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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; I believe the technical term is called a cluster ****. Ruskin cluster...


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Old April 8th, 2017   #76
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I believe the technical term is called a cluster ****.



Ruskin cluster
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Old June 16th, 2017   #77
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So it seems there are traitors inside the afghan army that can attack at any moment. One of the killed 3 (!) US soldiers and injured more on June 10. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse.

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The U.S.-led coalition confirmed that the soldiers were killed on June 10, but did not specify that the attack was an inside job. “Three U.S. service members died as a result of wounds suffered Saturday when they came under attack during an [Afghan National Security Forces-] and U.S.-partnered operation in eastern Afghanistan,” the coalition stated.
Blood Runs in Nangarhar | War Is Boring

And who knows what else is going on there that we don't know about.
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Old July 25th, 2017   #78
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Suspicions grow regarding Russia arming the Taliban:

Videos suggest Russian government may be arming Taliban - CNN.com
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Old July 25th, 2017   #79
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No surprise here- Russia is improving ties with Pakistan which is hostile to Western installed & supported regime in Kabul. By helping certain insurgents there, Russia hopes to defeat ISIS & perhaps topple the present government & remove the source of instability close to other unstable Central Asian "Stans" & its own border. To an extent, it's a mirror image of what's happening in Syria. Taliban Awash in US Arms, Vehicles, Complicate Afghan War
Taliban Fighters Attack Afghan Base, Kill at Least 26 Soldiers
Taliban Slaughter Soldiers in Pattern of Attacks in Kandahar
Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals

Last edited by Tsavo Lion; July 26th, 2017 at 09:02 PM. Reason: add links
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Old August 2nd, 2017   #80
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[Can The U.S Defeat The Taliban In Afghanistan?]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpVc5gTXWjo

- 500 Afghan troops are being killed a month

- Civilian deaths are at an all time high

- The Talibs still control large parts of the country and retain much local support whilst the government remains strongly entrenched in Kabul but has a weak presence in many parts of the countryside.

- The U.S. has little idea or control as to how a large part of its money to
Afghanistan is being spent.

In short 16 years after the U.S. invasion, after all the effort, the billions and billions spent and the deaths of thousands of civilians at the hands of the Taliban and due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time; the Taliban is still a major undefeated player and the government - despite U.S. help and improvement in many areas - is still unable to defeat the Taliban and fully extend its control over the whole country. Whilst the local government no doubt shares a huge part of the blame, a large portion of the blame can also be applied to the U.S. Top of the long list of things done wrong was the decision to lose focus on Afghanistan in the 2003 period - when the Talibs were weak and disorganised - to shift priority to Iraq.
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Old August 2nd, 2017   #81
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Yes, the distraction of Iraq is the main reason for the Afghanistan failure (and a bunch of other stuff in the ME) but you must not leave out Pakistan which has greatly contributed to this failure along with Saudi money.
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Old August 2nd, 2017   #82
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Yes but the country with the most ''influence'' with Pakistan [along with China] is the U.S. If the U.S. can't or is unable to exert enough influence on Pakistan to cease doing whatever it's doing in Afghanistan then who can? Despite warnings from various quarters it took a long time for the Bush administration to wake up to the fact that Pakistan was part of the problem and was playing a double game. Bush Jr. was convinced that his personal relationship with Musharaf would ensure that the Pakistanis would behave.

A major problem for the Pakistanis is that doing everything the American wanted them to do would benefit the U.S. but would be damaging to Pakistan. As far as the Pakistani go; they will always want a ''friendly'' Pashtun government in power and focused as they are on India; Afghanistan for the Pakistanis provides them with strategic depth. The fact that India has been very active in Afghanistan had added to the insecurities of the Pakistanis. There is also the matter of the Durand Line with Afghanistan still having a claim on parts of Pakistan.

Actually, even if the U.S. hadn't got distracted with Iraq they still might not have achieved the desired results in Afghanistan given lack of commitment to rebuilding the country, the various agencies competing with each other and the Americans not completely understanding the country and what they had gotten themselves into.
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Old August 2nd, 2017   #83
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Various British people (politicians, diplomats, etc.) have publicly said that from the 1980s they, & British intelligence & military personnel, were warning the US people involved in Pakistan that they were being played by Pakistani military intelligence & its Pashtun friends from Afghanistan. They report that that message was unwelcome, & anyone who said it too insistently would find that the Americans would no longer co-operate with, or even talk to, them.

I'm sure there were Americans who understood perfectly well what was going on, but AFAIK it was decreed from on high that such talk was unacceptable, & was a way to get a black mark on your record & a transfer into a dead-end post.
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Old August 2nd, 2017   #84
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Given that Ahmad Shah Massoud hardly received anything from the Americans during the Soviet occupation [largely because aid was channeled via the Pakistanis and the Americans viewed him as too independent] it's ironic how the Northern Alliance later played such a vital role in assisting the Americans to defeat the Taliban. Without the Northern Alliance the Talibs would not have defeated in such a short span in 2001. Even during the decade prior to 11th September, the Americans were prohibited by law from supplying any Afghan group with lethal aid at a time when the Taliban was receiving lots of aid from not only from Pakistan but also from the Gulf.

