In 2014, the 13-year operation of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ends. The military from fifty countries will return home. But if for ordinary soldiers nothing overshadows the joy of the end of service in a dangerous region, then for the command of the NATO armies the withdrawal of troops means the need to solve the serious problems accumulated in the alliance, associated primarily with the US leadership role.
Beat your own
Today, few people remember that in 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan began in two columns. The first was a "coalition of those who wanted" to fight and consisted of Americans, British, Canadians and the military of several other countries seeking to curry favor with their big brother. And the second column, which received the UN mandate, included contingents of states not ready to participate in active hostilities and shed the blood of their soldiers in the name of a dubious war against elusive terrorism. Nevertheless, Washington immediately began demanding from the ISAF member countries “expansion of the mandate,” that is, essentially the transfer of “peacekeepers” for use in offensive operations carried out as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. That is, from the first months of the invasion, Washington assumed political, and de facto, operational leadership of both columns, after which he launched the operation in accordance with his wishes and completely ignoring the interests of the allies.
As a result, the tactics of the ISAF and coalition forces have been reduced to the following: national contingents patrol their areas of responsibility, when a threat is detected, come into direct contact with the enemy and report the coordinates to the Americans. They send air support - attack aircraft, helicopters or drones - already directly to strike the target. And then, as in a children's yard game: who did not hide, I am not guilty. “The motto of the American operation:“ Eyes wide shut, ”says German magazine Der Spiegel with bitterness. That is why the cases of the so-called "friendly fire" in Afghanistan occur much more often than in the Iraq war.
“As for joint operations, this was the case,” reveals Daniel Lücking, a senior lieutenant who took part in the German deployment. “Together with the Afghan army, we drove a group of militants into a remote place or village, and the Americans always left the right to deliver the final blow. They have special teams that are designed to track down and kill people. And if they receive information that terrorists are hiding in a particular village, then they “work” without embarrassment in the means. It turned out terribly stupid: in the daytime we built hospitals and kindergartens, at night the Americans came and cleaned the village, killing, including many civilians. ”
But Senior Lieutenant Lucking was lucky - he survived. For a huge number of his colleagues in the coalition, the final blow of the Americans ended in death or injury from "friendly fire." Salon magazine quotes the squadron commander of naval assault helicopters, the American lieutenant colonel Jim Braden: “Many air force pilots with whom I worked seem to be simply looking for an excuse to pull the trigger without worrying where their comrades are at the bottom arms. Their position is: “Just give us the GPS coordinates and we will do our job.”
As a result of cases when coalition allies came under American shelling, dozens and even hundreds. However, the command of the US Army, having made Jesuit conclusions after the “Desert Storm” campaign (even then, according to official data, a quarter of the casualties were victims of their own attacks), recognizes the fact of “friendly fire” only after numerous inspections, so only flagrant cases are made public. Like what happened in December 2006, when the British marines for ten hours were fighting with the Taliban, called for support from the air, and received a blow to their own positions. Or when in August the Americans ’2007-kilogram bombs leveled a British checkpoint with 225.
Special purpose loss
The situation is aggravated by the fact that the best parts of the allies are dying under American fire. One of the maneuvers of the American command, designed to erase the difference between the "columns", was the formation of coalition forces for special purposes. Many governments of the ISAF countries did not dare to expand the mandate of their contingents, but the Americans still took the best people to send the idea of a shock special forces.
“At the request of the CIA office, the Bundeswehr military personnel participated in operations in violation of the German mandate back in the 2002 year,” said former non-commissioned officer of the Airborne Forces, Achim Volgetan. According to him, the German soldiers from the international brigade of the ISAF were repeatedly sent to "delicate operations" far beyond the limits of their area of responsibility, as determined by the Bundestag. Volgetan himself participated "in at least ten such operations." Orders to attack and retreat were not formalized in any way, while they were given by the CIA ...
Naturally, commando operations are kept secret. But it is known that in addition to the best soldiers, Americans can request there from the location of the national contingents and the best equipment. Special Forces coalition submits to the American command and rushes to the most difficult areas. Those commandos hide masks, and in the documents they are under false names. In this regard, their losses are almost impossible to track. Thus, there is a high probability that the real losses of the Allies in Afghanistan are much higher than officials say.
Over time, almost all participating countries were forced to provide people to participate in American special operations. “The secret parts are the thousands of innocent civilian casualties,” said the famous German politician Oscar Lafontaine.
Meat that is about to become minced
"Cannon fodder? I have never heard such an expression ... ”, says the father of a soldier who fought in Afghanistan as part of the Estonian contingent. He explains: “Americans contemptuously call their allies meat for the grinder - meat for a meat grinder. More specifically, the meat that is about to become minced ... "
It is difficult to name the exact number of losses of the anti-terrorist coalition and the ISAF due to the lack of an authoritative independent source of information. Even Washington sometimes turns out its own official statistics as it is required at a particular moment. But that is beyond doubt - in terms of the relative number of casualties among the countries that took the most active part in the Afghan war, the United States is at the very bottom of the list (Table 1).
In addition, it is worth paying attention to the number and nature of injuries of military personnel. In the Afghan campaign, the number of injured exceeds the “normal” figures (“1 killed by 3-4 injured”) is on average two to three times, and for some contingents, 10 and more. The fact is that medicine, body armor and helmets from Kevlar save many lives. But thereby increasing the number of wounded. Moreover, it is modern ammunition, protecting vital organs, according to surgeons, leads to increased trauma and severe injury. Among the wounded who are returning "to the citizen" from Afghanistan, the percentage of disabled people is "unusually high." But here, too, the statistics are implacable: as a percentage, the US incurs much smaller “recoverable” losses than most of its allies (Table 2).
It is also worth noting that in Europe the statistics on injuries is underestimated so as not to disturb the society, which is already dissatisfied with an unpopular war. At the same time, special services created in the Pentagon to fight corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan revealed the existence of fraudulent schemes designed to inflate the number of injured Americans in order to receive a “tip” of injury for the subsequent “cut” between unclean commanders ...
It is clear that the excitement around the service in the ISAF among the European military was not observed. “Unlike Kosovo and Bosnia, those who want to serve in Afghanistan are scraped together with difficulty: this is not a peacekeeping mission, this is a real war, which only truly brave and strong men are going to,” says an Estonian soldier who asked not to be named. The American editor of the Daily Telegraph newspaper Toby Harnden, by the way, also notes the courage of Estonians, bordering on recklessness. Not surprisingly, Estonia ranks second in the number of killed and wounded soldiers per capita, second only to Denmark.
And in some coalition countries, a large number of combat losses caused an internal political crisis. For example, in Georgia in February 2012, a scandal erupted over the visit to Afghanistan of pro-American President Mikhail Saakashvili. “Together with the Americans, he set up a joint special operation for public relations, during which Georgian servicemen were killed,” said military expert Irakly Sesiashvili. “I do not see any friendship, strategic partnership, or respect for Georgian society,” echoes politician Georgy Khaindrava. - I see on the part of the American administration towards our people only cynicism and deceitful attitude. We are meat with a specific price "...
Bacon and Frisbee
“Americans treat their allies extremely arrogant. For example, Germans are called Nazis behind the eyes, they can say about Danes or Latvians: who is this, they say, from a country here, “the size of a postage stamp,” an employee of one of the Scandinavian missions admits. - In addition, the humanitarian ideas of Europeans meet their complete contempt. We are considered soft-bodied, weak, or "women" for initiatives that help, for example, make life easier for Afghan women. According to the Americans, it is necessary to act not with educational programs, but with murders and sweeps. ”
Americans, however, are also engaged in humanitarian aid. But their actions are dominated by an infantile or even indifferent approach, not deprived of evil sarcasm. “For example, the American contractors who won the relevant contract supplied us with kits for the game“ Ultimate Frisbee ”, intended for distribution to the local population. After all, Americans love this game and prefer it to other physical exercises at their bases, ”says a former press officer of the German contingent in Afghanistan. “However, the Afghans did not know any other use of“ plates ”, except ... eating food from them. This went on for three years, until the new commander of the German contingent canceled these supplies. ”
Thanks to the efforts of the United States, foreign troops are perceived by local residents as interventionists and occupiers. Swedish military journalist Fridolin Gustav describes his impressions of the American allies: “They were distinguished by their blatant lack of principle. They could, for example, agree with a famous fighter on surrender, and then shoot him. They took the villages by storm and dragged the corpses of executed militants through the streets in order to show what happens to those who oppose the new government. ”
The Americans have no better attitude towards the half-million soldiers of the Allied Afghan army and police. They rush into the thick, they shut up the most difficult areas. The account of their losses goes to tens of thousands, which for some reason are taken out of the general list. The Pentagon recently published a standard semi-annual (from 1 April to 30 September 2013) report on the situation in Afghanistan. The losses of the Afghan army and police during the reporting period increased by 79% compared to last year! Lt. Gen. American Army Marc Milli, the current head of the ISAF Joint Command, believes that the total losses of the personnel of the Afghan troops "is approaching the level we observed in Vietnam."
