Sunday, March 25, 2007

The more things change, the more they stay the same

The only thing constant is change

Here lately I have not had the pictures to put in the blog, because the subject matter of my pictures hasn’t been particularly enlightening or entertaining. My last several outings have resulted in pictures of artillery shells, or holes in the road generated by artillery shells being used for IED’s by the thugs who operate in the area. It isn’t particularly entertaining, but it is necessary.

My intent with this blog is to keep folks informed as to what is going on here, in western Afghanistan. The military has several caveats to how people can blog, so I have watered a lot down so as not to seem critical of our chain of command. I was thinking of that the other day, and realized that the chain of command is doing what it can.

Here are some points that are reality, not to lay blame. The Improved Explosive Device materials used in most of the last 6 or 8 IED’s in this area are soviet era munitions. Artillery shells, anti tank mines, explosives from each. That is not news. They are easily obtained in the area, because there are storage areas left over from the Soviets time here that are unknown, unguarded, or not destroyed. This war has gone on for over 5 years now I believe, and there are still unguarded (okay, nominally guarded, how about poorly guarded) munitions dumps in the country; given our Coalition form of control out here that means that not everyone thinks that it is a priority. That isn’t a knock on them. There are many things to prioritize here.

However the fact is that 5 years after the war started, and at least 4 years after we started this mentoring with minimal troops on the ground, we still have a ready supply of weapons material for the anti coalition militia (ACM) to use. This is a function of not enough troops in the area with the necessary skills to handle the situation.

Iran has interests in Afghanistan. They have active agents in the area supplying guns, ammunition and communication devices to ACM in the area, and they filter it down to the heavy fighting in the south as well. This is done through a variety of means, but in a country the size of Texas, there is a lot of border to be crossed when necessary.

And let’s not forget our friends in the South. Pakistan may wish to avoid antagonizing the United States of America, but it has no such qualms over destabilizing Afghanistan. Pakistan has given aide and support to the Taliban, in name and in deed. They several months ago made an agreement with them over Waziristan, essentially ceding governance if not ownership to the Taliban, to avoid terrorist activities directed toward Pakistan, notice I didn’t say avoiding activities with in their borders, they effectively sanction that, no matter what they say, as they do nothing to stop it.

Along the border with Pakistan, there is a full out guerilla war going with the Taliban, they group in large numbers and actively attack villages, and the Afghanistan National Army. Along the western border with Iran most of the actions conducted can be laid at the feet of a handful of people, they are funded by various interests and agents, but in essence they commit crimes against the state. They really are criminals who attempt to kill indiscriminately, much like Timothy McVey did in Oklahoma. They deserve no better treatment then he got either.

Okay, that is enough for now. I hope this finds you all well

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