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Thread: OEF: a lingering Afghan small war for the West (catch all)

  1. #21
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    Default Iran Sent Them to Syria. Now Afghan Fighters Are a Worry at Home.

    Iran Sent Them to Syria. Now Afghan Fighters Are a Worry at Home.

    Entry Excerpt:



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    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
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  2. #22
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Nelson Muntz would be amused

    The Islamic State terror group beheaded 15 of its own fighters Thursday due to infighting in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, while a suicide attack in another part of the country left at least eight people dead.
    The fighters were executed in the Surkh Ab bazaar of Achin district along the country's border with Pakistan after infighting in the group, a spokesman for the provincial governor, Attaullah Khogyani, told Reuters.
    There were no further details and the local branch of the terror group did not publicly announce the killings.
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/11...t-least-8.html
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


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  3. #23
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    Indeed.

  4. #24
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The Pentagon has barred an official watchdog from providing unclassified guideposts in his reports on the war, amid increasing violence in Kabul and signs that Afghan forces aren’t gaining ground against the Taliban despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to send more U.S. troops.

    For the first time since 2009, the Defense Department didn’t let the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction release his assessments of Afghan force strength or of territory that’s held by the government, lost to the Taliban or contested, John Sopko said in his latest quarterly report.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...n-deteriorates
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  5. #25
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default If SIGAR cannot, the BBC will

    As AdamG's previous post the restrictions on SIGAR reporting has attracted attention and criticism. One part of the report concerns:
    public data on specific districts in Afghanistan, such as the number of people living there, "controlled or influenced by the Afghan government or by the insurgents, or contested by both."
    Link:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/new...in-afghanistan

    So the BBC World Service has a report whose title suggests why the restriction was made:
    Taliban threaten 70% of Afghanistan, BBC finds (and the sub-title) Taliban fighters, whom US-led forces spent billions of dollars trying to defeat, are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan
    There are two maps on the Taliban's presence and a second for ISIS by district.



    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42863116
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-31-2018 at 06:03 PM. Reason: 117,279v
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  6. #26
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Canada had it right when it comes to Afghanistan

    Steve Coll has this article today, taken from his new book: Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016. It is sub-titled:
    The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is in its 17 th year, with no end in sight. We can see now, writes Steve Coll, that the framework of Canadian policy – security, reconstruction and active diplomacy – was the right one
    Looking back enables him to write, harshly about today:
    Today, in the American-led war's 17th year, U.S. and allied Afghan forces are still digging that hole in the ocean, hoping against all historical evidence that they can make enough progress on the battlefield to force the Taliban into a political settlement acceptable to most Afghans. The Trump administration has suspended aid to Pakistan in the hope that it will pressure the ISI to change course. The reaction in Pakistan since that announcement has been one of deep nationalist defiance......Instead, NATO failed to see what was coming out of Pakistan until it was too late and succumbed to hubristic American strategy dominated by a Pentagon that repeatedly overestimated its capacity to change the course of the war. In its blindness, the alliance failed the many Afghans who relied on its power and promises.
    Link:https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/canada-had-it-right-when-it-comes-to-afghanistan/article37917216/?

    There is a closed thread on the Canadians in Afghanistan:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=1071
    davidbfpo

  7. #27
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Seventeen years later 2018 must be the year of change

    This article is from 'Task & Purpose' and the author has written on SWJ before: General Bolduc, former CO SOCOM Africa. He opens with; his emphasis retained:
    When I question and challenge our policy and strategy I acknowledge that our tactical level units have performed admirably, but our policymakers and senior general officers, as well as flag officers, have failed them. 2018 must be the year of change in our policy, strategy, leadership, and approach or we will never get off this road we have been on for the past 17 plus years. The missteps in Afghanistan and other places have been significant. Our senior civilians, policy makers and senior military leaders at the 4, 3, and 2-star level over three Administrations are responsible for the failures in policy, strategy and operational approach. We ignored the results even though numerous studies told us our approach was wrong.

    (Later) Despite our senior leader’s efforts to portray the war as an American victory, the United States is not going to defeat the Taliban, other groups, and ISIS anytime soon.
    Link:https://taskandpurpose.com/afghanist...countability/?

    From this distant armchair I cannot see the US establishment will meet his challenge. Since the UK has recently declared another 400 soldiers deploy to Kabul, we will be there too.

    There are 131 comments and quite a civilised exchange too (I rarely read Task & Purpose).
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-28-2018 at 10:13 AM. Reason: 110v today when a stand alone thread. 157,374v total today
    davidbfpo

  8. #28
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Can Trump Get America Out of Afghanistan?

