Afghan Commandos Emerge
U.S.-Trained Force Plays Growing Role in Fighting Insurgents
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 19, 2008; A01
KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Night after night, commandos in U.S. Chinook helicopters descend into remote Afghan villages, wielding M-4 rifles as they swarm Taliban compounds. Such raids began in December in the Sabari District here, long considered too dangerous for U.S. patrols, and have already resulted in the death or capture of 30 insurgent leaders in eastern Afghanistan, according to U.S. commanders.
“The Americans are doing this,” the Taliban fighters concluded, according to U.S. intelligence.
But though the commandos carry the best U.S. rifles, wear night-vision goggles and ride in armored Humvees, they are not Americans but Afghans — trained and advised by U.S. Special Forces teams that are seeking to create a sustainable combat force that will ultimately replace them in Afghanistan.
“This is our ticket out of here,” a Special Forces company commander said last month at a U.S. base in Khost, where his teams eat, sleep, train and fight alongside the commandos.
This is not Charlie Wilson’s War. This is an effort to get the hell out of Afghanistan and turn over a well-armed, (fairly) well trained fighting force to–whom? The government of Afghanistan? There is no such thing. There are tribal chieftains, who dominate areas of the country, who listen to themselves and work in their own interests.
The Taliban will be in full control of Afghanistan within a year of our withdrawal and we will have come full-circle, joining our Russian predecessors in a long line of those who would dare (and fail) to change Afghans to their model.
When you’re wounded and lie on Afghanistan’s plains
and the women come out to cut up what remains
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
and go to your Gawd like a soldier
. . . Rudyard Kipling