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Thread: The Taliban collection (2006 onwards)

  1. #181
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Third, one thing Taliban & Co and the Afghans have in common is they both hate the Pakistanis.
    (...)
    Seventh, MO is a critical person.
    Questions;
    Whom do you mean with "Pakistanis"? The government of Pakistan? ISI? Army? People? Pakistani Taliban?

    Whom do you mean with Taliban & Co.? Afghan Taliban? Pakistani Taliban? All Taliban? Leaders, zealots, supporters, mercs?

    MO = Mullah Omar? What do you mean with "critical"? If he's hiding as UBL did, doesn't that mean he's cut off from comm? How is a central figure "critical" if the Taliban are scattered over two countries, often in segments at mere platoon strength with a charismatic local leader (AFAIK)?

  2. #182
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Questions;
    Whom do you mean with "Pakistanis"? The government of Pakistan? ISI? Army? People? Pakistani Taliban?

    Whom do you mean with Taliban & Co.? Afghan Taliban? Pakistani Taliban? All Taliban? Leaders, zealots, supporters, mercs?

    MO = Mullah Omar? What do you mean with "critical"? If he's hiding as UBL did, doesn't that mean he's cut off from comm? How is a central figure "critical" if the Taliban are scattered over two countries, often in segments at mere platoon strength with a charismatic local leader (AFAIK)?
    By Pakistanis I mainly mean the Pak Army/ISI. I wonder though if when the Afghans/Taliban think of what is done to them, they make the distinction. They are pretty smart though so I suspect they might.

    I use Taliban & Co because I mean all of the above.

    The sense I got from the articles I read is that Taliban & Co all at least profess fealty to Mullah Omar (MO). That was especially apparent in the RUSI article. Also he is the acknowledged head of the Quetta Shura and the various policies that are promulgated by them I believe get some of whatever influence they have because they have his imprimatur. And Taliban & Co, or at least large parts of it, are a hierarchical organization. They could not have remained intact for as long as they have under the pressures they have been subject to unless that hierarchy were strong. As far as I know, none of the local organizations say they are fighting on their own. They all say at least, they owe fealty to Taliban and to MO. What they say is important. So MO is critical.

    If he were hiding like UBL was, he wouldn't be important. But is he hiding like UBL was? UBL was being kept on ice by the ISI and had no importance. They gave him up when it was convenient.

    I don't think MO is on ice. He is too important to the Pak Army/ISI. They use him and need him, and he them. Whether Taliban & Co is spread over two countries is neither here nor there. People communicate.
    Last edited by carl; 09-17-2012 at 12:18 AM.
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  3. #183
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Far more than a decade...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    A lot of bad understanding and bad decisions have been compiling for over a decade now.
    Nixon's panel on Terrorism in response to the attacks in Munich provided a road map -- but he got busy with domestic politics; Ford's hands were tied; Carter's handling of the Tehran Embassy seizure was disastrous; Regan blew it with Lebanon; Bush 41 decided to pay later; Clinton bombed or attacked four sovereign countries to no avail, Bush 43 let his Christian charitable instincts overrule his duty to the nation; Obama started by presenting an apology to the world's supreme hagglers who will rapidly exploit the slightest sign of weakness and he's gone down hill since...

    That's four decades of flawed ME / Islam policy.
    There is no graceful way to walk away from that. Now we worry more about our grace, and our honor. This is one where need to just swallow our pride and walk away...
    It's not honor or pride -- those are understood in the ME if less so here in the west, those folks would understand and accept that but they're smart enough to know that's not the reason -- it's domestic political pressures. Venal, stupid, self and party over national interests...

    The Intel Community insists they had no 'actionable' intelligence prior to the attack; I note our ambassador to the UN who I believe works in New York is overruling the Libyans by insisting that the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi was not planned.

    Sheesh. All that US domestic political foolishness as a driver let's those who wish and their fellow travelers know they can get stupid with no repercussions.

    Crass stupidity. Bill Moore's got it right: "..it is somewhat difficult for any politician at this point to say oops we got this one wrong. It would go entirely against the narrative we created..."

    He also said " I suspect the only hope for disengagement from nation building to diplomatic engagement and assistance is to gradually change the narrative over time, which it appears we're doing." I hope that's right -- but I'm terribly afraid it is not -- the foreign policy establishment in both parties have different priorities but both have really bad messianic complexes...

