‘Insider Killings’ in Afghanistan

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Snouck Hurgronje’s thesis was rejected by many when it first saw the light of day.  In time however, it proved triumphant, and provided the basis for the successful pacification of Aceh.  It was only when the Dutch authorities aligned their military strategy with Snouck Hurgronje’s insights that they began to win the war.  Military success came as a huge relief to the Dutch authorities, and meant that by 1902 Snouck Hurgronje was able to write, “Now no one any longer doubts that the dogmas of Islam on the subject of religious war, so fanatical in their terms, supplied the principal similes to the obstinate rebellion.”  (However individual acts of “Acehnese murder” did continue – albeit in significantly decreasing numbers – right up until the Japanese occupation in 1942.)

The theological framework for the Acehnese jihad, which Snouck Hurgronje exposed to the understanding of Dutch leaders in 1893, happens to be exactly the same as that used by jihadi scholars such as Abdullah Azzam in the late 20th and early 21st centuries to stimulate what western elites refer to as “terrorism.”

It is a classical dogma of Islam that when Muslim lands are occupied by infidel forces, it is an individual religious obligation upon all Muslims to do their utmost to defend their lands against the infidels.  This belief drove the Acehnese insurgency over a century ago, and it drives the Afghan conflict today.

Snouck Hurgronje also explained that the practice of deceit – manifested in feigned friendship leading to what we would now call “insider killings” – can be derived from the dogmas of Islam and specifically from religious attitudes to infidels.

It is disappointing that after more than a decade of war, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are mystified by the phenomenon of “insider killings.” Has political correctness so neutered their capacity to wage war?  Are they so blind to the religious nature of the war they are fighting?  How can they be unfamiliar with the classical dogmas of jihad, which make it a compulsory religious duty for individual Muslims to fight against infidel occupiers of Muslim lands?

The US generals, indeed any army fighting a jihad insurgency in Muslim lands, would do well to read Snouck Hurgronje’s report, especially volume I (see here).

The insider killings of Afghanistan today are essentially the same phenomenon as “Acehnese murder” of over a century ago. The straightforward, rational explanation for Afghan soldiers turning their US-supplied weapons against their “allies” can be found in the beliefs outlined by Snouck Hurgronje in the late 19th century: the dogma that Muslims have a duty to defend Muslim lands against infidel occupation; the dogma that if Muslims are killed in jihad, paradise will be their reward; and the dogma that in jihad, deceiving the infidel is no sin.

Reuters has reported that in Afghanistan:

Field commanders have also been given discretion to increase numbers of so-called “guardian angel” sentries who oversee foreign soldiers in crowded areas such as gyms and food halls, to respond to any rogue shooting incidents.

This is reminiscent of remarks by the Acehnese poet Anzib Lamnyong, reflecting on the assassination of a Dutchman by Lém Abah, an Acehnese man from his own village:

Very often people attacked the Dutch like that, so that the Dutch had to keep a very close guard on Banda Aceh, night and day, all around the whole city.  But no matter how well those guards kept watch, they still kept getting attacked by our people, who would strike them down …  The Dutch were in great consternation about our brave people, who did not fear the bullet that might strike them dead in the twinkling of an eye.

One expects that, when the last infidel troops have left Afghanistan, and Muslim sovereignty has been fully restored, the memory of the Afghan jihadis who are even now perpetrating “insider killings” may come to be held in high renown, just as the name of Teuku Umar is revered in Indonesia to this day.

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  • SKIP

    We recently suffered an internal attack where I am and at the end of it a day or two later I asked the military "you have been at war with these people for more than 10 years now and you still know nothing of your enemy" Our ANA (Afghan National Army) "guards" apparently let them in and the military has "no idea what their motive for doing so could have been" Idiots.

    • Drakken

      That is one of the reasons I never ever allow ANA or locals into our camps period! I learned this very valuble lesson in Iraq when I caught one of our supposed allies pacing the grounds for a mortar attack. Long story short I continue to tell the military not to allow them in your camps and always have them in front of you, never behind you and never ever trust them under any circumstance,you'll live a lot longer that way. My only rule of enguagement to my folks is simple, if it tries to shoot, kill it. You will see a lot more of this because the top officials are too PC to complain and are just as guilty as the hadjis.

      • SKIP

        Totally right you are, NEVER trust muslims.

