This is a redo of a previous blog I wrote about the security issues inside Afghanistan. I initially used personal accounts to paint a picture of the problems I witnessed during my military tour in 2005. However, with President Trump’s most recent speech laying out a potential shift in American Afghan policy, I felt compelled to update the article reflecting on his words and what is being said “in-between the lines.”
Here we go…
By the end of 2004, the conflict in Afghanistan was already three years old. I had just arrived in the country to start a six-month tour running the Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) program …the military plan to counter road side bombs. The program was relatively new at the time and still experiencing some early challenges. In fact, it only took three days before I witnessed the first casualties from an IED…two U.S. Special Forces soldiers lost their lives and one seriously injured in the Konar province along the Pakistan border.
Konar was the most dangerous province in the country and had a reputation for prolific IED strikes, we called it “IED alley.” Losing two Americans had an immediate effect on me…I was determined to make sure this did not happen again. So, I gathered every piece of intelligence I could and researched every aspect of the enemy. I studied their habits, their procedures, and their lifestyles but mostly, their IED tactics. Within weeks I knew everything about the bad guys. Who they were, their families, their friends, how they made IEDs, and where they were produced. But, more importantly, their habits and how to exploit their weaknesses.
I had everything I needed to defeat the threat. The only problem was the enemy was in Pakistan.