If you want to keep Afghans happy, don’t mention the Taliban, paedophilia or women’s rights

A TOP military commander in Afghanistan is reportedly pissed over a proposed new handbook for American soldiers which warns them not upset Muslims by speaking ill of the Taliban, advocate women’s rights or criticise paedophilia.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the handbook suggests that many of the confrontations between coalition troops and Afghans are the result of:

Ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms.

The handbook tells soldiers that they should be prepared for a “social-cultural shock” when meeting Afghan soldiers, and avoid potentially fatal confrontations by steering clear of such controversial subjects as Taliban misdeeds, religion and local attitudes to women.

But, according to this report, the draft handbook’s instructions to treat the locals with kid gloves “is not going over well” with US Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan.

General John Allen

General John Allen

Said Col Tom Collins, a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan:

Gen Allen did not author [it], nor does he intend to provide a foreword. He does not approve of its contents.

More than three dozen attacks by Afghan soldiers have claimed the lives of some 63 members of the coalition this year. The insider attacks could jeopardise plans to transfer full security control to Afghan forces in 2014.

The version reviewed by the Journal is still subject to revisions,  Lt Gen David Perkins, commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The handbook is the result of a study, based on interviews with 600 members of the Afghan security forces and 200 American soldiers. It paints a grim portrait of opposing cultures with simmering disdain for each other..

The draft handbook includes a summary stating that some US soldiers consider Afghan forces to be “basically stupid” thieves, “gutless in combat”, “profoundly dishonest” and engaged in “treasonous collusion and alliances with enemy forces”.

Other “taboo conversation topics” include “criticism of Afghans”, “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam”.