Your front-page article on March 12 told of emboldened Afghan elders asking tough questions to U.S. authorities (“As U.S. releases detainees, Afghan complaints persist”).

I find it very ironic that they are so able to stand up to us, yet they cower and refuse to stand up to the Taliban who use them as human shields and wage war from their front yards and mosques. It should be noted that they feel safe enough, or have the freedom, to stand up and ask us those questions because of us.

We (American soldiers) are your target audience. I think most of us are really tired of hearing how much they (Afghans) dislike/mistrust us. I don’t remember seeing any village elders asking the Taliban hard questions right before they executed a burqa-clad, unarmed female in the soccer stadium.

During my deployment to Afghanistan I was asked by a village elder why he had to wait so long to receive some of the free medical aid or food that we were handing out, and it was very obvious that he was angry. When I asked him how long he had to wait the last time the Taliban showed up to give free medicines and food instead of taking what they wanted, he quickly sat down and wouldn’t even make eye contact after that.

I wonder how they (Afghans) would feel if there was a front-page article in their newspaper showing military prisoners in America being released because their commander showed up to vouch for them.

Why can’t Stars and Stripes ask some hard questions, like, will our troops want to read this?

Sgt. Maj. Charlie A. Fergurson IIICamp Lemonnier, Djibouti

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