VICE: "What Winning Looks Like" Afghan security forces documentary

Discussion in 'Think Tank' started by The Wrong Guy, May 16, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    VICE has done it again, with a sobering three-part documentary that will open some eyes. (The third part will be uploaded soon, and I'll add it then.)

    "This Is What Winning Looks Like" is a disturbing new documentary about the ineptitude, drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and corruption of the Afghan security forces as well as the reduced role of US Marines due to the troop withdrawal.

    Read the full article here:

    This Is What Winning Looks Like - Part 1 of 3

    In part one, we see just how chaotic and hopeless the situation is in Sangin, one of the most violent towns in Afghanistan.

    This Is What Winning Looks Like - Part 2 of 3

    In part two, we see on-the-ground footage of fighting between the Afghan forces and the Taliban as well as insightful commentary from the documentary's producer, Ben Anderson. There are also exclusive interviews with the US Ambassador and the British Deputy Ambassador to Afghanistan about the prospect of peace in the region.
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  2. Anonymous Member

    Thanks, TWG. Awful stuff.
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    This Is What Winning Looks Like - Part 3 of 3

    In part three, we see that the sad truth is, at the end of the day, we will be leaving behind ill-prepared security forces, which will likely lead to an increase in Taliban attacks, civilian casualties, and, overall, an increasingly dangerous and fragile nation.
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  4. What's most disgusting about this mess is that taxpayers are footing the bills.

    What have the Afghans ever done for us?
  5. Anonymous Member

    They make very nice rugs for export:

  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Partly as way of increasing the likelihood of more people watching the above documentary, I'm going to keep adding to this thread. Here's a story from today:

    Law Protecting Afghanistan Women Blocked By Conservatives

    Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation on Saturday aimed at strengthening provisions for women's freedoms, arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles and encourage disobedience.

    The fierce opposition highlights how tenuous women's rights remain a dozen years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime, whose strict interpretation of Islam once kept Afghan women virtual prisoners in their homes.

    Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic.

    "Whatever is against Islamic law, we don't even need to speak about it," Shaheedzada said.


    The child marriage ban and the idea of protecting female rape victims from prosecution were particularly heated subjects in Saturday's parliamentary debate, said Nasirullah Sadiqizada Neli, a conservative lawmaker from Daykundi province.

    Neli suggested that removing the custom – common in Afghanistan – of prosecuting raped women for adultery would lead to social chaos, with women freely engaging in extramarital sex safe in the knowledge they could claim rape if caught.

    Another lawmaker, Mandavi Abdul Rahmani of Barlkh province, also opposed the law's rape provision.
    "Adultery itself is a crime in Islam, whether it is by force or not," Rahmani said.

    He said the Quran also makes clear that a husband has a right to beat a disobedient wife as a last resort, as long as she is not permanently harmed. "But in this law," he said, "It says if a man beats his wife at all, he should be jailed for three months to three years."
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  7. snippy Member

    1. An Islamic theologian needs to argue the women's case.
    2. The women need to rise up, stage a coup and eliminate any remaining rigid opposition.
    3. The world needs to support them.
    4. Men need to be banned from positions of power for forty years.
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Airing tonight on CBS 60 Minutes: Thousands of children flee war-torn Afghanistan to embark on an extremely dangerous journey in hope of finding a better life in Europe.
  9. snippy Member

    Yo Mr White - Thank you for the reminders to watch the 3- part series above. Finally got around to it. I now have a whole new level of admiration for the soldiers who "do what they can." The "leaving the rest" part of that equation must be very difficult for them.
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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    What's an American lawyer doing in Afghanistan?

    Kimberley Motley, best known for defending a young girl imprisoned for 'adultery' after being raped and impregnated in 2010, is the first US lawyer to litigate on behalf of Afghans in Afghanistan.

    By Shelly Kittleson, The Christian Science Monitor

    As Western troops plan for the drawdown in Afghanistan, one American lawyer has set up her own private practice in the Afghan capital and doesn’t have plans to leave any time soon. She’s too focused on helping make sure the laws are enforced.

    The lawyer, Kimberley Motley, is best known for defending a girl imprisoned for “adultery” after being raped and impregnated by her attacker in 2010. The victim had received a 12-year sentence in appellate court with the alternative of marrying her rapist, and was serving the sentence when her case came to Ms. Motley’s attention.

