Because Prisons Work So Well In Counterinsurgency

BY Herschel Smith
5 years ago

We’ve discussed the use of prisons in counterinsurgency before, but new reports are interesting, and maybe will even change our minds on the issue.

The Government of Afghanistan decides to set free the jailed Taliban fighters from Afghan jails as part of the Afghan peace process aiming to reintegrate the Taliban rebels with the Afghan government, officials said in Kabul.

The decision takes at the time that the transition of security responsibilities from the international forces to Afghan security forces will start at the mid of July 2011 which is enabling the international forces to pull out troops from Afghanistan.

Officials said that the Afghan government and the reconciliation commission have freed more than 5,000 Taliban rebels from Afghan jails including the Bagram prison running by the United States forces.

According to officials, they aim to encourage the Taliban fighters to give up violence and joint the Government of Afghanistan in an attempt to end up a decade of war in the country.

Recently the Afghan security forces released more than 100 Taliban detainee from prison in Ghazni province in southern Afghanistan where is known as the Taliban stronghold.

Officials in this province said they continue releasing jailed Taliban from government prisons based on the order of the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Members of the Afghan Peace Council said they took this decision as an “encouragement “for Taliban rebels to lay down arms and join the Afghan government.

However, there are concerns that the newly released Taliban fighters will rejoin the Taliban and will take part in war against the international forces and the Afghan government.

Responding to the concerns that majority of the newly released Taliban go back to Taliban and take part in war against the Afghan government and the international forces, the Afghan peace council said the newly released Taliban members give them “guarantee” that they will never go back to Taliban and stay with their families in Afghanistan.

“We assure the newly freed Taliban members to protect them from night raids and detention by US forces and to find them jobs.” A member of the Afghan Peace Council said.

Meanwhile, Afghan political experts said the reintegrated Taliban members somehow keep their ties with the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan and they are behind terroristic acts in the country.

They said several jailed-free Taliban members were behind the killing of UN staff in Mazar-I-Sharif and during the protest against the burning of Quran by a Florida based priest.

“Those Taliban members provoked the people to kill the UN staff and burn down their office in Balkh province.” Samad Ebrihiami an Afghan journalist and political expert told La

“The jailed-free Taliban members were among the protestors and they were carrying small-arms with themselves.” adds Ebrihiami.

He said this is big concern for the people in Afghanistan because the jailed-free Taliban members are living in nice houses and hotels in Kabul and other province and the Afghan government allows them to carry weapons for their security, and as he said, no one knows what these jailed-free Taliban are doing.

By the way, the Afghan political analysts said freeing of Taliban members from Afghan jails will strengthen the Taliban and will increase the Afghan security crisis.

But surely the Afghan political analysts are wrong about this, because, you know, prisons work so well in counterinsurgency.  Right?  Isn’t that why we’re spending all of this time and manpower and money imprisoning people?  Because it adds to the effectiveness of the campaign?  It adds so much, in fact, that it’s more important to guard prisoners than it is to go on patrol, find and kill insurgents.  Right?

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  • Daver

    According to my son, a USMC 0311 recently returned from Helmand, the effect on their morale when seeing released Taliban was significant. He recalled capturing two bombers after an IED wounded a squad-mate. A week later they saw the two walking by them, smiling and waving. He said apparently American testimony is inadmissible in Afghan courts. Many of the IEDs they saw were command detonated, so they would hustle to catch the bomber.
    The officers and visiting Senators would interact with the Afghans, but the 03s in my son’s company didn’t trust any of them, including the imbedded ANP. The only one they would get to know were the interpreters (“terps”), but they were the primary target of the bombers, so they turned over a lot. The squad leaders walked with the terps, so they turned over a lot too.

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You are currently reading "Because Prisons Work So Well In Counterinsurgency", entry #6748 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Prisons in Counterinsurgency and was published April 20th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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