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Thread: Kandahar Province: catch all thread

  1. #61
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default AWK included

    Sylvan,

    AWK does feature in the commentary, this is one part:
    In essence, real power rests with just two families who have prospered under the presence of American forces in the past eight years. One of them is the family of President Hamid Karzai, who is represented here by his brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who heads the provincial council. The other belongs to Gul Agha Shirzai, the former governor of Kandahar, and his brothers Bacha Shirzai and Razziq Shirzai, who have gotten lucrative security and construction deals with NATO forces. Residents and elders accuse the families of persecuting rivals and excluding all other tribes from access to power. Their domination has undercut any popular backing for the government or the foreign forces supporting them.
    On my read AWK's role does feature.
    davidbfpo

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Sylvan,

    AWK does feature in the commentary, this is one part:

    On my read AWK's role does feature.
    I spent 5 months in Kandahar City (not KAF).
    Shirzai is the popular leader for most of KC. Karzai's powerbase was to the North. Our fortunes fell when Shirzai was removed as Governor from Kandahar and moved North.
    This is not a shared power-broker deal. This was a muscle move to emplant Karzai's younger brother to take over predominance over Kandahar City. While there have been some pay-offs to avoid civil war, Karzai used his control over the Tajik ANA to ensure Shirzai knew his place.

    As to my original comment, AWK doesn't count as either a legitimate or effective counter to the Taliban. Shirzai was. And that is, IMHO, why things went to crap in the South.

  3. #63
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Understood

    Thanks for that point. Local legitimacy in Afghanistan is IMHO a very different concept let alone practice when compared to our Western experience. More importantly you've been there and I sit faraway in an armchair watching.
    davidbfpo

  4. #64
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    Default UN pulls some foreign staff from Kandahar

    UN pulls some foreign staff from Kandahar

    United Nations withdraws half of its twenty foreign staff, orders local workers to stay home in wake of blasts

    Sonia Verma
    Kandahar — Globe and Mail Update
    Published on Monday, Apr. 26, 2010 10:38AM EDT

    The United Nations has withdrawn roughly half of its twenty foreign staff from Kandahar City and ordered its local Afghan workers to stay home, underscoring a growing sense of insecurity in this southern city.

    The move came just a few hours after militants detonated three bombs in downtown Kandahar City Monday morning, killing two civilians and wounding two others.

    “We’re re-evaluating the security situation and have pulled some of our staff to Kabul,” confirmed Susan Manuel, director of communications for the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

    The decision was made based on a “combination of information and action,” she said. Ms. Manuel described the new measures as temporary but would not specify when staff would resume their postings.

    Monday’s attacks signified the Taliban’s latest effort to show their strength in the city that is both their spiritual birthplace and the staging ground for a major NATO military offensive this summer.

    As coalition troops ramp up operations ahead of a broad military surge meant to take decisive control of the area, Taliban insurgents have also stepped up attacks with a series of brazen assassinations and bombings.

    Since April 12, at least 20 civilians have been killed in Kandahar City, including prominent Afghan politicians and civilians including children.

    The attacks have become almost daily occurrences, rattling residents already deeply wary of the coming NATO operation, billed as the make-or-break battle of the war....
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  5. #65
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    Replace AWK with Sherzai.

    Success and failure in Kanadahar rests with the Afghans themselves.
    The ANSF is strong enough to do whatever is needed. What is lacking is a legitimate representative of both the Kabul govnermnent and the people of Kandahar.

  6. #66
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Nato engages Ahmad Wali Karzai in Kandahar

    Nato gambles on collaboration with Ahmad Wali Karzai in Kandahar
    Anthony Loyd, Kandahar
    Times Online

    Nato has taken one of the biggest gambles of its mission in Afghanistan by reluctantly deciding to collaborate with Ahmad Wali Karzai, the notorious power-broker of Kandahar — despite allegations that the half-brother of the President is involved in the drugs trade....

    Senior coalition officers would prefer to see the back of Wali Karzai but they have come to the conclusion that their only option is to work with him. They are trying, in the words of one officer, to “remodel” a man accused of running a private fiefdom in the south.

