1-13, Time to Leave Afghanistan

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece from Reuters at Worldpost.]

[Wars Cause PTSD. Whether tomorrow, a decade from now, or 30 years down the line, the war experience today will torture a soldier’s mind. It is not necessary to argue, debate, or fight about our reason(s) for going to war; it is the act of war that attacks the psyche. End the wars, end the suffering.]

… but … but … but

U.S. Military: Firefight With Taliban Caused Civilian Deaths, But Troops Acted In Self-Defense

KABUL, Jan 12 (Reuters) – A U.S. military investigation confirmed that dozens of Afghan civilians were killed in a special forces operation near the northern city of Kunduz last year, but found troops had acted in self-defense and decided no action would be taken against them.

The report, published [yesterday], said 33 civilians were killed and 27 wounded last November when a U.S. and Afghan special forces unit returned fire against Taliban fighters in the village of Boz, near Kunduz, and called in air support.

The euphemism for this is “collateral damage.”… but everything is OK because the action fell under the cover of “self-defense.”

“The investigation concluded that U.S. forces acted in self-defense, in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict, and in accordance with all applicable regulations and policy,” the U.S. military in Afghanistan said in a statement.

The raid, involving both U.S. and Afghan special forces, took place during operations to push back Taliban fighters from the vicinity of Kunduz, the strategic city they had come close to overrunning in October.

October of what year one might ask.

The scene:

The unit came under heavy fire from Taliban fighters using civilian houses as firing positions and suffered several casualties before calling in air support, the military added.

“Regardless of the circumstances, I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan said in the statement, adding that “all possible measures” would be taken to protect Afghan civilians.

While the investigation concluded that more than 30 civilians had been killed, it said aircraft providing support had used “the minimum amount of force required to neutralize the various threats from the civilian buildings.”

It also found that no civilians were seen or identified, and the dead and wounded were probably inside the buildings used by Taliban fighters. Some of the casualties may also have been caused by a Taliban ammunition dump that exploded.

Statistics don’t help.

Two U.S. soldiers and three Afghan army commandos were killed and another four Americans and 11 Afghan commandos wounded, with around 26 Taliban fighters also killed.

Last year, the U.S. military disciplined 16 service members over a separate incident in Kunduz in 2015, when a U.S. air strike killed 42 people in a hospital run by medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Being sorry is not enough. It is high time we withdrew our forces from Afghanistan. Since early successes against the Taliban in that country over a decade ago, we—the U.S. military—have accomplished nothing of value. The first step toward stopping the killing and dying on both sides is withdrawal. There is nothing of value to be accomplished by our continued presence in Afghanistan. Nothing.


The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

One thought on “1-13, Time to Leave Afghanistan”

  1. I agree we should get out. Lack of courage in our leaders and all the politicians puting in rules and regulations that tie the hands of our warriors has taken it’s toll.

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