  4. #184
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Ken,

    No arguments here. I highlighted the past 10 years, but yes, this has indeed been a slippery slope that we have been advancing along for quite some time.

    Speed and slope are increasing, as are our narrative rhetoric and reactive actions aimed at the symptoms that challenge the "logic" of our framework of understanding, our self-serving narrative, or our invasive approaches to mitigate the problems.

    The "victim mentality' that government is apparently working so hard to nurture among the populace is equally rampant across the government itself. Personally, I have a hard time seeing the attraction of playing the victim. It is a tactic of the weak. It is a mindset adopted by addicts of every ilk. They cannot accept the reality of their destructive behavior, so they play the victim to the effects caused by their very actions.

    The US needs to ask itself, "what is it we are addicted to, and what must we change about ourself to break this cycle"?

    That will very much run counter to our current victim-based narrative, but as you point out, how we got here is perhaps one of the most bi-partisan "success" stories of recent times. I only half-joke when I say that the first step for governments faced with such challenges, at home or abroad, is to undergo a 12-step program. Some hard truth in a circle of plastic chairs in some community center or church basement would take us a great deal farther down the road to success than any other options I've heard discussed.

    It's easy to blame/lash out at AQ, or ideology, or the Taliban, or the ISI or Saddam or any other such "threat." But it is when we get honest with ourself that we turn the corner. All addicts have a "narrative," and as a prosecutor working with felony drug users listened to literally thousands of them. They are all variations on a theme of blaming anything and everything except their self. I also noticed that those who turned the corner and began to make true progress all adopted a new narrative that was also a variation on a theme of self-responsibility.

    That used to be the American theme, one of self-reliance and personal responsibility. It still is for most Americans, most Pashtuns as well... .but we appear to be trying to quash that spirit at home and abroad.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 09-17-2012 at 08:44 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I'd be interested to hear your opinion of the other cited article by the same author, the one in which he offers a prescription. This one:

    http://www.defenceiq.com/air-land-an...-nation-build/
    My position was clear from the outset. The jump from striking out after 9/11 at the AQ and their hosts the Taliban to nation building for Karzai was an error. A costly error.

    There are those who have the time to discuss just how badly the US has got this nation building wrong - or how it should have been approach - and good luck to them. The next US Administration in a few months or in four years comprising with a new set of "smart guys" will wipe the slate clean and start again from scratch ignoring the past. The cycle will repeat and continue.

    I am more concerned - given my area of interest - just how badly the military - both US and Brit - have got the campaign wrong. Once again it is those at the coal face - below the rank of Lt Col - who pay the price. Tragic.

  6. #186
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The US needs to ask itself, "what is it we are addicted to, and what must we change about ourself to break this cycle"?
    I understand the point, but I also think that assuming that all bad things that happen are simply a reaction to things we did, and that all can be made well if we just change our behaviour, is every bit as seriously flawed as the assumption that we are devoid of all responsibility and are simply victimized by bad people that we must kill. Both extremes are overly self-obsessed, whether we see ourselves as innocent victim or as responsible for all that happens to us, we're adopting a narrative with us at the core. Whether we see the solution as "strike back and kill them all" or as "if we're nice to them, they will be nice to us" we assume that the solution starts and ends with us.

    Both these narratives are excessively simplistic, one dimensional, and fail to consider the possibility that we are neither a central causative factor nor a key element to solution in many of these situations.

    Not everything that involves or affects us has to be all about us.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 09-17-2012 at 09:54 AM.
    “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”

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  7. #187
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    D,

    You have a bad habit of translating any statement made by someone else as their all-inclusive position on a topic.

    I never said this was all our fault. But I think you agree that agendas aimed at "fixing" others are not the best approach. I stand for a program of being honest as to our own contribution to causation, working to fix ourselves, and then only applying a supporting effort to that of mitigating the actions of others who seek to exploit any perceived vulnerabilities.

    We have the balance of this equation inverted, IMO.
    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)

  8. #188
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Obama started by presenting an apology to the world's supreme hagglers who will rapidly exploit the slightest sign of weakness and he's gone down hill since...
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-me...is-presidency/

  9. #189
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Use of biased sites on your part does not

    constitute a refutation of my statements.

