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Thread: Afghan Exit:why, how and more in country and beyond

  1. #41
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    Posted by Entrophy

    When I think of "abandoning" Afghanistan, I think of what we did in the early 1990's which was to essentially dump all resources and interest in Afghanistan down the drain.
    I keep hearing this and have yet seen any evidence that there anything we should have done in the early 90s. When the Soviets pulled out they left a proxy government gov in place that held for a couple of years. Are you and others suggesting we should have provided (or perhaps continued to provide) support to the Taliban that finally ousted the proxy government after the USSR collapsed?

    I think this myth started when the book and then the movie "Charlie's Wilson's War" became popular. A retired SF officer allegedly advised President Bush that we couldn't repeat the same mistake of pulling the rug out from under the Afghan people's feet, which is partly what got us into this nation building mess.

    Highly recommend reading the article at the link below and other historical accounts of what actually happened when the Soviets pulled out, it doesn't nest with our emotional narrative.

    http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/P...r/Fivecoat.pdf

    Unable to obtain a military solution, Gorbachev described the war in Afghanistan as a “bleeding wound.”14 He called for Soviet forces to return home quickly and switched to a strategy that utilized military and diplomatic instruments.15 His decision was a de facto acknowledgement of Afghanistan’s unsuitability for communism, the Soviet Union’s unwillingness to make a long-term commitment, and his aversion to widening the war to stop the flow of arms, money, and fighters from Pakistan. To point things in the right direction, the Soviet Union removed Karmal in May. They saw his replacement, Mohammad Najibullah, the former head of KhAD, as better organized, hardnosed, and a “serious, pragmatic politician who understood the Soviet desire . . . to disengage from Afghanistan.”16 Similar to his 1985 ultimatum, Gorbachev charged Najibullah with unifying Afghanistan over the next two years as the Soviets departed.
    The Soviet Union began to “Afghanize” the war by turning most of the responsibility for combat operations over to the DRA
    .

    Afghanistan was and remains equally unsuitable for modern, liberal democracy.

    By early 1987, the Soviet Union concluded the situation was dire. Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet foreign minister, declared “in essence, we fought against the peasantry. The state apparatus is functioning poorly. Our advice and help is ineffective.”24 Searching for a way out, Gorbachev focused on modifying Afghanistan’s political policies, pursuing an international diplomatic resolution, while continuing military and economic support. The improved orchestration of the instruments of power helped set the conditions for the Soviet Union’s withdrawal in 1988 and 1989.
    Not sure on this one, but it seems we have an adequate level control of the major urban areas and most of our combat operations are directed against the peasantry also. Probably true for most forces that invaded Afghanistan.

    While talks continued in Geneva, the Soviet Union engaged the Americans directly at a September summit in Washington, D.C. Gorbachev proposed to withdraw the 40th Army in seven to twelve months after an agreement was signed.28 He still hoped he could end American support for the mujahidin as a precondition.
    Militarily, the 40th Army fought only when attacked and focused on training DRA forces. The Afghan forces continued to grow to over 323,000 soldiers and the militias grew to 130,000 fighters
    .

    Supposedly Gorbachev, according to another historical account, made a case to President Reagan that we should cooperate with USSR in stabilizing the region after they withdrew because radical Islam was a common threat to both our nations. Would like to find a credible source for this if it exists.

    The Afghan government’s expenditures grew due to the ceasefire payments and the expanding military. Its revenue declined because of the cancellation of the back taxes of all refugees and the decline in natural gas exports. To cover the shortfalls, the Soviet Union increased its aid 83 percent more than in 1986 to 64 billion afghanis ($1.2 billion.)34
    Gorbachev said better money than the lives of our people.

    From 1 January 1988 until 15 February 1989, Gorbachev combined unilateral declarations, negotiations, a dramatic increase in military and economic aid, and a two-phased withdrawal to navigate the Soviet Union out of the “graveyard of empires.”35 Within Afghanistan, Najibullah continued to use the National Reconciliation Policy but reoriented it towards regime survival and an Islamic foundation.36 The skillful orchestration of the diplomatic, military, and economic instruments allowed the USSR to depart on its terms.
    As part of its long-term commitment, the USSR discretely left 200 military and KGB advisors in Kabul.44 Although the Afghan forces’ 329,000 men had led the last two years of fighting, the departure of 25 percent of the combat power in nine months, as well as the removal of the 40th Army’s aviation and firepower support, resulted in a considerable increase in insurgent violence.
    When then the advisors finally depart?

