The News Tribune reported (12-10) on another “insider attack” in Afghanistan – an attack by “Afghan” troops or police on U.S. or other NATO forces. American media fail the public by not distinguishing among “Afghans.”
Pashtuns represent 42 to 45 percent of Afghanistan’s population, occupy most of southern Afghanistan, comprise nearly all of the Afghan Taliban, and dominate the production and sale of opium and heroin. NATO forces are killing Pashtuns, almost exclusively. It might not be surprising, then, that Pashtuns recruited as trainees for the “national” army or the “national” police sometimes turn their guns on their trainers.
Perhaps it is madness for NATO to recruit any Pashtuns at all, but we the public don’t know this for certain since it is never reported whether Pashtuns or other Afghans are responsible for “insider attacks.” How could Americans have understood the Iraq war if the media had referred only to “Iraqis” and never to “Sunnis,” “Shiites” and “Kurds”?
The successful part of the war in Afghanistan was in late 2001 when a group of U.S. Special Forces and several CIA agents worked with the Northern Alliance comprised of Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara militias. No Pashtuns.
At that point in time, the U.S. and its NATO allies could have rather easily pacified the entire northern half of Afghanistan (where few Pashtuns live). Instead, two U.S. administrations have insisted on “national” goals in Afghanistan – very difficult to accomplish and ultimately probably not sustainable.