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Thread: Winning the War in Afghanistan

  1. #41
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Why should I look at Google Images?

    Quote Originally Posted by Valin View Post
    Google Images Pashtunistan...H/T David Kilcullen for introducing to the word.
    Your link doesn't work (when you do one, if it isn't automatically underlined, it isn't a link) but I've been there before. One of the Pashtun problems is that I'm not at all sure the Baluchis will go along with some of the depicted versions...

    I was probably aware of Pashtunistan about two years after D. Kilcullen was born. That name was around long before he was, many thing were around long before he was. In any event, I'm still aware of it. My question was "...does this "Pashto zone" have a border?"

    A line on a map is not necessarily a border in the sense of a legal, internationally recognized border or even one accepted by many. See 'Kurdistan' (or Baluchistan) for an example of the problems with the construct of Bob's World's 'Pashto Zone' or your (and many others) 'Pushtunistan.'

    So my question stands, all alone and broken hearted...

  2. #42
    Council Member Jayhawker's Avatar
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    Default Durand Line history

    If folks are interested, the link should take you to a relatively brief history of the Durand Line and some proposals for a way ahead. In short, its a mess.

    http://www.hollingscenter.org/Report...urand_Line.pdf

  3. #43
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A small tale that spells defeat

    On the ground with the Australian / Dutch presence in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, this tale of treachery and confusion rightly illustrates the problem with the campaign, entitled 'Zoom in to this small tale that spells defeat': http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle6684516.ece

    davidbfpo

  4. #44
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good link, thanks. The FSB and its predecessors,

    the KGB / MVD / NKVD / Agitprop, diligently exploited that line and many others the British and French drew on the map...

    We're still paying the price for those strokes of a pen but at least we're giving all the KGB retirees a chuckle.

  5. #45
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    On the ground with the Australian / Dutch presence in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, this tale of treachery and confusion rightly illustrates the problem with the campaign, entitled 'Zoom in to this small tale that spells defeat': http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle6684516.ece

    davidbfpo
    Excellent piece. Making sense and influencing it almost seems like... armed social science

    (Yes, I'm not above stirring it up before I head out the door to the airport.)
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  6. #46
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    Excellent piece. Making sense and influencing it almost seems like... armed social science

    (Yes, I'm not above stirring it up before I head out the door to the airport.)
    Bah! You're just cribbing from this thread and then pulling a duck and run ! Have a great trip, Rex.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  7. #47
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Or social science ignored and

    arms doing as more harm than good...

  8. #48
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lessons from the First Afghan War

    Needless to say the First Afghan War was between Imperial India and Afghanistan, wayback in 1842 and with a disasterous retreat from Kabul. Taken from: http://www.britishbattles.com/first-...l-gandamak.htm

    The First Afghan War provided the clear lesson to the British authorities that while it may be relatively straightforward to invade Afghanistan it is wholly impracticable to occupy the country or attempt to impose a government not welcomed by the inhabitants. The only result will be
    failure and great expense in treasure and lives.

    The British Army learnt a number of lessons from this sorry episode. One was that the political officers must not be permitted to predominate over military judgments.


    To read more on this war use the link; Imperial India took revenge the next year!

    davidbfpo

  9. #49
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Maybe history in current Afghan War won't repeat?

    David:

    Your history is quite good, having served over there in the mid-1960s (Pakistan and side trips to Kabul from our base at Peshawar/Badabur).

    It is too early to evaluate the latest strategy and accompanying tactics now being employed in Afghanistan, but I can say from this side of the Pond that use of "pincer" movements in Helmud Province in Afghan while Pak military operates to bottle up fleeing Taliban on their side of the border is current paying great benefits or dividends in enemy KIA.

    We are now getting full statistics but my off line info feed from native e-mail correspoondents over there is that we are taking out Taliban, and al Qaida, in the thousands, not the few here and there being reported in the media.

    Several thousand more Taliban still over there, much lesser number of al Qaida, but hammering them daily is helping.

    The follow on strategy and tactics are being already premature attacked in the Pak media, and by closet Taliban on sites like GLOBAL HUJRA ONLINE whose nasty, convoluted, and lying comments reveal how well the war is now going.

    I can assure you that some Taliban and Taliban sympathesizers over there, in Europe, Canada and in the US will read this posting, and one or two may even attempt to comment on SWJ. One of two are likely now Registered Users of SWJ.

