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Thread: Winning the War in Afghanistan

  1. #621
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I think he fully believes it. I felt that he aimed well when trying to tell the Karzai govt. that it is now living on borrowed time.
    JC, I saw a body language expert on CNN today(named Patti Woods) she doesn't think he believes it either. This is based upon his unusual head movements during the speech. If I can find the clip I woll post it.

  2. #622
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    It ain't that complicated, but it ain't in Afghanistan.

    They don't call a pawn a pawn for no reason. Afghanistan itself is the sideshow to the Big Game about border turf and regional spheres of influence.

    I don't know what cards are going to turn out of the deck in which order or hand, but it is pretty obvious which cards are in the deck. India, China, Russia to play against Pakistan 1 (military) and Pakistan 2 (civilian) and Pakistan 3 (Quetta), to play, in turn, against AQ, with Afghanistan as the pawn. The US wants to be the dealer, as long as its public will let them play.

    Nobody has scheduled the Loya Jirga (with Taliban) yet, but ... the Tents are on the field.

    Maybe even a regional international conference (I don't think they took the plastic off that deck yet)?

    The deck is cracked open. We'll just have to wait to see the game play out.

    STP, some interesting stuff there.

  3. #623
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    JC, I saw a body language expert on CNN today(named Patti Woods) she doesn't think he believes it either. This is based upon his unusual head movements during the speech. If I can find the clip I woll post it.
    Body language expert? What will the media think of next?

  4. #624
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Body language expert? What will the media think of next?

    This is the lady can't find the clip from last night though.
    http://www.pattiwood.net/

  5. #625
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Once more into the breach, now where are the Afghans?

    Stephen Tankel's measured analysis is worth reading: http://icsr.info/blog/First-Impressions

    His last sentence I expect reflects the views of many in and outside Afghanistan:
    The U.S. is gambling a lot on the ability to build an Afghan army and Afghan police force in the next 18 months. What happens if [or when, depending on your degree of pessimism] this does not come together?
    Or the Australian CT analyst's comments:http://allthingsct.wordpress.com/200...obamas-speech/ She cites and qualifies the comments after her experience in Indonesia:
    And there is NO way the Afghan forces will be up to scratch anytime soon. I’m no military trainer or expert but I was involved in counter terrorism capacity building efforts in my former life. This is a much easier job and even in Indonesia it took a long long time to do. And they have a functioning state.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-03-2009 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Second link added
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  6. #626
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A British think tank viewpoint

    From RUSI, a Whitehall think tank (I'm a member):http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4B177FBEE2288/

    At present rates, some 400,000 ANSF personnel could be through the training programmes by 2013.They would need a year of operational support, so it might be regarded as effective from 2014, the earliest realistic date when the Coalition's 140,000 might begin seriously drawing down.....The final, unspoken, variable is the loyalty of trained and equipped ANSF personnel as they go out to work in the new Afghanistan.
    davidbfpo

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    Some suggestions (stupid ones very likely) on how to deal with the terrorists in Afghanistan:
    - use the lie detector for everyone in 'suspect' villages,
    - anyone suspicious plant a mike in their houses and have afghans listen (for example afghan refugees from Europe) and act accordingly.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-08-2009 at 11:12 PM. Reason: Moved to this better thread and 1st sentence removed as not valid now. PM to author to explain and ask for an introduction.

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    Default Apparently Afghan Police and Army don't like each other...


  9. #629
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    Default Some key points...

    to consider when pontificating upon Astan.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  10. #630
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umar Al-Mokhtār View Post
    to consider when pontificating upon Astan.
    I plead guilty on #26, I think.
    Maybe #1, but that's in the eye of the beholder.

  11. #631
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default 13, 17, and 21

    are hilarious.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  12. #632
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default End of year reviews

    Free Range International (FRI) back on the ground reporting on several themes and always worth a read: http://freerangeinternational.com/blog/?p=2418

    This is a prize quote:
    We are not being beaten by the Taliban; we are beating ourselves.
    A point made by Ken White before IIRC and others.

