April 01, 2010

And now, reporting from the other side of the fence...

Cory Anderson, former political advisor at the Kandahar PRT, in the Globe yesterday:

"'The Canadian Forces enjoy an intimate and comprehensive relationship with the National Directorate of Security on a daily basis related to all aspects of military operations and intelligence gathering, but refuse to wade into the one facet of that relationship where adherence to our international obligations is most at risk.'

The diplomat decried “endemic and systemic duplicity within the NDS, especially at the provincial level, that exists to this day, and renders it virtually impossible to have an open and transparent relationship with their officials on the ground in Kandahar.'"

Always interesting to see the grass from the other side of the fence isn't it? Mr. Anderson's assessment of the NDS itself would not be too far from my analysis of the NDS officials I've met, but his assessment of our military relationship with the NDS is wildly at variance with the reality I observed, or any of my own encounters with NDS officials. Specifically, "intimate," "comprehensive," "daily," or "all aspects" are not words I would have ever thought of using in that context. With all due respect, I think he's mistaking Afghan officials' generally greater respect for and conviviality with soldiers and uniformed men over western civilians as an indication of greater inter-organizational trust, which again would not have been my actual experience.

UPDATE: "An indispensable source of intelligence?" Um, yeah, no.

Posted by BruceR at 09:26 AM