The Dog Days of Summer
I am overdue on updating all of you on local atmospherics in the rapidly destabilizing Nangarhar Province.
I also recently did another episode of The Aloyna Show where I took a SWAG at who I think is responsible for the murders of the international medical team headed by Dan Terry and Tom Little – the interview is below:
I think it is fair to say that I did not have much more to say on that topic because I remain stunned at what happened to my friends. And the bad news just keeps getting worse….The villains set up and took a shot at The Skipper last week and damn near got him.
The Skipper wasn’t injured in this blast – nobody was which would make one think that maybe it was a warning. But for those of us who live with this shit daily it is impossible to figure out what is going on. They could have set that bomb for The Skipper expecting it to blow him to kingdom come, they could have set it up to just make noise because he’s The Skipper and they want to warn him he is no longer welcome. They could have screwed up the HME (home made explosives) recipe. There is no Taliban proficiency matrix with which to judge attacks because of the wide disparity in competence between various Taliban units. Look at this article from The Atlantic; even the Lib media is figuring out that we are fighting a bunch of clowns. Of course that brings the real question to mind which is why aren’t we beating the snot out of them but I’m going to leave that alone for now. From the Atlantic article linked above:
“Nowhere is the gap between sinister stereotype and ridiculous reality more apparent than in Afghanistan, where its fair to say that the Taliban employ the world’s worst suicide bombers: one in two manages to kill only himself. And this success rate hasn’t improved at all in the five years they’ve been using suicide bombers, despite the experience of hundreds of attacks or attempted attacks. In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. According to several sources at the United Nations, as many as six would-be suicide bombers died last July after one such embrace in Paktika.”
There was an attack on the safe-house of one of the security firms in Kabul last week involving two suicide bombers. They popped up well inside the new Kabul “Ring of Steel” checkpoint system (which seems designed to harass internationals) and opened fire on the exterior guards in front of the Hart Security compound. The Hart guards returned fire for a second or two and locked themselves inside the compound as did the exterior guards outside the gates of every other compound on that street. The attackers ran up to the Hart gate and one positioned himself to blow the gate while the other moved back about 20 feet. When bad guy number one blew down the gate, bad guy two also perished because 20 feet of stand-off is inadequate for powerful suicide vests. Almost funny right?
As the fighting season continues the good guys are losing more land and population to the various insurgent groups operating in the country. Teams of doctors are being murdered in the remote provinces, attacks are launched inside the ANP “Ring of Steel” (or Ring of Steal as JD and Haji jan call it) and where is the focus of the Afghan government? On private security companies of course… yes why not?
Now is exactly not the right time to make all PSC’s illegal and let the ANP and ministry of the interior (MOI) provide security to convoy’s, military bases and internationals working in the reconstruction sector. There are not enough men in the Afghan security forces to go around and their proficiency in preforming these tasks is suspect (to put it politely). But forget that – the real question is how much is this going to cost. We already pay for the ANP and ANA – if they are going to provide mobile and static security then I guess the millions of dollars being paid to private companies will no longer be needed right? Wrong. The MOI is planning to charge PMC rates to augment the millions given them by donor nations. One can predict with 100% certainty what will happen if President Karzai goes through with this crazy scheme. The logistics pipeline will start to rapidly dry up, internationals will be unable to move without their (mandated by their insurance) expat security teams and their projects will ground to a halt. Military operations will have to be suspended because there will not be enough Afghan Security Forces to both fight and provide theater wide static and mobile security support.
For companies working outside the wire in the reconstruction sector the absence of international PSD teams will also impact their ability to get insurance (required by contract law) for internationals at reasonable rates. At exactly the time that internationals operating outside the wire need to be armed the laws are changing to make it illegal for internationals to be armed. How are we supposed to operate now?
I’ll leave you with a translation of the new presidential decree on PSC’s so you too can puzzle at it’s meaning with the rest of us:
President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan About dissolution of Private Security Companies
Based on point 3,4 article 64 and 66 of Afghan constitution in order to fight the corruption, provision of security for all citizen, avoiding the public disorder and misusing the weapon, uniform and military equipment by private security companies which causes the tragic incidents. After legal and necessary assessment about dissolution of internal and external private security companies within four months I approve the following points.
Individual volunteer members of private security companies, if they are qualified can be reintegrated with or without weapon, ammunition, vehicles and other on-hand equipment after registration into the police lines and ministry of interior affair is assigned to complete the reintegration of abovementioned companies and finalize it according to the timeline.
The supplies and equipments of foreign private security companies which have already been registered in ministry of interior in case of transportation in initial signed protocol should not belong to government. After agreement of companies MoI, MoD and NDS should purchase the supplies and equipment and the residential visa of companies’ personnel should be cancelled.
In case the companies do not agree to sale the equipment their residential visa’s should be cancelled and they can take their supplies and equipments with them out of country.
The internal and external private security companies that are not registered in MoI and established arbitrary, should be abort as illegal security companies and their supplies and military equipments to be confiscated in accordance to the law.
Embassies in Kabul, foreign consulates in provinces also international organizations, NGOs and economic organizations that are active around the country can have their self belonged private security inside their compounds, that should not be allowed to move outside the relevant compound and the size will be determined and registered by MoI.
Ministry of Interior is assigned to provide external security for all embassies and International organizations, NGO in Kabul and in provinces, provide necessary facilities in registration and issuing license for weapons and equipment individuals private security organizations as mentioned in article five of this decree and provide security for all logistical transportations of international troops from province to Kabul, districts and vice-versa in cooperation with MoD and NDS.
This decree is valid from the issuance date and the implementation is MoI responsibility.
President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan