The British and Pakistani Armies: Sharing Both a Personal and Institutional Future

The long relationship between the British and Pakistani armies is transforming, from one based mostly on pomp, ceremony and personal friendships, to one based on shared strategic interests.

The Pakistan Army can sometimes be more British than the British Army, at least when it comes to pomp and ceremony. Its cavalry officers have the best horses, and they play in the top polo competitions in Argentina and England; many of their sons go to Britain’s top boarding schools; and they even fashion their moustaches in the same manner as Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener.

According to Carey Schofield in her book Inside the Pakistan Army, after independence in 1947 the Pakistan Army inherited the majority of the British Indian Army regiments that were facing the threat on the Afghanistan ‘frontier’. As a result, it initially had British officers mentoring in the military academies and staff colleges.

Now the relationship has come full circle with a Pakistan Army major, Uqbah Malik, becoming the first instructor from a Muslim country to teach British cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He has also trained the Jordanian crown prince, Emirati princes and Afghan cadets. Malik’s role reflects a British bid to learn from the Pakistan Army’s operational and doctrinal training of military forces in the Middle East. Under Malik, British cadets have trained with their Pakistani counterparts in Pakistan, a historical first observed first-hand by the author, and now British NCOs are on their way to becoming part of Pakistan’s military academy at Kakul. There is also talk of a British Major heading to become an instructor in Pakistan, and at present there is a Pakistani colonel at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, where he is a member of the Directing Staff and has his own syndicate group.

Since the US-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan it has been no secret that the West – and, in particular, the Americans – have seen the Pakistan Army, and especially its intelligence services, as the biggest external obstacle to the destruction of the Taliban.

Whenever the relationship with the US has soured, particularly after a US military helicopter strike killed at least 24 Pakistani troops in 2011, British
senior officers have been brought in to keep the Pakistani military on-side. It has even been argued by the Americans and Afghans that the British military has been too soft on the Pakistanis and cared more about Pakistani concerns than those of the Afghans.

The former British envoy to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard CowperColes, wrote in his book, Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign, that two British defence chiefs, Field Marshal Charles Guthrie and General Lord Richards formed close friendships with the Pakistani top brass. Ahmed Rashid, in his book, Descent into Chaos: The World’s Most Unstable Region and the Threat to Global Security, also said that Richards was too close to the Pakistani military’s viewpoint. According to former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Guthrie’s friendship with General Pervez Musharraf, the former military ruler of Pakistan, helped the Americans to forge a close relationship with the Pakistanis in their efforts to hunt down and capture the majority of AlQa’ida’s leadership.

More recently, Chief of the General Staff Sir Nicholas Carter has described Pakistan’s former Chief of Army General Raheel Sharif, as ‘a great adviser and mentor’. This month, Carter became the first British Army chief to be the main guest to attend a Pakistan Army cadets’ passing out parade, an honour reserved normally only for Saudi and other Arab royal families. In the past year alone, Carter has been to Pakistan three times, more times than he has been to any other non-NATO member.

It was these personal British friendships that have kept Pakistan from completely falling out with the US and NATO. Now the British army wants to capitalise on this relationship as it bids to evolve into a smaller, but smarter, force. History and pomp and ceremony aside, the UK–Pakistan relationship is becoming more strategic, to the extent that the two armies could even fight together against a common enemy. Carter, along with Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders, have put Pakistan at the forefront of their defence engagement policy. They are keen to learn from the Pakistan Army’s reported success in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which Sanders praised, going so far as to say that what the Pakistan Army had achieved in Waziristan and the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas ‘has not been achieved for 150 years’. One of the cornerstones of this success was how the army leadership used the militants’ own narrative against them: enforcing regulations on hate speech; scrutinizing more closely the curriculums in religious schools; prohibiting media coverage of terrorist organisations; and, crucially, declaring that only the Pakistani state – as a Muslim state – could declare jihad – non-state actors such as the Taliban or Daesh did not have the authority to do so. The British army, which has been operating in Muslim countries such as

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Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, is engaging the Pakistanis on ‘lessons learned’. So the question for the British is how they can use the religion card to fight militants who justify their war against the UK based on theology.
The UK is also keen to leverage Pakistan’s historically close ties to the Gulf. In his book, Churchill’s Empire, Richard Toye claims that Winston Churchill wanted the new state of
Pakistan to replace the old British Indian Army as the guardian of the Gulf, and in 1956 Pakistan were close to taking part in the Suez Crisis on behalf of the British. At the time, the Egyptians under President Gamal Abdel Nasser saw Pakistan as a Western and British lackey. This year, Pakistan’s continuing close ties to the Gulf were made clear
when General Raheel Sharif became the head of a newly formed military alliance of mostly Sunni Islamic states led by Saudi Arabia, known as the ‘Muslim NATO’. Indeed, Pakistan continues to be a key provider of security to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, both of which are vital for the UK’s own security: intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia is key to stopping terror plots in the UK, while Bahrain now serves as a permanent base for British forces in the Persian Gulf. Pakistan and the UK have already worked together
in the Gulf, particularly on counterpiracy operations in the Horn of Africa and Persian Gulf.

Britain, under its own new East of Suez policy, can in the long-term benefit from cooperation with the Pakistani Army. The trust between the two armies built during the Afghan war is set to pay dividends both in the Middle East and at the prestigious academies in the UK.
The author knows that the 32 Engineer Regiment of the British Army is partnering in counter-IED capability with the Pakistan Army Engineers, and the British Army’s 77th
Brigade are conducting intellectual level engagements on perception management of the enemy, the cultural side of the war and media strategy. The two armies hold an annual counterinsurgency conference, focusing not just on combat, but also diplomacy and refugee management. The author is aware that the British Army is also sending officers to the Centre for International Peace and Security – which prepares officers to deploy in conflict zones – at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad
to learn from Pakistan’s experiences in peacekeeping.
Britain is also using the Pakistan Army to help with the recruitment of more British Muslims – the majority of whom are of Pakistani origin – into the UK armed forces. British Muslims have reportedly been reluctant to join the armed forces partly because they believe that the UK is waging a war against Islam. By saying that the British and Pakistani armies are fighting against terrorists and not Islam, the army is attempting a new approach, and the author has seen first-hand that Pakistani military officers are regular guests at recruitment events to help to explain this. The British Army has invited Pakistan Army officers to address key community leaders in cities such as Manchester
and Birmingham to help not just with recruitment but also to explain what it is doing in regional conflicts.
The British and Pakistani armed forces appear now to be on the same page, from training each other’s officers and soldiers, to countering violent extremism in their communities and showing a united front, whether on the Afghan border or in the Gulf. The message being given is that the two militaries are fighting the same enemy, whether it be on the Pakistani–Afghan border or in the Middle East. With geopolitical alliances shifting rapidly, and with instability and conflict raging from North Africa to Southeast Asia, the UK–Pakistan military alliance that was born in 1947 on polo fields and golf courses is now playing a key role in both Pakistan’s and Britain’s defence engagement with the wider world. Both armies stand to benefit from this in the decades to come.

Kamal Alam
Kamal has been a Visiting Fellow at RUSI since July 2015 and specialises in the Pakistan Army’s relationship with the British Army. Previously he has advised the British Army on Syrian affairs.

With thanks to Kamal Alam and RUSI for allowing me to use this.

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Pakistan Army should be part of peace talks with TTP

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 Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq suggested on Friday that army officials should be included in the peace process so that talks between the government and Taliban could be fruitful.

Haq said that the both negotiating committees have no empowerment and they were working as messengers. The government and the army should give authority to the committees, he said, adding the failure (of the talks) will be a failure for Pakistan.

Haq also said that there was no other option except peace talks with Taliban for restoring peace and eliminating terrorism from Pakistan. He said that the national economy has been destroyed and more than 50 thousand people have been killed in the war against terrorism.

Haq suggested that the government should convene All Parties’ Conference for holding consultations if the peace process with Taliban was failed. He said that his party also wanted peace in Karachi, adding that talks with MQM could be held if it left the path of persecution.

Baloch separatists follow Taliban footsteps

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Baloch separatists have pierced the relative calm created by the banned Pakistani Taliban’s temporary end to hostilities by slaying innocents. The outlawed United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed responsibility for two terror attacks this month, the April 9 bomb blast in Islamabad’s fruit market, which killed at least 25 workers, and an attack the next day at a railway station in Sibi, in which 15 people lost their lives. 

The timing of the Sibi and Islamabad attacks is important as they were were carried out just as talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and the Pakistani Taliban appeared to be making progress. Pakistan had witnessed a decline in terrorist activities since the Taliban, which in its time has claimed responsibility for 50,000 deaths, announced a temporary ceasefire during dialogue with the federal government last month. 


The separatists, by launching terrorist attacks on public places to push their desire for an independent Balochistan, are mounting the same kind of pressure that the Pakistani Taliban piled on the government over the years and which resulted in Islamabad’s willingness to hold talks with the banned outfits. 

UBA is a new separatist group whose existence was highlighted only after Sibi and Islamabad attacks. Earlier, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF) were the major outlawed groups claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks, largely inside Balochistan, where the Pakistan military has launched operations that according to human-rights groups have claimed the lives of women and children. 

The province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, suffers from a separatist insurgency and has also turned into a flashpoint where sectarian outfits have targeted the minority Hazara Shi’ite community. Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have blamed India, which has increased its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, for fueling unrest in the province. 

The Pakistani Taliban, know as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is dictating the terms of dialogue with the government after slaughtering security personnel and shedding the blood of thousands of innocent citizens. It is a model that other perpetrators of terror, whether sectarian extremists or separatists, see as one they can follow. The government, by holding talks with the banned TTP, has actually shown the way to other banned terrorist outfits: first gain a position of strength by killing thousands of civilians and then enter dialogue with the state as a stakeholder. Yet, in principle, the state must crush all those elements challenging its writ and carrying out terrorist operations that kill innocent people. 

There is no doubt that the Balochistan issue came out of the shadows after the attacks in Sibi and Islamabad. In Pakistan’s political culture, the authorities do not wake up to address an issue seriously until and unless enough blood is shed. Balochistan has faced an insurgency-like situation for the past decade, during which time authorities could not even marginalize the separatists. 

The outlawed separatist groups must be differentiated from Baloch nationalists, who are involved in a peaceful struggle to gain economic and political rights within the constitutional framework. On the other hand, the separatists have been involved in attacks on national assets, security forces and in the killing of Punjabi settlers in Quetta and other towns in the province. It is ironic, therefore, that the nationalists and separatists are being treated with the same stick. The government’s strategy here appears to be aimed at corralling nationalists struggling for their legitimate rights into the separatist camps. 

The participation of Baloch nationalist parties in last year’s general elections opened the way to bringing Baloch into the national mainstream after major nationalist parties had boycotted the 2008 elections. It also angered separatists engaged in armed struggle against the state. The province is currently ruled by a nationalist party, but the nationalists may lose popular support if they fail to resolve the conflict through the ballot box. 

In their militant struggle for independence, Baloch separatists do not hesitate to seek help from anti-Pakistan forces outside the country. They restrict the hoisting of the Pakistan flag and singing of national anthem in many parts of the province where their influence is exercised through terror. 

As the peaceful struggle for rights in Balochistan attracts attention not only inside the country but also abroad also, the separatist terror does not serve the Baloch cause and is actually justifying the military operation that is underway in the province. In a number of incidents, separatists have killed poor laborers and miners due to their ethnic affiliation. Travel by train and bus has become perilous throughout the southwestern province; the rail track is frequently wrecked by explosions and moving trains have been attacked. Some incidents have seen bus passengers made to get off, sorted out according to ethnic lines, and shot dead. 

Unarmed and peaceful settlers have ever been soft and easy targets for the separatist groups, including the BLA, which has claimed responsibility for most of the killing of settlers. How can a barber, a miner, a professor or a government servant settled in the province be a usurper of Baloch rights? Thousands of settlers have left the province in fear and moved to Punjab and other provinces. 

The federal government has made little effort to bring the disgruntled Baloch youth into the national mainstream. Though there has been sense of deprivation among local people for many years, it is particularly acute today, with the recent discovery of mass graves in the Khuzdar area adding fuel to the fire. As the sense of deprivation intensifies, feelings of being discriminated against and alienated grow, with lethal consequences. 

The worsening security situation poses a real and hard security challenge for the provincial government led by Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch. It was the failure of the civil administration that presented the military establishment a chance to handle the Balochistan situation. Now the province is being tackled militarily. The military’s handling of the problem has created a host of other issues, including missing persons and recovery of bodies, helping to push the province into a state of insurgency. Human-rights watchdogs have alleged that the missing are the victims of “enforced disappearances” carried out by the military and its intelligence services. The Asian Human Rights Commission said on April 8 it had received information regarding the killing of around 40 people, including women and children, in military operations in different parts of Balochistan province. 

Only the Baloch nationalists can contain the growing influence of the separatists. Pakistan statesmanship demands that the nationalists, working within the constitution to achieve aims peacefully, must be fully backed and strengthened in order to weaken the armed struggle of separatist groups. 

On the other hand, the government, which is holding peace talks with Taliban militants, should also make serious effort to bring the separatists to the negotiating table. If the government is applying dialogue therapy to the militancy problem in the country’s northwest, then why not take a similar approach in the southwest? 

Syed Fazl-e-Haider ( http://www.syedfazlehaider.com ) is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan(2004). He can be contacted at sfazlehaider05@yahoo.com. 

(Copyright 2014 Syed Fazl-e-Haider)

Guardians of the High Frontier – Air Force Space Command & United States Space Surveillance Network

File:Air Force Space Command Logo.svg

 

 

Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) is a major command of the United States Air Force, with its headquarters at Peterson Air Force BaseColorado. AFSPC supports U.S. military operations worldwide through the use of many different types of satellite, launch and cyber operations. Operationally, AFSPC is under the Combatant Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command.

More than 40,000 people perform AFSPC missions at 88 locations worldwide, including military, civilians and contractors. This includes approximately 22,000 military personnel and 9,000 civilian employees, although their missions overlap.

On 1 December 2009, the intercontinental ballistic missile mission was transferred to the new Air Force Global Strike Command. AFSPC gained the cyber operations mission with the stand-up of 24th Air Force under AFSPC in August 2009.

Active 1 September 1982–present
Country United States of America
Branch Air Force
Type Major Command
Role Development and operation of military space technologies
Size 40,000
Part of U.S. Strategic Command
Garrison/HQ Peterson Air Force Base,Colorado
Nickname AFSPC
Motto Guardians of the High Frontier 
Commanders
Commander Gen William L. Shelton
Vice Commander Lt Gen John E. Hyten
Executive Director Barbara Westgate
Command Chief Master Sergeant CMSgt Linus Jordan

Mission

According to AFSPC, its mission is “to provide resilient and cost-effective Space and Cyberspace capabilities for the Joint Force and the Nation.” AFSPC claims its activities make space reliable to United States warfighters (i.e. forces personnel) by assuring their access to space.

AFSPC’s primary mission areas:

History 

During the Cold War, space operations focused on missile warning, and command and control for the National Command Authority. Missile warning and space operations were combined to form what was known as Space Command in 1982. Following the creation of United States Space Command, a Unified Combatant Command, in 1985, Space Command was renamed Air Force Space Command. In 1991, Operation Desert Storm provided emphasis for the command’s new focus on support to the warfighter. ICBM forces were merged into AFSPC in 1993 and then moved to Air Force Global Strike Command in 2009. Air Force Space Command became the lead Major Command for Air Force cyberspace operations in 2009, gaining Air Force cyber operations and combat communications units and the Air Force Network Integration Center and Air Force Spectrum Management Office (formerly known as the Air Force Frequency Management Agency). On Apr. 1, 2013, Air Force Space Command Announced that the Space Innovation and Development Center’s missions had been realigned under Headquarters, Air Force Space Command, and the Air Force Warfare Center.

List of commanders 

No. Image Name Start of Term End of Term  
1. James V Hartinger.jpg Gen. James V. Hartinger 1 September 1982 30 July 1984  
2. General Robert Herres, military portrait, 1984.JPEG Gen. Robert T. Herres 30 July 1984 1 October 1986  
3.   Maj. Gen. Maurice C. Padden 1 October 1986 29 October 1987  
4. Donald Kutyna.jpg Lt. Gen. Donald J. Kutyna 29 October 1987 29 March 1990  
5. Thomas S Moorman Jr.jpg Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr. 29 March 1990 23 March 1992  
6. Donald Kutyna.jpg Gen. Donald J. Kutyna 23 March 1992 30 June 1992  
7. Chuck Horner (color).jpg Gen. Charles A. Horner 30 June 1992 13 September 1994  
8. Joseph ashy.jpg Gen. Joseph W. Ashy 13 September 1994 26 August 1996  
9. Howell M Estes III.jpg Gen. Howell M. Estes III 26 August 1996 14 August 1998  
10. Richard Myers official portrait.jpg Gen. Richard B. Myers 14 August 1998 22 February 2000  
11. Ralph E Eberhart, CINCSPACE & CINCNORAD.jpg Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart 22 February 2000 19 April 2002  
12. Lance W Lord.jpg Gen. Lance W. Lord 19 April 2002 1 April 2006  
Acting Klotz fg8.jpg Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz 1 April 2006 26 June 2006  
13. Kevin P. Chilton.jpg Gen. Kevin P. Chilton 26 June 2006 3 October 2007  
Acting   Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hamel 3 October 2007 12 October 2007  
14. C. Robert Kehler 2007.jpg Gen. C. Robert Kehler 12 October 2007 5 January 2011  
15. Gen William L Shelton 2012.jpg Gen. William L. Shelton 5 January 2011 Incumbent  

Organization

Numbered Air Forces

Air Force Space Command has two active Numbered Air Forces (NAFs).

Fourteenth Air Force 

Main article: Fourteenth Air Force

The Fourteenth Air Force provides space warfighting forces to U.S. Strategic Command in its capacity as Air Forces Strategic-Space, and is located at Vandenberg AFB, California. It manages the generation and employment of space forces to support U.S. Strategic Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) operational plans and missions

Twenty-Fourth Air Force 

The Twenty-fourth Air Force, with the cyber operations mission, was activated under AFSPC in August 2009, at Lackland Air Force Base

Direct Reporting Units 

AFSPC is the major command providing space forces and trained cyber warfare forces for U.S. Strategic Command. AFSPC also supports NORAD with ballistic missile warning information, operates the Space Warfare Center to develop space applications for direct warfighter support, and is responsible for the U.S. Department of Defense‘s ICBM follow-on operational test and evaluation program.

Space and Missile Systems Center 

The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles AFB, California, designs and acquires all Air Force and most Department of Defense space systems. It oversees launches, completes on-orbit checkouts, then turns systems over to user agencies. It supports the Program Executive Office for Space on the NAVSTAR Global Positioning, Defense Satellite Communications and MILSTAR systems. SMC also supports the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and the Follow-on Early Warning System. In addition, it supports development and acquisition of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles for the Air Force Program Executive Office for Strategic Systems.

Air Force Network Integration Center 

The Air Force Network Integration Center (AFNIC), located at Scott AFB, IL, is a direct reporting unit to Air Force Space Command, and the Air Force’s premier organization for Air Force Network Integration, cyber simulation, and network standards, architecture and engineering services.

Air Force Spectrum Management Office 

The AFSMO mission is to plan, provide and preserve access to the radio frequency spectrum for the Air Force and selected Department of Defense activities in support of national policy objectives, systems development and global operations. This includes obtaining spectrum access critical for all Air Force core functions.

Locations 

The AFSPC headquarters is a major unit located at Peterson AFB, Colorado. There are 6 AFSPC host bases:

AFSPC also operates several Air Force Stations for launch support and early warning missions.

Space capabilities 

Spacelift operations at the East and West Coast launch bases provide services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct of DOD, NASA and commercial launches. Through the command and control of all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects—continuous global coverage, low vulnerability and autonomous operations. Satellites provide essential in-theater secure communications, weather and navigational data for ground, air and fleet operations and threat warning. Ground-based radar and Defense Support Program satellites monitor ballistic missile launches around the world to guard against a surprise missile attack on North America. Space surveillance radars provide vital information on the location of satellites and space debris for the nation and the world.

General Shelton has said that in order to protect against attacks, Space Situational Awareness is much more important than additional hardening or armoring of satellites. 

As of 2013, Space Command is considering Space Disaggregation, which would involve replacing a few large multimission satellites with larger numbers of smaller single purpose birds.  This could be used to defend against ASATs, by increasing the number of targets that needed to be attacked.

Resources 

Satellites 

Launch vehicles (UNCLASSIFIED)

Space situational awareness 

Ballistic missile warning radars 

In popular culture 

In the science-fiction TV series’ Stargate SG-1Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe the fictional Stargate Program is managed by the U.S. military, primarily the Air Force. The Air Force Space Command patch was in those series worn by personnel at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, and onboard various fictional spaceships.

 

United States Space Surveillance Network

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The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) facility in Southwest Asia is one of three operational sites worldwide. Specialists at the three sites track known man-made deep space objects in orbit around earth. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer)

 

 

 

 

General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani – Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC)

Retiring Pakistan army chief set for key role

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By Syed Fazl-e-Haider 

KARACHI – General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani, one of Pakistan’s most powerful men, has announced his retirement from the post of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) on November 29. With one stroke on Sunday, General Kiani put to rest speculation in the media that he would try to extend his three-year term for a third time. Some reports, however, claim that Kiani is lobbying to keep a key defense role. 

Kiani is prepared to accept a position as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), currently a largely ceremonial post that would be given more authority, or to become defense adviser to the government, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal. 

“Kiani is using his office to say that he’s the guy who can control North Waziristan, he’s the one who can handle what is happening with India,” The Wall Street Journal quoted a Pakistan’s retired army officer as saying. “With all this going on, he’s saying now is not the time for a change of leadership.” 

Kiani’s appointment as head of the newly empowered JCSC would make him de facto head of the powerful military, which has ruled over the country for more than half of its history though is currently under a civilian administration headed by Nawaz Sharif, who elected prime minister for a third time in May. Sharif needs Kiani to ensure some continuity in its policy vis-a-vis Taliban militancy and rising tensions with India over Kashmir. The general may be helpful for keeping smooth relations with Washington in wake of withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan at the end of next year. 

Kiani, in a statement issued on Sunday by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said: “For quite some time, my current responsibilities and likely future plans have been debated in the media with all sorts of rumors and speculations doing the rounds. The subject of being entrusted with new duties has also come up in several reports. I am grateful to the political leadership and the nation for reposing their trust in me and Pakistan Army at this important juncture of our national history. However, I share the general opinion that institutions and traditions are stronger than individuals and must take precedence.” 

Kiani has twice served the three-year term as Chief of the Army Staff, during which he oversaw the first democratic transfer of power in the country following May 11 general elections. His services as army chief were extended for three years in 2010 under former government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Another extension by Sharif could allow for a shift in the ranks of the military’s top brass, but the prime minister wants Kiani to continue to play a key role in the military establishment. 

Critics however say that keeping Kiani in a powerful position would mean entrenching the army once again as the real decision maker at the expense of the key role and powers of democratic government. 

Defense revamp
Sharif has reportedly planned to overhaul the JCSC, a largely ceremonial office, into a central defense body by restoring its command over the entire military establishment and giving it additional powers including the right to promote, post and transfer key military officers. 

“The new JCSC chief will be in charge of the nuclear arsenal. He’ll decide on action against terrorists,” Reuters reported one senior intelligence official as saying. “Basically, the JCSC office will be what it was always supposed to be: the overall boss.” 

Sharif as prime minister has the final decision about Kiani’s appointment to chair a revamped JCSC. Sharif had not been in good terms with the military establishment during his previous two governments and tussles with the military led to the dismissal of his governments. Sharif was put behind the bars in 1999 when former army chief General Pervez Musharraf overthrew his elected government in a military coup. Unlike his predecessor, Kiani has kept democracy on track and not indulged in adventurism against elected politicians during past six years. He especially did not take advantage of the weaknesses of the previous government led by former president Asif Ali Zardari. 

In his statement on Sunday, Kiani said, “It is time for others to carry forward the mission of making Pakistan a truly democratic, prosperous and peaceful country that embodies the finest dreams our founding fathers had envisaged for us.” 

Kiani is widely believed to stay on in one form or another even after his retirement next month due to the trust he has built working with the US. “Kiani has a good rapport with the Americans and has worked closely with them in Afghanistan,” Reuters reported an aide to the prime minister as saying. “For Sharif and the US, it’s better the devil they know.” 

Kiani declared the American war on terror as the country’s own war. He undertook many military operations against Islamist extremists. In 2009, he successfully launched a military offensive against Taliban militants in Swat, the former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan is currently under attack from the extremists, who have so far killed 40,000 civilians and over 5,000 security personnel in bomb blasts and suicide bombings. Kiani backed the Sharif’s government in its decision to give peace a chance through peace dialogue with Taliban militants. 

Sharif has to take the critical decision to appoint a successor to the COAS after Kiani retires from the post on November 29. Seniority-wise, General Haroon Aslam, who currently holds the position of Chief of Logistics Staff at the Army Head Quarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, should get the job. But Sharif may appoint the army chief out of turn, violating the principle of seniority. In 1998, Sharif ignored seniority by appointing Musharraf as army chief. His decision proved a blunder when Musharraf ousted his government in a coup d’tat. 

Syed Fazl-e-Haider ( http://www.syedfazlehaider.com ) is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan, published in May 2004. E-mail, sfazlehaider05@yahoo.com

The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon (And Pakistani Government) Doesn’t Want You to Read

Due to the following piece being blocked in Pakistan, I have decided to ‘cut and paste with links on my blog – please share (naturally I have some nice pics and videos at the end for my friends :))

Truth, lies and Afghanistan
How military leaders have let us down
BY LT. COL. DANIEL L. DAVIS

I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

My arrival in country in late 2010 marked the start of my fourth combat deployment, and my second in Afghanistan. A Regular Army officer in the Armor Branch, I served in Operation Desert Storm, in Afghanistan in 2005-06 and in Iraq in 2008-09. In the middle of my career, I spent eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve and held a number of civilian jobs — among them, legislative correspondent for defense and foreign affairs for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

As a representative for the Rapid Equipping Force, I set out to talk to our troops about their needs and their circumstances. Along the way, I conducted mounted and dismounted combat patrols, spending time with conventional and Special Forces troops. I interviewed or had conversations with more than 250 soldiers in the field, from the lowest-ranking 19-year-old private to division commanders and staff members at every echelon. I spoke at length with Afghan security officials, Afghan civilians and a few village elders.

I saw the incredible difficulties any military force would have to pacify even a single area of any of those provinces; I heard many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base.

I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people. Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn’t want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government.

From time to time, I observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency.

FROM BAD TO ABYSMAL

Much of what I saw during my deployment, let alone read or wrote in official reports, I can’t talk about; the information remains classified. But I can say that such reports — mine and others’ — serve to illuminate the gulf between conditions on the ground and official statements of progress.

And I can relate a few representative experiences, of the kind that I observed all over the country.

In January 2011, I made my first trip into the mountains of Kunar province near the Pakistan border to visit the troops of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry. On a patrol to the northernmost U.S. position in eastern Afghanistan, we arrived at an Afghan National Police (ANP) station that had reported being attacked by the Taliban 2½ hours earlier.

Through the interpreter, I asked the police captain where the attack had originated, and he pointed to the side of a nearby mountain.

“What are your normal procedures in situations like these?” I asked. “Do you form up a squad and go after them? Do you periodically send out harassing patrols? What do you do?”

As the interpreter conveyed my questions, the captain’s head wheeled around, looking first at the interpreter and turning to me with an incredulous expression. Then he laughed.

“No! We don’t go after them,” he said. “That would be dangerous!”

According to the cavalry troopers, the Afghan policemen rarely leave the cover of the checkpoints. In that part of the province, the Taliban literally run free.

In June, I was in the Zharay district of Kandahar province, returning to a base from a dismounted patrol. Gunshots were audible as the Taliban attacked a U.S. checkpoint about one mile away.

As I entered the unit’s command post, the commander and his staff were watching a live video feed of the battle. Two ANP vehicles were blocking the main road leading to the site of the attack. The fire was coming from behind a haystack. We watched as two Afghan men emerged, mounted a motorcycle and began moving toward the Afghan policemen in their vehicles.

The U.S. commander turned around and told the Afghan radio operator to make sure the policemen halted the men. The radio operator shouted into the radio repeatedly, but got no answer.

On the screen, we watched as the two men slowly motored past the ANP vehicles. The policemen neither got out to stop the two men nor answered the radio — until the motorcycle was out of sight.

To a man, the U.S. officers in that unit told me they had nothing but contempt for the Afghan troops in their area — and that was before the above incident occurred.

In August, I went on a dismounted patrol with troops in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province. Several troops from the unit had recently been killed in action, one of whom was a very popular and experienced soldier. One of the unit’s senior officers rhetorically asked me, “How do I look these men in the eye and ask them to go out day after day on these missions? What’s harder: How do I look [my soldier’s] wife in the eye when I get back and tell her that her husband died for something meaningful? How do I do that?”

One of the senior enlisted leaders added, “Guys are saying, ‘I hope I live so I can at least get home to R&R leave before I get it,’ or ‘I hope I only lose a foot.’ Sometimes they even say which limb it might be: ‘Maybe it’ll only be my left foot.’ They don’t have a lot of confidence that the leadership two levels up really understands what they’re living here, what the situation really is.”

On Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the infamous attack on the U.S., I visited another unit in Kunar province, this one near the town of Asmar. I talked with the local official who served as the cultural adviser to the U.S. commander. Here’s how the conversation went:

Davis: “Here you have many units of the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF]. Will they be able to hold out against the Taliban when U.S. troops leave this area?”

Adviser: “No. They are definitely not capable. Already all across this region [many elements of] the security forces have made deals with the Taliban. [The ANSF] won’t shoot at the Taliban, and the Taliban won’t shoot them.

“Also, when a Taliban member is arrested, he is soon released with no action taken against him. So when the Taliban returns [when the Americans leave after 2014], so too go the jobs, especially for everyone like me who has worked with the coalition.

“Recently, I got a cellphone call from a Talib who had captured a friend of mine. While I could hear, he began to beat him, telling me I’d better quit working for the Americans. I could hear my friend crying out in pain. [The Talib] said the next time they would kidnap my sons and do the same to them. Because of the direct threats, I’ve had to take my children out of school just to keep them safe.

“And last night, right on that mountain there [he pointed to a ridge overlooking the U.S. base, about 700 meters distant], a member of the ANP was murdered. The Taliban came and called him out, kidnapped him in front of his parents, and took him away and murdered him. He was a member of the ANP from another province and had come back to visit his parents. He was only 27 years old. The people are not safe anywhere.”

That murder took place within view of the U.S. base, a post nominally responsible for the security of an area of hundreds of square kilometers. Imagine how insecure the population is beyond visual range. And yet that conversation was representative of what I saw in many regions of Afghanistan.

In all of the places I visited, the tactical situation was bad to abysmal. If the events I have described — and many, many more I could mention — had been in the first year of war, or even the third or fourth, one might be willing to believe that Afghanistan was just a hard fight, and we should stick it out. Yet these incidents all happened in the 10th year of war.

As the numbers depicting casualties and enemy violence indicate the absence of progress, so too did my observations of the tactical situation all over Afghanistan.

CREDIBILITY GAP

I’m hardly the only one who has noted the discrepancy between official statements and the truth on the ground.

A January 2011 report by the Afghan NGO Security Office noted that public statements made by U.S. and ISAF leaders at the end of 2010 were “sharply divergent from IMF, [international military forces, NGO-speak for ISAF] ‘strategic communication’ messages suggesting improvements. We encourage [nongovernment organization personnel] to recognize that no matter how authoritative the source of any such claim, messages of the nature are solely intended to influence American and European public opinion ahead of the withdrawal, and are not intended to offer an accurate portrayal of the situation for those who live and work here.”

The following month, Anthony Cordesman, on behalf of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote that ISAF and the U.S. leadership failed to report accurately on the reality of the situation in Afghanistan.

“Since June 2010, the unclassified reporting the U.S. does provide has steadily shrunk in content, effectively ‘spinning’ the road to victory by eliminating content that illustrates the full scale of the challenges ahead,” Cordesman wrote. “They also, however, were driven by political decisions to ignore or understate Taliban and insurgent gains from 2002 to 2009, to ignore the problems caused by weak and corrupt Afghan governance, to understate the risks posed by sanctuaries in Pakistan, and to ‘spin’ the value of tactical ISAF victories while ignoring the steady growth of Taliban influence and control.”

How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan? No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.

I first encountered senior-level equivocation during a 1997 division-level “experiment” that turned out to be far more setpiece than experiment. Over dinner at Fort Hood, Texas, Training and Doctrine Command leaders told me that the Advanced Warfighter Experiment (AWE) had shown that a “digital division” with fewer troops and more gear could be far more effective than current divisions. The next day, our congressional staff delegation observed the demonstration firsthand, and it didn’t take long to realize there was little substance to the claims. Virtually no legitimate experimentation was actually conducted. All parameters were carefully scripted. All events had a preordained sequence and outcome. The AWE was simply an expensive show, couched in the language of scientific experimentation and presented in glowing press releases and public statements, intended to persuade Congress to fund the Army’s preference. Citing the AWE’s “results,” Army leaders proceeded to eliminate one maneuver company per combat battalion. But the loss of fighting systems was never offset by a commensurate rise in killing capability.

A decade later, in the summer of 2007, I was assigned to the Future Combat Systems (FCS) organization at Fort Bliss, Texas. It didn’t take long to discover that the same thing the Army had done with a single division at Fort Hood in 1997 was now being done on a significantly larger scale with FCS. Year after year, the congressionally mandated reports from the Government Accountability Office revealed significant problems and warned that the system was in danger of failing. Each year, the Army’s senior leaders told members of Congress at hearings that GAO didn’t really understand the full picture and that to the contrary, the program was on schedule, on budget, and headed for success. Ultimately, of course, the program was canceled, with little but spinoffs to show for $18 billion spent.

If Americans were able to compare the public statements many of our leaders have made with classified data, this credibility gulf would be immediately observable. Naturally, I am not authorized to divulge classified material to the public. But I am legally able to share it with members of Congress. I have accordingly provided a much fuller accounting in a classified report to several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, senators and House members.

A nonclassified version is available at http://www.afghanreport.com. [Editor’s note: At press time, Army public affairs had not yet ruled on whether Davis could post this longer version.]

TELL THE TRUTH

When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid — graphically, if necessary — in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.

Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.

Continue the conversation: Use #DavisAFJ when discussing this story on Twitter. Follow us at @afjournal.

http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2012/02/8904030

The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read

Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military’s top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal.

Davis last month submitted the unclassified report –titled “Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leader’s Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort” – for an internal Army review. Such a report could then be released to the public. However, according to U.S. military officials familiar with the situation, the Pentagon is refusing to do so. Rolling Stone has now obtained a full copy of the 84-page unclassified version, which has been making the rounds within the U.S. government, including the White House. We’ve decided to publish it in full; it’s well worth reading for yourself. It is, in my estimation, one of the most significant documents published by an active-duty officer in the past ten years.

Here is the report’s damning opening lines: “Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.” Davis goes on to explain that everything in the report is “open source” – i.e., unclassified – information. According to Davis, the classified report, which he legally submitted to Congress, is even more devastating. “If the public had access to these classified reports they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes,” Davis writes. “It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue and thus I will not do so; I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II.”

According to the Times story, Davis briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members and sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general, and of course spoke to a New York Times reporter; only after all that did he inform his chain of command what he’d been up to. Evidently Davis’s truth-telling campaign has rattled the Pentagon brass, prompting unnamed officials to retaliate by threatening a bogus investigation for “possible security violations,” according to NBC News.

Although Davis’s critics have tried to brush off his claims as merely the opinions of a “reservist,” – as Max Boot put it – his report is full of insight, analysis, and hard data that back up each one of his claims. He details the gross failure of training the Afghan Army, the military’s blurring of the lines between public affairs and “information operations” (meaning, essentially, propaganda), and the Pentagon’s manipulation of the U.S. media. (He expertly contrasts senior military officials public statements with the actual reality on the ground.) Davis concludes: “It is my recommendation that the United States Congress – the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in particular – should conduct a bi-partisan investigation into the various charges of deception or dishonesty in this report and hold broad hearings as well,” he writes. “These hearings need to include the very senior generals and former generals whom I refer to in this report so they can be given every chance to publicly give their version of events.” In other words, put the generals under oath, and then see what story they tell.

Michael Hastings is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and author of The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/the-afghanistan-report-the-pentagon-doesnt-want-you-to-read-20120210#ixzz1m53r9c2o

Some clips:

HERE IS THE ‘REPORT’ PDF LINK:

(if you cannot open, please ask an overseas friend to download and email it to you, plus we need translaters for such work into Urdu and Pashtun)

http://www1.rollingstone.com/extras/RS_REPORT.pdf

In Afghan War, Officer Becomes a Whistle-Blower

By 

WASHINGTON — On his second yearlong deployment toAfghanistan, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis traveled 9,000 miles, patrolled with American troops in eight provinces and returned in October of last year with a fervent conviction that the war was going disastrously and that senior military leaders had not leveled with the American public.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis last month after sharing his view on the Afghan war with some members of Congress. “You can’t spin the fact that more men are getting blown up every year,” he said.

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Colonel Davis on patrol in Khost Province last August.

Since enlisting in the Army in 1985, he said, he had repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dress up a dismal situation. But this time, he would not let it rest. So he consulted with his pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, where he sings in the choir. He watched his favorite movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” one more time, drawing inspiration fromJimmy Stewart’s role as the extraordinary ordinary manwho takes on a corrupt establishment.

And then, late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. He wrote two reports, one unclassified and the other classified, summarizing his observations on the candor gap with respect to Afghanistan. He briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members, spoke with a reporter for The New York Times, sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general — and only then informed his chain of command that he had done so.

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?“ Colonel Davis asks in an article summarizing his views titled “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down.” It was published online Sunday in The Armed Forces Journal, the nation’s oldest independent periodical on military affairs. “No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan,” he says in the article. “But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”

Colonel Davis says his experience has caused him to doubt reports of progress in the war from numerous military leaders, including David H. Petraeus, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan before becoming the director of theCentral Intelligence Agency in June.

Last March, for example, Mr. Petraeus, then an Army general, testified before the Senate that the Taliban’s momentum had been “arrested in much of the country” and that progress was “significant,” though fragile, and “on the right azimuth” to allow Afghan forces to take the lead in combat by the end of 2014.

Colonel Davis fiercely disputes such assertions and says few of the troops believe them. At the same time, he is acutely aware of the chasm in stature that separates him from those he is criticizing, and he has no illusions about the impact his public stance may have on his career.

“I’m going to get nuked,” he said in an interview last month.

But his bosses’ initial response has been restrained. They told him that while they disagreed with him, he would not face “adverse action,” he said.

Col. James E. Hutton, chief of media relations for the Army, declined to comment specifically about Colonel Davis, but he rejected the idea that military leaders had been anything but truthful about Afghanistan.

“We are a values-based organization, and the integrity of what we publish and what we say is something we take very seriously,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Petraeus, Jennifer Youngblood of the C.I.A., said he “has demonstrated that he speaks truth to power in each of his leadership positions over the past several years. His record should stand on its own, as should LTC Davis’ analysis.”

If the official reaction to Colonel Davis’s campaign has been subdued, it may be partly because he has recruited a few supporters among the war skeptics on Capitol Hill.

“For Colonel Davis to go out on a limb and help us to understand what’s happening on the ground, I have the greatest admiration for him,” said Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina, who has met with Colonel Davis twice and read his reports.

Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, one of four senators who met with Colonel Davis despite what he called “a lot of resistance from the Pentagon,” said the colonel was a valuable witness because his extensive travels and midlevel rank gave him access to a wide range of soldiers.

Moreover, Colonel Davis’s doubts about reports of progress in the war are widely shared, if not usually voiced in public by officers on duty. Just last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said at a hearing that she was “concerned by what appears to be a disparity” between public testimony about progress in Afghanistan and “the bleaker description” in a classifiedNational Intelligence Estimate produced in December, which was described in news reports as “sobering” and “dire.”

Those words would also describe Colonel Davis’s account of what he saw in Afghanistan, the latest assignment in a military career that has included clashes with some commanders, but glowing evaluations from others. (“His maturity, tenacity and judgment can be counted on in even the hardest of situations, and his devotion to mission accomplishment is unmatched by his peers,” says an evaluation from May that concludes that he has “unlimited potential.”)

Colonel Davis, a son of a high school football coach in Dallas and who is known as Danny, served two years as an Army private before returning to Texas Tech and completing the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He served in Germany and fought in the first Iraq war before joining the Reserve and working civilian jobs, including a year as a member of the Senate staff.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, he returned to active duty, serving a tour in Iraq as well as the two in Afghanistan and spending 15 months working onFuture Combat Systems, an ambitious Army program to produce high-tech vehicles linked to drones and sensors. On that program, too, he said, commanders kept promising success despite ample evidence of trouble. The program was shut down in 2009 after an investment of billions of dollars.