    An article by a Forum member on National Interest website, that ends with:
    If negotiations yield a long-term ceasefire and a window for a U.S. withdrawal, President Trump should leap at the chance to bring the remaining 14,000 American troops home. There are other actors in the region—Russia and Iran foremost among them—who have a vested interest in keeping the Taliban from dominating Afghanistan. If Afghanistan does revert to the control of a hostile theocracy, we retain the ability to return and punish or even overthrow a regime as quickly as we did in 2002. U.S. security policy in Afghanistan should be governed by “butcher and bolt,” not “you break it, you buy it.”
    Link:https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/can-trump-get-america-out-afghanistan-26886

    For the USA I see the issues of an exit is intensely political. This is in part due to this being a 'Long War', with all the sacrifices made and the belief the 9/11 attackers came from Afghanistan - not Hamburg and Saudi Arabia. Yes they were inspired and aided by AQ in Afghanistan.

    Long ago there was the US exit from South Vietnam, under a Republican President.


    It does seem strange that "butcher and bolt" is the best course. Which of course is what the British decided was the best policy in the Imperial era.

    If you look at the Soviet exit that was negotiated and passed off without attacks. Few expected Najibullah to hang for years. Will the GIRoA stay at home or seek refuge abroad - not next door, further afield?
    davidbfpo

  9. #29
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Inside the Secret Taliban Talks to End America’s Longest War

    A puzzling article on the private diplomacy underway between two Americans, one ex-US Army and a retired diplomat with the Taliban in Doha. Recently joined by a DoS official. Just why this in the public domain eludes me.
    Link:https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside...as-longest-war
    davidbfpo

  10. #30
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    Default

    Bill Roggio pens a damning article on GEN Nicholson's grossly excessive rosy assessment on progress in Afghanistan. It isn't hard to believe that a General Officer would offer such a rosy assessment, since its frowned upon to admit failure, but it is from failure that we learn and adjust. As for the psychological aspect, in no way are we convincing the Taliban we're winning by simply stating we're winning. I would recommend readers focus on MG Bolduc's assessment, which is more intellectually honest than GEN Nicholson's recent comments.

    We can have an enduring strategy in S. Asia to advance our national interests, but Americans only have so much tolerance for a snake oil sales pitch. I suspect GEN Miller will provide a more sober assessment and valid recommendations based on ground truth.

    https://www.longwarjournal.org/archi...-the-facts.php

    Analysis: Gen. Nicholson says US strategy in Afghanistan ‘is working,’ despite the facts

    A
    stonishingly, Nicholson described the Feb. 14 letter as one of two “peace offers,” when it is anything but. The other peace offer was by Afghan president Arshaf Ghani, which the Taliban has flatly ignored.

    Nicholson’s reading of the two letters is wrong. In the first letter, the Taliban said the only acceptable outcome in Afghanistan is for the US to quit so it can restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the official name of its government. In the second letter, from last week, Mullah Habaitullah again demanded the withdrawal of American forces and criticized religious gatherings for ruling that the conflict is a civil war between Afghans.
    Several other correct statements/assessments, then:

    Additionally, Nicholson discounted the Taliban’s mastery of rural areas and even wrongly claimed that attacks in these areas “fail.”
    Except, the Taliban is able to hold ground, and routinely is successful in its operations in rural areas. The Taliban controls at least 48 of Afghanistan 407 districts and contests another 197, according to a study by FDD’s Long War Journal. Resolute Support claims the Taliban controls around 11 districts, but these numbers are unreliable. Recently, in Ghazni province, The New York Times discovered that the districts centers in five districts under Taliban control were moved to Ghazni City in order to hide the fact that they were indeed Taliban controlled.
    When challenged, he corrected his assessment and admitted the Taliban control most of the population.

    More spin, or a just a different interpretation?

    At the end of July, the Taliban assaulted the Islamic State Khorasan province’s stronghold in the province of Jawzjan. The Taliban completely routed the Islamic State, killing more than 200 fighters and capturing scores more. The remaining Islamic State fighters, more than 250 of them, then surrendered to the Afghan government.

    Astonishingly, Nicholson cast this as a victory for the Afghan government.

  11. #31
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default What has become of the enemy (AQ) that drew the USA to Afghanistan?

    Bill,

    There also a critique of the current US strategy on Politico and the opening sentence is:
    The troops waging America's 17-year-old war in Afghanistan are confronting a puzzle: What has become of the enemy who drew them there?
    Link:https://www.politico.com/story/2018/...rrorism-777511

    The author's Twitter has a long, penetrating expose of SOF operations targeting AQ which IMHO is worth a read. See @wesleysmorgan
    davidbfpo

  12. #32
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Afghanistan: an expensive, dismal failure

    A "long read" in Newsweek on whether President Trump will end the Afghan intervention and how it might work out - as we approach the 17th anniversary of the US (and others) taking action pos-9/11.
    Link:https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trum...trophe-1132203
    davidbfpo

  13. #33
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Strategy and Reality in Afghanistan

    Real Clear Defence article that I personally cannot fault.
    Link:https://www.realcleardefense.com/art...n_113864.html?
    davidbfpo

  14. #34
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    The top U.S. general in Afghanistan somehow escaped unscathed from a bloody "insider attack" in the country Thursday that claimed the lives of three important local leaders and wounded a duo of Americans who had gathered for a high-level meeting at the Kandahar Province governor's mansion.

