Guardians of Wardak

A slow road to self-reliance

Gleaned these nuggets for your consideration:

The goal is to field 1,200 Guardians in Wardak province, but only 1½ districts have completed recruitment, producing 243 volunteers.

In part, this is because the Taliban is still active in parts of Wardak, and families fear they will be targeted if their sons join. Provincial council members complain that the lightly armed Guardians are vulnerable to attack. Some still have old Czech rifles that jam if they aren’t cleaned repeatedly. Hardier AK-47s are coming.

The Czech Vz58 design is 11 years newer than the AK-47. I have been curious since I first heard about it why the AP3 were being issued Vz58’s.  Possibly the Czech PRT in Logar had something to do with that.  Arming them with an uncommon weapon could have been a symbol of special worthiness, a visual signal that these aren’t your run of the mill raggedy ass militia.  No doubt the Vz58 requires operator maintenance and cleaning, just like most other infantry small arms in use by armies, police forces, paramilitaries and militias throughout the world.  I shot my first deer with a Mk III Short Magazine Lee Enfield pretty much identical to what Afghan riflemen used to shoot before they acquired AK’s and gave up marksmanship for spray and pray imshallah.  It had to be cleaned, and oiled, and patches run through the bore after firing.  Some of that surplus .303 was corrosive.  Their grandfathers could maintain bolt action rifles but Vz58’s are beyond their capability?

The Basic Rifle Marksmanship trainers didn’t sell the virtues of the weapon.

Also, there is a growing lack of trust between Guardians and their Special Forces mentors in the province of Nerkh, caused by an incident last month in which three Guardians were killed and three injured by a roadside IED.

The six young volunteers I met, all from Nerkh, were eager to talk about this episode. They claim their colleagues were killed after being “forced” by U.S. Special Forces operatives to accompany them on patrol, even though the Afghans were banned from leaving their assigned villages.

The Special Forces lead adviser and other U.S. military officials told a different story – that the three were killed while returning home from an assignment to protect a community meeting. Several provincial officials, including the Nerkh district chief, Mohammad Hanif Hanifi, dispute this version and corroborate the Guardians’ story.

So there is  a Nirkh PPF that trained, graduated and commenced operations beneath the media radar.  Apparently a half district worth.  Which may be all they get if  the story about being forced by SF to go out on patrol becomes the accepted wisdom in the bazaar. 

If they are not allowed to patrol outside their villages, why do they have trucks? 

If there really is a lack of trust between the Nirkh Jezailchis and their Paramilitary Mentoring Team, pull that team and plug another team in there.  If it’s all BS then smack down the tellers of tales and Charlie Mike.

Was this the straw that broke McKiernan’s back?

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Filed under IW, Old Media, PSYOP, The Forgotten War