Danger Room: Cultural Cluelessness Threatens U.S. Commando Strategy


Categorie: Afghanistan, David Axe, Special Forces, Training, Wired |
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Afghan forces training in Laghman Province. Photo: David Axe.

Afghan forces training in Laghman Province. Photo: David Axe.


In one sense, the U.S.-led coalition has itself to blame for the riots and killings that have raged across Afghanistan in the wake of last week’s accidental burning of the Koran by American forces. Too many U.S. troops habitually disrespect their Afghan trainees, according to some of the elite forces who head up those training sessions. And those small, tactical acts of cultural stupidity can lead to a strategic moment, like the one we’re having now.

The ongoing disrespect can fuel smoldering resentment among Afghans that is compounded by the Afghans’ underlying discomfort with the decade-long foreign occupation of their country. The mishandling of the Koran was like a match on that explosive tinder.

According to members of a U.S. Special Forces “A Team” based in Laghman province, American trainers there inadvertently mistreat the Afghans with rough touching, mock insults and and a dearth of positive reinforcement. During my recent visit to Langhman, one Special Forces officer hurried to intervene when some Army National Guard soldiers wandered into an Afghan cemetery — another big no-no. “I’ve seen too many guys disrespecting their Afghans,” one Special Forces weapons sergeant says.

The accidental burning of the Koran represents was even more thoughtless … and reflects an almost willful ignorance of Afghan sensitivities. “How after 11 years here is there no system in place for properly disposing of religious [documents]?” asks one sergeant attached to a Special Forces unit based in Kabul. “It’s just fucking stupid.”

Read the rest at Danger Room.


2 Responses to “Danger Room: Cultural Cluelessness Threatens U.S. Commando Strategy”

  1. Curly says:

    Your statements maybe true and the way the Koran was treated was incorrect. At the same time the Islamic people treat other Holy books with disrespect and nothing ever comes of that. Yet when this happens to the Islamic Holy book the world condemns. There has to be respect on both sides for there to be respect on either.

  2. Clinton says:

    When you say the Quran was accidentally destroyed, you are clearly talking out of your dirty ass. It was blatant. The US are bullies, and the way your articles slant towards a severe US bias, this website cannot be considered credible to a slight degree. But the good thing is that this website can be used to show how aggressive and ignorant the US government, and it’s lame followers, are towards a global view of peace. The US is a lame duck stuck in the 1940s, and hopefully they will be extinguished. Villain, stop your self-absorbed horseshit. Your words will make you accountable for the actions US-numbskulls take.

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