    The plan is to incorporate him, to shape him. Unless you eliminate him, you have to [do this],” said a senior coalition official involved in planning what is viewed as this summer’s make-or-break military operation in Kandahar. “You can’t ignore him,” he added. “He’s the proverbial 800lb gorilla and he’s in the middle of a lot of rooms. He’s the mafia don, the family fixer, the troubleshooter
    I suppose this has been a long time coming. This Karzai seems to be the main sphere of influence that bridges the underground world of A'stan. He knows everyone through family, trade, and relationships. From a military planning viewpoint, we tread lightly with these types of dudes waiting for the appropriate timing to properly shape. We did the same thing with Muqtada al Sadr and the Ayatolla Sistani.

    Recently, I've wondered if waiting too long to talk is the wrong approach. I just watch HBO's new documetary Sergio based on Samantha Power's book "Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World."

    Sergio Vieira de Mello was the head of the UN mission in Iraq until he was killed, but before that, he worked throughout conflict zones with great success in Cambodia and East Timor. He was fascinated with the intellectual mind of evil men, and his approach upon arriving in country was to go talk to everyone. He did not wait.

    Perhaps, we could learn some lessons from the UN .

    v/r

    Mike

  7. #67
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    Default Or maybe

    Mike, from some really capable Brazilian diplomats.

    Cheers

    JohnT

    PS, of the UN, I have always said that it is (1) less than the sum of its parts and (2) if it didn't exist we would vave to invent it.

  8. #68
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Mike, from some really capable Brazilian diplomats.

    Cheers

    JohnT

    PS, of the UN, I have always said that it is (1) less than the sum of its parts and (2) if it didn't exist we would vave to invent it.
    True. Today, I'm sorting through Dr. Metz's two recent monographs on Iraq decision making. It is interesting to learn about timing on decision making processes and how some capable men like Sergio intuitively knew it.

    It would seem that Ahmad Wali Karzai understands the game as well.

  9. #69
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    The plan is to incorporate him, to shape him. Unless you eliminate him, you have to [do this]
    Is the coalition "shaping" Karzai or is Karzai "shaping" the coalition?
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  10. #70
    Council Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Blunder

    This is a blunder of gargantuan proportions. As I said in a post myself (because I saw this coming), the criminals must all be killed, the drug rings marginalized and it made so dangerous that they cannot operate, and the crime families dysfunctional. This includes Karzai's brother. If we actually do this (as described in the article) then we lose Kandahar. I don't care if some shade of "security" is brought to Kandahar. We are siding with criminals, and criminals they will remain. When we leave Kandahar, we will leave with Soldiers having their legs blown off, hearing damaged, and some will perish. In the end, it will have been for nothing because the people will be longing for the justice that the Taliban bring when they come in and kill Karzai's brother.

    I hate to be so negative, but I saw this coming and spoke out against it. We have chosen the wrong path.

  11. #71
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Is the coalition "shaping" Karzai or is Karzai "shaping" the coalition?
    I'd submit that we should not dismiss the capability of GEN Patraeus. He is no fool; however, some senior coalition official might be receiving an ass-chewing over that comment. It's like showing your hand to the table at a poker game.

    Worst case, he can call Ryan Crocker out of retirement for some back-up.

  12. #72
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Kandahar Through the Taliban's Eyes

    A somewhat different, if provocative article by Greg Mills (a South African commentator on COIN):http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article..._eyes?page=0,0
    davidbfpo

  13. #73
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Kandahar: stop, start and ponder

    Mark Urban, one of the BBC's better correspondents, was on Newsnight on the 11th this week reporting from Kandahar, a few passages:

    In recent months Nato and Afghan authorities have sometimes appeared tongue-tied about the progress of Operation Hamkari, their attempt to secure the place. Contradictory stories have appeared saying it has been shelved, it is entering a higher gear, or it is hopelessly bogged down.

    Operation Hamkari has indeed been underway for four months. It involves a series of ambitious initiatives by Nato and it has not been scaled back. But while the security drive is happening, it is less clear that it can keep to schedule or that people in the city have yet registered any positive effect.

