What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


In the last post I said I would drop my laptop for four days. Well, that takes effect tomorrow. So I am still left with some time to post just one more time. This is an update to an earlier post about the September 4 Kunduz bombing.
In that post which I am updating here I wrote cautiously of accusations levelled at German officers. Critics were alleging that the Germans falsely claimed that they were in "contact" with hostile forces when they requested the bombing of two fuel tankers stolen by the Taliban, on September 4 this year. Reportedly, a German officer answered to a question by an American F-15 pilot, regarding whether they were in contact, that they were in visual contact. This he may have answered because of bad language skills, as a sarcastic view could have it. Or it may have been simply a lie, as some aggressive critics claimed within NATO. Or...
Or it may have been just what goes for normal in Afghanistan, for the coalition. The German officers perceived there to be a potential threat (of the tanker-bombing of the German base in Kunduz) and, sensing danger, they called it a (T)IC. In fact, the latter narrative would leave room for healthy scepticism of all the loud criticism of Germany by the U.S. military, by anonymous NATO officials, and others, especially given how in the German case, by now, people were removed from their positions, or have resigned, over what happened, which can be contrasted to the lack of such changes in the wake of similar incidents.
"... “troops in contact,” or “TIC,” has become the most abused phrase in the Afghanistan campaign. What started as a cry for help has now come to mean … well, almost anything. And that’s putting at risk troops who are really in harm’s way. “The most abused thing in this war is declaring a TIC,” says a senior Air Force officer.
Over the past year reporting on the air war, I’ve seen TICs “opened” because of rockets were fired in the general vicinity of a rather large base; the immediate danger to western forces was negligible. Meanwhile, units like Echo Company of the 2/8 Marines have grown so used to gunfights that they sometimes won’t even bother reporting a TIC — even though the Taliban are shooting right at them."

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