  • Rifleman

    That's one of the problems with an announced and arbitrary pull out date. We're handing it back over to the taliban and like everywhere else we've abandoned to an enemy, the survival odds of the families who aided us aren't good. They will send out, or allow to be sent out some family members on suicide missions against coalition troops, to buy the survival of the rest of the extended family. I wouldn't doubt the taliban has it pretty well organized by now. The taliban used to have to use kidnapping or threats to wipe out a family to get 'volunteers' for their suicide missions. Now they have leverage on everyone.

    When obama announced a fixed bugout date, he announced his intention to win the battles while ultimately losing the war. Then we'll be back to square one in the Hindu Kush, except nobody there will ever trust our word.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.villano.71 Mike Villano

      Rifleman hit the bull's eye dead center.

  • Jerry

    Last night on FOX NEWS, General Allen made the statement that the increased killings during the month of Ramadan were due to Muslims having to fast during the day. Either this man is an idiot or a traitor or perhaps both. Yes, I do get a little grumpy when I haven't eaten all day but I have yet wanted to kill someone because of it. Even our military leaders are lying to us just as Obama is and I cannot help but wonder how this will end.

    • Leland64

      If not an idiot, surely a moron. That just about sums our current military and civilian leadership. General Allen is the newest example. General Dempsey's criticism of the OPSEC group, General Casey's concern for "our diversity" labeling the Ft. Hood massacre "workplace violence", the continuing drama regarding Major Hasan's beard, and Panetta's disarming US troops prior to gracing them with his presence seem particularly idiotic. Time and space limits displaying more. Rifleman's post in on target. Keep up the fire!

    • Mark Durie

      Ramadan has always been associated with Jihad in Islam. See for example the founder of Wahhabism waxing lyrical on why Ramadan is a good season for fighting infidels: http://en.alukah.net/Thoughts_Knowledge/0/507/. Of course there are more jihad attacks during Ramadan: it is a religious war, and Ramadan is a religious month.

  • oldtimer

    Get all our evacuation equipment, boats, planes, choppers everything and remove our troops, all at once, unannounced and leave those barbarians to kill each other.

    • amused

      There ya go Pop , I knew you possesed common sense .

  • BS77

    Two thousand of our troops have made the ultimate sacrifice after ten years of a chaotic and incomprehensible strategy to "win" in Afghanistan…..As in the Iraqi war…there will be no unconditional surrender, no victory parades, no celebrations….nothing like that– just a depressing end to two campaigns that cost the lives of thousands, and left thousands more injured for life. As radio hostess Barbara Simpson said, "It is outrageous." True.
    The politicians shrug and say nothing. Is this the same nation that defeated Japan and Nazi Germany during WW II?

  • Metatrona

    Why are we in Afghanistan? It is a zoo where the residents are sub-human. Get out, and let them turn on each other…they will, you know!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.villano.71 Mike Villano

    On one hand the inability or refusal to know why is idiotic or insane but on the other hand the Obama Admin has scrubbed and forbidden the language necessary to describe what is happening.
    They essentially waged an Orwellian war of language against our own troops to the direct benefit of the jihadis.
    Funny how Democrats invariably do things that help enemies murder Americans.
    They just don't feel quite right if they aren't.

    • amused

      you got your head screwed on backwards Vilano.

  • amused

    It's got NOTHING to do with an "Announced withdrawal date " and EVERTHING to do with the nature of slam and Afghans . We shoulda been out of there years ago . Dont blame Democrats , you're all to blame , including the Generals , who fail to recognize the reality on the ground . Republicans want to stay there another 10 years , Democrats didn't pull the troops out soon enough . What both groups of idiotys shopuld do in a [OMIGOSH ] bi-partisan manner , is get our kids THE HELL OUTTA THERE ASAP > for while your DEM/REP pissing contest continues , our brave sons and daughters are made to be sitting ducks .

    • mlcblog


    • LindaRivera

      Yes! The immoral wars for Islam must stop!

    • LindaRivera

      Yes! Stop our brave American and British military being forced to die for Islam! Stop the illegal immoral wars!

      Why are Americans and Brits being forced to give their blood and treasure for Islam? If the Muslims want to fight wars, let the Muslims fight and let the Muslims use their money!

  • Don

    Did I miss the strategy the Dutch employed after Hurgronje’s insights were accepted? Or did the author neglect to describe it? Seems like a crucial omission to me.

    • SKIP

      I daresay that the U.S. military leaders have no idea what Hurgronjes' ideas were nor anything about his study of muslims and how to deal with them. HELL! ten years into this fuc*** war and they still have no idea of what motivates their enemy NOR how to even identify them.

