Hey, did you know Afghans are killing US soldiers because they so desperately want us to continue occupying their country?
That is the rather absurd argument in a piece run by Foreign Policy by Felisa “Farzana” Dyrud, a former US Air Force officer. Dyrud says that, contrary to most commentary, the reason we’ve seen such a spike in “insider attacks” is because we’ve announced that we’re withdrawing in 2014. The attacks, she argues, are “a symptom of the trust crisis between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), stemming from the US announcement of its withdrawal by the end of 2014 — regardless of mission completion.” She says “hundreds” of surveys and “conversations with Afghans” support this conclusion, although she offers not one of these in her article.
You see, “Afghans do not resent Americans for being occupiers,” Dyrud obliviously insists, “but rather for leaving the job unfinished.”
First of all, the general consensus is that the Taliban have a lot to do with these insider attacks. When the US first had Kabul seek out and arrest those within the US-trained Afghan security forces that may have ties to the Taliban, the Defense Ministry said, “Hundreds were sacked or detained after showing links with insurgents.” And in August it was reported that the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Omar issued a statement bragging about extensive insurgent infiltration in America’s trained security personnel in Afghanistan. “They are able to (safely) enter bases, offices and intelligence centers of the enemy,” he said. “Then, they easily carry out decisive and coordinated attacks, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.”
As a former US official told Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker, “several hundred soldiers in the Afghan Army are thought to be agents for the Taliban or for Pakistan.” He said that many insurgents who have infiltrated the Afghan forces and killed US troops “had been planted in the Army by the Taliban or by Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s main intelligence branch.”
So while some of these insider attacks have been reported to be committed by Afghans in the security forces that don’t have ties to the insurgency, a great bulk of them are exactly that. It is a Taliban strategy. So, if Dyrud’s argument is correct, and these attacks are really based on an understanding in Afghanistan that the US is leaving, why wouldn’t the Taliban just sit back and let it happen? Why would they waste more recruits on these insider attacks?
Dyrud’s fundamental claim, though, is that ordinary Afghans are attacking American soldiers, because they’re upset that America is leaving. First, it’s hard to believe the Afghan people are displeased that their country will no longer be militarily occupied, their people will no longer be murdered in cold blood, that their homes will no longer be raided on a daily basis, and their government will no longer be the corrupt puppet of a far off land they hardly know about. But let’s entertain for a moment that these Afghans are attacking Americans because they are wishing they’d stick around longer. What makes them think such attacks will produce improved relations that will then cause Americans to stay? If Afghan in the security forces are desperate to have us stay, wouldn’t they be doing something other than killing us?
It doesn’t add up. Arguments against ending the war, or against announcing a withdrawal date, all contain this Orwellian twaddle. The occupied are being liberated. The oppressed are enjoying themselves. The aggrieved are just sad the warriors are leaving.