    Officials said Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. general in the war-torn country, had been at the meeting but was unharmed, U.S. officials said. It was not immediately clear if Miller was in the room when the shooting began, with some local media reporting the general had left only minutes before.
    https://www.foxnews.com/world/3-amer...in-afghanistan
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  15. #35
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    Default Former Afghanistan commander Gen. McChrystal warns of plans to cut troops

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Sunday that withdrawing up to half the 14,000 American troops serving there would reduce the incentive for the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal after more than 17 years of war.

    Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal said the U.S. has “basically traded away the biggest leverage point we have.” McChrystal’s comments were in response to reports that President Donald Trump had ordered the Pentagon to develop plans to withdraw thousands of American troops by next summer. Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis mentioned the order in his resignation letter. Mattis’ last day in the administration is Monday.

    The U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in 2014, but American and allied troops remain, conducting strikes on the Islamic State group and the Taliban and working to train and build the Afghan military.

    “If you tell the Taliban that we are absolutely leaving on date certain, cutting down, weakening ourselves, their incentives to try to cut a deal drop dramatically,” McChrystal said on ABC’s “This Week.”

    McChrystal also said he’s worried that the Afghan people will lose confidence in the U.S. as an ally that can be counted on.

    “I think we probably rocked them,” said McChrystal, who commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan for about a year.

    He also was critical of President Donald Trump personally, saying he doesn’t believe Trump tells the truth. The comment came when asked what he would say if he were asked to join the Trump administration.

    “I think it’s important for me to work for people who I think are basically honest, who tell the truth as best they know it,” he said.

    When asked if Trump is immoral, McChrystal responded: “I think he is.”

    It’s not the first time he’s criticized a sitting president. President Barack Obama accepted McChrystal’s resignation in June 2010 after he made scathing remarks in a magazine article about administration officials, including about Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

    McChrystal says that "withdrawing up to half the 14,000 American troops serving there would reduce the incentive for the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal after more than 17 years of war."

    Would like to hear from the experts among us on whether it is time to cut and run, or should we stay the course. I have very strong opinions on this but would like to hear from others before I ramble on...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-31-2018 at 12:16 PM.

  16. #36
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default On Nobility and the CIA’s War in Afghanistan

    An 'exclusive' from The Cipher Brief after a NYT report (which I have not read). It is added here as some unusual insight is given on the operation of CIA-led and financed Afghan para-military forces.

    A paragraph "taster":
    In my experience, this contrasts with parts of the Afghan police and military. Generally, they are not as well paid, trained, or led, as their Afghan partners in the intelligence units, and may turn to corruption, extortion, or collusion; often merely to survive. In a case mentioned in the article, a CIA-trained unit allegedly killed the senior law enforcement officer in Kandahar in an effort to free a colleague that had been detained on criminal charges. Another perspective on that story may be that the soldier had been kidnapped by the police for extortion. When the CIA-trained unit arrived to negotiate his release, one of the nervous and poorly-trained police officers fired accidentally. In the exchange that followed, several police were killed and the strike force left without a wounded man. To consider that the cause of the soldier’s arrest may have been corruption, and the deaths of the police may have been the result of extremely poor judgement and marksmanship, even after years of training and investment, is a far greater embarrassment for (nearly) all concerned than a tidy narrative of rogue Afghans trained by knuckle-dragging CIA contractors.
    Link:https://www.thecipherbrief.com/exclu...in-afghanistan
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-11-2019 at 05:45 PM. Reason: 163,250v today
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  17. #37
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The best foundation for successful governance, legitimacy, not in Afghanistan

    An article from mid-December 2018 which was circulated on Twitter today by CCW @ Oxford. I have seen a little of the information before, in places it is shocking. Here are a couple of "tasters":
    in the 2010 legislative elections, 664 candidates ran for 33 lower house seats in Kabul Province. ... 21 of 33 candidates were elected with less than 1% of vote. Countrywide only 35% of Afghan voters voted for a winning candidate.
    The Afghan government is not perceived as legitimate by the people, does a poor job of service delivery, and cannot close its borders and crack down on dissent and revolt through authoritarian repression. How, then, can it succeed?
    Link:https://thestrategybridge.org/the-br...in-afghanistan
    davidbfpo

  18. #38
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    Two small, recent threads have been merged in today. Both referred to President Trump's view on Afghanistan and a comment by ret'd General McCrystal. They had just under 1800 views.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-14-2019 at 09:59 AM. Reason: 165,083views Jan '19; high given only a few posts. and been going over four years. 170,545v today
    davidbfpo

  19. #39
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Gen. Mark Milley warns against prematurely withdrawing from Afghanistan after 18 yrs

    I don't check this website often, so the writing style here is different: is he serious? Readers will decide:
    You know what they say: If at first you don't succeed, keep plodding on for two decades with no hope for victory. That's the story about the Afghanistan war in a nutshell.....Army Gen. Mark Milley said it is too soon to pull out of Afghanistan.
    Link:https://taskandpurpose.com/premature...tan-withdrawal

    Not to overlook - as a non-American member - General Miley is likely to be the next Chairman JCS.
    davidbfpo

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