    The real problem with your great find is that, while accurate, it is a western interpretation of events. The supreme hagglers who inhabit the Middle East all inherited Ta'arof from the Persian Empires and thus grasp not the crux of a statement but the meaning they wish to ascribe to that statement. IOW "what the President really meant" -- or said -- is not important, the use they choose to make of it is important. These are folks who do not place price tags on merchandise they intend to sell so they cannot be pinned down with ANY specificity. Accuracy in the telling or usage is never an issue...

    Further, consider that the Newspaper truth-sorters all play with words like so many lawyers or economists...

  10. #190
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default Watch your company




  11. #191
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    The real problem with your great find is that, while accurate, it is a western interpretation of events. The supreme hagglers who inhabit the Middle East all inherited Ta'arof from the Persian Empires and thus grasp not the crux of a statement but the meaning they wish to ascribe to that statement. IOW "what the President really meant" -- or said -- is not important, the use they choose to make of it is important. These are folks who do not place price tags on merchandise they intend to sell so they cannot be pinned down with ANY specificity. Accuracy in the telling or usage is never an issue...
    The problem with this of course is that any words can be twisted. A Middle Eastern leader who wants to be aggressive can cast apologetic words as weakness to be exploited. He can also cast truculent and aggressive words as threats that require response. If an American leader tries to calibrate statements to avoid any possible misinterpretation or twisting of meaning, that leader won't be able to say anything at all, because anything said will be twisted.

    Actions, in the long run, speak louder than words. We can say that we intend to meddle as little as possible in the internal affairs of ME nations. A lot of people won't believe it, but if the actions consistently support the words, over time the credibility of those who twist the words will be reduced. We can also make it clear in both word and action that while much is negotiable, the fate of those who attack us or shelter those who do is not.

    In general I don't like the idea of laying down red lines or declarations of what we will or will not tolerate... too often hey invite testing, and there are few things worse than laying down a red line you aren't willing to enforce. On exception would be the red line on attacking us. That's not something to haggle over.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 09-17-2012 at 10:49 PM.
    “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

  12. #192
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I never said this was all our fault. But I think you agree that agendas aimed at "fixing" others are not the best approach. I stand for a program of being honest as to our own contribution to causation, working to fix ourselves, and then only applying a supporting effort to that of mitigating the actions of others who seek to exploit any perceived vulnerabilities.
    I agree that we should not try to "fix" others... whether they be antagonists or allies/neutrals with ways other than ours. I'd extend that to specifically include the folly of "countermeddling": meddling designed to reverse or compensate for the impact of past meddling.

    Honesty as to our own contribution to causation requires... well, honesty. Declaring 9/11 to be a "backlash" against American provocation is in no way honest, but it's something we often hear. It's not an issue that will ever present 100% clarity, but all perspectives need skepticism and critical evaluation.

    If we're talking about how to "fix" ourselves, we have to first assess what's broke, and then what we want it to be, and then what has to be done to get it there. All of those are complicated questions that require detachment from fixed assumptions and consideration of multiple perspectives.
    “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

  13. #193
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default True. But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The problem with this of course is that any words can be twisted.
    True -- but there are those that absolutely revel in all such twisting as opposed to those that merely do it on occasion for temporary advantage...
    Actions, in the long run, speak louder than words...
    Indeed.
    ...We can also make it clear in both word and action that while much is negotiable, the fate of those who attack us or shelter those who do is not.
    True also. In that, consistency would be advantageous however consistency is not a hallmark of American foreign relations.

    While I agree with what you say, there are those who apparently do not. That disagreement percolates and causes the inconsistency and a concomitant reluctance to allow the Intel folks to properly suss out the unkindly intentioned or the various forces and agencies of the US Government to respond rapidly and forcefully. A mixed message is often worse than no message...

  14. #194
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    Posted by Ken,

    It's not honor or pride -- those are understood in the ME if less so here in the west, those folks would understand and accept that but they're smart enough to know that's not the reason -- it's domestic political pressures. Venal, stupid, self and party over national interests...
    I think honor and pride have much more to do with determining our decisions than you give these values/emotions credit for. Some, perhaps many, politicians are weasels that don't have a sense of honor or any other traits associated with good character, but at least they're aware that a significant portion of American people still have a sense of honor and they'll play to that. So honor either affects their decision making directly if they have a sense of honor, or indirectly if they play the honor card for votes.