    She lodged a request for a presidential pardon citing Sharia law, Afghan law, and international conventions, while at the same time launching an online petition that garnered 6,000 Afghan signatures in three days. The girl was granted the pardon in December 2011 by President Karzai and released to a shelter.

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  11. Anonymous Member

    I got the feeling the marines were all too aware of the futility of their task.

    I feel sorry for the Afghan people. They are brutalized from all sides. TH US is introducing major weapons, used to intimidate the locals. The locals were saying 'All of you go away and leave us alone."

    The US soldiers are frustrated and well they should be. THere is NO reason for them to be there, and many reason for them to leave. All they do is cause resentment and anger at the US. THe troops, with the best of intentions, are making the matter worse.

    One of the first scenes shows a US soldier explaining clean camp rules. As I heard him talk I thought "What a berk. He's insulting these people" and the next things said was "Hey, bud, we know all this."

    No matter how sincere the soldiers are, they are in over their head. These fights have been going on for centuries, and that ain't gonna change just because we went in. Thirty years ago attacking Afghanistan was one of the reasons the USSR collapsed. They took on more than they could handle.

    As for the local laws, the wars make it worse, since when you are under attack, you are not going to look at how you treat people.

    This has played out many times in our past. We get involved where we have no reason to be. Trying to 'make the world safe for democracy' looks all too much like bombing people into the stone age.

    Great video, well worth watching.
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  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here are all three parts of the documentary in one video:

    This Is What Winning Looks Like (Full Length)

    Published by vice on May 27, 2013

    "This Is What Winning Looks Like" is a disturbing new documentary about the ineptitude, drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and corruption of the Afghan security forces as well as the reduced role of US Marines due to the troop withdrawal.

    Read the full article here:
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  13. Anonymous Member

    A decade of keeping Afghanistan safe for Islamism, with coalition built mosques, with a sharia "democracy".

    There was another documentary, a little while back. Young Americans proudly built a lovely new mosque for the townsfolk, whom they thought would respect them for it. Ah, but what is taught in the mosques - hatred for the infidels, inferiority of women and all the usual shit.


    This is a phenomenal tragedy for Afghanistan, and the coalition.
  14. Anonymous Member

    Seen the first ten minutes of this and I'm kicking myself that I won;t be able to watch the rest until tomorrow. Fascinating and insightful stuff.
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  15. The Wrong Guy Member

    Three Americans killed after argument with Afghan soldier: officials | Reuters

    Kabul | June 8, 2013

    Three Americans, two soldiers and a civilian, were killed in Afghanistan on Saturday when a man in an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon on them in the eastern province of Paktika, the NATO-led force said.

    So-called insider attacks by Afghan soldiers on their NATO-force allies have become an increasing problem over the past year or so, threatening to undermine already waning support for the war among Western nations sending troops.

    Last year, a surge in such attacks prompted NATO to temporarily curtail some joint operations with Afghan government forces.

    The three Americans were shot dead by the man following an argument, the Paktika provincial governor's spokesman Mukhlas Afghan said, adding that three other Americans had been wounded.

    The attacker was himself shot dead soon after opening fire, the spokesman said.

    "Two U.S. International Security Assistance Force service members and one U.S. civilian were killed today when an individual wearing an ANA uniform turned his weapon against (them)," a statement from Afghanistan's NATO-led force said.

    Continued at
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  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown - The Washington Post


    Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.

    The massive disposal effort, which U.S. military officials call unprecedented, has unfolded largely out of sight amid an ongoing debate inside the Pentagon about what to do with the heaps of equipment that won’t be returning home. Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home.

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  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    US $780m Afghan aircraft purchase 'wasteful' - BBC News

    A US watchdog has advised the Pentagon to ground plans to spend $780m (£513m) on 48 aircraft for the Afghan military, as their pilots lack expertise.

    The planes and helicopters are intended for the Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW), but the audit found the unit has no command structure.

    Only seven Afghan pilots were trained to fly with night-vision goggles, according to the report.

    It could take 10 years before the unit is self-sufficient, said the watchdog.

