wire.

We don’t need a surge. We need to make better use of everybody on the headcount we have now. We need a great culling of the fobbits. Tell everybody who is so caveated that Force Protection is their only mission thanks for coming have a safe trip home. We need a hard core group of stayers, who aren’t putting X’s on the Maxim calendars in their hooches for every day down, guys committed to multiple-year tours and/or contracts, promoted/paid appropriately for that level of committment and sacrifice. We need the stayers drinking chai with the elders, speaking Pashto, taking off the battle rattle, walking around like they aren’t afraid of anybody, gaining respect, developing informers, telling wedding parties from gangs of Taliban, knocking on doors instead of kicking them down, going native. But they’d be our natives, vetted, trustworthy, cleared professional soldiers, law enforcement officers, and intelligence agents, each a one-man Human Terrain Team. The British called them Political Officers. Honest Indian Agents could win us the war, or at least tamp things down enough for us to Afghanize the war, achieve Peace With Honor, and leave on our own terms instead of being run out .

See also: Losing the psy-war in Afghanistan
Sons of Dir Awakening
We will also work to increase the involvement of Afghan tribes.
Afghan tribes will not fit into a modern framework
“Any U.S. plan to combat Islamist extremism that relies on effective ground action from the Pakistani Army, the FC, or the Khasadars will fail.”
Pashtun Irregulars Disbanded
Seconded to the Afghan Constabulary
No Sons of Afghanistan Need Apply

UPDATE: via SWJ, Future Face of Conflict: Human Terrain Teams. A lot of GI’s have become amateur anthropologists when they stay overseas long enough. They used to call it “going Asiatic.” Going South West Asiatic is much tougher, because the South West Asians keep their sleeping dictionary cultural advisors locked away.


Filed under IW, The Forgotten War

5 responses to “One Man Human Terrain Teams for IW

  1. Grimmy & ymar:

    What used to be in this space is now over here. — The Editor

  2. How to find “honest” indian agents? Unless Americans understand that the real enemy in Afghanistan is SAUDI ARABIA, THEY will flounder.Why Taliban found it so important to kill Ahmed shah masood? Why is it important to kill benazir,Tabbauk of Afghanistan and other women leaders?

  3. Holy crap someone else that knows the real deal. I suppose if we continue to scream the truth loud enough that someone in D.C. may listen because the conventional Army still has it’s head in the sand and is waiting with baited breath for another conventional fight. Intell community? Where is it and what is it doing? I have been toldby the Afghans that the Soviets were better at Counterinsurgency than has been our best effort. CPT Johann was correct minus Kuwait and UAE who ALL jump on the Saudi Arabia bandwagon because they require an Islamic clergy to tell them when a new moon occurs so that they can all set their watches to REAL Muslim time. The truth be known, the Saudis don’t even consider the Afghan nor their puppet surrogates the Pakis as Muslims. How can you be Muslim if you can’t read the Koran/ Quran in its native language? For sure a new/ already known approach is needed. Let’s start acting like proud, strong Americans that we are instead of cowering behind the FOB walls ‘reacting’ to the insurgents instead of putting them in fear……

  4. The real enemy in Afghanistan is ignorance, ours more than theirs. Everybody over there with a gun they’ll point at us is a potential enemy. We have few honest, reliable Afghans we can really depend on.

    The geo-political entity known as KSA is supposedly an ally. That’s a fiction the Saudis pay selected Americans very well to maintain. KSA is very careful to maintain plausible deniability of any responsibility for Saudi terrorists, Saudi funding of terrorists, and Saudi support for killing infidels.

    UAE actually had a company-sized element in Afghanistan, so they’re Good Muslims, right? Well, some are, but some aren’t. Lots of Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers in Sharjah, and much of their payroll is laundered through Dubai. AQ takes R&R there.

    There are brave young Americans inside the wire behind those Hesco barriers. They are not “cowering.” Their senior leaders keep them there because they get blamed if any of them get killed. Force Protection is the primary mission over there, because the National Command Authorities have failed to generate sufficient support for the war to tolerate casualties.

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