Michael's Dispatches

Want to Know Something about Afghan fighting? I will tell you.


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Mind-dump, sans edit

I am a little sick -- possibly from being around all those migrants in Darien jungle. Please excuse foggy writing.

This video is actually fused from two separate firefights when I was with British. We got into so many firefights I cannot even remember. Like remembering all the cows you see while driving up I-75. Did you know that I literally got into hundreds of firefights in Afghanistan. Not including Iraq. That's hard to believe for most people. But it will not be hard to believe for troops who were in the thickest areas, like Sangin.

This was Sangin. The most dangerous district in all of Afghanistan. Did you see the excellent film Restrepo? Sangin was even more action packed than that. Sangin was the Thunderdome of Afghanistan.

And that's why you probably never heard of it. Most journalists did not want to venture out there. British Army asked if I would go. I jumped on a helicopter.

Game on.

One time I was making an interview by sat-phone and a firefight broke out. This actually happened several times between Iraq and Afghanistan. My wars were NOT 99% boredom. There was no time for boredom.

And I learned a lot about Pashtun ways of fighting. Much of that was from reading books. Much of that was from talking with combat vets. War stories are very important. If vets do not tell their stories, we lose vital information. So stop being silent, and tell your hard-won stories. We must spread this knowledge.

And the rest was tons of combat. My own war stories.

And from my own study, listening to war stories, and experience, I will say this about the building fight in Kabul. The longer we stay, the more likely we will end up with severe fighting inside Kabul. We are still somewhat within their OODA, but not much.

As you know, Pashtun -- who comprise most of Taliban -- have many cultural fighting habits. One is to pursue fleeing enemies. Like Border Collies. Have you ever had a Border Collie? They chase what flees. Including you.

Pashtun will not stop fighting us so long as we are there. These guys giving briefings talking about negotiating with Taliban are either dumber than oysters or lying like starfish. Pashtun-Taliban see us fleeing. They are chase-o-holics. It's probably hardly within their realm of Will to resist chasing us.

There is another cultural habit of swarming. Many cultures do this. We see it during flatscreen riots in America, only the people doing flatscreen riots are less civilized than Taliban. Some cultures swarm more than others.

When I was in Mindanao, Philippines, Green Berets and SEALs told me about local swarming habits. Called pentacaso or something like that. Cockfight. And so, if you get into a firefight, every farmer and villager within earshot drops what they are doing and runs to the fight. Showing up with whatever they have, often planning to find weapons on arrival.

This is very dangerous for defenders on islands. The swarm will surround you and keep adding to the swarm and either push you to the sea or cause you to use all your ammo and then cut off your head. So either you must break contact quickly, before the swarm forms, or reinforce.

You can bet your last dollar that right now many men from Pashtun villages around Afghanistan have been emptying out to join the fight. They know if they win they can fetch some young virgins. Get some treasure. Get some glory. Have some fun. Chop some enemies to pieces. The most exciting moment of their life.

The longer this takes, the more likely we will see suicide attacks and all sorts of other increasingly heavy fighting as the swarm builds.

Some people are saying they did not see the intelligence that Taliban could mass so quickly. That's only because they did not take into account the swarming behavior of some cultures.

We've just stamped in an ant bed. And while dancing around swatting ants, we tipped over a beehive. While running from the bees we jumped into a river and crocodiles heard the splash.

Our people must move very fast. There is no time for hormone therapy. Already the Brits are forced to do our man-work and are reportedly rescuing people while our woke-borne forces are quarantined on base.

This will get worse if we do not move quickly. Broken arrow.

I made this video during two small firefights. Notice the British troop kneeling while bullets are snapping by us, and the other British Soldier with his body turned 90 degrees TOWARD the enemy. Why were they so exposing themselves?

Because of gear. The British helmets and rucksacks were made such that when troops were laying on the ground, troops could not lift their heads to aim. The helmet hit the pack. And so one decided to take a big chance kneeling, and the other lay more exposed to the machine gun. When his rifle jammed...

All this work, and my education, was result of reader donations, by the way. Thank you for helping me get shot at so much.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    David Chute · 5 months ago
    Michael, don't worry about it. Even when you're sick, you're a country mile ahead of whomever is in 2nd place. Your knowledge and insights are gold, so just post when you get to feeling better. I very much appreciate it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
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