The lunacy of the administration’s Afghanistan strategy has often been featured at Jihad Watch. Here is a good summary piece about it. “We’re training the Taliban to kill us — and take back Afghanistan,” by Paul Sperry, New York Post, August 9, 2014:
The assassination of an American general by a Taliban terrorist posing as an Afghan soldier exposes the lunacy of the administration’s Afghanistan strategy.
Under pressure from President Obama, the military rushed to recruit local Afghans to stand up a national army and police ahead of his hasty year-end troop withdrawal. To process some 7,000 new recruits each month, corners were cut on background checks, allowing insurgents and terrorists to fill the ranks of the now-350,000-member security force.
At the same time, the Pentagon allowed the Afghan government to take over and empty US prisons of Taliban and other terrorists as part of a mass amnesty program. It also funded a terrorist “reintegration” program that pays Taliban fighters to surrender and join the government.
More shocking, the two programs feed a recruiting pipeline for Afghan security forces whom US troops are training to take over for them, further endangering them to insider attacks and jeopardizing our mission there.
US military intelligence now fear as much as 25% of Afghan security forces are Taliban or al Qaeda operatives and sympathizers, which means we may be arming and training an army of some 87,500 enemy infiltrators with easy access to US personnel and intelligence. The massive infiltration puts the entire Afghanistan exit strategy at risk. The compromised Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) takes over the country’s security on Jan. 1, 2015.
Thirteen years after toppling them, we’re training the Taliban to retake Afghanistan.
Tuesday’s shocking assassination of a two-star general by one of those Taliban infiltrators is a very bad omen.
Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was ambushed and shot in the back of the head by a uniformed Afghan soldier while visiting an officer training academy in Kabul, where security was managed by the Afghans. He was the most senior casualty suffered by the US during the War on Terror and the highest-ranking soldier to die in a combat zone since Vietnam.
The shooter was ID’d as 27-year-old Mohammad Rafiqullah, who joined the Afghan army more than two years ago, before the Pentagon launched a counterintelligence surge to weed out such insider attackers. From a second-story bathroom window, Rafiqullah aimed his US-issued M16 assault rifle at the delegation about 10 minutes into a briefing. In an open area, the general stepped forward and told a joke to the group. That’s when Rafiqullah opened fire in a barrage that lasted long enough for him to empty one magazine and change to another before dying in a shootout.
The rogue soldier was recruited to join the army from the Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold.
Military intelligence officials say he was not vetted by the US, which has relied largely on the Afghans to screen out enemy sympathizers.
In late 2012, after one in four US or NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan were murdered by Taliban sympathizers or operatives posing as Afghan security forces, the Pentagon subjected some, but not all recruits, to lie detector tests. But that special intel team has since been abandoned, and vetting duties have again fallen to Afghans, who allow cursory or no background checks at all for new recruits.
Afghans are also in charge of security of training centers like the one Greene visited. Though the general had a personal security detail, I’m told the facility was not properly screened for threats in advance of his arrival, which was broadcast to the Afghan soldiers there.
“Yes, they are that trusting of our security partners,” said a senior US Army intelligence official who wished to go unnamed. “And it got a two-star killed.”
Two other insider attacks on coalition forces took place at other military installations the same day.
Former Taliban militants attend a ceremony during which they surrender arms under a US-backed Afghan government amnesty program, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 22 July 2014.Photo: EPA
Intelligence sources tell me that some of the rogue soldiers are coming from two unlikely sources.
One is the so-called Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program, a $60 million program funded mostly by the US and run by the Afghans that pays insurgents hundreds of dollars to “demobilize.” Many of these supposedly reformed terrorists are then recruited into the Afghan security forces as soldiers or police.
Pentagon documents shows more than 8,025 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters have enrolled in the program so far.
At the same time, the Afghan army has been pushing for the release of jailed Taliban fighters and other terrorists who in turn are recruited into the local security forces.
Over the objections of US military intelligence, Kabul released 65 of these dangerous detainees in February, including some of whom were locked up for killing US and coalition troops. In March, the Afghan army expedited the release of an additional 55 detainees.
The government agreed not to release 41 detainees classified as “Enduring Security Threats” whose release could destabilize the country. But intelligence sources say Kabul is expected to free them as well by the end of the year.
The amnesty plan risks blowing back on US troops. It also threatens to return Afghanistan to the al Qaeda sanctuary it was before 9/11, especially since according to a recent unclassified Pentagon report, “Al Qaeda’s relationship with the local Afghan Taliban organizations remains intact and remains an area of concern.”