    The fighting in Arghandab has already cost many casualties - American and Afghan. One reporter recently embedded with troops there for two weeks told me: "Counter insurgency is impossible there - the local people have cleared out and the soldiers get hit almost as soon as they leave the base."
    Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programme...ht/8902527.stm and to his short blog comment:http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/markurban/

    Sorry I expect the film report will not work for many.
    davidbfpo

  14. #74
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default Maybe I'm obtuse, but I don't get it...

    "Counter insurgency is impossible there - the local people have cleared out and the soldiers get hit almost as soon as they leave the base."
    Why should that make counter insurgency impossible? If the local people are gone and the insurgents present and aggressive, wouldn't that be an ideal environment to engage and defeat insurgents without imposing civilian casualties?

    Or is it assumed that "counter insurgency" consists by definition of winning hearts and minds...?

  15. #75
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Background reading & a little greed

    The occasional, perceptive bloggers at al-Sahwa score again with this article on Kandahar and what is reality on the ground.

    Link:http://al-sahwa.blogspot.com/2010/08...-kandahar.html

    Yes, the article is critical of AWK, his brother in Kabul and that good governance for too many Afghans is making money, peddling influence etc.
    davidbfpo

  16. #76
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    Lowy Institute, 16 Dec 10: Afghan Voices: How Afghans View Coalition Military Operations in Kandahar
    If there is one overriding reason why locals have little confidence in US-led operations in Kandahar it is the continued failure of American and coalition forces to understand local context and dynamics and the impact of their stalled operations on the local population. Instead of narrowly focussing on a particular area, the coalition needs to understand Kandahar province, and the south, as a whole....

  17. #77
    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    Default Foust's Atlantic Article on Arghandab

    Disclaimer: The assessment provided is the author's alone and does not necessarily reflect my opinion nor the views of the SWC.

    How Short-Term Thinking is Causing Long-Term Failure in Afghanistan

    "In Afghanistan, second and third-order effects are largely overlooked," Morgan Sheeran, a Sergeant First Class who teaches at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul, told me. The result, Sheeran said, is that decisions are often made in the moment without understanding their long-term consequences.

    The men of Tarok Kalache were enraged by their homes' destruction. "These dudes were extremely angry," Captain Patrick McGuigan, a subordinate of Flynn, later told Stars and Stripes. "The elder (of Tarok Kalacheh) wouldn't even talk to me for three weeks, he was that [angry]." Some compared the U.S. force to the Soviet occupiers. But leveling the village was just the beginning.
    Last edited by IntelTrooper; 01-24-2011 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Grammar.
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  18. #78
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default

    "The war in Afghanistan is, ultimately, a tactical war, fought at the local level over year-long deployments. When those small, tactical decisions are made for the wrong reasons, it can add up to big, strategic failure."

    This is true, but only because:

    A. Lead for operations is in the hands of a military headquarters, and such headquarters do not take on political objectives and are also subject to the effects of regular rotations; and

    B. Current COIN doctrine, so rooted in the colonial experience, defines success as the preservation of the current regime through a construct of "warfare;" and

    C. Failing to fully appreciate the causal effects radiating outward from the Karzai government, we create a functional sanctuary for the government to operate from. This protects and emboldens them to act with ever greater impunity toward their own populace, with little incentive to identify and address areas requiring substantive changes, or to seek reasonable reconciliation with the insurgent leadership of the issues that are most central to their illegal challenge and resistance.
    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)

  19. #79
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Debated elsewhere

    Abu M has two relevant posts on the discussion of COIN tactics in Afghanistan, the first 'Exum and Foust on Tactics in Afghanistan', link:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawam...ghanistan.html and part two 'If you only read one thing today ...', link:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawam...ing-today.html

    I tried to follow it initially and gave up - a storm with The Beltway?
    davidbfpo

  20. #80
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    Default Taliban suicide assault team strikes Kandahar police, kills 6

    This is one of many on the growing TTP. VBIED, then SVIED and then RPG/MG Assault team on ANSF.

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...ide_assa_4.php
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