  • Drakken

    The only way you are going to win on the ground in a muslim country is very simple, kill islam and you win. Is it any wonder that ole Ghenghis Khan was the last one to defeat these folks?

    • SKIP


  • guest

    Yes, trying to explain resistance to military occupation of one's homeland is very complicated, thanks for the insights.

  • Ghostwriter

    Most of the Americans haven't harmed anyone in Afghanistan. It sound more like a bunch of religious fanatics to me.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The loss of life and treasure is only justifiable in securing safety for our Nation, all else is political
    hyjinx that smells of money deals by our elected officials that see us as herd catte to be culled
    and sold for their profit. We must have and explaination of what we are doing and why to
    continue to support war, if it is not forthcoming then our people should return but if fight we
    must, identify the targets and destroy them with expediency, we are at this to long.

  • SKIP

    All this fighting and losses in Afghanistan and Iraq and out REAL ENEMIES, the SAUDIS grow rich, fat and continue to support our terrorists all over the world with the money our own damned government gives them.

  • LindaRivera

    They are devout Muslims obeying the commands of the Quran to kill hated non-Muslims.

    Our military are being offered up as sacrifices to Islam.

  • Drakken

    If you want to know how to fight and win I would highly suggest these so learned political animals call generals open up the playbook on how we won in the Philipines during the 1890's-1910. The Moro jihadist when confronted with American know-how on what they stood for used it against them in spades, the movement collasped after that. Prime example, and American officer galthered 50 Moros and lined them up on a ditch with pig carcases, dipped the bullets in pigs blood and shot 49 of them and let the 50th run away to spread the word. That is how you win.

  • winston

    My sinceretest condolences to the victims and their loved one. But let us be fair. How many of their non-combatants have we killed with our morally indefensible invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq? For all of our 'smart bombs' 90% of all victims have been civilians. We have used illegal weapons like, phosphorus, against a civilian population -'Fallujah The Hidden Massacre' and depleted uranium as a matter of course. So as disgusting as this is, it pales when compared to the staged 9/11 attacks [see ajl/.smugmug.com/911 -and actually do some fact-based research before you respond to this comment] -and the preemptive wars, bombing, invading, and occupying, of countries that have resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent victims over the last 50 years. -Then comment. Please don't imagine, even for a moment, that we are getting the full story from the corporate run media on these issues; we haven't and we aren't.

    The docs: 'War Made Easy' & 'The Power Principle' should enlighten you some if you think these statements come out of wacky left field somewhere. As the smugmug/911 page states: 'Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance' -albert einstein
    "Iraq For Sale" & "Why We Fight" are worth viewing as well.

    • Joe

      Where do you get the 90% numbers? Arab media? Phosphorus is not an illegal substance or "weapon". Phosphorus is used to create harmless smoke. It's also used to burn things, like sensitive equipment that we may need to abandon. Oh….and its also in flares used by the police or a firemen to direct traffic after an accident. Depleted Uranium is used in the tank round known as the Sabot. It is handled by our troops. It is harmless in most cases (key word DEPLETED!!!).
      Military officers do not spend their day thinking up ways to kill innocent civilians. They want to kill their enemy. That's all that is useful. Killing "non-combatants" serves no military purpose.

  • winston

    Pardon, that domain is: ajl.smugmug.com/911 *There is an incredible set of high resolution images there of the North Tower that are also very revealing.

  • Michael Burd

    Now we know what the Israelis have to put up with having these barbarians as neighbors!

    Why should Australians being dying for these arsholes , then they want to come to our country to cause trouble.

    Let them fighting amongst themselves like in Syria and Palestinian Terror – Tories !

  • Leon

    Australia just recently lost three to "friendly" who opened fire at close range.
    Two others died in a helicoptor crash. Strange coincidence ?

  • Barb

    Mystified?! Seriously???? Please join us for INTELLIGENT discussion on this politically correct war that is getting our fine troops killed unnecessary! http://www.facebook.com/RoE.USMilitary#!/RoE.USMi

  • thedevilweknow

    I watched a rather disconcerting documentary on Starz entitled "Why We Fight." I don't necessarily believe everything I see or hear, but it did make some interesting assertions and connecting of the dots. Just for what it's worth–I'm not endorsing it, but it doesn't hurt to look at things like this and draw your own conclusions.