Stability Operations and Getting in their Minds
This was sent by KL. He was a Army Special Forces member in charge on helping fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A couple of years ago my team and a group of locals were tasked with what was then known as stability operations. The Taliban was supposedly gone, but we all knew they were still hiding among the villagers.
While the officers and interpreters were working with the different villages' elders, we were trying to figure out a good way to make the bad guys stick out. Just to make them come out so we could take care of them.
At that time we were working closely with our Red Team, a group of former SF guys that had also some civilians attached. They were helping us polish the plan and provided a very good analysis of what they were seeing on each village after the visits.
One of these guys attached to the Red Team, one of your guys, had this ingenious idea to draw the bad guys out. He proposed that some of smaller people in the our team or some of the locals dress with full-on burkas and that they walk without a male escort in the streets of each village. This would, hopefully, make the Taliban guys mad and they would try to stop the women.
At first, it sounded like a stupid idea. What if the villagers came out and stopped the women? That didn't mean they were Taliban. But, after giving this some thought we all began seeing the logic behind this and agreed to try it.
We agreed to try this on villages were we suspected the bad guys were hiding. And then it happened. The first village was a no-go, the villagers were outraged about a single woman walking alone in the street, but they came to us to go ask her to go back to her husband, we said no and they just approached the woman and began screaming at her (him), but nothing else happened. The second and third villages, however... It worked.
When the villagers came to ask us to make that woman go back to her husband and we said no, well, a few guys just went ballistic and they even brought out some rifles, screaming about the dangers of women and blah blah... We grabbed them right there.
80% of the people we grabbed turned out to be bad guys. The villagers were really happy to have them out of their villages and we were happy to have them, period.
It was good thinking.