In his recent tour in Afghanistan, Colonel Davis represented the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, created to bypass a cumbersome bureaucracy to make sure the troops quickly get the gear they need.

He spoke with about 250 soldiers, from 19-year-old privates to division commanders, as well as Afghan security officials and civilians, he said. From the Americans, he heard contempt for the perceived cowardice and double-dealing of their Afghan counterparts. From Afghans, he learned of unofficial nonaggression pacts between Afghanistan’s security forces and Taliban fighters.

When he was in rugged Kunar Province, an Afghan police officer visiting his parents was kidnapped by the Taliban and killed. “That was in visual range of an American base,” he said. “Their influence didn’t even reach as far as they could see.”

Some of the soldiers he interviewed were later killed, a fact that shook him and that he mentions in videos he shot in Afghanistan and later posted on YouTube. At home, he pored over the statements of military leaders, including General Petraeus. He found them at odds with what he had seen, with classified intelligence reports and with casualty statistics.

“You can spin all kinds of stuff,” Colonel Davis said. “But you can’t spin the fact that more men are getting blown up every year.”

Colonel Davis can come across as strident, labeling as lies what others might call wishful thinking. Matthew M. Aid, a historian who examines Afghanistan in his new book “Intel Wars,” says that while there is a “yawning gap” between Pentagon statements and intelligence assessments, “it’s oversimplified to say the top brass are out-and-out lying. They are just too close to the subject.”

But Martin L. Cook, who teaches military ethics at the Naval War College, says Colonel Davis has identified a hazard that is intrinsic to military culture, in which a can-do optimism can be at odds with the strictest candor when a mission is failing.

“You’ve trained people to try to be successful even when half their buddies are dead and they’re almost out of ammo,” he said. “It’s very hard for them to say, ‘can’t do.’ ”

Mr. Cook said it was rare for an officer of Colonel Davis’s modest rank to “decide that he knows better” and to go to Congress and the news media.

“It may be an act of moral courage,” he said. “But he’s gone outside channels, and he’s taking his chances on what happens to him.”

FROM:

WHO IS THE US ARMY OFFICER LOOKING TO EXPOSE ‘TRUTH AND LIES ABOUT AFGHANISTAN?’

Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis Exposes Truth and Lies About Afghanistan
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis

For those of you who do not know already, there has been much recent discussion in the military community in regards to a column written by Lt. Col. Daniel Davis in the Armed Forces Journal entitled “Truth, lies and Afghanistan.” But who is the man behind the words? Let’s look.

First, let’s recap his thoughts. In the column, Davis paints a picture of his time in Afghanistan describing an experience far less “rosy” or optimistic than statements made by U.S. military leaders:

“What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.”

Davis goes on to describe a lack of competency and zeal on the part of Afghan National Police in responding to attacks by the Taliban. Davis claims local officials told him that the Afghan National Security Forces have made deals with the Taliban to not shoot at each other, and release Taliban members when they are arrested. A local adviser explained to Davis:

“When a Taliban member is arrested, he is soon released with no action taken against him. So when the Taliban returns [when the Americans leave after 2014], so too go the jobs, especially for everyone like me who has worked with the coalition.

Recently, I got a cellphone call from a Talib who had captured a friend of mine. While I could hear, he began to beat him, telling me I’d better quit working for the Americans. I could hear my friend crying out in pain. [The Talib] said the next time they would kidnap my sons and do the same to them. Because of the direct threats, I’ve had to take my children out of school just to keep them safe.”

Davis went on to lambast the discrepancy between official statements and the truth on the ground.

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan? No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”

So who is and what’s his background?

Davis, who goes by Danny, is from Dallas and the son of a high school football coach. He served two years as an Army private before returning to Texas Tech and completing the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He served in Germany and fought in the first Iraq war before joining the Reserve and working civilian jobs, including a year as a member of the Senate staff. Davis returned to active duty following the September 11 attacks, serving a tour in Iraq as well as the two in Afghanistan and spending 15 months working on Future Combat Systems, an ambitious Army program to produce high-tech vehicles linked to drones and sensors.

Davis spent most of last year on his second deployment to Afghanistan working with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, a job he says took him ‘into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy.” He says he covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces over the last year. In the Rapid Equipping Force, Davis interviewed or had conversations with more than 250 soldiers in the field, “from the lowest-ranking 19-year-old private to division commanders and staff members at every echelon. I spoke at length with Afghan security officials, Afghan civilians and a few village elders.”

The New York Times reports that Davis claims to have repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dressing up a dismal situation. He decided to speak out now after consulting his pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia and watching his favorite film; “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” The Times has more on Davis’s mission of late:

“And then, late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. He wrote two reports, one unclassified and the other classified, summarizing his observations on the candor gap with respect to Afghanistan. He briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members, spoke with a reporter for The New York Times, sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general — and only then informed his chain of command that he had done so.”

Since he began speaking out the Pentagon says it disagrees with Colonel Davis’ account, but has not suggested any disciplinary action.

“Lieutenant Colonel Davis is obviously entitled to his opinion,” The Daily Mail reports spokesman George Little said, adding that defense secretary Leon Panetta “has very strong confidence in his commanders in Afghanistan, as they provide assessments of what is happening on the ground in the war.”

The Times say a spokeswoman for CIA Director David Petraeus said that the former commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan “has demonstrated that he speaks truth to power in each of his leadership positions over the past several years. His record should stand on its own, as should LTC Davis’ analysis.”

Davis has met with three members of the House and four senators so far, including Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who told the Times he met with Davis despite “a lot of resistance from the Pentagon.”

FROM:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/who-is-the-us-army-officer-looking-to-expose-truth-and-lies-about-afghanistan/

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By the way a message to the Government of Pakistan:

LEAVE THE INTERNET ALONE – LET PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN DECIDE WHAT THEY CAN OR CANNOT WATCH THEMSELVES!