Great Article!


What I sposed ta did?
Verified SOF
Jan 18, 2008
Being over here and seeing the ground truth, it's easy to read a few articles and lose my F&*%@NG mind when you have these liberal bastards writing articles that only support their own agenda. They can be as far from the truth as they want to be.

Every once in a while you get to read something that is neutral and tells it how it is. So, I wanted to share this with everybody and let you know that this is what I see really happening. There is a huge effort to get the Afghans to do this for themselves. On both sides, SOF and conventional. As far as I can see. We are on the right track. Regardless of what the media or our defeatist administration wants the American public to believe.

Sometimes they get it right.......,2933,552621,00.html

GHOWS KALAY, Afghanistan — The village is little more than a handful of mud huts surrounded by wheat fields, but the runway at NATO's main air base in Afghanistan's south is visible from the town center. There, the Afghan commando, his beard still youthfully scraggly, tried to persuade a small audience of countrymen to turn against the Taliban and rebuild their country.

Aziz once hoped to be a doctor, but instead found himself in uniform, offering a formal speech carefully printed on folded white paper, as NATO cargo jets rumbled overhead to and from the Kandahar base. A surface-to-air missile in hostile hands could wreak havoc on the stream of flights.

Trained by a U.S. Special Forces team, 22-year-old Aziz and others like him are now among the best hopes for winning over people in the Taliban's southern heartland — especially in strategic towns and villages like Ghows Kalay. The crowd's gaze was fixed on the young man, the men nodding assent and the children trying not to fidget in the dust as they awaited the soccer balls and other gifts they knew would follow.

"We are a very powerful people, but we are sending our sick to Europe and India. Why? Because we don't have good doctors. We don't have engineers and teachers," said Aziz, who addressed the group with a megaphone tucked under his arm.

In the past, American psychological operations teams would have conducted the kind of meeting led by Aziz. The U.S. spends millions of dollars printing leaflets and funding radio stations in Afghanistan, but few of these programs have been as effective as the visits by the Afghan commandos, American trainers said.

The Afghan Information Dissemination Operations program is still in its infancy. Created eight months ago, American trainers are working to train teams for all six Commando Kandak units, hoping they will draw more respect than the troubled Afghan police force or army.

"They are the bridge between us and the target audience," said a Fort Bragg-based sergeant among the trainers. A native of Puerto Rico, he spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons. "We are always in search of key communicators. What better kind of key communicator than a local."

At a class Wednesday at a base near Kabul, a half-dozen commandos from the 1st Commando Kandak sat in two rows, learning how to distribute aid. The outlines of their task can be learned in the classroom — with some difficulty.

"There is no word in Dari for body language," the instructor from Puerto Rico told The Associated Press. "I wasn't prepared for them not to understand what body language was."

But it is up to the Afghans to tailor the message, explain to locals how destructive the Taliban have been and show them the promise of an Afghan government. In the region of Kandahar, where the Taliban hold sway and have their own shadow government, delivering that message will be a challenge.

Col. Farid, deputy commander of the Afghan Commando Brigade, said a Taliban mullah near Kandahar once warned that international forces would not let the Afghan troops pray. Farid and his men prayed at the mosque that Friday, then Farid visited the mullah and prayed with him as well. That was all it took, Farid said, for the villagers to give him information about roadside bombs and enemy fighters.

"The enemy was using my religion, history and culture against me," Farid said. "We have to offset insurgent propaganda."

Anthony H. Cordesman, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said persuading a foreign culture is always hard for soldiers.

"You can't win the information battle because fundamentally it is fought with local values," he said. "Even with good communications skills, they are going to be treated differently. The host country has to take the lead because nothing we do is going to be convincing."

Sgt. Abdullah, a 25-year-old from Bamyan Province in northern Afghanistan, passed the university entry exam and was going to study agriculture before he joined the army. Now a squad leader in the 1st Commando Kandak, he understands that force might not be enough.

"Commandos can show the people that they are here to win hearts and minds," Abdullah said. "The help we give to the people is the message we have for the people."

The program can be almost as hard to sell to the commandos. The men, trained to capture and kill bomb makers and insurgent leaders, are sometimes less interested in acting as messengers.

"The commandos consider themselves a lethal force," the instructor said.

But in Ghows Kalay, the benefit of commando teams seemed evident.

Aziz urged the villagers to warn the commandos or NATO troops about any Taliban in the area. He told them to watch for men firing rockets.

"We need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to build up again," said Aziz, who is from eastern Afghanistan hundreds of miles away. "This country is our mother and our father. Fighting does not benefit us."

When he was done, the commandos backed up a tan Ford Ranger full of soccer balls, prayer rugs and backpacks. The special operations sergeant watched in amazement as the villagers walked to the truck. In 10 minutes, most of the village was kicking a soccer ball or running home with a prayer rug or hygiene kit.

A special operations sergeant working with Aziz's unit near Kandahar looked on with a wide grin.

"Sometimes in the class I don't think they are getting it, but seeing them in action blows my mind," the sergeant said. "You put a local in there and the words go straight to their ears."
May they continue to be successful in making forward progress.

Figures the story would come from Fox News.

Thanks Varsity. :cool:
Another one no one covered. Go figure.

The rooftop fall that cracked Malik's skull Aug. 19 set in motion a chain of events that took the boy from his remote village to the U.S. military hospital in Kandahar, where doctors patched the tear in his brain and replaced the bone. On Saturday, his crescent-shaped wound healed, Malik — the baby in the family of five children — headed home with his father, Khodadad.

Khodadad carried Malik out to the gray truck hired to drive the rocky roads of central Afghanistan back to Ashtarlay, a northern district of Day Kundi. But for Khodadad, who traveled 50 miles (80 kilometers) in the first futile effort to reach the Afghan clinic, the return was worth every uncomfortable bump.

"God answered our prayers," said Khodadad, who like many Afghans uses only one name. "God sent someone to save my son."

Josh, one of the medics who treated Malik and arranged to evacuate him to Kandahar, said the boy's father lights up every time he sees the Americans. The medics only give their first names for security reasons and as part of the Special Forces embed rules.

Lt. Col. James Miller, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, said the resolve of the U.S. medics to treat the child "demonstrates we mean what we say."

"And at the end of the day, the boy needed help," Miller said.

On Friday, his vision and movement restored, Malik was kicking around a soccer ball — and using both sides of his body as he played.

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