The Plank

A Counterinsurgency Parable: Hi-Tech Drone vs. Stoned Farmer

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A pro-counterinsurgency source eagerly calls my attention to the intro of this Seattle Times story:

CHAHARQULBA, Afghanistan As the sky hinted at dawn, U.S. soldiers went hunting for Taliban in the Arghandab Valley. They had satellite-linked monocles to display the locations of platoons. They could summon an aerial drone to buzz overhead with a surveillance camera. They could call on Kiowa helicopters for search-and-destroy missions.

One of their most valuable assets, however, was an informant: a farmer with a taste for opium.

"It all came down to one guy who said, 'The Taliban stole my motorcycle.' He was high, and he was pissed, and he gave us the tip on where to find them," said Sgt. Kenneth Rickman, 34, of Vandalia, Ill.

It's all about the HUMINT, you might say.

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