The Dog Days of Summer
Many apologies for the delay on posting. I was laid low by some sort of viral affliction which mimicked malaria. Like most people who get sick maybe once a decade, when I do catch a bug you would think I was on death’s door I’m such a sissy about it. But the fever is gone and I am long overdue on bringing a little insight into the stories of the day and what the situation on the ground is like in the rapidly destabilizing Nangarhar Province.
To follow up on my last post – I did another episode of The Aloyna Show where I took a swag at who I think is responsible for the murders of Dan Terry and the other nine internationals including the fiancee of a good friend of mine and super all around human being Dr. Karen Woo:
I think it is fair to say that I did not have really that much to say because I remain stunned at what happened to that medical team. But the bad news just keeps getting worse. The villains set up and took a shot at the Skipper last week.
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. The big reason for that is a factor I have gone over many times before and that is the Taliban are as stupid as the day is long. 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 is The Skipper and nobody on any side of this conflict wants to see the only outside the wire EOD team in the country go back behind the wire and become for all intents and purposes useless. There is no Taliban proficiency matrix with which to judge attacks because these guys suck so bad at fighting that it is hard to take them seriously. Look at this article from The Atlantic; even the main stream media is figuring out that we are fighting a bunch of clowns. Of course that bring 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 another post or two. 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 attacksâ€”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 HQ 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 to be designed to harass internationals and opened up on the exterior guards as they walked down the street housing Hart Security. 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 which means about 25 men jumped inside their compounds when the two attackers unmasked. The attackers reached the gate and, according to eye witnesses, one said he’ll take the gate down and the other moved back about 20 feet. When bad guy one blew down the gate, bad guy two also perished because 20 feet of stand off is inadequate for powerful suicide vests.
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 launch inside the ANP “Ring of Steel” anytime the Taliban feels like it, and so where is the focus of the Afghan government? On private security companies of course… yes why not? Now is exactly 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 all the mobile security for internationals working in the reconstruction sector. Ignoring that there are not enough Afghan security forces to go around as it is and also that their proficiency in preforming these tasks is suspect (to put it politely) what about the money? 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? Right. The problem is 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 contract) 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. And of course there are yet more millions of dollars to add another chapter in the long saga of wasted OPM (other peoples money) by our respective governments.
I cannot for the life of me imagine how this law is going to work out. There are (in my opinion) more international PSD teams then needed – why do EuPol police officers need PSD teams to drive them around Kabul? They have guns and armored vehicles already and should be capable of taking care of themselves. Why do the contract police trainers needs a whole section of dedicated PSD specialists? It is a crazy waste of money to have armed international PSD teams guarding armed ISAF personnel but it is also currently a contractual requirement. For companies working outside the wire in the reconstruction sector the absence of international PSD teams will also have a huge impact on the ability to get insurance for their 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 who are not ISAF military members 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