    Within the FRI piece is a link to an intriguing commentary by a former UK diplomat, including a stint in Moscow, known for his direct, non-establishment views called 'Coalition forces on the familiar road to failure in Afghanistan' :http://www.businessday.co.za/article....aspx?id=90398

    Nice last paragraph:
    The lessons of history are never clear, and it is risky to predict the future. The British and the Russians won their wars but failed to impose their chosen leaders and systems of government on the Afghans. The western coalition already has as many troops in Afghanistan as the Russians did, and smarter military technology. But neither the British prime minister nor the generals have explained to us convincingly why we should succeed where the Russians and the British failed, or why fighting in Afghanistan will prevent home-grown fanatics from planting bombs in British cities. Tactics without strategy indeed.
    Just why it appears in a South African business paper eludes me.
    davidbfpo

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    David:

    Rock solid post, but one hell of a way to start off the new year.

    How many tactics does it take to make a strategy?

    Steve

  14. #634
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    From the 6 Jan '10 Business Week U.S. Boosts Civilian Presence in Afghanistan to Counter Taliban By Bill Varner

    The Obama administration is tripling the number of civilian experts in Afghanistan to about 1,000 early this year to spur economic development and counter the influence of Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents, a U.S. envoy said.
    Eide said 80 percent of aid to Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 has bypassed the government in Kabul. As an example of the mismatch between military and civilian assistance, he said Afghan provincial governors earn $70 a month and have operational budgets of $15 a month.
    DiCarlo said the U.S. backs recommendations by Ban and Eide to strengthen UN assistance to Afghanistan, including through the appointment of a senior civilian official within the military command.
    “We strongly echo the secretary-general’s call for strengthened coordination,” DiCarlo said. “To help reverse the Taliban’s momentum, we are focusing our reconstruction effort in areas where we can quickly create jobs, especially agricultural ones. Rebuilding Afghanistan’s once-vibrant agricultural sector will sap the insurgency not only of foot soldiers but also of income from narcotics.”
    Sapere Aude

  15. #635
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    Beetle:

    It's pretty amazing to me to see Eide's take on Afghanistan---which Di Carlo says the White House embraces:

    Taliban influence has spread recently to the north and center of the nation, Eide said, because of imbalances in development efforts.

    “Before leaving for New York, I asked a number of Afghan politicians why the insurgency has spread,” Eide said. “One element mentioned by all was the neglect of stable provinces in the allocation of development resources. For that neglect we now pay a high price.
    DiCarlo said the U.S. backs recommendations by Ban and Eide to strengthen UN assistance to Afghanistan, including through the appointment of a senior civilian official within the military command.[/QUOTE]

    OK, so now we will have another senior civilian, but within the military command.

    I went back and looked at your's, mine and Bruce's comments from the Iraq Civilian Thread.

    Everything was about the things Eide was addressing, but none of it had anything to do with needing a new senior civilian.

    Sounded more like a CORDS approach where civilian practitioners, linked closely to local, regional and national efforts, were taking on an earnest and serious effort to create, improve, drive civilian efforts.

    But I don't see that happening yet. Maybe...

    Steve
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-07-2010 at 09:47 PM. Reason: Quote marks added

  16. #636
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    If this is actually true, then it would seem to be a very significant problem.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  17. #637
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    Default Pakistani re-assessment

    Wilf,

    The BBC story has a couple of telling phrases:
    Pakistan's army has said it will launch no new offensives on militants in 2010, as the US defence secretary arrived for talks on combating Taliban fighters.

    Army spokesman Athar Abbas told the BBC the "overstretched" military had no plans for any fresh anti-militant operations over the next 12 months.

    The Pakistan army is overstretched and it is not in a position to open any new fronts. Obviously, we will continue our present operations in Waziristan and Swat.
    This is IMHO reflects a Pakistani appreciation on the ground, which appears to have been hinted at recently - taken from another thread on Waziristan:
    I was bemused to learn from a Pakistani military contact, who has visited the FATA recently, that he was reading 'The Frontier Scouts' by Charles Chevenix-Trench and learning that the old methods did indeed offer an answer to today's problems.
    Or it is a return to the previous policy in the Musharraf era of 'stop, start'. Not sure about that, but as a BBC reporter commented - taken from US policy & Pakistan thread:
    Public opinion which supported the military action in the Swat Valley could just as rapidly rebound and the military simply thought for fifty years the FATA was uncontrollable. Public support for the military campaign would last three to four years. Finally he'd never met a Pakistani Army officer who was not convinced the Afghan Taliban would win.
    I have not noted any recent reporting on the public mood, although as the attacks are increasingly in the cities, not the FATA, one would expect public opinion to meander.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-21-2010 at 12:11 PM.
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  18. #638
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    The other day as I flew over the Arghandab district of Kandahar Province, I looked down at the overgrown, jumbles of trees, and thought "are those orchards? Almonds and Pomegranates? What a mess, I wonder why they don't prune their trees..."

