Page 2 of 56 FirstFirst 12341252 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 1120

Thread: Winning the War in Afghanistan

  1. #21
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,111

    Default

    From this month's Atlantic, by Robert D. Kaplan, Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

    The next people to set their sights on Gwadar were the Russians. Gwadar was the ultimate prize denied them during their decade-long occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s—the fabled warm-water outlet to the sea that formed the strategic raison d’ętre for their Afghan adventure in the first place. From Gwadar, the Soviet Union could have exported the hydrocarbon wealth of Central Asia. But Afghanistan proved to be the graveyard of Soviet imperial visions. Gwadar, still just a point on the map, a huddle of fishermen’s stone houses on a spit of sand, was like a poisoned chalice.

    Yet the story goes on. In the 1990s, successive democratic Pakistani governments struggled to cope with intensifying social and economic turmoil. Violence was endemic to Karachi and other cities. But even as the Pakistani political elite turned inward, it remained obsessed with the related problems of Afghanistan and energy routes. Anarchy in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal was preventing Pakistan from establishing roads and pipelines to the new oil states of Central Asia—routes that would have helped Islamabad consolidate a vast Muslim rear base for the containment of India. So obsessed was Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government with curbing the chaos in Afghanistan that she and her interior minister, the retired general Naseerullah Babar, conceived of the newly formed Taliban as a solution. But, as Unocal and other oil firms, intrigued by the idea of building energy pipelines from the Caspian Sea across Afghanistan to Indian Ocean energy hubs like Gwadar, eventually found out, the Taliban were hardly an agent of stability.

    Then, in October 1999, after years of civilian misrule, General Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup. In 2000, he asked the Chinese to fund a deepwater port at Gwadar. A few weeks before 9/11, the Chinese agreed, and their commitment to the project intensified after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. Thus, with little fanfare, Gwadar became an example of how the world changed in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks in ways that many Americans and the Bush administration did not anticipate. The Chinese spent $200 million on the first phase of the port project, which was completed on schedule in 2005. In 2007, Pakistan gave PSA International of Singapore a 40-year contract to run Gwadar port.
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 04-23-2009 at 03:11 AM.
    Sapere Aude

  2. #22
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Writing at Small Wars Journal, Bernard Finel, a senior fellow at the American Security Project, accepts neither the consensus about the worthiness of the war in Afghanistan nor the logic inferred by Petraeus. In his essay, Finel argues that keeping the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan does nothing to prevent another 9/11-type attack on the United States -- the 9/11 attack was simple to plan, inexpensive to fund, and required no sanctuary in Afghanistan to organize. Thus, counterterrorism is not a logical justification for the war in Afghanistan. Finel sums up his conclusions with this passage:

    [W]e need to acknowledge that there is virtually no compelling evidence that military occupation of Afghanistan provides any significant protection against terrorist plots, even those arising from Afghanistan itself.

    Regime change and military occupation can control the development of conventional military capabilities and of WMD programs that require a large physical plant to implement (notably nuclear programs). However, these sorts of interventions have minimal counterterrorism benefits because terrorist attacks rarely require state-level support to be effective.
    Can't argue with much of that and it's another nail in the coffin of the supposed rational approach to strategic studies and political science. After 911 99% of the US population wanted vengeance. That needs to be admitted.
    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

  3. #23
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default The reason for going to war ...

    should determine the course of action taken in the war; subject to morphing during that course of action (which may lose the thread of the initial reason) - my perception.

    I don't see any problem in admitting the following as the reason for going to war in Astan (and for DAs in Pakistan) ...

    from Wilf
    After 911 99% of the US population wanted vengeance. That needs to be admitted.
    since that is what I believed in 2001 and still do.

    Finel's article attacks the logic of the syllogism laid out below - albeit getting somewhat tied up in comparing the simplicity of using airliners as cruise missiles with the complexity of using IEDs on a large scale (Wilf's AO on both; not mine).

    Here is the syllogism:

    We were, after all, attacked on 9/11 by al Qaeda which at the time was operating with impunity under the protection of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Given that history, allowing the Taliban to reestablish itself in Afghanistan seems self-evidently unacceptable.
    Not necessarily. The real question to be asked is whether Taliban support of AQ was necessary to the 9/11 plot, or whether it was simply convenient. The bottom line of Finel's article is that it was not necessary, but convenient (e.g., from a BBC link by David today, the Afghan camps were very convenient).

    Moving then to the question of revenge - payback to AQ, which in its simplest form involves killing the people involved in 9/11 (the lower echelon spared us that problem). If you do not accept revenge-payback as a valid reason to make war on these folks, then you have a different perception from me - many do.

    In applying the formula "find, fix and kill AQ" (end goal)[*], the question to be asked is whether a military occupation (and nation-building) is a necessary component of obtaining payback, or whether that course of action is likely to be inconvenient for realization of that end goal. Again, answering that question is not my AO - legally, almost any course of action will stand scrutiny.

