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View Full Version : Enablers and your Trust


Kalich
12-31-2007, 11:39
On my last tour in Afghanistan we had a fella , who didnt speak english very well but he was the biggest Afghan ive ever seen easily over 6'4 200 pounds plus , he was an ex mujahadeen , I guess he fought the soviets back in the day and now when the Taliban killed his family he opted to work for us as not quite the terp but more of a guide , things worked well with him , all our detainees went through him and he came out with information that he got from them which was usually pretty good INT . Somedays though he wouldnt come out to work with us saying he was ill and sure enough we would get lit up . Us troppies discussed it at the lowest level saying this guy might swing both ways , but nothing was ever said to any of the brass because they would not hurt his feelings :rolleyes: . My question to you gents is how much trust would you put into an enabler/interpreter /guide , considering how much is on the line .

Guy
12-31-2007, 12:16
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer....:munchin

Stay safe.

Leozinho
12-31-2007, 13:36
. Us troppies discussed it at the lowest level saying this guy might swing both ways , but nothing was ever said to any of the brass because they would not hurt his feelings :rolleyes: . My question to you gents is how much trust would you put into an enabler/interpreter /guide , considering how much is on the line .

I need a little clarification. Did you mean the soldiers never said anything to their superiors about their suspicions, or do you mean the brass would never say anything to the Afghan because they didn't want to offend him?

If it's the former, I think you have to speak up. Your greatest weapon is your mind, and it's possible that you guys have noticed something that your leaders haven't.

There is no way I would let an intepreter pick and choose his missions. If a bone is not sticking out, then he's coming out with us. If he's truly sickly than maybe he needs to find a new job anyway.

Having said that, you are going to have work with people that you can't fully trust. There are ways to minimize the risk inherent with working with locals that I'm sure you know and they don't need to be discussed here. But I also suspect that many units disregard these precautions.

Good luck.

Para
12-31-2007, 13:51
How many times did he pull the "I am not feeling so well" and you got lit up? First time may be a coincidence. Second and third time brings on suspicion.

How is the unit's OPSEC? Does he know in advance where and when missions will be conducted? Does he recieve enough information to coordinate an attack with the enemy? We never tell our host nation personnel where we were going until we exited the gate and then it was usually limited to "turn right here" and turn left there".

Are you saying he would conduct his own tactical questioning and come back to you guys with the results? Was there a non-Afghan presence with him during the tactical questioning or was he in the room alone?

Kalich
12-31-2007, 14:27
" I need a little clarification. Did you mean the soldiers never said anything to their superiors about their suspicions, or do you mean the brass would never say anything to the Afghan because they didn't want to offend him?"

they (brass) didn't want to offend him , because they saw him as a great asset , which he was cause it seemed he could smell who was Taliban and who wasn't , but at the same time I sure as hell know we were just a paycheck to him and since he wasn't an official Terp(je carried his own RPK) it was always in the end of orders that He was tagging along with us for the OP ( so yes he picked and choose d his go's with us )

OPSEC was good within the Unit but somehow it seemed our unnoficial terp always avoided the worst confrontations that happened or sat in the back of the carrier while firefights went down . The good thing about this guy was he conducted his own TQ right on the spot with the guys who tested positive with the gun residue kits , his methods were unorthodox but he got them singing like caneries for information . Seeing how well his methods worked the brass took a liking to him and took the information that he got from the handjis .

jbour13
12-31-2007, 15:12
On my last tour in Afghanistan we had a fella , who didnt speak english very well but he was the biggest Afghan ive ever seen easily over 6'4 200 pounds plus , he was an ex mujahadeen , I guess he fought the soviets back in the day and now when the Taliban killed his family he opted to work for us as not quite the terp but more of a guide , things worked well with him , all our detainees went through him and he came out with information that he got from them which was usually pretty good INT . Somedays though he wouldnt come out to work with us saying he was ill and sure enough we would get lit up . Us troppies discussed it at the lowest level saying this guy might swing both ways , but nothing was ever said to any of the brass because they would not hurt his feelings :rolleyes: . My question to you gents is how much trust would you put into an enabler/interpreter /guide , considering how much is on the line .

Every Soldier a sensor and every Afghan a facilitator......ya feel me!!

I definately would have spoken up and possibly play on it if you could. Many ways, and I mean many.