    Later, standing on the roof of the District Center overlooking the valley a rep from the department of agriculture described the very problem, solutions being worked, etc. Currently the orchards become a haven for insurgents, safe from prying eyes. His goal is to get them pruned, and to introduce the practice of painting the trunks white. Not only does it look more orderly, but it denies much of the overhead cover, and provides a contrast at ground level that makes it much harder to hide within. It also makes for more productive orchards.

    Will introducing dozens of additional hardworking civilian experts into Afghanistan make a difference? Certainly. Will they cure the disease of poor governance that gives rise to insurgency? Of that I am less optimistic.

    We are in the trap of if we just work harder we can make this go away. Perhaps. Far better to work smarter.

    In the old days, District governors controlled a network that took money from the people and brought it up to their level, where they kept much and also used much to grease the system of governance that has functioned here forever. It does not produce a lot of services, but not a lot of services are required either.

    Now we have extended this Afghan Pyramid scheme all the way up to Kabul. Every district Governor, Police Chief, etc is appointed by a patron in Kabul, and that patron must receive his payments for that appointment. No longer does the money rise to the District level and sprinkle about. It now rises to the national level and disappears. This is not better.

    We have helped to create an official government in our image, but have dropped it into Afghanistan. The Afghan people don't need an "official" government; they need a "Legitimate" government. Pause and ponder that thought. It is a critical one. The Afghan people, all people, need a "legitimate" government. That is one that they see as being of, by and for them. One that has a source they recognize. What others think is moot beyond words.

    Less is more; more is less. I've yet to see, hear, or read anything that would dissuade me from the strong belief that the best thing the West can do here is simply demand that a full-fledged Loya Jirga with representatives for all the major Afghan stake holders present be called. Create the environment that allows it to happen, and then simply accept the results that come from it.

    Afghanistan will not become a sanctuary for AQ, our impressive collection and punishment capabilities will assure that. Afghanistan was simply a convenient backwater for AQ to use. There are other backwaters where they will draw less attention than here. We can then shift our focus back to our actual mission. Remember? To Defeat AQ to protect the homelands. This TB insurgency is a sideshow, an overwhelming supporting effort that has pushed the main effort into the wings somewhere.

    We can "win" here. We can help end this insurgency too. But more military or civilian effort working harder is not the smart way to get there. The smart way is to focus first on creating more legitimacy of government on Afghan terms, not Western terms; and then build from there. Without that foundation of legitimacy, history does not offer good odds for quick success.
    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. #639
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    Default Winning What Exactly?

    Bob:

    Eloquent. On Point.

    Can you stop over at that conference in London? I don't think the message has gotten across.

    Whether Arizona, Massachusetts, Iraq or Afghanistan, you have to take the facts on the ground that the problem definition and, however-broken-butchered-and-illogical-to-outsiders the local solutions seem to be, the only effective answers will come from them.

    The answers cannot come from the military or US/Int'l civilians.

    Steve

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    Default Imposing American Will

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    We have helped to create an official government in our image, but have dropped it into Afghanistan. The Afghan people don't need an "official" government; they need a "Legitimate" government. Pause and ponder that thought. It is a critical one. The Afghan people, all people, need a "legitimate" government. That is one that they see as being of, by and for them. One that has a source they recognize. What others think is moot beyond words.
    Concur. IMO, we will soon see this dynamic come to fruition in Iraq. American will has been imposed on top of a structure that does not readily recognize the government source. Given, just the topography of Afghanistan, nevermind we are starting essentially from scratch, in regard to infrastructure, the problems will be compounded.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-21-2010 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Complete quote marks

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