Mattis' Claim Brazen Insider Attack In Afghanistan Won't Have A 'Long-Term Effect' Is Absurd


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday attempted to downplay a recent insider attack in Afghanistan that wiped out two top Afghan leaders in Kandahar and wounded the governor.

"It's a tragic loss of a patriot for Afghanistan," Mattis said of Gen. Abdul Raziq, the Kandahar police chief who was shot and killed Thursday. "But I don't see it having a long-term effect on our area."

The Pentagon chief was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a security conference in Singapore, where he said the officers around Raziq and the security forces have matured, speculating that the loss of their top leader wouldn't have a profound impact on how they operate.

"I've seen the officers around him. I've seen the maturation of the Afghan security forces," he said.

Afghanistan is about to hold legislative elections — which were just delayed by at least a week due to the attack — an event sure to invite even more violence as the Taliban vows to disrupt the polls. Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces that Mattis says are maturing have, in recent months, endured unsustainable losses in combat.

And, as Bill Roggio notes at Long War Journal, the loss of one of Kandahar's top leaders not having repercussions seems to be wishful thinking at best:

The death of Raziq may have major implications on the security situation in southern Afghanistan. Raziq has been the US military’s top ally in the south. During the surge from 2009 to 2012, Raziq was instrumental in mustering his fighters to clear the Taliban from strongholds in Kandahar, as well as in neighboring provinces of Uruzgan and Helmand. As the chief of police in Kandahar, he has kept a lid on the Taliban’s insurgency, which has intensified over the past several years. Raziq hoarded power in the province, and it is unclear if one of his deputies can effectively replace him.

The Taliban has targeted Raziq numerous times in the past in suicide and other attacks. He was targeted because of his influence in Kandahar and throughout the south.

The Taliban hope to destabilize Kandahar as it did Uruzgan after the assassinations of Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of the province, in 2011, and his nephew, Matiullah Khan, the provincial chief of police, in 2015. Like Raziq, the Khans stockpiled power. Once the Khans were killed by the Taliban, Uruzgan became one of the most dangerous provinces in the country.

It's not credible to say that losing Raziq doesn't change the game in Kandahar. His death is a huge win for the Taliban; why else would they have tried to kill him so many times in the past?

And let's not forget the fact that this attack happened with American troops right there, to include the top general in charge of NATO troops, Gen. Scott Miller. Clearly in the danger zone, according to CNN's Barbara Starr, Miller drew his pistol as the attack unfolded (he did not fire).

One can only imagine what the ramifications would be (or what Mattis would say in response) if Miller were wounded or killed during such a brazen attack.

Sadly, this is just one example among many demonstrating that neither the Pentagon or the Afghan government can be trusted to tell the truth of what is happening in Afghanistan. From pronouncements such as these or Mattis in May claiming the Taliban was on their "back foot," to the wholesale censorship of previously-unclassified data on the state of the Afghan security forces, they know the war is, and has been lost for a long time.

But just like the Vietnam war before it, it seems our senior military leadership will need far more time than most of the American public to admit it.

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less