The media circuit has been going crazy following yesterday’s accusation by the Afghan government that United States special operations forces (reported as “Special Forces” by media outlets) have gone rogue in Afghanistan’s Wardak province and are torturing and murdering innocent civilians. The accusation was immediately followed by a presidential order from Hamid Karzai himself demanding that all U.S. special operations forces are to leave Wardak within two weeks.
I got in touch with a Special Forces soldier who is part of an Operational Detachment – Alpha (ODA) team currently operating out of Wardak. According to the soldier, he is in “the middle of this shit storm,” which is nothing more than a propaganda campaign of false accusations targeted towards the Afghan President in order for him to rid the Taliban of their number one nuisance in Afghanistan – the might of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It is no secret that special operations, with the help of our intelligence agencies, have done the most damage to Taliban forces, as well against their al-Qaeda and Haqqani Network allies, since the war began more than a decade ago.
I reached out to a close friend serving with the 3rd Special Forces Group who recently returned from a deployment to the Wardak Province. When asked about the significance of that region he informed me that the Province is an important strategic hub for the Taliban which is often used by their forces to conduct operations in the capital city of Kabul.
According to the SF soldier, people in Wardak are known to be more educated, which he says has a direct correlation with an increased proficiency in the use of mortars, snipers, and IEDs in the region against allied troops. He informs me that Wardak is home to two Forward Operation Bases (FOBs) that house a plethora of conventional military units and only two Special Forces ODAs, neither of which are leaving the wire at night to torture and murder civilians.
Speaking for other SOF units – I am told that Rangers and JSOC units conduct direct action operations against high value targets only once in a while and are not permanently based out of Wardak. They are also accompanied by elements of the Afghan Commandos on these raids, making an opportunity for war crimes against innocents almost impossible.
If you can’t beat them, cheat them. And that is what the Taliban is currently doing to make sure special operations forces aren’t impeding their significantly important operations in Wardak. With the majority of NATO forces on the verge of being pulled out of Afghanistan, the only obstacle remaining will be special operations forces that are poised to remain in the country even after most U.S. forces return home.