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U.S. military levels entire Afghan village

Experts debate whether the destruction of Tarok Kolache was justified


 

The decision to pulverize an entire village by Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, has ignited a debate over the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. The village in question, Tarok Kolache, was overrun with Taliban insurgents, who had apparently chased villagers out and were using the site for staging attacks. After two failed attempts at clearing the village and multiple U.S. and Afghan casualties, Flynn decided to use bombs and rockets to wipe it out. While the attack apparently resulted in no civilian casualties, an adviser to Hamid Karzai said that it “caused unreasonable damage to homes and orchards and displaced a number of people.” Flynn’s decision has raised some questions about the potential for backlash, and some observers argue that the bombing will hamper the military’s effort to win the loyalty of local, civilian Afghans, whose cooperation is paramount in rooting out insurgents.

Danger Room (Wired)


 
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U.S. military levels entire Afghan village

  1. Too easy.

    Have the US military rebuild homes, and pay for damages. Let it be a warning to returning villagers (and villagers elsewhere) that this is what will happen when you harbour or assist the Taliban.

  2. Too easy.

    Have the US military rebuild homes, and pay for damages. Let it be a warning to returning villagers (and villagers elsewhere) that this is what will happen when you harbour or assist the Taliban.

    • What? That you'll get a new home and be paid?

      Not sure that's the strategy you want to be pushin' there Tex.

    • Hey James…how about we don't pay for anything and impress upon the people that this is what happens when you harbour, if in fact they we're harbouring.

  3. Exactly.

    Good call.

  4. Well, there goes 'winning hearts and minds'…. much like they did in Viet Nam.

    Recruitment figures are up for the Taliban though.

  5. Well, there goes 'winning hearts and minds'…. much like they did in Viet Nam.

    Recruitment figures are up for the Taliban though.

    • exactly. the u.s doesn't seem to see that without the support of the people, this war is unwinnable. the Taliban aren't just a bunch of video game thugs. many of those insurgents may have once been ordinary citizens who supported the war, until an air strike blew up their houses or family members. actions like these only fuel the Taliban's numbers

  6. What? That you'll get a new home and be paid?

    Not sure that's the strategy you want to be pushin' there Tex.

  7. They did this often in Vietnam but back then they did not extend the courtesy of having the civilians leave first. The internet and wiki leaks now have them think twice. Every Village they flatten increases the ranks of the Taliban.

  8. They did this often in Vietnam but back then they did not extend the courtesy of having the civilians leave first. The internet and wiki leaks now have them think twice. Every Village they flatten increases the ranks of the Taliban.

  9. Doubtless it is the intention of Nato to rebuild Tarok Kolache into the New Athens of Afghanistan. We should probably start calling it that now.

  10. Doubtless it is the intention of Nato to rebuild Tarok Kolache into the New Athens of Afghanistan. We should probably start calling it that now.

  11. The Taliban "displaced the people", the Americans ensured they could come back and re-build.

  12. The Taliban "displaced the people", the Americans ensured they could come back and re-build.

  13. The problem is with Hamid Karzai. The US destroys a whole village to save it, and Hamid feels that his grip on power is threatened because of it. But if NATO withdraws, Karzai will spend the rest of his life complaining about how he couldn't get his belongings.

  14. The problem is with Hamid Karzai. The US destroys a whole village to save it, and Hamid feels that his grip on power is threatened because of it. But if NATO withdraws, Karzai will spend the rest of his life complaining about how he couldn't get his belongings.

    • If NATO withdraws…Karzai is a dead duck period. I support our boys and I support what our government has tried to do,
      but there is way too much middle ages stupidity in that country and how do you counter that.

  15. Peter Arnett's most famous act of reporting from the Vietnam War was a story published on February 7, 1968, about the provincial capital Bến Tre: "'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,' a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong." The quote was distorted in subsequent publications, eventually becoming the more familiar, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it"

    Same old, same old

  16. Peter Arnett's most famous act of reporting from the Vietnam War was a story published on February 7, 1968, about the provincial capital Bến Tre: "'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,' a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong." The quote was distorted in subsequent publications, eventually becoming the more familiar, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it"

    Same old, same old

  17. exactly. the u.s doesn't seem to see that without the support of the people, this war is unwinnable. the Taliban aren't just a bunch of video game thugs. many of those insurgents may have once been ordinary citizens who supported the war, until an air strike blew up their houses or family members. actions like these only fuel the Taliban's numbers

  18. the only silver lining to all this is that they let the civilians leave before destroying everything they owned. otherwise this is a catastrophe of epic proportions. this is exactly why Canada should not be pulling out. the people need help to gain their own strength and rebuild, not get blasted by a trigger happy commander.

  19. the only silver lining to all this is that they let the civilians leave before destroying everything they owned. otherwise this is a catastrophe of epic proportions. this is exactly why Canada should not be pulling out. the people need help to gain their own strength and rebuild, not get blasted by a trigger happy commander.

