Ok, in the last few weeks I have talked about a line of crap being fed the American people by the civilian and military leadership of this country, the leadership of ISAF and most recently the leadership of the country of Afghanistan in relation to the surge of Green on Blue attacks against our forces.
But after an update from GEN Allen (Commander of all forces in Afghanistan) this morning I am shocked. Shocked that he could tell the world with a straight face that the reason for the increase of attacks is because of the fasting that happens in Ramadan.
Some recent attacks by uniformed Afghan forces against NATO troops may have been triggered by stress, hunger and dehydration associated with Ramadan fasting that this year fell in the middle of harsh summer weather and the heavy fighting season, the top U.S. military officer in Afghanistan said Thursday.
“I think that the holy month of Ramadan demands great sacrifice of Muslims who observe it,” Marine Gen. John Allen told reporters via video feed from Kabul. “The idea that they will fast during the day places great strain on them.”
Not sure about GEN Allen, but I have spent almost the entire month of Ramadan with Afghan forces, downrange, fighting the enemy. I witnessed them first-hand getting up before sunrise and eating, then spending all day conducting combat operations without food or water, and then in the evening after prayer watching them eat again, and in fact enjoying the feast with them.
Conducting a quick Village Assessment during Combat Operations in the middle of Ramadan 2006.
I have had Afghans cook me rice and food during Ramadan while they were fasting themselves. I asked them not to, but they were so proud and honored that I like some of their dishes that they insisted. I felt terrible that they cooked for me but could not eat themselves, yet they would have it no other way.
Again let me reiterate that I spent pretty much the entire month of Ramadan in 2006 with Afghans where we slept on the ground, didn’t bathe, and ate when we could while chasing bad guys all over southern Ghazni Province.
As the missions dragged on during that month more and more of them would start eating and drinking during the day. Some held out as long as they could, others went like a day or two and that was it. They weren’t bad muslims for doing this, because according to them and other muslims I have talked to, if one is traveling or not at home during Ramadan then they are allowed to break the fast and eat. This counts when they are “deployed” on missions away from their base, traveling on vacation, etc. However they are supposed to extend their fasting after they return.
So if someone is on vacation or maybe deployed to the field for a week then once they return they SHOULD extend their fasting by another week to make up for it. From what I understand the “make-up” rarely ever happens. Whatever, as that is between them and their faith. The point being they (the Afghans) know this and now the rules.
In addition to knowing this they are also accustom to it. This isn’t their first time observing Ramadan, they have been doing it their whole lives. They know what to expect just like a Catholic knows that during Lent they are required to give up something and not eat meat on Fridays. So it is not like on day 3 of fasting (during daylight hours only) that someone suddenly got so pissed they decided to murder and American or other coalition member.
I am not buying it, and I hope America and the world doesn’t either. I just wish the leadership at all levels could admit the real cause and quit trying to sugar-coat this and quit trying to find a scapegoat for the murder of our troops by the Afghans we are training and partnering with. The American people respect the position the Military leadership has and I believe they trust whatever a General says, so their opinions, comments, etc. hold a lot of value and validity by virtue of them saying it.
Read the whole story at http://www.stripes.com/news/army/allen-blames-some-insider-attacks-on-stress-of-ramadan-fasting-1.186734