Czech and US soldiers patrolling Parwan, Afghanistan, 2014, for no good reason. They are still there.
There is no mission. There is no strategy. But 13,000 US and NATO troops are still risking their lives and limbs every day in Afghanistan. Even worse, as the Military.com story excerpted below makes clear, these forces are operating in a war zones under rules of conduct befitting a peacetime police force. Bonus: in one example reported below, when the going gets tough, there is no Afghan support.
"New Mission Brings New Rules for Patrols in Afghanistan":
PARWAN, Afghanistan — American Marines and Georgian soldiers waited outside the mud-brick compound about a mile north of Bagram Air Field as their interpreter and a Georgian master sergeant pressed a group of villagers about who may have been responsible for rocket attacks against the nearby NATO base.
Days before, an American civilian woman was killed when a rocket slammed into her vehicle inside the wire. Krissie Davis of Talladega, Ala., became the first employee of the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency killed in Afghanistan. Another American civilian was wounded.
The U.S.-Georgian patrol was looking for a “person of interest” in the attack. But the villagers insisted the person was no longer there. The patrol had little choice but to take the villagers at their word.
Before the NATO combat mission ended last December, the Marines and the Georgians could have searched the compound to see if the suspect was hiding inside. Under the new post-command mission rules, however, they need a search warrant from the Afghan police or the government’s intelligence service, said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy Langford.
On a night operation two months ago, a joint U.S.-Czech force was split into two groups, one led by Baka with an American service-dog team, and the other with Czech soldiers and a bomb-disposal team from the 101st. Both groups pushed out just under 2 miles on foot, setting up in two areas used by the insurgents for rocket attacks.
Conspicuously absent that night were Afghan troops — except for an interpreter.
Bagram spokeswoman Lt. Col. Amanda Azubuike said Afghan forces take part “in the vast majority” of security operations around the Bagram base. But on some operations like air assaults, surveillance and reconnaissance, coalition forces operate on their own.
Baka said Afghan troops were left behind because they did not have the capability to go on these kind of missions.
During the June 10 patrol, Langford said that since NATO troops can no longer search homes without a warrant, insurgents simply hide inside until the patrol leaves.
“It’s either, ‘They just went to the mosque’ or, ‘You just missed them; they are in Kabul,’?” Langford said, recalling numerous excuses he has heard during patrols around Bagram.
As the patrol ambled down a narrow dirt path toward their vehicles, Langford quickly glanced back at the compound’s windows.
“Sometimes you’ll see [someone] peek out the windows after they say no one is there,” he said.
Do the patrols find suspects they are looking for?
“Rarely,” he replied.
The Afghanistan scandal: Your fellow citizens in uniform at risk, your tax dollars at work -- for nothing.