Monthly Archives: March 2009

Jalrez Jezailchis on AlJazeera

UPDATE 200904021209:   Afghan Security Graduates Receive Warm Homecoming 

Did ANSO Lie About the Vz58s?

Did ANSO Lie About the Vz58's?

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Filed under IW, The Forgotten War

Saydabad Jezailchis



Vz58, NOT AK-47

Vz58, NOT AK-47



“The Jezailchis are so called from their jezails or long rifles. The Afghans are said to be among the best marksmen in the world. They are accustomed to arms from early boyhood, live in a chronic state of warfare with their neighbors, and are most skilful in taking advantage of cover. An Afghan will throw himself flat, behind a stone barely big enough to cover his head, and scoop a hollow in the ground with his left elbow as he loads. Men like these only require training to make first-rate irregular troops.” — General Colin Mackenzie 

Besides his Regular army, the Amir has always available the Jezailchis, which were formerly the only infantry in the country ; they are tiralleurs or light troops, armed with matchlock or jezail, and accustomed to hill warfare; and are perhaps as good skirmishers as are to be found
in Asia, being good judges of ground and distance; instinct teaches them almost to scent an ambush, and it is a current remark in the country that a good jezailchi on a hill side will conceal his body behind his own grass sandals. They are of two descriptions, those in Government pay on a nominal salary of five rupees per mensem (paid chiefly in grain) and armed by the State, and the jezailchis of the different chiefs who generally have a piece of rent-free land assigned them in lieu of pay. The Government jezailchis now muster some three thousand five hundred men, are chiefly employed in holding forts and thannahs all over the country, and are commanded by Sadbashia and Dahbashis, or captains of hundreds, and heads over tens, who receive a proportionate increase of pay and are divided as follows :

With Sirdar Muhammad Afzal Khan in Balkh, 400.

Sirdar Muhammad Azim Khan, 100.

The heir-apparent, 1,000 (scattered over
Kandahar, Gharisk and Farrah).

Sirdar Sher Ali Khan, 300.

Sirdar Muhammad Amin Khan, 200.

Sirdar Muhammad Aslam Khan, 200.

Sirdar Muhammad Sharif Khan, 100.

The Amir’s own, 200.

Distributed over different petty chiefs in bodies of thirty and forty, 1,000
Total 3,500.

The other jezailchis are the immediate followers of their respective chiefs, and may be considered as mere local militia, liable to be called upon to follow their lords whenever the Government require their services. Of the strength of the latter, it is difficult to form an estimate; but if we take the truest criterion, the numbers which have on former emergencies been collected, I consider that from a thousand to fifteen hundred is the utmost that could be got together at one place, for we must remember that although it is natural for people to talk of combinations to oppose common enemies, and the rising of a population en masse, yet an Affghan hates no one so sincerely as his nearest neighbour if he be more powerful than himself, and that his love of country or any other human tie will always give place to his self-interest or love of revenge; so that a collection of the whole male population for any length of time, for a given object, is simply impossible, although a considerable mob might be got together to make a simultaneous rush for the sake of plunder.   —  Major H. B. Lumsden

The military heritage of what is now the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan stretches back into pre-history. The Jezailchis are a respectable part of that military heritage, and the new APPF would do well to establish a connection in the mind of the people between them and those old sharpshooters.   jezail_bIn America, the Reserve Components of the United States Army and Air Force “shares” with the States have successfully claimed a heritage stretching back further than the existance of the Republic, which is good for their esprit d’ corps and fosters acceptance and even local pride in the home town heroes.  An influence operation promulgating a narrative that the APPF are legitimate Sons of Jezailchis could improve their reputation among the people, fostering cooperation and dispelling fears that they’re just another version of the discredited  ANAP. 

The jezail is their Kentucky long rifle.  Americans have that in common with Afghans.  Our Over Mountain Men calculated Arithmetic on the Frontier in much the same way.  Our guys teaching Basic Rifle Marksmanship to the APPF need to talk that connection up. 

Left-handed Virginia rifle, .32 cal.

Left-handed Virginia rifle, .32 cal.

See also Afghan Public Protection Force 

Did ANSO Strategically Leak a Classified Email to HuffPo? 

Civil Defense Forces 

The United States, inevitably, will arm some militias. The question will be how many and where and how?


