Afghanistan War

ngatimozart

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Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Not to throw gasoline on the fire, but I found this interesting report, that essentially accuses the CIA of operating death squads. I was sure what to make of this material. I've never before heard of a journal called "The Intercept" but a quick google search turned up a HRW report too... They seem to focus fairly clearly on the NDS strik

Well, we've always known that the CIA have had rather dirty hands, so to be honest it would not surprise me. They were using torture and rendition as a matter of policy, so going that one extra step would be no problem.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well, we've always known that the CIA have had rather dirty hands, so to be honest it would not surprise me. They were using torture and rendition as a matter of policy, so going that one extra step would be no problem.
This seems to go further then that. These are basically unaccountable armed teams going around murdering civilians as a form of intimidation, with the direct support of US military personnel and assets, under the auspices of the CIA. I'm wondering why this isn't front page news on a major newspaper if true. But it seems awfully detailed, and supported at least indirectly by other sources.
 
This seems to go further then that. These are basically unaccountable armed teams going around murdering civilians as a form of intimidation, with the direct support of US military personnel and assets, under the auspices of the CIA. I'm wondering why this isn't front page news on a major newspaper if true. But it seems awfully detailed, and supported at least indirectly by other sources.
if this is true and folks in the CIA authorized it, there will be some jail time for some folks here. This is terrible.

Art
 

CB90

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
This seems to go further then that. These are basically unaccountable armed teams going around murdering civilians as a form of intimidation, with the direct support of US military personnel and assets, under the auspices of the CIA. I'm wondering why this isn't front page news on a major newspaper if true. But it seems awfully detailed, and supported at least indirectly by other sources.
I knew The Intercept sounded familiar!

They were banned by DOD for employees to access back in 2014 due to it being one of the sources posting leaked classified information.

It was bizarre - don't recall how it got resolved.

We'll see where it goes - I imagine if it can be substantiated, the broader media will start to pick it up as well. Although current US politics leaves very little space to cover any other issues...
 

CheeZe

Active Member
I knew The Intercept sounded familiar!
They somehow pop up in my newsfeed with GOP-leaning articles (basically that everything is the fault of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer) and conspiracy-theory sounding headlines. I wouldn't consider them to be an credible news source.
 
They somehow pop up in my newsfeed with GOP-leaning articles (basically that everything is the fault of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer) and conspiracy-theory sounding headlines. I wouldn't consider them to be an credible news source.
You don't need the Intercept to believe that such mishaps were truly orchestrated by the CIA/Pentagon. During my time with the Pakistani army I have experienced true ugliness and deceit of war from the frontlines. If I had to sum it all up in just a few words through my personal experience, the war in Afghanistan was political and had an entirely different purpose. By the way, that purpose failed miserably in the process if I may add. I have witnessed first hand what happened in Afghanistan on the ground. Heck I am a Pashtun and half of my family resides on the other side of the border. If you think that US war machinery was present in Afghanistan to establish peace or democracy you need a reality check. This war has been marred from the word go.

The bitter truth is that US war in Afghanistan deviated terribly from the initial goals. There is a reason why many vets in your country question this unending and failed war for a very good reason.

Here comes some dose of bitter reality. As Biden comes into office in a few days he has a colossal job to end the war. I can already guess that he is destined to fail. The war in Afghanistan is about to get ugly again. The war machinery in the US has no plan to exit Afghanistan, but to prolong it. With Biden they are going to get their wish. Although it remains to be seen how the US now turns its back on the negotiations held with the Taliban and the Afghan government during Trump's presidency. I think all agreements will be overturned and we will probably be back to square one. I am also very intrigued in finding out how Biden is going to bring back his troops into Afghanistan after Trump reduced the numbers drastically. The US war in Afghanistan isn't ending anytime soon.

The US hasn't made any friends with powerful regional nations. Russia, Iran and China have already been accused of paying bounty to the Taliban to attack US soldiers. Obviously Pakistan has bore the entire brunt of US war in Afghanistan. The US has a daunting task ahead of itself to find peace and stability in Afghanistan. The US is not only fighting the Pakistani intelligence in Afghanistan. It is fighting against Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan in Afghanistan.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Not surprising as Trump just wanted a quick exit for election enhancement. It is a lose lose situation, stay and waste more blood and treasure or leave and accept the resulting horror show.
 