    The audit also noted the US currently carried out most of the aircraft repair and maintenance for the Afghans.

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Interpreter Accused of Torturing and Killing Afghan Civilians Is Arrested - New York Times

    Afghan officials confirmed Sunday that they had arrested and were questioning Zakaria Kandahari, whom they have described as an Afghan-American interpreter responsible for torturing and killing civilians while working for an American Special Forces unit.

    The arrest of Mr. Kandahari, who had been sought on charges of murder, torture and abuse of prisoners, was confirmed by Maj. Gen. Manan Farahi, the head of intelligence for the Afghan Defense Ministry. He said Mr. Kandahari, who escaped from an American base in January after President Hamid Karzai demanded his arrest, had been captured in Kandahar by the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence service. There had been speculation for the last three weeks that Mr. Kandahari was in custody.

    Afghan officials had accused the American military of deliberately allowing Mr. Kandahari to escape, a claim that American officials rejected. American officials said Mr. Kandahari had no longer been working for them at the time and was not an American citizen.

    Since his arrest, Mr. Kandahari has not been in contact with the United States Embassy, an American official said.

    Some human rights advocates believe Mr. Kandahari is being held in the National Directorate of Security’s Unit 124, which they have denounced as a prison where torture is routine. Unit 124, across the street from the American and NATO military headquarters in Kabul, is one of the Afghan detention sites on a proscribed list by the American military, which is not allowed to transfer prisoners to facilities where torture is believed to be used. However, that ban does not apply to the Central Intelligence Agency, which often has personnel in Unit 124, activists say.

    Mr. Kandahari is wanted in connection with the disappearances and deaths of many of 17 Afghan civilians who were detained by an American Special Forces A Team for which he worked. Afghan investigators said they uncovered a videotape showing Mr. Kandahari torturing one civilian, Sayid Mohammad, who was later found dead, and said there was substantial evidence to prove that American personnel had been involved in the detentions of the missing civilians.

    The bodies of 10 victims were found near the Special Forces base beginning in April, after the Americans left; the last was discovered on June 4, according to Afghan forensic investigators and relatives of the victims. They had disappeared between November and February.

    The American military did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday, but in May, an American official insisted that the A Team was not to blame for the disappearances and deaths. “We have done three investigations down there, and all absolve I.S.A.F. forces and Special Forces of all wrongdoing,” the official said, referring to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. “It is simply not true.”

    A representative for Human Rights Watch in Afghanistan, Heather Barr, said: “The U.S. said they investigated thoroughly, there’s nothing there, so everyone should go away and accept their word that they checked and did nothing wrong? I don’t think that ends the discussion. There’s a lot more explaining that needs to be done that hasn’t happened yet.”

    Afghan investigators said Mr. Kandahari appeared to have played a leadership role, and not just that of an interpreter, in deciding whom to detain for questioning. American personnel were seen at all of the arrests, according to Afghan officials, and the victims were last seen being taken onto the Americans’ small base in the Nerkh district of Wardak Province.

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  19. The Wrong Guy Member

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  20. snippy Member

    This issue is at the core of their problems and until it is dealt with, Afghanistan will be Hell on Earth. Thanks for the post. The link in the article is also well worth reading. I wonder who this U.S foreign contractor who hosted the parties is. It also goes on in other countries with corporations playing this card to "impress" clients and it is blatantly ignored by the UN. How many U.S. soldiers' suicides, which outnumber combat casualties, stem from this horror?

    Hey scumbag army lawyer, what do you think? Oh and by the way, those screams are from children. This isn't a "cultural difference" - it's sick pedophiles with power committing vile human rights abuses against children.
  21. snippy Member

  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    Swimming with Warlords | VICE

    By Kevin Sites, October 14, 2013

    Last paragraph:

    I knew it had changed me, defining my existence for one-fifth of my life. Over the years, I became intertwined in its myth and magic. I lost friends and colleagues and certainly my own innocence. Afghanistan was and is a beautiful and brutal place. Infuriatingly incongruous, it’s a country where the world’s best hospitality coexists alongside honor killings, a society that shrouds its women in burkas but dresses up its young boys as dancing girls, a people strong enough to defeat outside invaders, but unable to stop fighting themselves. It was, and is, a nearly perfect reflection of the good and evil in all of us.
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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Matthieu Aikins@mattaikins 6 Nov
    My investigation for @RollingStone is out: Did US Special Forces commit war crimes in Afghanistan?