Filed under IW, PSYOP, The Forgotten War

50,000 Containers

The Caspian Connection To Afghanistan





Filed under Logistics, The Forgotten War

Virtual Pickets


1: a pointed or sharpened stake, post, or pale

2 a: a detached body of soldiers serving to guard an army from surprise

b: a detachment kept ready in camp for such duty

c. sentry
3: a person posted by a labor organization at a place of work affected by a strike ; also : a person posted for a demonstration or protest


“I think we all know the solution. Obama and his cronies must be dislodged from Office as quickly as possible.Now, as how to do it – I don’t have a clue. There must be some legal mechanism to dislodge Obama and his gang.”

I too ponder the peaceful path. At this stage of the battle, I think “pickets” are critical. Real pickets. Virtual pickets. Avatars with a message. The Web is part of the arsenal available, still.

I think we need to unleash our own corps, online and off (10 people/shifts), committed to incessantly intercepting each and every elected official at their local and WDC offices, during business hours. Ask to speak to the elected official, and/or a spokesperson, if officials aren’t available. Everyday. Different pointed questions. We’ll need an archive of their responses, for later.

Use questions like: About half of the electorate thinks what you are facilitating is financial rape, and that you are criminal in your support of it. How do you respond to that charge? Capture the response on your handicam or cell phone.

This activity will become the most important topic of conversation, whichever way it goes.

Web videos at eleven. Nationwide. Document and distribute hundreds of clips of peaceful civil unrest; overwhelming the coverage of the MSM (even if they decide to cover the incidents). Sign verbage needs to convey clearly how serious we believe the situation to be. A teabag may be too anachronistic a symbol, as we may have passed by a time when dumping tea expresses the extent of our anger.

The frequency of congress-critters and their staffs making themselves available to answer pointed questions from average angry and organized citizens will inform us. I type while reloading.


geoffgo, Mar 23, 2009 – 8:55 am


Social networking, flash mobs, cell phone videos posted to youtube and replayed at the end of Special Report w/Brett Baier, imaginative, entrepreneurial innovative use of new media, V for Vendetta meets An Army of Davids.  A real People’s Information War.




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Filed under Idea War, Pamphleteers, PSYOP, Resisters

The Battle for America will be decided in your county at your front door

County Sheriffs and County Emergency Management could plan, train, and practice with civilian volunteers, if the dominant culture in the community encouraged volunteerism. Counties have power, and I can’t think of many Homeland Defense and Emergency Management missions SG’s and SDF’s can do that similarly prepared posses couldn’t. Sponsorship by county law enforcement instead of state military departments might further distance Civilian Irregular Homeland Defense Auxiliaries from the unwelcome “Michigan Militia” stereotype in the public consciousness. Slightly higher speed Law Enforcement Exploring for TBG’s, as far as the public needs to know, until the time comes to perform at a much higher level than anybody expected they could.  Cannoneer No. 4, 01/28/09

Map by Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan

Map by Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan

Read The Sheriff: More Power Than the President

. . . the long dormant spirit of America is reviving. The states are beginning to adopt Tenth Amendment resolutions, using powers they have always had. The people are restoring our long unbalanced constitutional system. There is something “blowin’ in the wind,” but it isn’t what Bob Dylan thought it was. Recently, Sheriff Mack addressed 570 people in Fredericksburg, Texas. He reports that the reception was “beyond fantastic.”

What can you do? For once we are not just complaining. There is a plan. I do not argue that you should forget about Congress. Not at all; if you see an opportunity there, take it. Always remember that right now it is run by people like Barney the Bugger of Taxachusetts, who will be elected by moronth in hith dithtrict until he dieth of AIDS.

Most of the time, when you approach your congressman, you come to complain. In the new crusade, you will approach your sheriff and tell him that he is not only handsome, charming and overwhelmingly masculine, but also that he has powers he may not be aware of. You have come to tell him what they are and to back him up. My guess is, when you tell him that, he will not kick you out.

Tell him you expect him to return the courtesy when the Nazis come from the District of Criminals to get the guns. Tell him you are ready in a minute to serve under his direction in a posse. He will not move to Washington and be corrupted. He will stay there with you. Show him the ten orders the Oath Keepers will not obey. The Oath Keepers are retired and active duty military and police. Their website is The first order they promise to disobey is an order to disarm you.

Put him together with Sheriff Mack. You will find him at His telephone numbers are (928) 792-4340 and (928) 792-3888. Bring the sheriff to your town to speak. He will explain all this. Invite your own sheriff. At the meeting I attended, the local sheriff and chief of police were there and loved what they heard. No one dislikes hearing how important he is.  Alan Stang, 03/21/09

Legitimate sub-national paramilitary counterforce.  Sheriff’s posses won’t be just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as, but Irregulars don’t have to be. . . . the familiarity of the members with their particular locality, with the terrain and road net in the respective communities, will be of great value in resisting any hostile efforts against residental areas and important public necessities.


