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Did COIN Bear One 'Fruit' or Two In A-stan?


9th/12th Royal Lancers, Leicester, 2009

RTT News reports:

A NATO soldier, shot dead while on patrol in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, has been identified as British.

“An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing one service member,” an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) press release said earlier without disclosing his identity or the location of the incident.

The British Defense Ministry said later that the soldier belonged to 9th/12th Royal Lancers, and was killed on a patrol with Afghan soldiers in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province when his team was fired on. …

Is this one and the same soldier? The reports about this NATO/British soldier killed Saturday by Afghan army are quite definite: He was shot on patrol. Yesterday, news reports about a NATO soldier, nationality unidentified, whom ISAF announced was killed by an Afghan army member were equally definite: He was shot in his quarters and the Afghan-unformed assassin got away before the murder was detected.

The details couldn’t more different. Is this one single case of mistaken reporting? Or two entirely different cases? We don’t know.

Meanwhile, from the British military website, more telling, damning details about the circumstances of the British killing:

“The soldier was on a routine partnered patrol with the Afghan National Army in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province, to engage with the local population, when the patrol came under small arms fire. The soldier received a fatal gunshot wound during this incident.

In other words, both the means (“routine partnered patrol” with Afghans) and the objective (“to engage with the local population”) were pure, unadulterated COIN; hearts-and-minds delusions from the makeup of the patrol to the conception of the mission. Every soldiers’ life was put at risk by commanders, by politicians in thrall to the COIN theory, a PC-fantasy-based ideology with no more expectation of success than a hunt for unicorns. Yesterday, another man paid the ultimate price for their folly and their ignorance.

Or was that another two?

The British military announcement continues:

“A report that the fatal gunshot was fired by an Afghan National Army soldier is now the subject of a joint International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Security Force investigation.

How about an investigation into ISAF for ordering the “routine partnered patrol” to “engage with the local population” in the first place?


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