    Afghanistan: U.S. Special Forces Guilty of War Crimes? | Rolling Stone

    In the fall of 2012, a team of American Special Forces arrived in Nerkh, a district of Wardak province, Afghanistan, which lies just west of Kabul and straddles a vital highway. The members installed themselves in the spacious quarters of Combat Outpost Nerkh, which overlooked the farming valley and had been vacated by more than 100 soldiers belonging to the regular infantry. They were U.S. Army Green Berets, trained to wage unconventional warfare, and their arrival was typical of what was happening all over Afghanistan; the big Army units, installed during the surge, were leaving, and in their place came small groups of quiet, bearded Americans, the elite operators who would stay behind to hunt the enemy and stiffen the resolve of government forces long after America’s 13-year war in Afghanistan officially comes to an end.

    But six months after its arrival, the team would be forced out of Nerkh by the Afghan government, amid allegations of torture and murder against the local populace. If true, these accusations would amount to some of the gravest war crimes perpetrated by American forces since 2001. By February 2013, the locals claimed 10 civilians had been taken by U.S. Special Forces and had subsequently disappeared, while another eight had been killed by the team during their operations.

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  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Despite repeated warnings, US ‘subsidizing’ Afghan companies with ties to terrorism - report | RT

    American taxpayers have unwittingly paid more than $150 million to companies throughout the Middle East that are known to have helped finance terrorist attacks on US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, according to a new internal US government report.

    At least 43 companies based in Afghanistan were found to have ties to terrorist networks according to findings by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the leading US oversight authority on reconstruction in Afghanistan. SIGAR’s report seems to suggest that the very groups being targeted by the US through counter-insurgency operations sometimes become the beneficiaries of the federal government through contracted work.

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  25. Anonymous Member

    Your tax dollars at work.
    So we've paid money to finance attacks against us.
    Your government at work spending your hard earned pay.
    Anyone wonder why I oppose taxes? When they are used this way, and taxes will always be used this way, they do double and triple damage. First, we lose the time spent earning the money, Then we lose the actual money Then the money is used to finance attacks against us. Then we pay more money to deal with the new attacks, the ones our tax money funded.

    What an amazing system, if you are the war monger. FOr the rest of us, not so much
  26. The Internet Member

    My guess is the money is the carrot and the guns are the stick.
  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    The Untold Story of War: U.S. Veterans Face Staggering Epidemic of Unemployment, Trauma and Suicide

    Veterans continue to face extremely high levels of unemployment, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and homelessness. Since 2000, nearly 6,000 service members have experienced traumatic amputations from injuries caused by improvised explosive devices and other war-related dangers. Nearly one million active service members have been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder since 2000; nearly half of those have been diagnosed with two or more. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Last year, more U.S. military personnel died by their own hands than the hands of others. On any given night, nearly 63,000 veterans are homeless. Many suffer chronic debilitating mental health problems.

    We are joined by long-time writer and photographer Ann Jones, author of the new book, "They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars — The Untold Story."

    They Didn't Know What They Were Getting Into

    By Ann Jones

    Silent Soldiers, The Losers From Our Lost Wars

    By Ann Jones

    Search:"They Were Soldiers" "Ann Jones"
  28. demarquis Member

    After watching the video, I felt really sorry for these pathetic Afghani "police". It's pretty clear that they consider themselves completely outmatched, their morale is terrible, and no one in Kabul is supporting them. I'd have the same attitude if I were them. I always thought it was pretty much impossible for Afghanistan to end well so long as Karzai was inc charge, this just validates my opinion even more.
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  29. RightOn Member

    watched it all
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  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Afghan Election Commission Attacked | Wall Street Journal

    March 29, 2014

    Taliban insurgents armed with rockets and automatic weapons launched an assault on the headquarters of Afghanistan's election commission, showing their determination to disrupt a presidential election just a week away.

    In the fourth major attack in the capital Kabul in a little over a week, the insurgents Saturday managed to evade security cordons and enter a vacant building under construction near the heavily fortified Independent Election Commission. From that vantage point, they unleashed rocket grenades and gunfire over the heads of guards and police.