Not surprising as Trump just wanted a quick exit for election enhancement. It is a lose lose situation, stay and waste more blood and treasure or leave and accept the resulting horror show.
It looks like we are heading to Obama era. History tells us that the Democrats are likely to increase troop numbers. It will be a broken record all over again. Pakistan will be asked to do more i.e. accept Indian presence and role in Afghanistan at all cost which obviously won't happen. Pakistan won't accept Indian consulates in Afghanistan for obvious reasons. Especially when these consulates have US blessing.

The equation has changed dramatically since the Obama years. Iran, China and Russia are very actively involved in Afghanistan. They are supporting factions. These nations are tacitly in agreement with Pakistan. Biden will be in a tough spot. Biden is surrounded by Obama elements who think that the war in Afghanistan can still be won militarily.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
It looks like we are heading to Obama era. History tells us that the Democrats are likely to increase troop numbers. It will be a broken record all over again. Pakistan will be asked to do more i.e. accept Indian presence and role in Afghanistan at all cost which obviously won't happen. Pakistan won't accept Indian consulates in Afghanistan for obvious reasons. Especially when these consulates have US blessing.

The equation has changed dramatically since the Obama years. Iran, China and Russia are very actively involved in Afghanistan. They are supporting factions. These nations are tacitly in agreement with Pakistan. Biden will be in a tough spot. Biden is surrounded by Obama elements who think that the war in Afghanistan can still be won militarily.
That is not a given. We will be best to wait and see what Biden's policy is before getting all upset about it. Jingoistic posts are not going to achieve anything. Just a reminder; Afghanistan is a sovereign nation and if it decides to allow Indian Consulates then Pakistan has no say in the matter. Pakistan can bellow and screech all it likes, but all that does is make it look like a spoilt toddler. I would suggest that Pakistan gets its own house in order before it starts preaching to others what they can or cannot do. There are few worse things than pious hypocrites.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
...Pakistan won't accept Indian consulates in Afghanistan for obvious reasons. ...
Won't accept Indian consulates? That's treating Afghanistan as a subsidiary state, denying its independence. Pakistan has no rights in this matter. Trying to ban Afghanistan having any consulates it wishes to accept is wrong. It is behaving as if Pakistan is Afghanistan's colonial overlord.

That behaviour is unacceptable to everyone else. It puts Pakistan firmly in the wrong.
 
Nationalistic jingoistic content
Won't accept Indian consulates? That's treating Afghanistan as a subsidiary state, denying its independence. Pakistan has no rights in this matter. Trying to ban Afghanistan having any consulates it wishes to accept is wrong. It is behaving as if Pakistan is Afghanistan's colonial overlord.

That behaviour is unacceptable to everyone else. It puts Pakistan firmly in the wrong.
Indian consulates that undermine Pakistan while US/NATO looks the other way. This has been happening for the past two decades where TTP elements supported by both India and Afghanistan infiltrate across the border to commit acts of terror against the people of Pakistan. They are hardly consulates, but recruitment centres. Pakistan 100% reserves the right to react and defend its territory. Absolutely nothing will change that fact.

Pakistan will continue to defend itself against acts of terror emanting from Afghanistan while US/NATO continue to turn a blind eye. We have been doing it for the past two decades despite US/NATO accusations. Our record speaks volume and we won't stop at anything. This is our house and our region. We won't take dictation from outsiders on any regional matters.

First the accusations were that Pakistan wasn't doing enough to stop terrorists from crossing over into the porous border. Pakistan built a fence along the enormous terrain on its own expense. Now the fence is not good. The question is what does the US/NATO want? What is the end goal? Two decades have past and there is no conclusion. There are only more accusations.

US/NATO now has a much bigger challange to deal with. Pakistan and like-minded nations won't tolerate US/NATO interference in Afghanistan. Every major regional country except India unequivocally stands together against US/NATO interventions and failures in Afghanistan. China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan won't tolerate US/NATO interference in Afghanistan. We fully understand why the US is undecided and confused. They have no way out. They seek a graceful exit, but that is an unlikely prospect.

@Maximuswarrior NATIONALISTIC JINGOISTIC POSTS ARE NOT TOLERATED. TWO MODERATORS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO DISSUADE YOU FROM THIS ATTITUDE. 12 POINTS FOR 6 MONTHS.
 