Filed under IW, Resisters

Get Ready


Hell is coming to breakfast.

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Filed under Pamphleteers, Resisters

I Thought I Recognized a Pattern Here

The recent Missouri State Highway Patrol profiling of third-party supporters as potential terrorist militia threats to officer safety looked vaguely familiar, and now I know why.  I saw it last time.

If you have an interest in American history, political warfare, Irregular Warfare, or Psychological Operations I heartily recommend Dr. Philip Jenkins’  Terror Begins at Home.

Some excerpts to pique your interest:

It’s difficult to understand modern American political history without appreciating the florid conspiracy theories that so often drive liberals, and by no means only among the populist grassroots. Time and again, Democratic administrations have proved all too willing to exploit conspiracy fears and incite popular panics over terrorism and extremism. While we can mock the paranoia that drives the Left to imagine a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, such rhetoric can be devastatingly effective—as we may be about to rediscover.



However thin the underlying charges, the Brown Scare clearly helped to promote a New Deal agenda at home and interventionism overseas. For interventionists, the Terror Crisis suggested that fascist powers already were attempting to subvert America, forcing the nation to confront the foreign danger. Above all, the scare provided a powerful weapon for defaming anyone on the Right who opposed FDR’s drift to war. Targets included not only isolationist senators and congressmen but also the potent antiwar organization America First, which drew support from a broad and reputable cross-section of public opinion—conservative, liberal, and socialist, Catholic and Protestant. By 1941, though, the antiwar movement was battered by allegations of fascist and anti-Semitic ties. Under Cover portrayed America First as an aboveground front for the most extreme and lethal paramilitary fascist groups. As so often before and since, a burgeoning antiwar movement was crippled by charges that it was covertly allied with the nation’s enemies. So successful was this tarring that in popular memory, America Firsters stand alongside Nazis and Klansmen as traitors, subversives, and bigots. In terms of achieving its goals, the Brown Scare worked superbly.


After JFK’s election in 1960, the devoutly anti-Communist Minutemen took first place in liberals’ demonology. As in the 1930s, the far Right was supposed to be closely tied to out-of-control military officers. Remember fictional treatments of the time like “Dr. Strangelove” and “Seven Days in May”? Once more, too, the supposed threat from far-Right extremism surfaced in mainstream politics, especially during the 1964 elections. Most political observers know that Barry Goldwater was denounced for advocating “extremism in the defense of liberty.” Few know exactly what kind of extremism he was supposedly invoking. The ensuing controversy makes no sense except in the context of the John Birch Society, which was pushing the Republican Party to harder anti-Communist positions, and also the well-armed Minutemen. As in the 1930s, the extremists existed, and some hotheads contemplated violence. But once again, a yawning gulf separated the reality of the threat from the public perception.

Read the whole thing.

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Filed under Idea War, IW, PSYOP

I Would Have Rather Been Wrong

Checked my stats this morning.  Incoming traffic from Mudville Gazette.  A comment I made over there two  years ago generated that traffic.

The Abu Ghraib story was turned into a brilliant psychological operation that very effectively undermined the American people’s support for the war and adversely affected kinetic operations, and ultimately led to Congressional defeat last week, i.e., partial regime change.

al Qaeda’s victory was only possible because of the enthusiastic support of the Main Stream Media.

Without domestic counter-psyops, we are doomed to repeat this scenario.

Posted by Cannoneer No. 4 at November 15, 2006 08:00 AM

I was about 28 miles west of Abu Graib when I made that comment.

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Filed under Idea War, Old Media, PSYOP

The Right to Keep and Bear Ammunition

Who at the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service decided that small caliber fired brass had to be mutilated before it could be sold, and why?

Somebody decided to change the Demil code from

B               MLI (Munitions List Items) (Non-SME [Non-Significant Military Equipment]) — Demilitarization not required.  Trade Security Controls required at disposition


D                MLI (SME) — Total destruction of item and components so as to preclude restoration or repair to a usable condition by  melting, cutting, tearing,     scratching, crushing, breaking, punching, neutralizing, etc.  (As an alternate, burial or deep water dumping may be used when approved by the DOD Demilitarization Program Office.)

Now why would they do that?

