Warfare continues to become more professional and dehumanized every day.

The purpose of Extraordinary Edition is being revisited for winter, headed into 2013. U.S. foreign policy, Central Asia and the Middle East remain key focal points. Economics and culture on your front doorstep are coming into focus here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ignorance of Afghan Culture Leads to Botched Raids and Civilian Deaths

Counterpunch story dated April 13, 2010

Shooting in the Dark


Excerpt--A Special Operations Forces raid on Feb. 12 on what was supposed to be the compound of a Taliban leader but that killed three women and two Afghan government officials demonstrated a fatal weakness of the U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan: after eight years of operating there, the U.S. military still has no understanding of the personal, tribal and other local socio-political conflicts.

In targeting the suspected Taliban in such raids, therefore, the U.S. military command has been forced to rely on informants of unknown reliability - and motives.

As a provincial council member from Gardez, near the scene of the botched raid, declared bitterly last week, U.S. Special Forces "don't know who is the enemy and who isn't".

When the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, Adm. William McRaven, went to the site of the raid to apologise, the head of the extended family which lost five people to the SOF unit, Hajji Sharibuddin, demanded that the U.S. military turn over "the spy who gave the false information to the Americans".

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and his chief of intelligence, Gen. Michael Flynn, have admitted the profound ignorance of the U.S. military about Afghan society, while avoiding the implications of that ignorance for the issue of false intelligence on the Taliban.

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