Not surprisingly, this led, as military experts put it, “to the loss of confidence in the American command.” In one month, there are up to fifty cases in which Afghan soldiers or policemen shoot Americans. Officials investigating these incidents note that the “internal attacks” are not so much the result of Taliban propaganda as the reaction of the Afghan soldiers, driven to despair by the mockery of the Americans. “American soldiers could, for example, lower their pants in front of Afghans performing namaz, barely exposing the body below the navel or defiantly chop bacon, just for fun,” the German officer said. Recall, according to the canons of Islam, the actions described are offensive to Muslims.
“Most international observers believe that the American strategy of the war in Afghanistan has failed,” states Fridolin Gustav. - Residential buildings were bombed, one bloodshed was replaced by another, and in the pursuit of asymmetrical enemies - bin Laden and al Qaeda - civilians were crippled. Every day, this strategy of a crowd of Afghans who are ready to surrender to the mercenaries to the forces of the Taliban, is growing: they now have what to avenge. Moreover, according to the Islamist interpretation, not the United States alone is to blame for this, but the entire Western world. So the invasion of Afghanistan could be our biggest mistake. ”
"This is a catastrophe. I hope that Afghanistan will be a lesson and we will no longer take part in the active phase of NATO’s military operations outside Europe, ”laments the Danish journalist who has passed through Iraq and Afghanistan. Similar sentiments are popular in other European countries. From the universal savior and defender of the Second World War, the USA became a brutal occupier, and the first truly major joint operation of NATO resulted in a series of unmotivated losses caused, among other things, by inadequate actions of the American army. It is not surprising that the United States could not find anyone willing to get involved in new conflicts in the Middle East, and among the European politicians and the military there was talk of a crisis of the North Atlantic alliance. And soon reducing the number of its members.
1. Number of ISAF member countries killed in contingents in 2001-2013 (as a percentage of the number of employees)
1. Denmark - 0,547%
2. Estonia - 0,409%
3. Canada - 0,397%
4. Romania - 0,384%
5. Georgia - 0,362%
6. UK - 0,329%
7. Netherlands - 0,320%
8. Germany - 0,270%
9. Italy - 0,260%
10. Spain - 0,233%
11. Australia - 0,200%
12. Poland - 0,180%
13. Turkey - 0,166%
14. United States - 0,152%
2. Number of injured in contingents of ISAF member countries in 2001-2013 (as a percentage of the number of employees)
1. Norway - 11,186%
2. UK - 5,225%
3. Canada - 5,117%
4. Estonia - 4,181%
5. Denmark - 2,221%
6. Romania - 1,938%
7. Netherlands - 1,794%
8. Georgia - 1,650%
9. Turkey - 1,400%
10. Australia - 1,305%
11. France - 1,318%
12. United States - 1,299%
PS Household Service
“American camps are much better than German ones. Just many times better! - admits Johannes Koshorrek, former corporal of the Bundeswehr. - We had only two dishes to choose from in the dining room, some baking and some fruit. And the Americans in a huge building of the main dishes alone distributed at least a dozen, plus various hot drinks, a large assortment of juices, even potato chips. And also a huge bar with salads ... If Americans come somewhere, they immediately settle for a long time. They have this: they take the country entirely and for free! ”
Material prepared by the Stringer Bureau of International Investigations