Ammunition controversy shows failure of mainstream media to inform gun owners

No Longer Just Paranoia

Atlanta ammunition supply is severely constrained  $21.50 last month for a zippy bag of ugly, tarnished, apparently untumbled .45 Auto Rim g45ara_med

Willkommen Festung Argghhh! Bewohner.


DOD Ends Sale of Expended Military Brass to Remanufacturers

There is a letter at the above link from DOD Surplus stating Recently it has been determined that fired munitions of all calibers, shapes and sizes have been designated to be Demil code B. As a result and in conjunction with DLA’s current Demil code B policy, this notice will serve as official notification which requires Scrap Venture (SV) to implement mutilation as a condition of sale for all sales of fired munitions effective immediately.

Which is confusing to me because Demil code B isn’t the code that requires demilitarization or mutilation.  Maybe they misheard Delta as Bravo.

Nameless, faceless bureaucrats deep within the bowels of an obscure element of the Defense Logistics Agency have reached out and touched  millions of American shooters by monkeying with the disposition of expended Class V residue, which if you ask me is a bunch of expended Class I residue.

Tune in to Gun Nuts Radio tonight, 2100.

UPDATE 200903171805:  Epic Ed, commenting at in a long and contentious thread, had this to say at 4:38:35 PM

The facts as I know them, which come directly from candid discussions with my CEO, indicate the following:

– Prior to 11/2008, Demil B items required no mutilation for sale to the public. That policy changed in November, but several exceptions were granted. Expended munitions brass was one of those given a waiver.

– Enter the new administration. Since Demil B category items had been given a broad, general label as “national security sensitive” someone above the DRMS (likely in the DLA) reviewed the policy and immediately went with a CYA policy and yanked all exemptions. No thoughts or considerations were given to the implications of this policy change, but this directive was issued to DOD Surplus effective immediately last week.

– Shit storm blows up as a result. In particular, the letters, phone calls, and emails to our legislators, the media, and anyone else who would listen caused this policy to be review post haste.

– As of this morning our company was informed that expended munitions brass will now be reclassified as Demil Q –– which requires no mutilation unless sold to a foreign country.

There you have it. The policy change was simply the result of some n00b administrator attempting to close a perceived “national security” loophole and brass got caught up in the snare. There was no political motivation behind the policy change, but it is good that people like us were suspicious, got involved, and helped bring about a resolution.


UPDATE: The pitchfork brigades worked their Toquevillian magic

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Filed under Lawfare, Logistics

ALARNG PA Porks Puppy, Treads Heavily upon Private Parts

‘Borat’ star fools Ala. Guard into training stint

British comedian again plays trick in Alabama, briefly joining National Guard officer training

‘Borat’ Star Fools Alabama Guard, Trains Briefly

Read ’em and weep.


“Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America For The Purpose Of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable In The Presence Of A Gay Foreigner In A Mesh T-Shirt.”

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Filed under G-2

The Taliban have good relations with journalists and they are giving them any kind of help and information

The Afghan government and warlords empowered by the West are a greater threat to the country’s media than the Taliban, local journalists say.

Afghanistan media in grip of warlords, government

What you think you know about Afghanistan is based on what, exactly?
“Listening to the local voices” isn’t always such a great idea.
The indig journos aspire to be just like ours.

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Filed under Old Media, PSYOP, The Forgotten War

Missouri SHP Anti-Militia Propaganda?

There really is a Missouri Information Analysis Center. Is MIAC Strategic Report 02/20/09 The Modern Militia Movement an authentic MIAC product? Looks authentic.

Judge for yourself.
Page 1
Page 2
P. 3 — Reemergence of the Movement:

Rightwing extremists and militia leaders continuously exploit world events in order to increase participation in their movements.  Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia activity has been created.  Unemployment rates are high, as well as cost of living expenses.  Additionally, President Elect Barack Obama is seen as tight on gun control and many extremists fear that he will enact firearms confiscations.  White supremacists from within the militia movement have further become angered due to the election of the first African American President.  Many constitutionalists within the movement have claimed that President Elect Obama does not meet the residency requirements to hold the office of President, and therefore his election is unconstitutional.

Newer versions of the NWO conspiracy have been concocted in order to empower the movement.   The NWO is seen as using law enforcement, military, national guard, and federal agencies in order to carry out its elitist one world government.  Law enforcement and military forces are believed to be utilized in order to confiscate firearms and place individuals into FEMA concentration camps.  This scenario has received additional attention due to the US Army NORTHCOM assigning homeland securityh functions to an active duty Infantry Brigade.  The movement sees this brigade as the force that will take their firearms and that the unit is in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.   There are also concers that the banking and media infrastructure are also being controlled by the Jewish elite and that these leaders are members of the NWO.  There is a great deal of anger towards the Federal Reserve System (FRS) and all forms of tax collection.