  10. #50
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Default

    We, the U.S. need to train-up a bigger Afghan army and police force, make Dostum President and get the hell out! Of course our allies need to agree. Once we asked everyone else for help that gave em a say.

    How long are we gonna keep losing guys and spending money on this crap-hole country. At least Iraq has oil and an educated population. I never quite understood the nation building thing. Different people, mindset, etc. They understand force - you kill us then we kill a lot more of you. They plot, you harbor then you get Carthage.

    I was disgusted after reading Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Commander's Account of the World's Most Wanted Man. Also, the book Not A Good Day to Die. I think 60 Minutes/Dan Rather has a segment on tonight about Tora Bora. I'm a little suspicious of Dan Rather.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    How long are we gonna keep losing guys and spending money on this crap-hole country. At least Iraq has oil and an educated population. I never quite understood the nation building thing. Different people, mindset, etc. They understand force - you kill us then we kill a lot more of you. They plot, you harbor then you get Carthage.
    That is a good characterization of what helps to fuel the ideology of our adversaries. It is precisely how many view America: exerting inordinate influence, attempting to nation build, only interested in helping those who are willing to make us richer, and consciously choosing to disregard the welfare and concerns of those who are not.

    Our challenge still remains, imo, the message that others are receiving. That message but not be "do as we say" but rather "take some responsibility." We have a difficult time sending that message to many of our own citizens. Ensuring that it is received by those outside of our country won't be quick or easy.

  12. #52
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Default

    "That is a good characterization of what helps to fuel the ideology of our adversaries. It is precisely how many view America: exerting inordinate influence, attempting to nation build, only interested in helping those who are willing to make us richer, and consciously choosing to disregard the welfare and concerns of those who are not".

    Our Islamic adversaries are fueled by the Koran. Hugo Chavez is fueled by the same anti-American rhetoric that socialists have been spewing for years. Every country makes decisions based on national interest. We are not getting rich of Iraq's oil or Afghanistan's oil - wait, Afghanistan does not have oil - then why are we nation building. We gave 15 billion to Africa for AIDS - we did not get anything out of it. We responded and helped with disaster relief after the Tsunami - there was nothing to gain. We still have troops in Bosnian and Kosovo - why, wheres the money in it. What about South Korea? Thousands of American missionaries go around the world every year to help others. The Peace Corps has nothing to gain.

    Many who view America in the way you suggest should take a second and reflect on their countries deeds. Quite blaming us for their failures and take responsibility.

  13. #53
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Amen!!!

    Many who view America in the way you suggest should take a second and reflect on their countries deeds. Quite blaming us for their failures and take responsibility.
    Amen!!!!

  14. #54
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Been that way since a year or two after World War II.

    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    Many who view America in the way you suggest should take a second and reflect on their countries deeds. Quite blaming us for their failures and take responsibility.
    Not likely to change. As a columnist in the London times said about a year ago:

    ""What makes America the indispensable power (and even more indispensable in the era of the new China), is precisely what makes anti-Americanism inevitable."" LINK.

    Get used to it. I did, long time ago. A number of guys from various countries who were also on R&R from fighting in Korea alongside the US all telling me how evil America was. Recall, they were 'Allies.' I've heard and read it ever since and we keep plugging along, doing our thing. some bad stuff, mostly good stuff. The carping can be mildly annoying, no sense letting it be more than that -- like the man said, it isn't going away soon...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    Many who view America in the way you suggest should take a second and reflect on their countries deeds. Quite blaming us for their failures and take responsibility.
    I agree. That is basically what I typed above (sorry for the typo - change "but" to "must"): "That message [must] not be 'do as we say' but rather 'take some responsibility.' We have a difficult time sending that message to many of our own citizens. Ensuring that it is received by those outside of our country won't be quick or easy."

    Identifying the problem is the easy part. How do we get them to do it? How do we get other countries/nations to take responsibility?

  16. #56
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default The Taliban's Winning Strategy

    CEIP: The Taliban's Winning Strategy by Gilles Dorronsoro. H/T to the invaluable Registan.

    The Talibanís clear strategy and increasingly coherent organization have put the International Coalition on the defensive, marginalized the local Afghan government, and given the Taliban control of southern and eastern Afghanistan. Rather than concentrating limited troops in the South and East where the Taliban are firmly entrenched, the International Coalition should prioritize regions where the Taliban are still weak but making alarming progress: in the North and around Kabul.

