Written by Allen B. West:
I spent two and a half years in Afghanistan, based out of Kandahar, serving as a civilian-military adviser to the Afghanistan National Army 205th Corps. Our mission was to train and assist in developing functional operating systems for the 205th Corps at their Corps (division) down to Kandak (battalion) level. Our focus areas were personnel, intelligence and security, operations, senior enlisted, battle command and control, and logistics/property accountability — and needless to say there were cultural obstacles we had to overcome.
One of the biggest obstacles was to break down the old Soviet style of battle command where all orders and directions came from higher levels and there was little acceptance of lower level initiative. As well, there was no such thing as a professional senior enlisted cadre — that had to be built. However, there were some very serious issues with which we had to contend.
I recall when we had to push for the reprimand of an Afghan commander who was ordering young enlisted men to engage in sex acts with him. There was also incessant watching of pornography on the unit computers while the Afghans were on duty. In any of these types of cases, we would bring it to the attention of the Senior Coalition Force Commander who would explain why this type of behavior was not acceptable to the Afghan Army Commander. I was in Afghanistan from mid 2005 to late 2007. It appears something has truly changed.
You may recall the story of U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant First Class Charles Martland, who is in the fight for his military career because of an action he and his ODA Team commander, Captain Dan Quinn took. But there is a huge twist.