Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:29 AM
According to the Pakistan News Service and Tehran Times, Iran and Afghanistan will be signing a strategic agreement to include provisions for Iran to train Afghan security forces.
The story comes from Iran's foreign minister speaking on Afghan TV, but will it in fact come to pass? We'll see. Iran has been offering to train Iraqi government forces for years; Maliki has even asked Iran for military support, even as Iran been training and supporting anti-US forces, also for years.
If such an Iran-Afghan strategic agreement comes to pass -- why not? -- will Iranians and Americans then become co-trainers? Will Iranian trainers be murdered by their charges as American and other Western forces have been? Hah. Then again, what enemy would Iran train Afghans to fight? Taliban fighter already train in Iran, while Iran, according to a 2010 report in the Times of London, pays the Taliban to kill Americans ($1,000 per soldier, $6,000 per vehicle).
Meanwhile, we are only now finding out that on Monday (three days ago), three Afghan police shot and killed one American soldier and wounded "as many as eight." Or, to be scrupulously post-modern about it, the shooters "were wearing police uniforms [but] it was not yet clear if they were actually Afghan forces or just had the clothing."
Judging by the way Afghan forces fight (not), that may be a more apt description than not. Australian media today carry a couple of stories about how the Afghan Army forces appear to have made a deal with local Taliban, and are letting Australian and other allied forces do all the fighting and take all the casualties -- in tis case, along with Afghan police, who are also taking casualties in attacks on their checkpoints, at which point, according to The Age, Afghan Army refuse to help.
The Age reports:
Earlier in the week, tribal elder Haji Mohammed Zahir, who is from the Dar Afshan area where Sergeant Diddams was killed, said the army was even refusing to fight alongside the police when attacks were taking place on police posts about 500 metres away from the army posts.
Yesterday, Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azmi told local media in Kabul that claims of a truce between the Taliban and the ANA was wrong but added it would be investigating the claims.
An ADF spokesman this week said there continued to be "a close partnership between Australian and Afghan soldiers operating in Afghanistan".
Australian soldiers have had an uneasy relationship with their Afghan allies, especially to the north of the capital, after incidents where Afghan soldiers turned their guns on their Australian mentors.
Qala-e-Naw, where Sergeant Diddams was killed, is only a few kilometres to the south-east of the Australian-established Combat Outpost Mashal, where Lance-Corporal Andrew Jones was shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier on May 30 last year.
With a "President Romney," would such news finally become, in the media eye, the blazing scandal that it already is?