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Nationalistic jingoistic content
That is not a given. We will be best to wait and see what Biden's policy is before getting all upset about it. Jingoistic posts are not going to achieve anything. Just a reminder; Afghanistan is a sovereign nation and if it decides to allow Indian Consulates then Pakistan has no say in the matter. Pakistan can bellow and screech all it likes, but all that does is make it look like a spoilt toddler. I would suggest that Pakistan gets its own house in order before it starts preaching to others what they can or cannot do. There are few worse things than pious hypocrites.
The last time I checked it was US/NATO nagging and accusing others. Which regional country hasn't been accused by US/NATO for destabilizing Afghanistan? Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have all been accused by US/NATO for various reasons. Isn't it time for some self accountability? Propping up India against China is right in your view? Giving India a platform in Afghanistan to act as a police officer of the region won't be tolerated. Especially by Pakistan. We share a border with Afghanistan. India doesn't. We are affected by Afghan and Indian hostility. Not the US and NATO countries. Period. If US/NATO won't take genuine Pakistani concerns into account they shouldn't expect any goodwill. From the brutal Salala massacre to massive economic losses and continuous blackmail. We had to endure the losses. Our people died in countless terror attacks planned and executed from the other side. Now US/NATO expects Pakistan to just suck it up. That won't happen.

Where was US/NATO concern for Afghans after the Cold War? You lecture us on the well-being of Afghanistan. US/NATO dumped Afghans and the entire region to fend for themselves. It was Pakistan that took millions of Afghan refugees and looked after them. The Western nations were spectators. Despite hardships and economic sanctions from Western nations Pakistan did the necessary. These hypocritical lectures will fall on deaf ears.

Pakistan and other regional nations will do whatever they deem fit for their interests. Blackmail won't work. US/NATO is free to cry rivers and accuse others as much as they like. It won't affect anyone. US/NATO can keep their troops in Afghanistan for an eternity. If the US/NATO believe that so-called peace can be attained through foul play they are sorely wrong. By aiding one side and vilifying the other the US/NATO are playing the devil's advocate. Times have changed and so have the rules on the ground.

@Maximuswarrior NATIONALISTIC JINGOISTIC POSTS ARE NOT TOLERATED. TWO MODERATORS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO DISSUADE YOU FROM THIS ATTITUDE. 12 POINTS FOR 6 MONTHS. TWO RED WARNINGS IN TWO CONSECUTIVE POSTS IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO YOUR CONTINUED FUTURE HERE. THE MODERATORS WILL DISCUSS WHAT SANCTIONS, IF ANY, WILL BE APPLIED TO YOU.

NGATIMOZART.
 
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You don't threaten me with sanctions. Obviously you are not allowed to express your opinion freely on this forum. This very much explains the one-sided audience on this forum which really is a shame. Having said that, this was my last post. Good luck with expressing your one-sided views. Believe in your concealed truth, but the truth is always bigger.

I fully stand by my thoughts and this is not nationalistic jingoism. It is the reality of the past two decades. It is the new reality on the ground unfolding before our eyes. Perhaps uncomfortable for some. As US/NATO continue their selective favouritism in Afghanistan, the outcome won't be beneficial for any side. Time will tell that this is the truth. US/NATO will find out that their India centric policies won't bring much success. I say this as a Pasthun who has been directly affected by the warmongering. I know the cost of war first hand unlike some here who don't even know this region or conflict.

Mod edit: Poster Permanently Banned for continuing to post nationalistic/jingoistic content. For members and visitors in general, the casus belli for NATO involvement in Afghanistan was the coordinated attacks which occurred on what is now known as 9/11. These attacks indirectly virtually everyone on the planet given the impact on national economies and global trade and travel. These attacks also directly impacted the lives of millions of people, never mind the deaths of thousands from 77 nations across the globe. To deny this reality is to be in deep denial, or engaged in propaganda to spread a false narrative. Either way, it doesn't belong here on DT.
-Preceptor
 
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SolarWind

Active Member
The Afghanistan war began for the USA when we were attacked on our soil. Its lasting impact was the realization that we can never assume that we are safe at home. We still deal with the effects to this day, even in a way that affects daily life. For example, flying has become intolerable, internet anonymity is difficult or nonexistent, civil rights are compromised, etc. Some people are forgiving, some are not, while others couldn't even find Afghanistan on the map. But the bottom line is we had a just and reasonable cause to go there, taking the war to our enemies, even despite the fact that most of us have no idea what we are still doing there. So don't expect our media to take Taliban's side on this.
 