You are not the first that has been played and will most assuredly not be the last.

Para
01-01-2008, 06:15
The good thing about this guy was he conducted his own TQ right on the spot with the guys who tested positive with the gun residue kits , his methods were unorthodox but he got them singing like caneries for information.

Be careful of this. Unless you speak the language, you have no idea what the detainee is saying and what the interpreter is fabricating. When you give him the authority to conduct his own tactical questioning and allow an untrained individual the use "unothodox techniques" you have just attached your name, and worst, your nations identity to his actions. I am assuming you are not a trained interrogator and you do not have a trained interrogator who roams the battlespace with you. This 'ghan has been given an implied authority, he is documented as working with your unit and someone is on a slippery slope that can have a worst case potential of resulting in international attention, i.e. war crimes, which results in a prison sentance for those involved and in Canada, well what happened to the Airborne Regiment in the 90's? There are rules and regulations about how detainees must be processed and what is and is not allowed with regards to tactical questioning. For us, it is a 3" thick binder and I would imagine yours closely mirrors ours.

Has anyone put him through any form of vetting process?

Kalich
01-01-2008, 10:42
Well I didn't want to go offtopic with detainee vs pow's treatment , I assure you we treated everyone with respect and dignity (which was hard) even though we knew these guys were foul . ANA and ANP obviously dealt with them their own ways which we did not always approve of and tried provide the training for these guys to improve their ways . I would imagine our binder is prob at least 6' thick:) . But yeah I hear you Para , TQ needs to be done right or not at all . As far as this afghan's story goes I heard he died in an IED strike , not long after our rotation ended . It will be interesting to see how different things will be on my deployment in February , ill keep these things in mind .

JCasp
01-03-2008, 09:00
Interesting post and subject. We had strict rules regarding LN's working on our FOB in 'Stan (1-325th, 82nd; Jun-Nov '05). The KBR hired workers were allowed to work around the tent areas but were always supervised, albeit generally by profile-rangers of questionable dedication to their daily duties.

The one evening I remember, shortly before going home for a couple weeks on emergency leave, our translator stumbled into our tent. We had received a frago maybe 20 minutes earlier from the PSG for an op to take place in a few hours and were just back to playing cards and bullshitting while the squadleader went over who was carrying what, which vehicles and assignments, basic shit.

Nothing particular was being discussed once he entered, other than a few dull knives we had to toss a "shut the fuck up" to, we minded security. Asked the translator to leave, he stopped by someones cot to bum a cigarette, and the PSG walked in. Next thing we know we were practicing our flutter kicks and getting a full on assreaming. Our squad leader was allowed up and spoke to the PSG in private, clearing up the situation but we doubled up our opsec from then on.


Another situation that comes to mind was a rather long (for conventional 82nd standards, not sure about you QP's) 2-week field op. They had us out in fuck-knows-where city called "Bikertown" somewhere in, I think, Wardak province, where we discovered a cache of about 18 RPGs on our 2nd to final day on the mission. We didn't see much of them, they were thrown in the back of some ANA vehicle that was out with us. This was about the time I received the red cross message and was instructed I would be given emergency leave when we returned the following day.

We ended up leaving that night to head back to the FOB, and I left a few hours later on an HHC convoy up to Bagram to pick up mail and other shit. The ANA returned to their base, about 400 meters east of ours up the road with the RPGS. The following night my platoon (minus myself, obviously) leaves on a patrol and not a klick up the main highway gets hit by what was reported to be a an element of about 2 squads in strength. 3 RPGs hit the uparmoreds, 2 hitting one and disabling it and the other simply leaving a nice black recoloring on another. Nobody was hurt. Three more were fired and missed hitting deserted old buildings on the other side of the road.

One enemy was killed and the rest of the ACM scampered up a wadi (spelling might be incorrect, I only know how to pronounce the word) and disappeared. The boot tracks found during recon of the area the following day all matched the ANA issue boots, this information was relayed by our PSG to the 1SG and nothing was ever heard of it on our Joe-level again. Take from it what you will, each person drew their own conclusion, be it coincidence or the ANA was playing both teams, but I felt it relevant to the thread.

ford21b
01-03-2008, 17:35
Thanks for all this info, and this comes from someone who will be seeing these things soon.