    The attack lasted almost six hours before being quelled by police commandos. All the attackers were killed and two policemen were injured, police said.

    The assault on the election commission also disrupted flights into the Kabul International Airport. The IEC compound in the city's east lies under the flight path of arriving aircraft and the nearby airport had to be temporarily closed, Transport Minister Daud Ali Najafi said.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack, which came less than a day after five suicide insurgents struck a Kabul guesthouse used by a U.S.-based demining and agricultural assistance charity, Roots of Peace. Two people, including a 16-year-old Afghan girl, died in that incident, which followed another attack on a provincial IEC office elsewhere in the city.

    The escalating violence ahead of the April 5 election is unusual even by Afghan standards, and threatens to exceed levels that marred the country's previous election in 2009, said Thomas Ruttig, a co-founder of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a security and political think tank that provides advice to many of the country's donors.

    "What is new is that we did not have these high-profile attacks back in 2009. That is new and that's worrying," Mr. Ruttig said. "Foreigners are also being targeted more and that leads to the withdrawal of crucial election observers, and that in turn hampers our picture of the outcome. I am more worried now about the quality of these elections."

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  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    Exclusive: U.S. force in Afghanistan may be cut to less than 10,000 troops | Reuters

    The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan may drop well below 10,000 - the minimum demanded by the U.S. military to train Afghan forces - as the longest war in American history winds down, Obama administration officials briefed on the matter say.

    Since Afghanistan's general election on April 5, White House, State Department and Pentagon officials have resumed discussions on how many American troops should remain after the current U.S.-led coalition ends its mission this year.

    The decision to consider a small force, possibly less than 5,000 U.S. troops, reflects a belief among White House officials that Afghan security forces have evolved into a robust enough force to contain a still-potent Taliban-led insurgency. The small U.S. force that would remain could focus on counter-terrorism or training operations.

    That belief, the officials say, is based partly on Afghanistan's surprisingly smooth election, which has won international praise for its high turnout, estimated at 60 percent of 12 million eligible votes, and the failure of Taliban militants to stage high-profile attacks that day.

    The Obama administration has been looking at options for a possible residual U.S. force for months.

    "The discussion is very much alive," said one U.S. official who asked not to be identified. "They're looking for additional options under 10,000" troops.

    There are now about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from 100,000 in 2011, when troop numbers peaked a decade into a conflict originally intended to deny al Qaeda sanctuary in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    Continued at
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  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack | Reuters

    April 24, 2014

    Three Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, in the latest of a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan.

    Attacks on security forces, Afghan civilians and Westerners have been on the rise since the beginning of the year, as Western forces prepare to leave the country and Afghans choose a new president.

    "We can confirm three Americans were killed," said a U.S. embassy official, without providing further details. A fourth American was wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said.

    The attacker, a policeman employed as a security guard at the Cure Hospital, was captured, the ministry said. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for similar attacks this year, but made no comment about Thursday's shooting.

    Those killed included a doctor, and a father and son visiting the hospital, Health Minister Suriya Dalil said.

    "As they were walking out of the hospital, the security guard opened fire on them, killing three and wounding another one," an Interior Ministry official said.

    The shooting occurred in the grounds of the Cure Hospital which specializes in children's and maternal health. It is considered one of the country's leading hospitals as well as being a training institution.

    "They were not the people carrying guns, they did not have military uniforms, they came here under immense pressure and were here only to serve the people of Afghanistan," Dalil said.

    "This was an inhumane and brutal action, and unfortunately will impact our health services."


    The attack came nearly three weeks after Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and reporter Kathy Gannon, 60, wounded while they were sitting in the back of a car in the east of the country.

    The assault on the journalists came shortly after an Afghan journalist with the Agence France-Presse news agency was killed alongside eight other people when Taliban gunmen opened fire inside a luxury hotel in the center of Kabul.

    Also in March, a gunman shot dead Swedish journalist Nils Horner, 51, outside a restaurant in Kabul.

    Eight Afghans and 13 foreigners were killed in January when a Taliban suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a restaurant in Kabul's diplomatic district.
  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list | CNN

    By Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, CNN Investigations

    At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

    The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

    For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care. But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.

    Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.

    Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:

    There's an "official" list that's shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there's the real list that's hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

    Deliberate scheme, shredded evidence

    "The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA's own internal rules," said Foote in Phoenix. "They developed the secret waiting list," said Foote, a respected local physician.

    The VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days, Foote said.

    According to Foote, the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Officials at the VA, Foote says, instructed their staff to not actually make doctor's appointments for veterans within the computer system.

    Instead, Foote says, when a veteran comes in seeking an appointment, "they enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there's no record that you were ever here," he said.

    According to Foote, the information was gathered on the secret electronic list and then the information that would show when veterans first began waiting for an appointment was actually destroyed.

    "That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded," Foote said.

    "So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list," he said. "And they wouldn't take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not."

    Foote estimates right now the number of veterans waiting on the "secret list" to see a primary care physician is somewhere between 1,400 and 1,600.

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  34. The Wrong Guy Member

    White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan | The Washington Post

    By Greg Miller, May 25, 2014

    The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops.

    The White House recognized the mistake and quickly issued a revised list that did not include the individual, who had been identified on the initial release as the “Chief of Station” in Kabul, a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country.

    The disclosure marked a rare instance in which a CIA officer working overseas had his cover — the secrecy meant to protect his actual identity — pierced by his own government. The only other recent case came under significantly different circumstances, when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was exposed as officials of the George W. Bush administration sought to discredit her husband, a former ambassador and fierce critic of the decision to invade Iraq.

    The Post is withholding the name of the CIA officer at the request of Obama administration officials who warned that the officer and his family could be at risk if the name were published. The CIA and the White House declined to comment.

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  35. The Wrong Guy Member

    jeremy scahill@jeremyscahill 2h
    SURPRISE: 9,800 US troops to remain in Afghanistan, including Special Ops forces for hunt and kill missions.

    US Troops To Stay In Afghanistan After 2014 | Sky News

    Barack Obama will seek to keep 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan after the war formally ends later this year, senior administration officials have said.

    The president is expected to announce the post-war plans from the White House Rose Garden later on Tuesday.

    The two-year proposal calls for nearly all of the remaining US forces to be out by the end of 2016, as Mr Obama finishes his second term, officials said.

    There currently are 32,000 US troops in Afghanistan. That number is expected to drop to the proposed 9,800 by the start of next year.

    Officials say the remaining troops would focus on counter-terrorism operations and training Afghan security forces, and would not be engaged in combat missions.

    After 2016, the plan calls for fewer than 1,000 US personnel to remain behind to staff a security office in Kabul.

    The post-war plan is contingent on the Afghan government signing a bilateral security agreement with the US.

    Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the agreement, but US officials are confident that either of the candidates seeking to replace him will approve the pact.

    The remaining American forces would likely be bolstered by a few thousand Nato troops.

    Word of the plan comes just days after Mr Obama's surprise visit to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, where he met with military commanders.

    Nearly 2,200 members of the US military have died during the nearly 13-year Afghan war and thousands more have been wounded.

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  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    'How Can You Be a Muslim? You Work with Americans': An Excerpt From 'The Interpreters' | VICE

    The interpreters who worked for American forces during the recent Afghanistan war — and the many still working — are among America’s bravest and most loyal allies. So that you don’t have to take my word for it, I asked several US Marines I’d met in Afghanistan — not the easiest people to impress — to share their thoughts.

    The Interpreters (Part 1)

    The interpreters who worked alongside American and NATO forces in Afghanistan are among our bravest and most loyal allies. They played an essential role in sourcing intelligence and educating Western troops about the local culture. Now they're in danger of being abandoned.

    In part one, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson speaks with Srosh, an interpreter that he first met in December 2010. They spent five weeks together as US Marines attempted to defeat the insurgency in Sangin — the most violent district of Afghanistan's most violent province. The Marines that Srosh worked for have since returned home, but he remains in hiding.

    The Interpreters (Part 2)

    In part two, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson interviews the Taliban's official spokesman, who tells him that the Taliban considers Afghan interpreters who worked for the United States to be traitors who should be punished with death. But these interpreters aren't threatened only by the Taliban — members of their communities suspect them of being spies and of being paid highly for their services, and are targeting them accordingly. Despite living under constant danger after loyal service to US forces, these interpreters have been unable to obtain visas necessary for them to leave the country.