    As the last soldier crossed the Freedom Bridge on 15 February 1989, Soviet leaders were uncertain how long Najibullah would remain in power. While the Afghan government controlled the cities and roads with a combination of conventional forces, the KhAD, and militias, the budget shortfalls and insurgent threat presented serious challenges to the government. Yet the Russians’ exit energized Najibullah; he “took much more courageous steps [with the National Reconciliation Policy] in terms of opening up the government and society, establishing links with tribal leaders, and shedding its communist image—all of which helped the DRA government to survive into 1992.
    Unfortunately for the government to gain credibility with its people they'll probably have to shed their association with the US and its ideas also. They won't be able to do that if we stay in large numbers.

    The regime was immediately challenged—the mujahidin tried and failed to capture Jalalabad in April 1989, and the Minister of Defense tried and failed to conduct a coup in March 1990. Despite these emergencies, Moscow toed the line of no direct military support; however, Gorbachev pledged that “even in the harshest most difficult circumstance—we will provide you arms.”48 Surprisingly, the Afghan forces fought extremely well at Jalalabad and later seized the Pagham stronghold near Kabul. The insurgency, however, conquered Khost in 1991, significantly weakening Najibullah’s grip on power. Then General Dostum and his Uzbek legion defected in early 1992. This, along with the end of Soviet aid, made Najibullah’s collapse a foregone conclusion.
    The Black Swan was General Dostum, who knows what the Black Swan will be in 2014 and beyond, and whose side it will benefit.

    Even as the USSR slid toward its own demise, it continued to provide billions of afghanis in support of the DRA.49 Eventually, the USSR and the United States signed an agreement to end their support for their proxies. When the Soviet aid stopped in January 1992, the Afghan government could no longer pay the militias or the military. Najibullah fell from power four months later as Massoud and Gulbudin Hekmatyar’s troops occupied Kabul and its environs.50
    Much more in the paper and other historical documents, but the bottom line is our assistance to the Afghan resistance had little to do with humanitarian objectives, and very much to do with strategic objectives related to the USSR. The USSR withdrew and left a functional government in place that held for two years (almost totally dependent on foreign aid from the USSR). Were we supposed to continue to support the resistance who by that time we knew were radical? The Saudis and Pakistanis continued support (the same support we were providing), so how would have continued assistance contributed to a different outcome?

    I think years from now when we can look at this situation without emotion, we may find serious fault with Charlie's approach to "winning" instead of providing just enough assistance to ensure Afghanistan remained a quagmire for the USSR. Suspect the outcome would have been the same. We made a deal with the devil (Saudi and Pakistani extremists) to fight the USSR, now we're reaping what we sowed. Our current approach won't change any of that, and now like the Soviets we're unwilling to carry the fight into Pakistan, so we can probably guess what the outcome will be in 3-5 years after we downsize. We can only learn from history if we can study it without bias.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 11-12-2012 at 09:08 AM.

  2. #42
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    I keep hearing this and have yet seen any evidence that there anything we should have done in the early 90s.
    The lack of interest at all levels with respect to Afghanistan in the early-mid 1990's came back to bite us in the ass. We had almost no one in the government who could speak Pashto or Dari. We had no insight into what was going on in the country. We had few contacts and those we had we generally ignored. All this left us with fewer options and less influence than we would have had when UBL became a threat, and it left us scrambling when 9/11 occurred.

    I'm simply suggesting that we not repeat the mistake. We should certainly withdrawal military forces, but we need to be able to know what is going on in the country afterward and be positioned to influence events if necessary.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  3. #43
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    Assuming we remove all GPF from AFG on schedule, but do continue to try our hand at the ANSF development line of operation on a limited scale and we have some SOF tie-in to deal with AQ, what strategic national interests remain in the support to the country?
    That's a good question. Personally, I think Congress will probably repeat what we did after the withdrawal in Vietnam and cut off support to whatever remains of Karzai's government. I think our interest is mainly to prevent the reemergence of the kind of support and infrastructure AQ had in the late 1990's.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    The lack of interest at all levels with respect to Afghanistan in the early-mid 1990's came back to bite us in the ass. We had almost no one in the government who could speak Pashto or Dari. We had no insight into what was going on in the country. We had few contacts and those we had we generally ignored. All this left us with fewer options and less influence than we would have had when UBL became a threat, and it left us scrambling when 9/11 occurred.

