Since I was otherwise engaged yesterday in probably yet another round of introspective navel gazing, or whatever, I missed this:
At least four civilians have been killed and nine more injured in a bomb blast in northern Faryab province, local officials said Tuesday.
The incident took place in a hotel in the Khwaja Sabz Posh district about 10:30am local time, when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off, provincial police chief Nabi Jan Mullahkhil told TOLOnews.
The International Security Assistance Force condemns the indiscriminate violence on Afghan civilians after a bomb exploded inside a hotel in the Khwaja Sabzposh district of Faryab province on Tuesday, killing and injuring more than a dozen people.
“These murderous and senseless acts of terror against the Afghan people will not stand in the way of the progress they have worked so hard to achieve,” said Brig. Gen. Günter Katz, the ISAF spokesman. “We extend our deepest sympathies to those who lost loved ones in today’s ruthless attack. This is just another example of insurgents trying to undermine the bright future the Afghan people deserve.”
It’s good that the folks who are leaving in 2014 are so certain that killing Afghans isn’t going to discourage the live Afghans from moving forward with whatever convoluted plan we’re concocting for this country. No, I’m not being fair, but that’s not the point: things like this shouldn’t be happening 2013 if we’d done it right in 2003. You know, a decade ago.
Good thing we were doing this in Faryab in 2011:
From the article:
Leaders with “Thunder” Battalion planned a bridge construction project to span a dry river bed, known as a wadi. In the spring and winter, the wadi floods making the route nearly impassable to security forces and civilians alike.
“The bridge and improved road needs to happen because it will allow citizens to go east and west freely and help promote better commerce in this area,” said Georgia National Guard Staff Sgt. Kenneth Jones, now a heavy vehicle operator with 877th Engineer Company.
And from the outstanding folks over at the Afghan Analysts Network, looks like the transition is going just fine:
While the attention of the Afghan government and the media is focused on major battles in the south of the country, the Taleban are making further headway in a northern region after the closure of the Norwegian PRT in September. In Faryab province, the Taleban have already established footholds in far-flung mountainous areas and are now increasing attacks from there. The number of armed clashes with Afghan security forces has gone up as well as the harassment of non-government organizations (NGOs), while continuing assassinations and the recent massacre caused by a suicide attack in a mosque on a religious holiday dramatically spread fear even in Maimana, the provincial centre.
I had some thoughts on the last attack on Faryab:
Yes, it’s not Iraq. I get that. But it’s still an insurgency. And what’s happened in Iraq since we left? A whole lot of Faryabs.
Why should that make you angry?
Because the United States, in clinging to a non-proven counterinsurgency model only saw as its endstate an extrication from Iraq: get the boys home, and those dirty ‘raqis? Well, they can figure it out for themselves.
We listened to Nagl, Kilcullen, and Petraeus, and it worked just long enough to get us out of the country, and then it all went to what it is now.
The signs are pretty clear that we’re going to effect a similar exit from Afghanistan, at least as it relates to combat power. So, Afghans? Sorry about that, but good luck with the insurgency, huh? We’ve got elections to win, yo!
Yeah, I’m sticking to that. We could have done it differently, and yes, I plan on going into more detail on that in future posts. Just throwing cheap shots from the cheap seats isn’t terribly helpful. But this kind of thing kills me.
What’s notable is the increase in violence against civilian targets in an area that’s been transitioned to the control of the ANSF. Neither the hotel nor the mosque were ANSF targets. Yes, the mosque bombing was likely directed against a member of the ANSF, but it’s not strictly a government target.Which makes all of this just that much more tragic: any successful insurgency has established itself as a key player when it convinces the population that legitimate arms of government cannot keep them safe.
In Faryab, no amount of GIRoA or ISAF messaging can counter the message sent yesterday, that nowhere is safe from the insurgency. That’s the sort of message that grips hearts and minds, and there’s little we can do in 2013 to counter that anymore.