    The Interpreters (Part 3)

    In part three, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson travels to Athens, where many Afghan interpreters find themselves stranded with no money or home. In their desperate attempts to escape persecution and death at the hands of the Taliban, they turned to illegal smugglers selling fake visas in Afghanistan that never got them where they meant to go.

    After years of loyal service alongside American and NATO forces, some interpreters barely surviving on Athens streets have come to wish they never took the job.

    The Interpreters (Part 4)

    In part four, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson meets American veterans and lawyers desperately trying to get Afghan interpreters the visas they need to escape persecution by the Taliban. Although US soldiers considered the interpreters some of their closest allies and most trusted friends while serving overseas — many veterans say they owe their lives to interpreters — the soldiers now face frustrating bureaucracy and red tape as they attempt to help their former comrades seek asylum in the United States.

    The Interpreters (Part 5)

    In part five, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson goes to Washington, DC, to speak with US senators and representatives working to improve the situation for Afghan interpreters. Although this is a bipartisan effort that would seem to have broad-based support in the capital, many interpreters are still not getting the visas they need and were promised, and are forced to remain in Afghanistan fearing for their safety.

    Anderson speaks to one of these interpreters who, still in Afghanistan and unable to leave, fears he will soon be killed after learning that many of the Taliban members he helped Americans arrest and imprison have now been released.
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  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here's the whole series in one video.

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  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    America’s Never-Used $2.89 Million Food Processing Facility in Afghanistan

    By Jim Geraghty, National Review Online

    The Pentagon spent $2.89 million to build a food processing facility in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, a project of the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. This morning the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction unveiled a review finding that the facility has never been used and is not being maintained.

    The report from Inspector General John Sopko says the facility “could have been a success story.” Once a bombed cotton factory site in Helmand province, the aim was to turn the site into a cold and dry storage warehouse and packing facility – allowing the farmers of the province to ship and process their crops and produce and sell to more faraway markets.

    The Pentagon’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations began the project in 2010 and then passed it to the Army Corps of Engineers – hiring a contractor to build one cold storage and one
dry storage warehouse, demolish two existing structures, make road improvements; provide on-site power generation and an electrical distribution system, a new water well and to remove mines and unexploded ordnances from the site.

    All of the work presumed that, upon completion, the Afghan government would be able to find a buyer or manage the facility itself.

    In May 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the contractor’s finished work — 243 days behind schedule, but up to specifications. The contractor blamed the delays on security concerns, including “threatened and actual Taliban violence, difficulties transporting needed equipment across the border into Afghanistan, and difficulty getting experts on the installation and operation of the facility’s equipment to come to Afghanistan.”

    The facility, providing approximately 10,000 square feet of cold storage and 13,000 square feet of dry storage, was transferred to the Afghan government in September 2013.

    And then… not much happened.


    Continued at
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  39. The Wrong Guy Member

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  40. The Wrong Guy Member

    U.S. general killed, German general wounded in Afghan attack | Reuters

    A U.S. general was killed and more than a dozen people were wounded, including a German general, in the latest insider attack by a man believed to be an Afghan soldier, U.S., German and Afghan officials said on Tuesday. The slain general was identified in U.S. media reports as Major General Harold Greene, a senior officer with the international military command ISAF. He was the most senior U.S. military official killed in action overseas since the war in Vietnam, U.S. military officials said.

    The Pentagon declined to confirm Greene's identity. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters that "many were seriously wounded" and the gunman was killed in the attack, which took place on Tuesday at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, a training center in Kabul.

    The attack raised fresh questions about the ability of NATO soldiers to train and advise Afghan security forces as western nations gradually withdraw. The U.S. and German generals were on a routine visit, the Pentagon said.

    A U.S. official said the gunman fired on the foreign soldiers using a light machinegun. Afghanistan's Defense Ministry described him as a "terrorist in army uniform."

    The German military said its general was one of 14 coalition troops wounded in Tuesday's attack. It said his life was not in danger. Seven Americans and five British troops were among the wounded, an Afghan official said.

    Continued at
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