    I'm simply suggesting that we not repeat the mistake. We should certainly withdrawal military forces, but we need to be able to know what is going on in the country afterward and be positioned to influence events if necessary.
    Agreed, I thought you were implying we should have intervened in a substantial way after the Soviets pulled out as many have implied (the Saudis, Paks, and others never quit intervening). Although based on open source reports on the initial operations in Afghanistan it appeared that at least the CIA had some contacts in Afghanistan going back to the 90s, so I don't think we were completely blind. On the other hand we were paralyzed politically and failed to act before 9/11. That is another story altogether.

  5. #45
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    I don't particularly like having the genesis of this thread attributed to me. I simply made the following observation in a thread that proposed that we had "lost two wars":

    It's just time to recognize that we don't need to control, directly or indirectly through the Northern Alliance, Afghanistan to prevent it from being an AQ sanctuary. To recognize that the Northern Alliance has absolutely no interest or desire to be the government we want them to be. To recognize that we are better off simply packing up and going home than we are executing any kind of phased out exit plan
    Certainly there was a "war" phase to both Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were short, and largely one-sided. A UW war in Afghanistan where we shifted the balance of power to leverage the Northern Alliance into power. Not because we believed in the Northern Alliance, but rather because we wanted to punish the Taliban for providing sanctuary to AQ and not turning them over to us upon our demand. Then a conventional war in Iraq to defeat the government and military of that country.

    It is what we convinced ourselves we needed to do after those short wars that has caused us problems. The reasons for this are myriad and disputed. For any smart answer someone else thinks they have a smarter one. Fine. We should at least agree that we really don't understand these things very well, and are so in love with our own narrative we can never grasp that others would simply reject solutions to their problems that we offer, particularly when both the problem and the solution are defined by us to suit our interests and perspectives.

    In many ways there is a tremendous resistance to such meddling by the US in many places. Our intentions are largely moot to the populaces they affect, particularly when they are reasonably working to get their own governments to evolve to meet their evolving expectations of governance. We don't know if we should provide CT and BPC support to keep the old regime in power, or UW support to help some popular movement prevail. So we do a bit of both without much rhyme nor reason to our approaches. We go where the Intel guys tell us to, which means AQ leads us about by the nose as they leverage our fears of what a changing world means to US influence and power.

    This was never about Afghanistan. It was never about Iraq. Even AQ is as much a symptom as a problem. It is time to stop agonizing over specific places or organizations or individuals and begin thinking about who we are and how we best define and secure our interests in the changing world emerging around us.

    Debates over who "won" or who "lost"; or excessive hand-wringing over a particular place such as Afghanistan where we happened to act out on these fears is not that helpful.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  6. #46
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I don't particularly like having the genesis of this thread attributed to me...
    Heh. Stuff like that happens when and where ever well intentioned persons meddle when there was no real cause to do so...
    This was never about Afghanistan. It was never about Iraq. Even AQ is as much a symptom as a problem. It is time to stop agonizing over specific places or organizations or individuals and begin thinking about who we are and how we best define and secure our interests in the changing world emerging around us.
    All true but agonizing over spilt milk apparently makes one feel good. It also seems to focus one on the symptoms rather than the causes...
    Debates over who "won" or who "lost"; or excessive hand-wringing over a particular place such as Afghanistan where we happened to act out on these fears is not that helpful.
    Even more true -- in fact, it's instead harmful and a distraction from what's important.

  7. #47
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default As a well intentioned person who meddles

    Originally Posted by Bob's World:
    I don't particularly like having the genesis of this thread attributed to me...
    Then Ken White:
    ...when there was no real cause to do so...
    Such delicacy and to meet Bob's concern I have amended the Moderator's Note in the first post, the last line now reads: this thread was not started by Bob's World, rather I used it as the starting point.