P. 4
P. 5
P. 6 — Implications for Law Enforcement

There are significant differences between the 1990’s era militia and those of today, most notably:

Highly Trained:  Militia members are receiving  more professonalized training than they did during the first spike of the movement in the 1990’s.

Leadership training:  Militia members are receiving advanced leadership and operational planning training.   This has allowed for the establishment of a strong Non Commissioned Officer Corps (NCO) within groups.   An NCO Corps allows operations to be run at the fire team and squad size.  This enables units to conduct multiple operations simultaneously;  “Complex attacks”.  This training will also enable  individuals to form and train their own organizations.

You are the Enemy.  The militia subscibes to an anti-government and NWO mindset, which creates a threat to law enforcement officers.  They view the military, National Guard, and law enforcement as a force that will confiscate their firearms and place them in FEMA concentration camps.

P. 7
P. 8

Is this really what Missouri law enforcement officers are being told?

Better watch your speed if you have any Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian Party material in your car, or any Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin  or Bob Barr bumper stickers.

UPDATE 200903140118: Commenter annette reports

The Modern Militia Strategic Report is genuine. I called MIAC and was referred to public relations at 573-526-6115. An officer returned my call and verified that it is real, and was distributed to the Missouri police departments.

Thanks, annette.

Looked authentic to me, too, but was leery of the source. Run up on that site often in the course of my own IO research and am not a fan, but I must relunctantly concede that they have found an acorn.

I was a close observer of the Clinton-era Militia Movement. The Obama era is shaping up to be even worse, and so will be the push back. The concepts of government by consent of the governed, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and the Right of the People to alter or to abolish any Form of Government that becomes destructive of the ends it was instituted to meet, and to institute new Government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness, must be ridiculed, and their adherents demonized, if would-be tyrants and their lackeys are to sleep well at night.

MIAC has regurgitated Mark Pitcavage‘s anti-militia propaganda.

The smart Militia Man (and there are some) will understand the operant conditioning at work here, and avoid confrontations at times and places not of their own choosing.

Aikido, not boxing.

UPDATE 200903141408:   ‘Fusion center’ data draws fire over assertions

“If a police officer is pulling me over with my family in the car and he sees a bumper sticker on my vehicle that has been specifically identified as one that an extremist would have in their vehicle, the guy is probably going to be pretty apprehensive and not thinking in a rational manner,” Neal said. “And this guy’s walking up to my vehicle with a gun.”

UPDATE 200903170945:  That MIAC report on militias: background you won’t find anywhere else

UPDATE 200903220155:  “Modern Militia Movement” Report Written with ADL Assistance


Filed under Idea War, Lawfare, PSYOP

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

U.S. Army soldiers from Fort Rucker patrolling downtown Samson, Alabama, after the shooting spree on Tuesday. (Mark Wallheiser/Reuters)

U.S. Army soldiers from Fort Rucker patrolling downtown Samson, Alabama, after the shooting spree on Tuesday. (Mark Wallheiser/Reuters)

“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

Armed Liberal thinks it’s odd, too.

UPDATE 200903121018:   Curiouser and curiouser.  This was on the NORAD and U.S. Northern command blog 14 hours ago, but is now only google cached:

To all of those who may have seen reporting on Reuters and that CCMRF was used to support during AL shooting. This is not true. Support was provided via a mutual aid agreement between Ft Rucker, Ala,, and the affected cities. This mutual aid was approved by the Ft Rucker CDR and the appropriate Fort Rucker attorneys. USNORTHCOM was not involved in the decision-making process nor was the command a part of the deployment of active duty troops. This is a tragedy for all those involved and our hearts go out to all those affected. Please keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE 200903181911: Someone’s Career Endangerment light is blinking…

Glenn Beck — Send In the Troops


Filed under G-2

Enemy IO Gets Friendly DA Canc’d

Taliban propaganda halts some Afghan raids

Their non-kinetic operations have successfully curtailed our kinetic direct action operations.  We have now become so afraid of hurting “innocents” that we have bought into their human shield ploy.  All they have to do is surround themselves with females and little boys and they’re invulnerable.

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Filed under PSYOP, The Forgotten War

Do We Have To Put Our Head In That Noose?

