An Afghan mutiny

Here’s an excellent and quick read on how a civilian casualty caused by Coalition forces can quickly spiral into chaos. An Irish Embedded Training Team of eight soldiers with a platoon of Afghan troops (about 30 soldiers) faces a mutiny after a mother is wounded and her daughter is killed. The Times Online excepts from a book called Desperate Glory: At War in Helmand with Britain’s 16 Air Assault Brigade by Sam Kiley:

By mid-afternoon a crowd of about 50 are outside the ANA camp. They tell the Afghan soldiers to abandon the British so the Witch’s Hat can be overrun and the British slaughtered.

The mentors radio Jones to tell him that they are facing a mutiny inside, and a hostile crowd outside. They can see armed men mix in the mob. The Afghan sergeant and several men cock their weapons and point them at the British. Two Royal Irish spot a pair of armed men in the crowd. They are giving orders and yelling for British blood. One opens fire – and both are shot dead. The civilians scatter. The Royal Irish put heavy fire into the Taleban firing points and seize this moment to break out of the camp.

At the same time Taleban gunmen who had left the Witch’s Hat earlier attack FOB Gibraltar from the north.

The article doesn’t explain how the Royal Irish trainers get out of that jam, or if the Afghan soldiers fire at them or stand by passively. Perhaps there is more in the book. I’ve embedded with several Military Training Teams in Iraq and a Police Training Team in Fallujah, and thankfully have never had such an experience. I’d wager the event described in Desperate Glory is a rarity. But it reminds us how far on the edge the police and military trainers are when working and living with their Iraqi and Afghan counterparts.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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