Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Treachery Fire

The recent murder of 3 diggers by an Afghan wearing the uniform of the Afghan National Army is part of a pattern of murders of NATO and Allied personnel by Afghans who are either members of official Afghan security services or wearing the uniform of same.
In just the past two weeks, at least 9 Americans have been killed in such insider attacks. For the year to date, at least 40 NATO service members, most of them American, have been killed by either active members of the Afghan forces or attackers dressed in their uniforms — already outstripping the toll from all last year.
Obviously, these "insider killings" sew profound mistrust between NATO and Allied troops and Afghan forces.
Field commanders have also been given discretion to increase numbers of so-called "guardian angel" sentries who oversee foreign soldiers in crowded areas such as gyms and food halls, to respond to any rogue shooting incidents.
Not least because it undermines any sense that Afghans can be trusted to act according to the uniform they wear. Said uniform, and any associated oaths, clearly means much less to the treachery killers than that the NATO and Allied forces are "infidels". There is, for them, no overarching moral standard across the gulf between believer and non-believer.

There is also nothing new in the this pattern. The Dutch encountered exactly the same phenomenon during the Aceh War.
There was no shortage of would-be Acehnese martyrs who, for the sake of gaining a victim, were willing to feign friendship with the Dutch, before drawing their knives against them.  The phenomenon of unpredictable killings by the Acehnese came to be known as Atjèh-moord ‘Acehnese murder'.
The gulf between believer and non-believer trumped any explicit or implicit obligation.
It might be objected that the Dutch were colonising imperialists: which is true. Given that Afghanistan has an elected government and the NATO and Allied forces have no intention of staying permanently -- indeed, have an announced timetable of withdrawal -- that is hardly a common factor. Even more given that the Western intervention has seen a dramatic fall in the number of Afghan refugees, dramatic economic growthexpansion in schooling (particularly of girls and women) and elections (which, though imperfect, likely compare favourably to, say, Chicago under the Daley clan).

All of which may be much of the point.  Empowering women, giving folk effective votes that allow laws to be passed by mere humans, daily reminders of infidel success; these are profoundly affronting to a certain Islamic sensibility.

Of course, what we are dealing with here is a pattern within Islam. Which does not make it a pattern of Islam. An important distinction that may be lost on grieving families, and comrades.

[Read the rest at Skepticlawyer.]

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