The Afghanistan war began for the USA when we were attacked on our soil. Its lasting impact was the realization that we can never assume that we are safe at home. We still deal with the effects to this day, even in a way that affects daily life. For example, flying has become intolerable, internet anonymity is difficult or nonexistent, civil rights are compromised, etc. Some people are forgiving, some are not, while others couldn't even find Afghanistan on the map. But the bottom line is we had a just and reasonable cause to go there, taking the war to our enemies, even despite the fact that most of us have no idea what we are still doing there. So don't expect our media to take Taliban's side on this.
we were attacked by Bin Laden. The Tailban refused to give him up. We invaded.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
we were attacked by Bin Laden. The Tailban refused to give him up. We invaded.
That is rather simplistic. The 9/11 attacks were an act of war committed by a non-state actor, and IIRC it is the only time that the NATO clause pertaining to responding to an attack on a member state has ever been invoked. The ANZUS Treaty was invoked as well. The then Afghan government were asked to arrest and hand over bin Laden. When they refused an ultimatum was issued and when that expired then the US invaded. That was done legally and all above board with the US having justifiable causus belli.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 1 of 3: The Adults are back in charge for the upcoming NATO withdrawal of Troops
It looks like we are heading to Obama era. History tells us that the Democrats are likely to increase troop numbers.
1. Good to see common sense being applied. Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that the administration is "taking a hard look at the extent to which the Taliban are in fact complying" with provisions of a U.S.-Taliban deal signed in 2020, under Trump.

2. I disagree with you and will provide some links to explain or provide context. I am even glad to see that the Biden administration is signaling a tougher line with the Taliban than Trump, with top officials warning that a planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in May 2021 could be delayed if the insurgents do not comply with their end of the bargain.
It will be a broken record all over again.

Pakistan will be asked to do more i.e. accept Indian presence and role in Afghanistan at all cost which obviously won't happen.
3. I am not sure what you are whining about. The Pakistani Government has said that it agreed to use leverage to get the Afghan parties and the US in the same room and let the locals decide. India is a sovereign country with its own policies and agenda in Afghanistan. Indo-Afghan relations is strengthened by the 2011 Strategic Partnership Agreement. In Jun 2016, the US$ 290 million Afghan-India Friendship Dam (AIFD) or Salma Dam, located on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province in western Afghanistan was opened.
(a) Further, in 2016, India inaugurated the Afghan Parliament building with approx INR 970 crore; announced new 500 scholarships for the children of the martyrs of Afghan Security Forces and gifted four Mi-25 Attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force.​
(b) US$ 1billion development assistance was announced in Sep 2017 by Government of India on a ‘New Development Partnership’. Government of India worked with the Government of Afghanistan to identify priorities and projects where Afghanistan needed India’s assistance.​
(c) India agreed to implement important new projects such as road connectivity to Band-e-Amir in Bamyan Province that would promote tourism; low cost housing for returning Afghan refugees in Nangarhar Province to assist in their resettlement; a gypsum board manufacturing plant in Kabul to promote value added local industry development and import substitution; a polyclinic in Mazar-e-Sharif among others. In addition, India also committed to take up additional 116 High Impact Community Development Projects in 34 provinces of Afghanistan.​
(d) The US$236 million Shahtoot Dam and drinking water project for Kabul will be built with Indian funds on a tributary of Kabul River, which originates from Sanglakh Range of Hindu Kush Mountain and flows through Kabul, Surobi and Jalalabad in Afghanistan before flowing into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. Islamabad has been opposing the proposed dam arguing that such projects on the Kabul River and its tributaries in Afghanistan will reduce the flow of water into Pakistan.​
Pakistan won't accept Indian consulates in Afghanistan for obvious reasons. Especially when these consulates have US blessing.
Won't accept Indian consulates? That's treating Afghanistan as a subsidiary state, denying its independence. Pakistan has no rights in this matter. Trying to ban Afghanistan having any consulates it wishes to accept is wrong. It is behaving as if Pakistan is Afghanistan's colonial overlord.

