In Afghanistan formal institutions such as banks, police and courts are under-developed, but traditional bodies – the non-binding shura councils and the decision-making jirga groups, for example – are highly refined and widely-respected. It would be quicker and more lasting to embed reform efforts in the shura and jirga, the Special Forces officer says: “Let’s work within the legal framework that already exists.” But foreign advisers aren’t adept at navigating the subtle processes of the shura and jirga and tend to fall back on the traditions and attitudes of their home cultures. “We attempt to Westernize but we don’t even realize we’re doing it,” the officer says.
Most SF Teams these days are conducting VSO or Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan. A friend of mine tells me they are exactly the same tactics we attempted in Vietnam except perhaps the strategic hamlet aspect. The problem is that every single commander on the ground has a different conception of what VSO is. Some are dead set against any kind of Direct Action needed to protect the villages that they are supposed to be stabilizing.
Sadly, much like Iraq, the war has devolved into a large scale face-saving measure in which the guys on the ground know that they are grinding their gears until the withdrawal.
Read the full article, U.S. Special Forces Take Down Corrupt Afghan Officials, One At A Time.