Is Our Generals Learning?

1 comment March 6th, 2008at 09:43pm Posted by Eli

Yet another brilliant idea from Dubya’s military geniuses:

The [completely destroyed by the Taliban] outpost’s defenders belonged to Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, an 85,000-member tribal militia that, according to the latest Pentagon budget, is set to receive up to $75 million in training and equipment this year, the first injection of what could be more than $400 million to be delivered over the next several years. Beyond this, little is known about the plan, the details of which remain classified. As reported by the New York Times, a 40-page secret document called “Plan for Training the Frontier Corps” is currently being circulated at the U.S. Central Command, awaiting final approval by its commander, Admiral William J. Fallon, and other senior defense officials. The use of the Frontier Corps in the fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan augurs a new approach to dealing with rising Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan’s tribal region. Like U.S. plans to fund it, the Frontier Corps has largely escaped scrutiny, but there are questions about its allegiances, competence, and suitability to the proposed mission. Support for tribal militias has become a centerpiece of the U.S. strategy in Iraq, one that carries with it inherent risks in terms of inadvertently backing potential enemies in the pursuit of short-term security goals. Supporting the Frontier Corps is similarly dicey.


The idea of arming local tribesmen to fight Al Qaeda has been used to great effect in Iraq, but whether the same approach will work in Pakistan is an open question. “There’s been some talk in FATA about imposing an Anbar-style model in the tribal areas,” said Nicholas Schmidle, an American journalist expelled from Pakistan in January for his reporting on the Taliban, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations event. “The problem is the senior tribal leaders have all been killed, so if you’re going to consider imposing this model, you really have to face the fact that you’re going to take good Taliban to fight against bad Taliban.“…


…The Frontier Corps—like the Taliban—is comprised largely of Pashtun tribesmen whose politics are likely closer to their would-be adversaries than to America’s. “Look, they’re no more sympathetic toward the United States and our agenda there than any of the other tribal people in that region,” says Weinbaum. Indeed, the notion that the Frontier Corps will become a U.S. ally in the war on terror is thrown into doubt by recent incidents. Take the remarkably brief siege of Fort Sararogha. “We don’t know that there were a great many casualties out of that,” cautions Weinbaum. “And if there weren’t a great many casualties, it suggests that there really wasn’t a lot of heavy fighting. I mean, that probably speaks for itself.” Combine this with “significant numbers of reports of the Frontier Corps providing direct fire support to Taliban offensive operations in the border area,” says Jones, and you get the impression that we’re preparing to provide significant military support “to an organization that is sometimes our friend and sometimes is not.”

Arming a new Taliban to go after our first one – what could possibly go wrong?

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,War

1 Comment

  • 1. HopeSpringsATurtle  |  March 12th, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I’m still heartsick but not blind..what could possibly go wrong? Nice post Eli. I just got an email today from a friend that just got back from deployment at Bagram. It would seem the timing for this is particularly bad right now. God I hate this fucking war. Hugs to you Eli for all you support BTW

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