That behaviour is unacceptable to everyone else. It puts Pakistan firmly in the wrong.
4. I wish Maximuswarrior could have provided a link on the Pakistani Government’s stance, prior to being banned — his idiotic restatement of a Pakistani meme found in numerous forums seems to be very unreasonable. Like swerve, I hold the view that any responsible adult would not accept this self-serving punditry at face level.
The equation has changed dramatically since the Obama years. Iran, China and Russia are very actively involved in Afghanistan. They are supporting factions. These nations are tacitly in agreement with Pakistan.
5. In paragraphs 1 to 4 above, I searched for evidence to refute your lies or misinformation and provided either relevant links or context. IMO, the quality of your post is so low, it sounds like propaganda written by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate or ISI (which shares a link with the Taliban, especially the Haqqani group). I don’t even consider you as an ‘useful idiot’ (to quote Lenin/Stalin) for Iran or the regional spoiler Russia. There are also rumors that the Haqqani network, traditionally known for having strong ties to Pakistan, is getting closer to Iran as well but that situation will not endure beyond 2021. Let me share my subjective opinion below:
One, Iran and Pakistan’s interests can never align in the long-run — Iran supports the Shi’a Hazaras in their controlled territories and its port competes with Pakistan’s port. Chabahar is Iran's only oceanic port that has particular promise as a means of access to the Indian Ocean for landlocked Afghanistan; and reduce the country’s dependence on the Pakistani port of Gwadar for transit trade. In Nov 2018, the Americans have announced that economic activity related to the development of the Chabahar port would be exempted from certain reinstated sanctions from the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012. In Oct 2017, India's first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan was sent through the Chabahar Port. In Dec 2018, India took over the port's operations. in the case of India, they have also delivered 75,000 MT of Wheat to Afghanistan in 2020. In addition, India has also undertaken supply of certain types of medicines and have provided 50,000 pairs of surgical gloves to Afghanistan in 2020. This ensures that the Afghan Government does not become a puppet of the ISI.​
Two, India is also exploring opportunities for cooperation (as limited as they might be) with Iran with regard to the port of Chabahar. Iran recruited Indian firms in the 1990s to lead the Chabahar port project, but increased sanctions by the US made only a partial completion possible. In 2012, after the initial repeal of sanctions under the JCPOA, India invested US$500 billion. The port has faced many bouts of uncertainty, but with the reinstatement of sanctions in Nov 2018, the US holds the decisive power over the port’s future. As a close partner, India is particularly wary of and responsive to U.S. influence. India’s close relationship with the US and Israel make it an unusual partner to Iran but simultaneously the ideal actor to oversee a responsible economic partnership between Iran and Afghanistan.​
Three, Tehran has been pursuing a risky policy of “hedging” in Afghanistan — simultaneously providing support to the Afghan government and the Taliban in the hopes of keeping them divided and influencing political developments once the U.S. draws down its forces. Despite being historically anti-Taliban, Tehran seems to have changed its tune on the understanding that the Taliban would no longer persecute Shi’a Hazaras. The Taliban has also reciprocated, and the reason seems tactical. Ahead of the 2021 intra-Afghan talks, the Taliban has pulled out all the stops to gain legitimacy among Afghan Hazaras.​
Four, to some extent, China is interested in having a stable Afghanistan partner to work with after NATO troops pull out (unlike ISI’s agenda) — therefore not aligned with ISI’s interest to destabilise existing the Afghan Government, in its attempt to create strategic depth. India is exploring opportunities for cooperation (as limited as they might be) with China, and find common ground with the US on Afghanistan’s future. This does not mean forcing competing interests to align; it means investing in a wider diplomatic initiative with the view to carve out areas of convergence.​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 2 of 3: The Adults are back in charge for the upcoming NATO withdrawal of Troops
Biden will be in a tough spot. Biden is surrounded by Obama elements who think that the war in Afghanistan can still be won militarily.
6. The Feb 2020 Trump agreement with the Taliban called for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops by May 2021 in return for the Taliban breaking with terrorist groups, sharply reducing violence and entering into peace negotiations with the Afghan government. The Americans entered the 2020 negotiations with the Taliban knowing that the country that gave shelter to Osama bin Laden was Pakistan (and not Afghanistan, after U.S. forces begin an air campaign with strikes on Taliban and al Qaeda forces. Small numbers of U.S. special forces and CIA agents soon slip into Afghanistan to help direct the bombing campaign and organise Afghan opposition forces that over threw the Taliban in 2001).