    Far from a loose assortment of local groups, the Taliban are nationally organized, with coherent leadership and a sophisticated propaganda operation. The Coalition, on the other hand, lacks clear direction, largely due to its underestimation of the Taliban. Following a month-long trip through Afghanistan, Gilles Dorronsoro assesses the insurgency and proposes a strategy for the coalition based on a comprehensive understanding of the Talibanís capabilities and goals.

    Key points:

    The Taliban have built a parallel government in areas they control to fulfill two basic needs: justice and security. An almost nonexistent local government and the populationís distrust of the international coalition allowed the Taliban to expand their influence.

    Focusing resources in the South and East, where the insurgency is strongest, is risky, especially since the Afghan army is not ready to replace U.S. forces there.

    The Taliban have opened a front in the northern provinces, having consolidated their grip on the South and East. If the International Coalition does not counter this thrust, the insurgency will spread throughout Afghanistan within two to three years and the coalition will not be able to bear the financial and human costs of fighting.

    The insurgency cannot be defeated while the Taliban retain a safe haven in Pakistan. The Taliban can conduct hit-and-run attacks from their refuge in Pakistan, and the North remains open to infiltration.

    The United States must pressure Pakistan to take action against the Talibanís central command in Quetta. The current offensive in Pakistan is aimed at Pakistani Taliban and does not indicate a major shift in Pakistani policy toward Afghanistan.
    Dorronsoro's book is required reading for Afghanistan. An excellent primer.

  17. #57
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    Default urban and rural populations

    Conventional Wisdom Won't Work in Afghanistan
    JOSHUA FOUST | 17 JUL 2009
    WORLD POLITICS REVIEW

    The clichť that you must "protect the population" in order to win a counterinsurgency has now become entrenched in conventional wisdom. This is especially so of the war in Afghanistan, where civilian casualties have become a deeply polarizing issue. It has become so important that, during a recent trip to Helmand Province, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, declared that Coalition forces must make a "cultural shift" in Afghanistan, away from their normal combat orientation and toward protecting civilians.

    But protecting the population requires knowing where it lives. Here, the Army's conventional wisdom fails.

    In Iraq, the population was heavily urbanized, so spreading out into the cities made sense. The Surge, for example, was almost entirely focused on Baghdad. Now the consensus seems to be that the Army should focus on securing Afghanistan's major cities as well.

    Pretending that Afghanistan is an urban culture clashes with reality. According to the Central Statistics Office, around 10 percent of Afghanistan's population is still nomadic. Afghanistan's 10 largest cities hold less than 20 percent of its people, and the rest of Afghanistan lives in small rural communities.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  18. #58
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Interesting. Could mean he agrees with those of us here who

    tried to point out that Afghanistan was not Iraq; that the far more rural Afghans were not Arabs; that the terrain in Afghanistan made it a totally different game; that MRAPS were not a good buy and a few other things. We may have been on to something.

    Still, not necessarily a doomed operation. All those items are easily addressed. We'll see how smart and adaptable the the new Command crowd is...
    Last edited by Ken White; 07-17-2009 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Added '. We'

  19. #59
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gute
    wait, Afghanistan does not have oil - then why are we nation building. We gave 15 billion to Africa for AIDS - we did not get anything out of it. We responded and helped with disaster relief after the Tsunami - there was nothing to gain.
    We've had a developing economic interest in Afghanistan since the 1990s under Clinton, not only for its limited resources, but also as a transit country for access to the rest of Central Asia's resources, most importantly natural gas. Afghanistan is the only alternative other than Turkemenistan via the Caspian Sea. We give billions of dollars of AIDS money to Africa because those countries in turn buy our patented drugs that we protect by sanctioning the countries if they decide to produce them generically (and cheaper). We give aid elsewhere because typically that aid is tied to an understanding that they will use the funds to purchase American products.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  20. #60
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Much truth there but

    you neglected to mention that US non-governmental aid generally is far in excess of governmental aid to most nations -- and it mostly goes with no strings...

    Private giving for developing nations is $71B of which $47B are personal remittances to said developing nations; subtracting those (which BTW, are an economic loss to the US but are accepted here with virtually no limitations), there's still $26B in aid compared to the $25B of official USG aid, about a third of which is military aid (and over half of that in the bribes to Egypt and Israel thanks to James Earl Carter). So in non military aid, that's about one and a half times as much no string aid as that with the expectation -- but rarely a demand -- of purchasing US goods.

    People can be and are altruistic; governments by and large are not -- they generally act in their interests. Which is what they're supposed to do...

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