Flickr Photo by paymanemali
"Most people want security in this world, not liberty." H.L. Mencken
"The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society." Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The soldier does not wish to appear a coward, disloyal, or un-American. The situation has been so defined that he can see himself as patriotic, courageous, and manly only through compliance." Stanley Milgram
An assortment of American military, security contractors from the U.S., and Afghani security and police organizations that likely answer to U.S. military leaders engage in war on a daily basis and, as Anand Gopal recently detailed, are subject to targeted assassinations, night raids, secret detention centers, disappearances, and other acts of "counterterror."
Many Americans have heard stories seep into corporate media's news coverage of the Afghanistan War (or, in general, the "war on terror"). Americans know detention has been a common tool used against "terror suspects" and that certain "suspects" have in many cases been held secretly.
Who knows how many Americans are aware of disappearances which terrify a population along with targeted assassinations that come from foreign military or security forces that are seeking to enforce "counterterror" measures.
Targeted assassinations are to be expected in any war from any invader seeking to control a country. And, America has perfected the art of detaining civilians or "suspects" for indefinite detention. But, what about the night raids on Afghanis that have come into focus in the past few months? What purpose do the raids serve?
What information do we have on these night raids and just how similar are the raids to similar tactics used by repressive police forces in history?
With "Afraid of the Dark in Afghanistan," Anand Gopal published a detailed analysis that covered the use of night raids by "counterinsurgency" forces:
It has become a predictable pattern: Taliban forces ambush American convoys as they pass through the village, and then retreat into the thick fruit orchards that cover the area. The Americans then return at night to pick up suspects. In the last two years, 16 people have been taken and 10 killed in night raids in this single village of about 300, according to villagers. In the same period, they say, the insurgents killed one local and did not take anyone hostage.
The people of this village therefore have begun to fear the night raids more than the Taliban. There are now nights when Rehmatullah's children hear the distant thrum of a helicopter and rush into his room. He consoles them, but admits he needs solace himself. "I know I should be too old for it," he says, "but this war has made me afraid of the dark."
The night raids were further detailed during a segment on Democracy Now!. The segment featured Gopal explaining that night raids are "seen as a major affront to local culture, to the extent where people are actually scared in many places to actually go to sleep at night, because they don't know who will burst through the door at night and take away their loved ones."
Raids have come under increased scrutiny from human rights organizations in the past few years. Not long ago, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission published a 55-page report on the tactic.