(a) The Feb 2021 shift in tone by Biden’s team is welcomed by the Afghan government, which had complained it was shut out of the negotiations between Washington and the Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani said he was heartened by the new team's approach and what he called its "early, focused, systematic attention."​

(b) A U.S. Department of Defense report said that the Taliban’s links remain intact with al-Qaida. “The Taliban continues to maintain relations with al-Qaida ... [the terror network’s] members were integrated into Taliban forces and command structures" said Sean O'Donnell, the department's acting inspector general.​

(c) Although the Biden administration indicated it was prepared to put the brakes on withdrawal plans if necessary, it has chosen to retain Trump's peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad. Khalilzad, the architect of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, had strained relations with the Ghani government. But President Ghani suggested Khalilzad would be working for a new U.S. president, with a more coordinated, predictable approach.​

(d) A withdrawal in May 2021 under current conditions will likely lead to a collapse of the Afghan state and a possible renewed civil war.” And that “a precipitous withdrawal could lead to a reconstitution of the terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland within eighteen months to three years.” Given the risks Biden is likely to opt for: trying to win Taliban support for extending the withdrawal deadline while intra-Afghan peace talks continue.​
That is rather simplistic. The 9/11 attacks were an act of war committed by a non-state actor, and IIRC it is the only time that the NATO clause pertaining to responding to an attack on a member state has ever been invoked. The ANZUS Treaty was invoked as well. The then Afghan government were asked to arrest and hand over bin Laden. When they refused an ultimatum was issued and when that expired then the US invaded. That was done legally and all above board with the US having justifiable causus belli.
7. Thanks for intervening in the thread and I agree with your point. American allies in NATO have troops in Afghanistan and they have valid concerns on Trump’s artificial timing for withdrawal. As I said before:
(a) In Sep 2001, NATO formally invoked Article 5 (its mutual defence clause) after receiving “clear and compelling” evidence from the US that Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida terrorist network was behind the 11 Sep attacks in the US.​
(b) This was the first time in NATO’s history that the alliance reaffirms its founding principle that an attack upon one is an attack upon all.​
(c) The current legal framework for the Resolute Support Mission is provided by a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which were signed in Kabul on 30 Sep 2014, and ratified by the Afghan Parliament on 27 Nov 2014. The SOFA defines the terms and conditions under which 9,600 NATO forces are deployed in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support.​

8. I see no need for Biden to stick to a troop withdrawal timeline set by Trump if it does not work, right? Biden’s team understands the mistakes made by Obama when he agreed to withdraw from Iraq too quickly in Dec 2011 and even Iran does not want the rapid collapse of the Afghan Government.

9. From a conceptual point of view, France in Operation Barkhane has demonstrated what 4,500 troops can do — when the political leadership is competent. After a “mini surge” of 600 additional French soldiers in the Sahel since Feb 2020, its counterterrorism Operation Barkhane is likely to revert to the pre-surge level, with more reductions possible in the medium term.

10. In broad strokes, there are American plans to withdraw the current 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, along with 6,346 U.S. contractors (PDF). As of 15 Jan 2021, the US troops in Afghanistan are engaged in two missions:
(a) a bilateral counterterrorism mission in cooperation with Afghan forces; and​
(b) participation in the Resolute Support Mission, a non-combat mission focused on providing training, advice, and assistance support to Afghan forces.​

11. Under a withdrawal agreement (PDF) signed by the Trump administration and the Taliban in Feb 2020, there should be no U.S. troops left in Afghanistan by May 1. If Biden’s team decide that this can be done based on current conditions in Afghanistan, Biden’s team will do it. If not, they will consult allies and decide on the next steps.

12. While Pakistan is technically run by an elected government, that government cannot do anything the military disagrees with. With regards to Afghanistan, the ISI has its own secret policy towards Afghanistan that supersedes anything the politicians come up with or agree to. From what I see, Pakistan, as fragile state (25th on the list and more fragile than Venezuela), has to decide:
(a) if a stable Afghanistan (9th on the fragile state index and seen as more unstable than Mali or Iraq) that is growing economically is in its best interest; or​
(b) if ISI believes that there are no consequences to screwing up the 2021 round of peace talks in Afghanistan.​
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
It's always looked to me as if the ISI mostly thinks in zero sum terms, & can't conceive of anything being beneficial to both Pakistan &, e.g., India, though it can understand things being harmful to both, & is willing to accept harm to Pakistan to cause greater harm to what it sees as its enemies.

That is very dangerous.
 
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