    Honor is highly valuable fortifying character and giving one strength to make the right call under extreme adversity. It is also an essential element of our national identity, but admittedly it seems to be eroding with the growing sense of entitlement and pleasure seeking in our populace. Honor and pride also has the negative aspect of reinforcing stupid when we make stupid decisions, because quitting is seen as dishonorable, so we try harder (not change our strategy, just surge more effort into the same strategy), which digs us in even deeper. We create our own quagmires, and while it sounds contrary to our accepted definition of courage, real moral courage now would be admitting what can and can't be done. Somewhere in course of events we cross the line where staying because we're scared to change course due to how it will be perceived is more cowardly than staying on the same course. The Powell doctrine may not be realistic, but we should be able to modify it in a way that allows us to engage in a way where we don't own the problem after the decisive combat operation is accomplished that neutralizes the immediate threat, or at least we don't tie our national honor and pride to a mission that is not an essential U.S. interest. Some fights we have to win, others we don't, but we need to a supporting narrative for those we don't have to win because it isn't our fight to win to make that acceptable to the American people.

    Posted by Bob's World

    Speed and slope are increasing, as are our narrative rhetoric and reactive actions aimed at the symptoms that challenge the "logic" of our framework of understanding, our self-serving narrative, or our invasive approaches to mitigate the problems
    Agreed, but we have time to change our narrative and change our course. The new policy should reflect our strength and wisdom while rejecting the notion we need to use our military and economic might build nations in our image around the world.

  15. #195
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    Default Kabul attack is a weathervane for HIG?

    Watching Afghanistan I'd noted the suicide bomb attack on Afghan women in Kabul, but failed to read on. This FP Blog article starts with this attack, by HIG or Hezb-i-Islami a militant group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and moves onto the wider context:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article..._war?page=full

    The ever pragmatic Hekmatyar is a weather vane, indicating the trajectory of the conflict in Afghanistan and the ever shifting domestic and regional power game. His role in the Sept. 18 bombing shows that the insurgents have the upper hand, their fight against the United States and Kabul government will continue, and Afghanistan is headed toward a messy, full-scale civil war.
    davidbfpo

  16. #196
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    Default Was the Afghan war wrong from the start?

    An interesting reflective article by a Reuters correspondent, which pulls together different factors and just about fits here!

    A taster:
    Yet in a week where the United States has gone through a bout of soul-searching about the Iraq war, history matters. Were the assumptions that led to the Afghan war also wrong from the start?

    A new book by Vahid Brown and Don Rassler, “Fountainhead of Jihad, The Haqqani Nexus: 1973 to 2012” adds to that history by focusing on the Afghan group that actually did have the closest ties to al Qaeda – the so-called Haqqani network.

    As I wrote here, the book has unearthed primary sources to show that the patriarch of the Haqqani network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, had as much influence on al Qaeda as the Arab fighters had on him – providing them with support and an Afghan safe haven during the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.
    Link:http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/20...rom-the-start/
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  17. #197
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pakistan 'frees seven Taliban prisoners'

    I know the Pakistani detention of Taliban and other Afghan militant leaders has appeared before, but cannot recall which thread they are in! Nor doe the names listed below "rings any bells". Somehow I doubt their (ISI) imprisonment has been that rigorous, more like "guests within walls".

    Pakistan has announced the release of seven Taliban prisoners in a bid to help the Afghan peace process.....At least one former senior militant was among the men freed "in order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process", said a foreign ministry statement.....The foreign ministry statement named those freed on Saturday as Mansoor Dadullah, Said Wali, Abdul Manan, Karim Agha, Sher Afzal, Gul Muhammad and Muhammad Zai.....Some 26 Taliban detainees have been freed during the past year, it added.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23999752
    davidbfpo

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    Default Report Shows Afghans Overwhelmingly Against Taliban Rule

    Report Shows Afghans Overwhelmingly Against Taliban Rule

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    Default Pakistan Taliban Agrees to Ceasefire to Help Afghan Allies

    Pakistan Taliban Agrees to Ceasefire to Help Afghan Allies

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    Default As US Draws Curtain on Combat Role, Taliban Plans Patient Comeback

    As US Draws Curtain on Combat Role, Taliban Plans Patient Comeback

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