U.S. Eyes Iran for Resupply of Afghan Forces

It’s a trap.  The Iranians have been at war with us for 30 years.  444 days.  Beirut.  Khobar Towers.  EFP’s.  They’re still at war with us.  If they let us use their port of Chabahar and their road to Zaranj, it’s because they want to screw us.  The Italians in RC West are already making their own deals with them.   

Don’t fall for it.  Once they have us dependent on them they have us by the balls.


Filed under Logistics, The Forgotten War

A New K2?

A Western diplomat in Uzbekistan said the agreement included flying cargo into the Navoi airfield in central Uzbekistan for further shipment by rail or road.

Navoi is 97.6  miles northwest of the Karshi Khanabad Air Base we got kicked out of four years ago. 

Will what’s at Manas move to Navoi?

Will most of the containers at the Bagram CSRP be blue soon?

Will Karimov and Putin kick our back doors in again?


Filed under Logistics

The United States, inevitably, will arm some militias. The question will be how many and where and how?

Milt BeardenCurse of the Khyber Pass

There is an unrelenting insurgency—we call it the Taliban, though that is a dangerous oversimplification. It is in effect a Pashtun insurgency, made up of, indeed, Taliban, but also angry Pashtuns, criminal bands and paid gunfighters.

It takes an Apache to catch an Apache. We need some Pashtun counterinsurgents, and they don’t all need to be Afghan National Army or Afghan National Police.  Some of them could be Kandahar Provincial Guard or Regional Command East Regional Forces/Popular Forces or Afghan Public Protection Force, or tribal police, or the Sayad Abad Jezailchis. 

Then there is the question of how to deal with the militias. Discussion of arming Afghanistan’s militias has led to little in the way of consensus. Many Afghans and some old Afghan hands say it won’t work because it has never worked before, that it will lead to more conflict and that militias armed by outsiders can never be controlled. Others say it is worth a try. Both may be right.

The militia solution always surfaces when a foreign enterprise in Afghanistan faces failure; and, yes, militias armed by outsiders have ended up fighting each other in the past. During the 1980s militias repeatedly turned on their Soviet armorers, or otherwise betrayed them. Indeed, Soviet-armed militias in eastern Afghanistan became quartermasters for the CIA, selling their weapons to the mujahideen for hard CIA cash, while saving the CIA huge transportation costs to boot. The Soviets paid the freight.

But the United States, inevitably, will arm some militias. The question will be how many and where and how? Some recommend giving the Karzai government a hand in the process. That should be carefully thought through, as it may only end up increasing the intramural fighting. If militias must be raised, the United States had better do it in concert with traditional tribal-leadership systems that have been nearly destroyed by thirty years of warfare on both sides of the zero line. The United States must also concurrently work with Pakistan to help regenerate the traditional tribal system in the FATA as a companion effort to arming militias in Afghanistan.

President Karzai may not be happy with U.S. involvement in a militia program; nor will he view the militias we raise as his natural allies. He will be right. The idea of an Afghan presidency designed somehow to control all of Afghanistan was built into the system when the interim government was established in Bonn in 2001. It was a mistake then, as now. The new administration and the new special envoy should correct this as they cajole into existence a presidency with natural Afghan limits and begin to work out new relationships with the outlying governors who hold real power outside Kabul. Whenever Afghanistan has been “well ruled” in the past, those at the helm in Kabul understood their limitations in dictating to the provinces. That balance will have to be reestablished.

In taking these steps, the United States should not expect any long-term gratitude from the militias it arms. At best we should hope that they might restore an old order as they beat back the nihilist upstarts on either side of the border. The arms flows should be structured to prompt continuing good behavior—a tall order, but not an impossible one. The last British political agent in the FATA, Sir Olaf Caroe, was able to keep the tribes “quiet” during his tenure (in the 1930s and 40s) by rewarding “good” behavior with a continued flow of cash and arms. Caroe’s The Pathans should be read by all involved in this challenge, maybe even before picking up the new Petraeus doctrine on counterinsurgency.

Kabul cannot effectively gain and maintain a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. The United States and NATO can neither field nor logistically support a force that could secure the population of Afghanistan. The population is going to have to secure themselves. A lot of NGO types and pointy-headed English-speaking Tajik intellectuals don’t want to hear that.

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Filed under IW, The Forgotten War

“One way in, one way out,”

Lifeline to Afghanistan

Been there. Seen those mountains.

The “Bully Beef Express.”

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Filed under Logistics, The Forgotten War