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Troops Face Much Younger Afghan Enemy

From those defenders of the faith at Reuters:

U.S. troops face Afghan enemy too young to kill

By Jonathon Burch Sun Jul 11, 2010

ARGHANDAB, Afghanistan (Reuters) – U.S. Staff Sergeant Aaron Best made no apologies as his soldiers escorted 14-year-old Ahmad, blindfolded and handcuffed, onto their outpost in southern Afghanistan for questioning.

"Don’t be fooled," said Best, "I have detained so many teenagers. These fighters are getting younger and younger."

Ahmad, whose real name has been concealed to protect his identity, was picked up by a U.S. patrol along with a 15-year-old boy in Arghandab, in southern Kandahar province, one of Afghanistan’s most volatile regions, because they were behaving suspiciously.

Ahmad and his friend were hiding in vegetation, observing the soldiers, when they were spotted. The boys scurried away and when Best’s men finally caught up to them they tried to resist arrest, making the soldiers even more suspicious.

Both boys, along with several older detainees picked up on the patrol, tested positive for traces of ammonium nitrate on their hands, a chemical found in gunpowder and explosives. Ammonium nitrate is also found in certain fertilizers and, although they are banned in Afghanistan because they can be used to make homemade bombs, they are still used by some farmers. The detainees could simply have been farm laborers.

Oh, sure. Or they could have been experimenting with rockets in anticipation of careers with NASA.

Ahmad and the others were kept overnight for questioning by Afghan police and released the next day to village elders who said they would vouch for them.

What a relief.

Whether or not Ahmad and his 15-year-old friend had been laying homemade bombs or had even fired weapons at U.S. troops before, Best’s men will probably never find out, but the arrests illustrate a worrying trend reported from soldiers on the ground: that they are encountering an increasingly younger fighter.

"Over the last eight to nine years there has been a dynamic change in the age of fighters. Most fighters now are between 14 and 18 years-old," said Lieutenant Colonel Guy Jones, commander of 2-508th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, based in Arghandab.

"In 2002, fighters were 22 to 30-years-old and commanders were between 32 and 40," said Jones who is on his fourth tour in Afghanistan.

Jones pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket to illustrate his point. On the paper are the names of recently captured detainees with their photographs beside them. Their ages range from 14 to 20.

One wounded boy caught firing a weapon at U.S. forces is now recovering in hospital at the main foreign air base in Kandahar. He is only 13, said Jones

Meanwhile, how many detainees have been released from Guantanamo because the ACLU argued that they were too young when captured to have been working for the enemy?

This time Staff Sergeant Best agreed with the Afghan police to let the detainees go, saying it could help build up a rapport with the community, but the platoon commander’s frustration was palpable.

"At the end of the day we don’t have enough evidence on them and keeping them in for another two days will only turn the village against us," he said.

"It’s like you really have to catch them putting the bomb in or firing a gun at us for something to happen."

You simply cannot fight an enemy, especially such a barbaric enemy, using US police methods.

Heck, they don’t even work that well in at home against common, run of the mill criminals.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 12th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Troops Face Much Younger Afghan Enemy”

  1. proreason says:

    If only they were fetuses.

    Then we could slaughter them without a thought.

  2. Gizmo says:

    “If only they were fetuses.

    Then we could slaughter them without a thought.”

    I can only imagine how AP would spin this. But in all seriousness, I don’t care if that child is 9 years old. If he/she picks up that gun and I see them aiming it with all intent to fire on American soldiers, I would most certainly shoot first. This may be cold on my part, but I would prefer to save the life of an American soldier rather than let the child grow up to make bombs or other weapons that could kill more Americans.

  3. Right of the People says:

    One way to look at it we might be winning a war of attrition if all they left is kids. The same thing happened at the end of the Third Reich. They were putting out pre-teens and geriatrics on their front lines because it was all they had left.

    I still say the only way to tame Afghanistan is too bomb them back beyond the stone age they’re living in now and pave over the whole place.

  4. canary says:

    “Mardan says Washington is “afraid that if any religious man becomes a prime minister or president or he takes over the government, he will create a lot of problems for the U.S.”

    (I guess they don’t know Obama is partial Isalm clergy & Sharia law.

    Youth terrorists growing through muslim clergy & schools.

    This 17 teen terrorists sounds just like Obama trying to play discreet & pretend there is no problems.

    “They are co-existing with other social forces as well, and that is the trick. You don’t attract attention so everyone can say, ‘Oh no — there’s no Talibanization.’ ”


    I hope Obama army warned out troops

  5. finebammer59 says:

    how long before the leftists are spitting on our troops and calling them baby killers??? (again)

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