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What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban


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I spent 600 hours listening in on the people who now run Afghanistan. It wasn’t until the end of

my tour that I understood what they were telling me.

By Ian Fritz
This is published in "The Alantic"  but good.
"In 2011, about 20 people in the world were trained to do the job I did. Technically, only two people had the exact training I had. We had been formally trained in Dari and Pashto, the two main languages spoken in Afghanistan, and then assigned to receive specialized training to become linguists aboard Air Force Special Operations Command aircraft. AFSOC had about a dozen types of aircraft, but I flew solely on gunships.
I flew 99 combat missions for a total of 600 hours. Maybe 20 of those missions and 50 of those hours involved actual firefights. Probably another 100 hours featured bad guys discussing their nefarious plans, or what we called “usable intelligence.” But the rest of the time, they were just talking, and I was just eavesdropping."
"Ten years after my last deployment, and after 20 years of combat with the world’s richest, most advanced military, the Taliban has reclaimed Afghanistan. Whatever delusions existed about whether this would happen or how long it might take have been dispatched as efficiently as the Afghan security forces were by the Taliban over a single week. What little gains have been achieved in women’s rights, education, and poverty will be systematically eradicated. Any semblance of democracy will be lost. And while there might be “peace,” it will come only after any remaining forces of opposition are overwhelmed or dead. The Taliban told us this. Or at least they told me."
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28 minutes ago, gwalchmai said:

Readers' Digest version: "They like to **** goats and little boys and want to kill Westerners."

There is a lot more to them than that. They are well trained, funded (who knows from where), ruthless (that word is mundane to what they are, but it is what we have), and motivated. Now they are well armed and supplied. They can survive on little of nothing, but usually terrorize the locals to giving them what they want, or just take it.

They just care about their cause, and will stop at nothing to peruse it.


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Part of the funding came from their customs enforcement, the taliban had operatives in the airports and border check points taking bribes that amounted to 8 million a day on average. We knew this, the government we propped up knew this, nothing was done about it, and our "leaders" pretend to be surprised. 

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