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The Problem with Afghanistan

This is a discussion on The Problem with Afghanistan within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by STURM ... The following books [to me] are essential reading - ''Descent Into Chaos'' - Ahmad Rashid ...


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Old December 2nd, 2015   #16
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...

The following books [to me] are essential reading -

''Descent Into Chaos'' - Ahmad Rashid

''Taliban'' - Ahmad Rashid

''War Not Peace: How the West Ignored Pakistan and Lost Afghanistan'' - Christina Lamb [the author meets a British officer who offers to set up a washing machine that was donated to an Afghan office in Helmand. The officer was later told not to touch the machine as it was under the jurisdiction of a civilian agency.

''War Against the Taliban: Why It All Went Wrong in Afghanistan'' - Sandy Gall

''The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East'' - Robert Fisk

''The Lion's Grave'' - Jon Lee Anderson
Thanks. I agree with all you say, although i wasn't aware of the disconnect within the US Command before - i'll have a read up.

I've read Ahmad Rashid's Taliban which is an excellent pre-9/11 account of the Taliban, but now i get a lot of my info from documentaries (easier to digest for me)

Essential ones for me are:

1. Charlie Rose's pre-9/11 Taliban ambassador interview
2. BBC's "Afghanistan: The Lions Last Roar?"
3. Mark Urban's "Afghanistan: the Battle for Helmand"
4. Ben Anderson's "What We're Leaving Behind"
5. Ben Anderson's "This is What Winning Looks Like"

My aim is to ultimately identify and then hold accountable the political and senior military people who are responsible for the debacle that was 'Operation Enduring Freedom'. I'll keep you posted on my progress!
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Old December 3rd, 2015   #17
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As others here have commented Afghanistan is a mess. The only the that changes here is the date. Bin Laden and Omar are dead, time to leave. Afghanistan is a land- locked country so let the neighbours sort it out and on occasion if B-52s visits are required so be it.
Letting others 'sort out' Afghanistan is partially what allowed the Taliban to assume power, following the Soviet withdrawal and subsequent collapse of the "national" gov't.
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Old December 3rd, 2015   #18
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Exactly. IIRC the Pakistani ISI (military intelligence) backed, perhaps created, a group of Pushtun Islamists, this fitting in with the ISI's own attitudes - & thus was born the Taliban. They recruited in a lot of religious schools in Pakistan, especially NWFP (which is mostly Pushtun) to start with, trained in Pakistan, were armed by the ISI . . .
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Old December 3rd, 2015   #19
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Exactly. IIRC the Pakistani ISI (military intelligence) backed, perhaps created, a group of Pushtun Islamists, this fitting in with the ISI's own attitudes - & thus was born the Taliban. They recruited in a lot of religious schools in Pakistan, especially NWFP (which is mostly Pushtun) to start with, trained in Pakistan, were armed by the ISI . . .
Afghanistan was more less benign until it's monarchy fell apart with some Russian meddling and internal feud and finally the Russian invasion and the mess that has followed. Let sleeping dogs be should have been applied here I think. I agree Pakistan was and still is the biggest negative with regards to Afghanistan. Sorting Pakistan might be a solution assuming India and China could support this (doubtful).
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Old December 6th, 2015
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Old December 6th, 2015   #20
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i never understood why USA is still in afghanistan,this country is landlocked,no natural resources only mountains and deserts.
If USA can help somalia resist ISIS infiltration into east africa it would do wonders in africa.
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Old January 5th, 2016   #21
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Afghan update

U.S. to send “expeditionary advise and assist teams” to bolster Kabul’s troops in rural Afghanistan, Military Times reported Sunday. The overall U.S. force levels will not change, but special operations units will be sent to forward locations to help quell what turned out to be an awful year for Kabul’s troops and a headline-grabbing year for the Taliban.

The expeditionary A2 teams—often between six to 12 troops—are already chipping away in Helmand province, where the Taliban have made perhaps their biggest gains in recent months.

“They are not participating in combat,” said Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, deputy chief of staff for communications for the American-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. “Coalition special ops forces are not on the objective. They may provide planning support. They may provide enabler support … ISR and that sort of thing. They may provide transport support. But if the Afghan special operations forces are conducting an operation, then the coalition advisers will detach and go to an overwatch position or will go to a command post while the operation is going on.” More here.
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Old March 8th, 2016   #22
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A gentle reminder to all posting in this thread. The posting of one-liners is a violation of Rule 2 of the Forum Rules. On occasion, the Mod Team may tolerate a post with one-line; but not all the time.

For new members or members with less than 50 posts, if you post a one-liner in this thread, it will be deleted. Thank you for your attention.
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Old April 22nd, 2016   #23
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A serious question. We spent billions of dollars in Iraq/Afghanistan, and it could be argued that we lost both wars.

I think there was a great deal of military skill shown, but if that skill is used to support a government that is corrupt and does not have the support of the people, then chances of success are poor. I guess in a few years the Taliban will be in Kabul (maybe as a coalition partner), and then it will have to be official, the war is lost. I assume that in private most people accept this, in time something will happen, and allow it to be said publicly.

Iraq, vietnam, Aghanistan, Libya. All could be considered failures.

My question is that is there a growing realisation that to win a war, the government that the war is in support for has to be sound, and works for the people.

Richard Armitage (former deputy secrety of state and hardly a dove) said that a COIN movement only works if the government being supported is working for the people.

On the radio the other day,. there was a piece about AQAP (al queuda in yemen). The local tribal leaders hate Al Queda, but they talk to them because they are good listeners and provide support for fixing roads, fixing irrigation projects.

A generalisation is that when the west does aid projects, they sub contract that to western billion dollar corporations, that take most of the money. Versus paying the locals a small amount of money to do thousands of small projects. Possibly a better way of gaining support of the people.

So, I guess my question is, have western governments worked out that is important for the country being supported to work for the people.
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Old April 22nd, 2016   #24
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When these wars were started, I think it fair to say neither the Taliban or Saddam had much support. Once the replacement governments were up and running and showed themselves to be corrupt and next to useless I believe you are correct. The locals had zero confidence in them.

I still believe Afghanistan was a necessary intervention as it was safe haven for bin Laden. As bad as Saddam was, he was not an immediate threat to the West and served as a partial counter to Iran. It is possible that had all the effort been directed at Afghanistan, the outcome might have been more positive.

As for aid, it's a tough call, see local corruption ruin things or some greedy corporation.
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Old April 24th, 2016   #25
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USA made Afghanistan a safe haven for terrorism after enabling the mujahideen to get rid of the russians. Later they were forced to invade.

I believe that a power should intervene when it has a legitimate ally in the region. Then you can hope to reach a positive outcome. Like what Russia is doing in Syria for example.

Just toppling a regime through supporting rebels or invading yourself should be done only when a clear power transition can happen. Dismantling a government and the army and doing "nation/state building" is a tall order. Generally all this "partner building" malarkey is a recipe for disaster nowadays.

If you need to build or pay off allies in a region then it means you ... don't have any. Then again the scandalous and otherworldly fortunes spent by the US military have to be justified somehow.

I hope a pro-iranian PM gets in power in Iraq soon, it will be another good lesson.

Mod edit: Warning Issued & short-term ban. No inflammatory or trolling posts. One can have and express an opinion without being insulting, and/or going off into conspiracy theory-land. This applies to both the comment about the US 'making' Afghanistan into a terrorism safe haven, and the swipe at the US over the defense budget. Re-think your engagement style.
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Old April 25th, 2016   #26
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Old July 3rd, 2016   #27
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It has been terrible to watch the whole thing go through. The current president has dealt with the issues irresponsibly. I really hope we can get out of this mess.

A friendly word of advice here. I realise that you've just started posting, but one of the rules in here is about one liner comments. There is an expectation that even though there are times where a one liner will suffice, there is an expectation that people add or contribute to the debate.

It would be worth your while to check out the forum rules before posting again

Last edited by gf0012-aust; July 3rd, 2016 at 07:58 PM.
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Old July 3rd, 2016   #28
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It has been terrible to watch the whole thing go through. The current president has dealt with the issues irresponsibly. I really hope we can get out of this mess.
This is a defence forum not a political one and politics per se are against the rules. I would strongly advise you to take note of them and Preceptors warning above.
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Old August 7th, 2016   #29
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I was under the impression that the Taliban and IS, if not allies per say, tolerated each other's presence as they both shared some goals that were similar. In this video however IS people in Afghanistan make it clear that the oppose the Taliban as the Talibs are stooges of the Pakistani and oppose the formation of a Caliphate [which is true as unlike Al Qaeda, the Afghan Talibs had no intention of taking the fight outside of their country's borders]. Which makes me wonder, if the IS in Afghanistan is against the Taliban, what's stopping the more numerous Taliban from moving against IS? Especially given that IS has attacked the Taliban and has even hung Taliban commanders.

[Featured Documentary - ISIL and the Taliban]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYfBeeUzVME
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Old August 7th, 2016   #30
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[Featured Documentary - ISIL and the Taliban]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYfBeeUzVME
Watched about 8 minutes, enough to realize more and bigger UAVs with more Hellfires and Brimestones are needed. When the Taliban starts helping with the ISIL extermination then perhaps something positive can develop.

Last edited by John Fedup; August 8th, 2016 at 02:58 AM.
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