    This thread may venture into who "won" or "lost" Afghanistan, the key, uncomfortable theme is 'Afghan Exit:why, how and more in country and beyond'. A theme that SWC should consider and discuss - it might actually help!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-11-2012 at 10:19 PM.
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  8. #48
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    No worries Dave. I appreciate very much what you do to keep this site what it is.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  9. #49
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default So do I appreciate all your efforts, David

    Very much so.

    No delicacy involved -- I've been accused of many things but that's a first -- just taking advantage of what I thought a non-issue as a reminder to all that the best of intentions (as in Afghanistan) can have unintended and sometimes not at all humorous but sometimes mildly humorous effects.

    My apologies if you or anyone else was offended, no insult intended. The thrust of my comment was not that minor aside and poor attempt at humor but the contention that we tend to attack symptoms rather than the root of problems and, in the case of Afghanistan, my opinion stated in the last paragraph:

    "...in fact, it's (Debates or excessive hand-wringing over a particular place such as Afghanistan) instead harmful and a distraction from what's important."

  10. #50
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    I wonder whether millions of Afghanis have placed their trust in the US. Were that to be the case, I am inclined to believe that much less anti-Coaltion violence would be happening in the country. To say, correctly, that the rank and file Afghanis had placed their trust in the Coalition in general, or the US in particular, would be tantamount to saying that the the guys wearing the white hats (us) had "won their hearts and minds." And, had we won their "hearts and minds," then we could say we had won the population-centric COIN campaign. However, given that the opposition forces are still able to "move through the people as a fish swims in the sea." to quote Mao, I doubt that "millions" of Afghanis have much trust in the protection that the Coalition forces are supposedly providing to them.

    In other words, the lack of progress in stemming the violence in Afghanistan seems to demonstrate that the Coalition has not established a believable claim to be the legitimate protectors of those Afghan people who Carl asserts will be sold out by US forces' departure. Without that legitimacy, I aver that neither the Afghanis nor anyone else in the world will view the Coalition's departure as a sell out. Anti-American/anti-Western voices may very well bruit the "sellout/abandonment" claim as part of their standard anti-American propaganda rhetoric/rant, but merely saying something does not make it true.

    Afghan feelings about the US presence in Afghanistan seem much more like those of the citizens of Rock Ridge the day that Sheriff Bart arrived in town. (Blazing Saddles)
    Your contention seems to be that the continuing level of violence demonstrates that the "Afghans" haven't thrown in with us therefore won't be subject to being killed for revenge if Taliban & Co. take the place over again. That ignores two things, first there are a lot of different kinds of Afghans from the Hazaras to the Tajiks to the Pashtuns on this side of the valley vs. that side of the valley to this group who sided with the Communist Afghan gov to that group that didn't to on and on and on. Some of those groups threw in with and various individuals threw in with us.

    The second thing it ignores is the effect of a shadow gov that will have you killed if you oppose its wishes. The level of violence isn't a sole measure of how Taliban & Co is liked or disliked, it is as much a measure of how good a hold a well run terror regime can have on a people.

    You can slice it and dice it anyway you want but a lot of people, with names and faces and families, have thrown in with us. When we leave and cut off the money they will be subject to the revenge of Taliban & Co. MO and his boys aren't noted for magnanimity in victory. We should try and take those people with us.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  11. #51
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    What would you have us do, annex Afghanistan as the 51st state and govern the place ourselves? Sooner or later they have to stand on their own, at which point it ceases to be our responsibility and becomes theirs. If we wait for them to be fully ready that will never happen, because as long as we're their they have no incentive to get fully ready.
    Ah yes, the ever reliable fallacy of the false alternative.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    As far as bringing people with us goes, how do you propose to distinguish between those who are at risk from working with us and those who just want a ticket on the gravy train?
    You're right. It would be just too hard. That is always a good reason not to do what you should do. It's hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    It was done briefly, at a time when everybody expected access would eventually be restored, as it was. That doesn't mean it would be sustainable.
    It would be if you reduced your force level. Doesn't matter now though. Too late. And of course it would have been hard to do, always a good reason not to do something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Even without the access issue, options for dealing with Pakistan are limited. We could top giving them money, but that wouldn't stop them from doing what they believe is in their interest. All very well to rant about "fixing" or "doing something", but what exactly do you propose to do?
    Asked and answered on many occasions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Did anyone make a promise? Who? When? To whom? Did this hypothetical promise involve eternal support and security?
    You can go back to JMM99's post, print it out and wave that piece of paper around when you use this argument. It will work good.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Assuming we remove all GPF from AFG on schedule, but do continue to try our hand at the ANSF development line of operation on a limited scale and we have some SOF tie-in to deal with AQ, what strategic national interests remain in the support to the country?