    --------------------
    [*] This formula is not suggested as the end-all, be-all solution to preventing future acts of "terrorism" (or, expressed another way, acts of violence by Transnational Violent Non-State Actors). It is simply the logical formula to have our revenge (or in more legalistic terms, our retribution).

  4. #24
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default UK policy changing?

    With almost no media coverage the UK appears to have refined its policy, if this article is correct: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/c...ghanistan.html

    'The first fruit of this was last week’s lucid and thoughtful strategy paper on Afghanistan and Pakistan, tellingly published not by the MoD but by the Cabinet Office. It lays out the framework of a wholly new approach, calling for much greater effort to be given to building up the rural Afghan economy, through new roads and other infrastructure, to give local farmers a positive alternative to the present chaotic and murderous stalemate. Unless they can earn their living from crops other than opium, they will remain in terrified semi-thrall to the Taliban'.

    The UK cabinet Office paper is: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/medi...n_pakistan.pdf . IMHO a very odd document, with lots of objectives and steps to achieve success.

    I normally rely on the caustic comments on: http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.com/

    The latest article cites a very odd Reuters article, with a UK brigadier being cited: http://uk.reuters.com/article/homepa...8029._CH_.2420


    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-02-2009 at 11:09 PM. Reason: Add links and fail to get quotation in box!

  5. #25
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default I always get nervous when Generals say things like this:

    "As long as we have the patience to stay they can never defeat us."

    Custer? Percival? Not that either of them said that but the arrogant westerner being superior to the inferior types is bad ju-ju, methinks. Never is such an emphatic word...

  6. #26
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    South of Mason Dixon Line
    Posts
    497

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    With almost no media coverage the UK appears to have refined its policy, if this article is correct: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/c...ghanistan.html

    'The first fruit of this was last week’s lucid and thoughtful strategy paper on Afghanistan and Pakistan, tellingly published not by the MoD but by the Cabinet Office. It lays out the framework of a wholly new approach, calling for much greater effort to be given to building up the rural Afghan economy, through new roads and other infrastructure, to give local farmers a positive alternative to the present chaotic and murderous stalemate. Unless they can earn their living from crops other than opium, they will remain in terrified semi-thrall to the Taliban'.

    The UK cabinet Office paper is: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/medi...n_pakistan.pdf . IMHO a very odd document, with lots of objectives and steps to achieve success.

    I normally rely on the caustic comments on: http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.com/

    The latest article cites a very odd Reuters article, with a UK brigadier being cited: http://uk.reuters.com/article/homepa...8029._CH_.2420


    davidbfpo
    David:

    The problem remains that it is very difficult to build and run schools, to be specific, when the terrorists are blowing schools up at an almost equal pace as you build them and then the terrorists murder the teachers as well.

    There has to be a concurrent and effective, acceptible to the locals, too, law and order security presence where such activity is going on...construction, reconstruciton, etc, which needs to be manned by locals and Afghan national Army forces who are based in communities permannetly, not just "passing through."

    NATO cannot in terms of numbers ever expect to be the security manning force or supply of peace keepers, only the interim trainers of locals and national Afghans who we would hope then keep the peace as the old phrase goes "forever and ever."

    Very stormy, rainy, and 70s to low 80s temperatues over here rest of this week. Europe seems much cooler than here just now.

  7. #27
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
    The problem remains that it is very difficult to build and run schools, to be specific, when the terrorists are blowing schools up at an almost equal pace as you build them and then the terrorists murder the teachers as well.

    There has to be a concurrent and effective, acceptible to the locals, too, law and order security presence where such activity is going on...construction, reconstruciton, etc, which needs to be manned by locals and Afghan national Army forces who are based in communities permannetly, not just "passing through."
    It amazes me that folks can't get this logic into their heads. I was at a UK pre-deployment A'Stan workshop last year and no one really wanted to talk about the elephant in the corner

    Very stormy, rainy, and 70s to low 80s temperatues over here rest of this week. Europe seems much cooler than here just now.
    You're blessed. Mid-80s and a full blown sand storm yesterday. At least we don't get snow... well Jerusalem does, but that's Jerusalem for you!
    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

  8. #28
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

  9. #29
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    First thing we need to do is determine what is "victory" for the US in this country in terms of our national interests (i.e. "victory" for the Afghans may be a very different thing, and good on them for that. We just don't need to confuse their victory for our victory and actually put our self at risk of a strategic setback because we pushed for the wrong end zone down at the operational level).
    I hear that phrase ("we need to define 'victory'") or variants of it a lot, along with the caveat that victory for the US may not coincide with the host population's idea of the preferred end state. I maybe wrong here, but I thought it clear from the outset that drying up Af-Pak of the people, means and/or will to source terrorist attacks against the West was the Coalition's overriding objective. I've never seen a survey indicating that Western electorates really gave a rat's behind about anything else. Even if there the aspirations of the host populations--shifting they may be--mismatched with all other concerns eminating from our great centers of strategic thought, doesn't achieving that one goal mean...well...the Coalition wins?
    Last edited by Presley Cannady; 06-11-2009 at 03:25 AM.
    PH Cannady
    Correlate Systems