    • Canada should stay to fight the Americans to stop them destroying Villages ? Silver lining ! . they did not kill the civilians this time. Give us a break.

      • oh you would have preferred if they blew up all the civilians? because if you don't then yes the fact that they at least let the people leave does slightly count as silver lining. i highly doubt the Canadian forces would be able to persuade the U.S. Army to call of such ventures, however some kind of support is needed badly.

      • Gary is an idiot.

  20. Canada should stay to fight the Americans to stop them destroying Villages ? Silver lining ! . they did not kill the civilians this time. Give us a break.

  21. oh you would have preferred if they blew up all the civilians? because if you don't then yes the fact that they at least let the people leave does slightly count as silver lining. i highly doubt the Canadian forces would be able to persuade the U.S. Army to call of such ventures, however some kind of support is needed badly.

  22. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, "If you sow seeds of peace then you harvest peace, if you sow the seeds of war then you reap war."

  23. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, "If you sow seeds of peace then you harvest peace, if you sow the seeds of war then you reap war."

  24. Looks like US military get smarter finally.
    They need to do more actions like that.
    Level down any place where Taliban is active!!

  25. Looks like US military get smarter finally.
    They need to do more actions like that.
    Level down any place where Taliban is active!!

    • Yes, lets just nuke the middle east. that'll solve everything.

  26. Hey James…how about we don't pay for anything and impress upon the people that this is what happens when you harbour, if in fact they we're harbouring.

  27. If NATO withdraws…Karzai is a dead duck period. I support our boys and I support what our government has tried to do,
    but there is way too much middle ages stupidity in that country and how do you counter that.

  28. Gary is an idiot.

  29. The US sent troops in twice and suffered casualties. The Taliban had chased the villagers out. As a commander his duty now lies solely to take the objective which is to prevent the Taliban from using the village as a base. I would say that without any innocents around levelling the village would be the correct thing to do tactically. Morally NATO should rebuild the village and help the locals.
    As for Vietnam The US was winning militarily, but lost the war politically. Something that is happening in 'Stan.

  30. The US sent troops in twice and suffered casualties. The Taliban had chased the villagers out. As a commander his duty now lies solely to take the objective which is to prevent the Taliban from using the village as a base. I would say that without any innocents around levelling the village would be the correct thing to do tactically. Morally NATO should rebuild the village and help the locals.
    As for Vietnam The US was winning militarily, but lost the war politically. Something that is happening in 'Stan.

  31. Yes, lets just nuke the middle east. that'll solve everything.

  32. It's every bit as likely this was 'staged' as a 'news op' for the edification of the visiting Paula Broadwell. Nothing like a visiting ex-military 'reporter' to talk-up how 'hard' the war is for the folks at home.

    Such 'operations' aren't unusual. There was the massacre at Nawabad that resulted from a botched raid, laid on for the benefit of Oliver North and a Fox 'news' team. That 'bad intel' resulted in the elimination of the complete security force for a nearby American Air base, their wives and children. Oliver's blow-by-blow videography of the 7-hour 'battle' that concluded with an air strike, was never released. Nor was his video 'evidence' that there were no civilian casualties.

    The latest news is that the Marines are working really hard to get rebuilding money out to the owners. But that is hampered by the fact that the village seems, largely, to have been owned by a couple of landlords (who won't be getting all that money) and that the residents all 'evacuated' to refugee camps around Kabul.

    Perhaps they had to uproot all those orchards, too, as getting 'all the IEDs' out of there would be a problem. The Marines have brought in thousands of pomegranate seedlings that, in only five short years, should be producing bumper crops. So somebody should have something to look foward to, other than the Taliban coming back.

  33. It's every bit as likely this was 'staged' as a 'news op' for the edification of the visiting Paula Broadwell. Nothing like a visiting ex-military 'reporter' to talk-up how 'hard' the war is for the folks at home.

    Such 'operations' aren't unusual. There was the massacre at Nawabad that resulted from a botched raid, laid on for the benefit of Oliver North and a Fox 'news' team. That 'bad intel' resulted in the elimination of the complete security force for a nearby American Air base, their wives and children. Oliver's blow-by-blow videography of the 7-hour 'battle' that concluded with an air strike, was never released. Nor was his video 'evidence' that there were no civilian casualties.

    The latest news is that the Marines are working really hard to get rebuilding money out to the owners. But that is hampered by the fact that the village seems, largely, to have been owned by a couple of landlords (who won't be getting all that money) and that the residents all 'evacuated' to refugee camps around Kabul.

    Perhaps they had to uproot all those orchards, too, as getting 'all the IEDs' out of there would be a problem. The Marines have brought in thousands of pomegranate seedlings that, in only five short years, should be producing bumper crops. So somebody should have something to look foward to, other than the Taliban coming back.

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