    The only thing I have seen advertised that makes any sense is preventing a resurgence of AQ, but do you think that's anything we really need to worry about, or anything that would justify substantial expenditure of resources?

    Does AFG factor into a larger balance of power issue in the region?
    If Afghanistan were to be retaken by Taliban & Co./Pak Army/ISI we would be back to an Afghanistan controlled by Taliban & Co./Pak Army/ISI as it was before 9-11. Taliban & Co haven't renounced their ideology and the Pak Army/ISI is as it ever was and will be (until India smashes it) so I think it reasonable to expect that it would go back to being the sunny place it was for Islamist terrorists, whether the be AQ or something else. The last time that happened we found it unpleasant.

    Not only would they have the safe place to play they had before, they would have a resurgence of morale and motivation that we can't really imagine. These guys are strongly motivated by religious ideology. If they were to take it over again after what could be seen as a decade long trial of their faith in which they were not found wanting...that would be a very big thing. It is my opinion that that would be seen as a sign from the almighty that the way they have been following has divine approval (even more than now) and they would strive to go on to bigger and better things.

    What effect that would have can't be precisely predicted or quantified but I can't see how the effect wouldn't be a big one and one that would affect us.

    All of the above assumes those guys will prevail in Afghanistan. I don't know if that will happen considering that India, Iran, Turkey, Russia and the Stans are quite interested in what transpires there.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  13. #53
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Ah yes, the ever reliable fallacy of the false alternative.
    Have you got a real alternative?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    It would be if you reduced your force level. Doesn't matter now though. Too late. And of course it would have been hard to do, always a good reason not to do something.
    Reducing your force level would have consequences of its own... and even if you do it, what would you do then?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Asked and answered on many occasions.
    Nope.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    You can go back to JMM99's post, print it out and wave that piece of paper around when you use this argument. It will work good.
    If you're basing a demand for a course of action on a need to keep promises, the issue of who promised what to whom really does need to be addressed.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Default My Take

    I somehow don't think it will end in abrupt surgical departure.Gaining in confidence after his endorsement for a second term, Obama will definitely not wish to wash away whatever gains the West has made in the past decade. The majority of the troops will withdraw, the civilians will and so will many International NGOs.. but the special forces will continue, so will the funding, Karzai may change but an anti-Taliban regime will continue.It has to.. nobody in their right senses would wish to leave a Vipers nest behind. While it may not benefit the Afghans especially the 'South Helmand Farmer', the Taliban may not find it very easy to operate in an Afghanistan covered by satellites & UAVs : if they concentrate.. they will be taken out... so it may not be as unequal as you think. And hey.... 2016... another attack, another President, afresh set of military leadership rarin' to go.. who knows ? Perhaps finally the Indians may grow some balls to do something instead of whining as usual, because by 2016 Pakistan will be on fire & fragmenting as will Kashmir !!Who knows we will shake hands across the Indus !!
    Last edited by Gurkha; 11-13-2012 at 01:13 PM.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default CNP on NATO's Strategy

    In May 2012 a hitherto unknown US think tank the Center for National Policy (CNP) published a short paper on a strategy for NATO; one of the co-authors is Ryan Evans, whose work I have cited before.

    From the summary:
    The main elements of this plan, some of which are already in place, are as follows:

    • Continue transition plans to place Afghan Government and Security Forces in the lead across the country by April 2013. However, “transition” must take on more substance than it has so far. The April 2013 transition cannot be a political fig leaf for home audiences, but an end to American and Allied (non-Afghan) combat operations against Afghan-oriented insurgents outside the scope of embedded mentoring and fire support.