A plan to supply Massoud's Northern Alliance with sniper rifles to enable Osama to be targeted was cancelled as the rifles were classified as ''lethal'' aid and would be used for an assassination. I also find it ironic how Russia has recently been accused of aiding the Taliban yet along with India was crucial in supplying the Northern Alliance in the 1990's when the Americans had lost interest in Afghanistan.

[Russia Denies Claim It Is Arming Taliban]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7o6IY3s6JY

[Is Afghanistan A New Battlefield For Two Traditional Rivals?]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDnKPRNS63M
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Old August 2nd, 2017   #85
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Originally Posted by swerve View Post
Various British people (politicians, diplomats, etc.) have publicly said that from the 1980s they, & British intelligence & military personnel, were warning the US people involved in Pakistan that they were being played by Pakistani military intelligence & its Pashtun friends from Afghanistan. They report that that message was unwelcome, & anyone who said it too insistently would find that the Americans would no longer co-operate with, or even talk to, them.

I'm sure there were Americans who understood perfectly well what was going on, but AFAIK it was decreed from on high that such talk was unacceptable, & was a way to get a black mark on your record & a transfer into a dead-end post.
If fracking for oil was fully developed in the US back in the 1980s, the need to suck-hole up to the Saudis and Pakistanis back then would not have necessary. These two mutt nations are the cause for much of the grief in the world today but mis-steps by the US are a big factor too, US smart people in the know were ignored for oil security IMO.
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Old August 3rd, 2017   #86
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The USA wasn't sucking up to Pakistan because of Saudi oil, but because it was the only route to Afghanistan, & the USA wanted to help those who were fighting the Red Army there. It needed Pakistani co-operation for that.

If the accounts I've read are accurate, the problem was that those in charge on the US side knew little about Afghanistan so relied on the Pakistanis & became rather too dependent on them, to the point where (reasonable) distrust of the ISI's (Inter-Services Intelligence) agenda & suspicion that it was too friendly with Islamic extremists was treated as disloyalty. A long spoon was appropriate, but instead, the ISI was treated as best friends.So, Afghans who the ISI didn't like, such as the non-Pashtun Massoud, were sidelined, while bloodthirsty Islamic extremists who were on good terms with the ISI were flooded with aid.
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Old August 3rd, 2017   #87
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so relied on the Pakistanis & became rather too dependent on them, to the point where (reasonable) distrust of the ISI's (Inter-Services Intelligence) agenda & suspicion that it was too friendly with Islamic extremists was treated as disloyalty.
That was exactly the case : the Pakistanis received carte blanche to distribute arms and supplies they way the saw fit and the short sighted and gullible Americans went along with this arrangement despite clear indications of what the Pakistanis were doing. The result is that groups that were not combat effective but were Pakistani complaint [such as Hetmeyter's group] received a lot but Ahmad Shah Massoud received little [e.g. he only received a handful of Stingers].

A problem for Massoud was that it was also hard foor outsiders to gain access to his territory unlike the Pakistani friendly Pashtun groups who were easier to get to from the border and he also never ventured to Peshawar throughout the years of the Soviet occupation. Massoud was distrusted by the Americans who saw him as too independent and also because he agreed to a number of cease fires with the Soviets.
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Old August 3rd, 2017   #88
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Trump Says U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals -He may eventually "pull the plug" there as there's nothing to be gained & a lot more to loose by staying! There's no future for any Western backed regime in Kabul. NATO & US made the same mistakes the USSR did. Chronologically speaking, empires go to die there. I said a while ago that the country should be divided up among its neighbors & stand by this statement.
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US foreign policy is littered with absurd, tragic, and hugely destructive foreign wars that served no real purpose except the pursuit of some misguided strand of official propaganda. How else, in the end, to explain America’s useless and hugely costly entanglements in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and many other conflicts?
The Mask Is Off: Trump Is Seeking War with Iran

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Old August 4th, 2017   #89
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After spending 700 billion, losing many lives, and considering the current status of Afghanistan, IMHO Trump is right for once.
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Old August 4th, 2017   #90
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He may eventually "pull the plug" there as there's nothing to be gained & a lot more to loose by staying!
Well the U.S. pulled the plug before and see what happened. Trump would also be wise to consider U.S. policy towards Syria and realise that the current policy is gaga land thinking that will not achieve anything.

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I said a while ago that the country should be divided up among its neighbors & stand by this statement.
That would a set precedent for other places be divided up. Also who gives outsiders the right to decide which countries can be allowed to be divided up and which countries can't? As it is, we have places that have endured decades of turmoil thanks to artificial borders created by outsiders for their own selfish interests without any regard for the people who actually live in those places.
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