  10. #30
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default Update and talking to the Taliban

    What is going on? A short BBC News clip, note interview with ex-Taliban Amabassador to Pakistan at the end, commenting on talking to the Taliban: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8119110.stm

    Apologies for those who cannot view.

    davidbfpo

  11. #31
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default Border situation summary

    A review of the provinces on either side of the Durand Line (no video clips) and a useful summary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7601748.stm

    davidbfpo

  12. #32
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default Reflections on the war

    A long (73 mins) sound only interview of the ex-CIA Station Chief in Kabul, thirty years ago, which is interesting and not listened yet to fully: http://www.electricpolitics.com/podc...or_bazaar.html

    A summary appears in this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/graham..._b_201355.html

    Note he is multi-lingual (a point that has appeared here before) and has visited Pakistan more recently with RAND (no details).

    davidbfpo

  13. #33
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default It's difficult and the West will leave

    A non-Western contact having visited Kabul recently observed that:

    a) The war was increasingly difficult and the Taliban could just wait for the Western presence to end;
    b) No-one in Kabul, especially Afghans, thought the West would stay and the latest adjustments were an exit strategy. The one exception a Russian whose views was a new US encirclement strategy.

    davidbfpo

  14. #34
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default Follow The Energy,The Money, And The Map?

    Have know idea how accurate this is, but very disturbing if true.


    http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?o...4&jumival=3511

  15. #35
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default Hard fight as Taliban stand & fight

    Amidst all the media reporting on USMC operations in South Helmand, the link is a BBC report, with five mins video, on the UK operation and note the Taliban are not retreating, whatever firepower is delivered: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8142229.stm

    (Apologies if clip will not work).

    davidbfpo

  16. #36
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    The Long War Journal posted a video that was shot on a cell phone camera, showing the dead body of Pir Samiullah and the decapitated bodies + heads of two of his lieutenants (not recommended for viewing if you have kids around). The story explains that,
    "Samiullah was the first tribal leader in Swat to raise a lashkar, or tribal army, to oppose the Taliban. Samiullah claimed to have organized more than 10,000 tribesmen to oppose the Taliban and protect 20 villages.

    He did so when Swat was at its darkest and the Taliban seemed unstoppable. The military offensive was stalled and the government and military had lost the will to fight. Just three months after Samiullah was killed, the government ceded Swat and much of the northwest to the Taliban in the infamous Malakand Accord.

    The Pakistani government touted Samiullah's resistance to the Taliban, but refused to provide meaningful support to keep the tribal leader and his followers alive."
    The killing is old news - occurrred in Dec 2008 - the story was simply posted because the video apparently just surfaced. But what stuck out to me was the quote above, explaining that this guy stood up to the Taliban even though he got no outside support (as far as we know) and the Taliban seemed too powerful to resist. Do we know what prompted this guy to rally a bunch of tribesman (I don't know how accurate that 10K number is) to oppose the Taliban, in the absence of government support, in spite of the perceived strength of the Taliban, and in spite of overwhelming odds? This seems like it would be a very valuable lesson to learn. It also seems somewhat counterintuitive to our general assumptions that we need to provide security before people will rise up like this (or maybe it's just an exception to the rule).

  17. #37
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default Ex-Para Colonel speaks

    Col. Stuart Tootal, ex-3 Para, commenting on the war in Afghanistan, after a tour to Helmand in 2006, including media relations, ANA, ANP and more before he resigned from the UK Army in November 2007, in protest at what was happening: http://frontline.headshift.com/event...ghanistan.html

    Hat tip to Kings of War website.

    Having listened to the interview some of his comments are now dated and speaking officially optimistic on what the comprehensive approach was achieving. He has a book on his experience due out soon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Danger-Close.../dp/1848542569

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-09-2009 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Add third paragraph

  18. #38
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,186

    Default Taliban leader interview

    A short interview by a Chinese journalist: http://www.globaltimes.cn/www/englis...07/444968.html

    Interesting passage about relationships with non-Afghan jihadists.

    davidbfpo

  19. #39
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Since you use the word 'within' that raises the question; does this "Pashto zone" have a border?
    Google Images Pashtunistan

    H/T David Kilcullen for introducing to the word.

  20. #40
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A short interview by a Chinese journalist: http://www.globaltimes.cn/www/englis...07/444968.html

    Interesting passage about relationships with non-Afghan jihadists.

    davidbfpo
    Thanks

    GT: Did you have anything to do with the attacks in Mumbai? What do you think about the Kashmir and Pakistan issues?

    Nageer: My jihad brothers blasted Mumbai, but I can’t tell you who did it. We had cooperation with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence but they sold us down the river. We are related to the Indian Muslim military, but we are more ambitious and brave than they are.
    Pakistani president Asif Zardari admits creating terrorist groups
    Pakistan's president has admitted his country created terrorist groups to help achieve its foreign policy goals.
    08 Jul 2009

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •