Today we have another shameful episode.
We all know the difficulties being experienced by our troops in Afghanistan who are attempting to bring the Afghan army and national police up from a typical Third World thuggery to a reliable and effective defense force. This year there have been 32 separate attacks, about one per week thus far, and those attacks have accounted for 15% of all allied casualties in Afghanistan. It is a tough job but one that is indispensable to military and political success in Afghanistan.
KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 18, 2012) — Recent media coverage regarding a change in ISAF’s model of Security Force Assistance (SFA) to the Afghan National Security Forces is not accurate. ISAF remains absolutely committed to partnering with, training, advising and assisting our ANSF counterparts. The ISAF SFA model is focused at the battalion level and above, with exceptions approved by senior commanders. Partnering occurs at all levels, from Platoon to Corps. This has not changed.
In response to elevated threat levels resulting from the “Innocence of Muslims” video, ISAF has taken some prudent, but temporary, measures to reduce our profile and vulnerability to civil disturbances or insider attacks. This means that in some local instances, operational tempo has been reduced, or force protection has been increased. These actions balance the tension of the recent video with force protection, while maintaining the momentum of the campaign.
We’ve done this before in other high tension periods, and it has worked well. Under this guidance, and as conditions change, we will continue to adapt the force posture and force protection. The SFA model is integral to the success of the ANSF, and ISAF will return to normal operations as soon as conditions warrant.
The fact is that ISAF suspended training only two weeks ago for exactly the same reason: attacks by inadequately screened recruits upon their trainers. This was an event that was widely reported at the time. Since 9/11/2012 there have been three attacks on NATO troops, one of which the Taliban claims was related to the film “Innocence of Muslims”. The odds of this being anything more substantial than a “claim” are slim in a neolithic pesthole like Afghanistan.
This release is a transparently disingenuous claim that is contradicted by the facts on the ground and history. The reason for the suspension of training is not some video, it is because the recruiting of Afghans is totally compromised and there is no meaningful counterintelligence structure in place to identify problematic candidates. That ISAF would claim this suspension of training is related to a film is nothing short of dishonest.