    • Dissolve the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and place Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) in charge of the military mission by April 2013. This will be accompanied by a drawdown of US-NATO troop levels to a force of approximately 30,000 – 6,000-8,000 of whom should be non U.S. military personnel. This large drawdown will ensure that “ownership” is transitioned
    to the Afghan state. The primary military mission will be to continue the intelligence and direct action campaign against transnational terrorist networks in the region.

    • Full transition of governance and development efforts in Afghanistan to the United Nations by April 2013. Governance and development efforts do not aggregate to form an American political strategy.

    • The United States and NATO allies will provide enduring material and political support to the Afghan state in order to ensure sufficient stability around Kabul, the north, and the west and prevent transnational terrorist networks from operating from Afghanistan.

    Keeping more troops in Afghanistan through 2013 will not result in appreciable and durable gains in consolidating the Afghan government's hold over the country. Therefore, the costs in blood and treasure associated with a more gradual drawdown are simply not worth the meager gains they will deliver.
    Link:http://cnponline.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/38128

    I noted they recommend paying attention to how the USSR withdrew!
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    In May 2012 a hitherto unknown US think tank the Center for National Policy (CNP) published a short paper on a strategy for NATO; one of the co-authors is Ryan Evans, whose work I have cited before
    This makes pretty good sense as far as I can see, and I can find little to argue with in it. I would point out that "enduring support" will have to walk a thin line between a desire not to fund corruption and acceptance of the reality that it is a patronage-based political culture and no Afghan central government can endure without indulging in a level of patronage that we will consider corrupt. How far we're willing to let that go before restricting aid will have to be worked out as we go along.

    Of course this strategy can fail, but that will ultimately be in the hands of Afghans, as it must be.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  17. #57
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    • The United States and NATO allies will provide enduring material and political support to the Afghan state in order to ensure sufficient stability around Kabul, the north, and the west and prevent transnational terrorist networks from operating from Afghanistan.
    I like most elements, but not this one. Material support aimed at Kabul runs the risk of being squandered, and so it needs to be very clearly defined. I doubt we can do that in a satisfactory, honest way.

  18. #58
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The ever murkier future of Afghan SOF

    A neat article on an issue some may prefer not being in the open; which opens with:
    One of the outcomes of the current US-Afghan summit in Washington reported by Afghan media is the apparent emergence of a new Afghan special operations force, the “Foundation Force for Afghanistan”. Still there is no official confirmation of this. Our guest blogger Gary Owen(*) writes, however, that this would be very much in line with the US emphasis on Afghan SOF training and partnership and, when involving private military contractors, would enable the US to maintain direct influence over Afghan SOF while still withdrawing troops.
    Link:http://www.aan-afghanistan.org/index.asp?id=3199

    I noted the re-appearance of Blackwater PMC, now known as Academi.

    A longer backgrounder, by the same author:http://www.aan-afghanistan.org/index.asp?id=3069
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-18-2013 at 03:51 PM.
    davidbfpo

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    That's a good question. Personally, I think Congress will probably repeat what we did after the withdrawal in Vietnam and cut off support to whatever remains of Karzai's government. I think our interest is mainly to prevent the reemergence of the kind of support and infrastructure AQ had in the late 1990's.
    Your post leaves me thinking about the Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan.

    IIRC, it lasted approx 3 years.

    But it fell in approx 3 months from the time the cash/aid tap got turned off.

    Current day Afghanistan has approx $16-20 billion in spending(largely foreign aid), but only approx $2 billion in tax revenue.

  20. #60
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default What some Afghans think

    A short article by a novelist, which starts with:
    The first British invasion of Afghanistan in 1839 ended three years later in disaster. In an exclusive extract from his new book, William Dalrymple draws parallels with the current campaign
    There are some odd passages, more like a travel article, but at least he talks to Afghans and citing one tribal elder, from Gandamak:
    Last month some American officers called us to a hotel in Jalalabad for a meeting. One of them asked me, 'Why do you hate us?’ I replied, 'Because you blow down our doors, enter our houses, pull our women by the hair and kick our children. We cannot accept this. We will fight back, and we will break your teeth, and when your teeth are broken you will leave, just as the British left before you. It is just a matter of time.

    “What did he say to that?”

    He turned to his friend and said, 'If the old men are like this, what will the younger ones be like?’ In truth, all the Americans here know their game is over. It is just their politicians who deny this.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...the-world.html
    davidbfpo

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