Over this past weekend, an Afghan Army special forces commander packed his Humvee truck with guns and high-tech equipment and defected to an insurgent group allied with the Taliban. According to a report, Monsif Khan, raided the supplies of his 20-man team in Kunar’s capital Asadabad over the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, joining the Hezb-e-Islami organization. He is the first special forces commander to switch sides, and made off with 30 guns, night-vision goggles, binoculars and the Humvee.
The story serves to remind us that we cannot blindly trust the leadership of the Afghan National Army. We should not allow these individuals to have sole access to this level of weaponry and equipment, especially night vision devices. First of all, it should require at minimum three individuals to gain access to the arms and sensitive equipment items, such as night vision goggles. As well, there should be random tracking devices implanted into equipment to enable tracking of these items in the case of such an incident. During my two and a half years in southern Afghanistan as a military advisor to the Afghan Army 205th Corps, there were countless instances of fuel and ammunition somehow being unaccounted for.
There is only one way to be successful against Islamic terrorism: find their sanctuaries and destroy them in place. America must transition from counter-insurgency, nation building-type operations, to counter-terrorism, strike operations. And just to be clear, contrary to President Obama’s definition, this is a war, not a police action. Those we do not kill — which is my preferred method of engagement — should not be “lawyered up” and given their day in court.
How will we ever achieve success in Afghanistan? We’ve got to stop playing footsy with these restrictive rules of engagement (ROE). It also means we must not blindly trust those who would willingly shoot our men and women in the back.