Well this one is going to get under any red-blooded American’s skin. According to a new Army handbook that is still being drafted by the Obama administration, but soon to be released, American soldiers are told to brace for a ‘social cultural shock’ when they meet Afghan soldiers and are to steer clear of subjects regarding women’s rights, religion and the Taliban’s criminal activity.
The proposed Army handbook suggests that Western ignorance of Afghan culture, not Taliban infiltration, has helped drive the recent spike in deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces.
“Many of the confrontations occur because of [coalition] ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms, resulting in a violent reaction from the [Afghan security force] member,” according to the draft handbook prepared by Army researchers.
The 75-page manual, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, is part of a continuing effort by the U.S. military to combat a rise in attacks by Afghan security forces aimed at coalition troops.
Here are a few of the excerpts of the draft handbook titled, Insider Threats – Afghanistan: Observations, Insights, and Lessons:
Green-on-blue incidents provoke a crisis of confidence and trust among [coalition forces] working with [Afghan troops]. As a means of illuminating this insider threat, those [coalition] personnel working on Security Force Assistance Teams during 2012 that live alongside and mentor [Afghan security forces] have about 200 times the risk of being murdered by an [Afghan security force] member than a U.S. police officer has of being murdered in the line of duty by a perpetrator.
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Understand that they may have poor conflict resolution skills and that insults cause irrational escalation of force.
Do not discuss religion
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Flashpoints/Grievances Some U.S. Troops Have Reported Regarding Afghanistan National Security Forces:
To better prepare [coalition forces] for the psychologically challenging conditions in Afghanistan, familiarize yourself with the following stressors some U.S. troops have reported concerning [Afghan security forces] behavior during previous deployments. Bear in mind that not all [coalition] troops have reported such experiences or beliefs.
Some ANSF are profoundly dishonest and have no personal integrity
ANSF do not buy-into war effort; far too many are gutless in combat
Incompetent, ignorant and basically stupid
Bottom line: Troops may experience social-cultural shock and/or discomfort when interacting with [Afghan security forces]. Better situational awareness/understanding of Afghan culture will help better prepare [coalition forces] to more effectively partner and to avoid cultural conflict that can lead towards green-on-blue violence.
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Etiquette Violations Best Avoided by [coalition forces] Taboo conversation topics include:
Anything related to Islam
Mention of any other religion and/or spirituality
Debating the war
Making derogatory comments about the Taliban
Advocating women’s rights and equality
Directing any criticism towards Afghans
Mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct
Bottom line: Try to avoid highly charged and emotional issues.
While I do think one must be careful in their surroundings, I don’t think this has one thing to do with the number of escalating murders from Green on Blue attacks by Afghan police that have been trained by American soldiers.
More than three dozen insider attacks have killed 63 members of the U.S.-led coalition this year, according to the article, and some blame “American cultural ignorance.” The bottom line is that troops may experience social-cultural shock and/or discomfort when interacting with Afghan security forces, the new military handbook says. “Better situational awareness/understanding of Afghan culture will help better prepare [troops] to more effectively partner and to avoid cultural conflict that can lead toward green-on-blue violence.”
The draft leaked to the newspaper offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”
At least one high-ranking military official had the backbone to publicly criticize the new manual, albeit through a spokesperson. U.S. Marine General John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, doesn’t endorse it and rejected a proposed forward drafted by Army officials in his name. “He does not approve of its contents,” according to a military spokesman quoted in the story.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration changed the way federal agents are to be trained earlier this year to combat terrorism and extremists by eliminating all materials that put Islam and Muslims in a negative light and by bending and suspending the law.
The Obama administration also practically ordered every major federal agency to participate in outreach to Muslims, including the Justice Department with a special program to protect Islamic civil rights.
Frankly, what should be done is to bring our people back home, instead of catering to those that want to kill them once they are trained by our military.