Case of Study
This article is an excerpt from the new book Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack (Dr. Jennifer Hesterman, CRC, 2014).
In a January 2014 interview, President Vladimir Putin asserted that,
"if we allow ourselves to be weak, feel weak, let our fear to be seen, by doing that we’ll assist those terrorists in achieving their goals1."
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia was historic because, for the first time, the global discussion was more focused on the escalating potential of terrorist activity against unprotected “soft” targets and the requisite security for the Games’ venues rather than on the athletic competitions. With serious threats of terrorist attacks shrouding the Games, the Russian Olympic Committee generated the most sophisticated and extensive security regime in history.
U.S. intelligence had periodically gotten scraps of information about U.S. POWs, most recently a few days prior in Baghdad. The military had Special Forces and CIA teams dedicated to look for them, but no one had yet been able to get accurate enough or timely enough information to locate them. After Baghdad fell and they were still missing, we knew that the chances of finding them alive had greatly lessened. We assumed that whatever regime element was still holding them was probably afraid that keeping the POWs captive was dangerous. We were afraid the Iraqis would just kill them rather than risk being caught with them. April 13th, 2003 was their twenty-second day of captivity.
Outside Samarra, while LtCol Clardy was talking to the tribal elders using Ra’ad, an old man approached Jason and in broken English said he knew where the Americans were being held. Jason wanted more information, but as soon as the old man caught sight of the tribal elders talking with LtCol Clardy he fled, saying they were “evil.” When the sheiks left, however, he returned. This time he approached one of the 3rd LAR Marines, who immediately found Randy. Any mention of the POWs meant instant, focused attention.
U.S. intelligence had periodically gotten scraps of information about U.S. POWs, most recently a few days prior in Baghdad. The military had Special Forces and CIA teams dedicated to look for them, but no one had yet been able to get accurate enough or timely enough information to locate them.
A common method used by Taliban tribal members in eastern and southern Afghanistan to gain control of an area deemed of strategic interest to the Taliban leadership operating from safe havens in Pakistan or within Afghanistan is to identify and target villages to subvert. The Taliban has recognized the necessity to operate with the compliance of the local population.
The modus operandi has been to gain its cooperation through indoctrination (preferred) or coercion (when necessary). e control of villages is tactically needed to allow the Taliban to stage ghters and equipment to be used in attacks against Afghan security forces and US and coalition troops, and strategically to operate an e ective and parallel “shadow government” that supplants the Afghan central government.