One of the things Congress wasn't interested in asking General McChrystal about was the September incident at Ganjgal, a hamlet in eastern Afghanistan. There, McClatchey's Jonathan S. Landay observed the deadly effect of McChrystal's increasingly restrictive ROEs first hand when repeated appeals for air and artillery support from an ambushed team of 13 US Army and Marine trainers assigned to the Afghan Army went unanswered. This failure was due, Landay reports, to "new rules to avoid civilian casualties." Three Marines and a Navy Corpsman were killed in the hours-long battle, which also claimed the lives of eight Afghan security personnel and an interpreter.
As Landay wrote:
U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines – despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village. ...
Several U.S. officers said they suspected that the insurgents had been tipped off by sympathizers in the local Afghan security forces or by the village elders, who announced over the weekend that they were accepting the authority of the local government.
“Whatever we do always leaks,” said Marine Lt. Ademola Fabayo, 28, a New Yorker who was born in Nigeria and is the operations officer for the trainers from the 3rd Marine Division. “You can’t trust even some of their soldiers or officers.”
The military announced it was investigating the "incident," but there has been no further news. As I wrote in this week's column, some one member of Congress should have asked the general for a Ganjgal progress report. But no. Nothing. Like it was all a black hole. I checked with Jonathan Landay this morning to see if he knew anything more and was shocked (sort of) to hear that he himself has never even been contacted by anyone in the military to discuss the incident, or his eye-witness report. The last thing he was told two weeks ago was that the investigation was "not over."
Has it even begun?