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Whats your opinion on Afghanistan?

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    Posted: 19 September 2009 at 5:40pm
This message from Mullah Omar said that they are prepared for a long war and won't end until NATO pulls out. Do you think they are BSing? I'm not really sure what to think - if we should continue to stay there or pull out.
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brihard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2009 at 5:59pm
If we're going to do it properly, wre'll still be there in 20 years.

Remember that Iraq only stabilized quite recently. Also remember that Iraq as a nation is used to having a stable society relatively united under one gov ernment, however poor a government it was.

Afghanistan has been nearly two generations without peace, but it has functioned as a stable state back in the 60s and 70s. They were, in fact, beginning significant liberal reforms in the 70s., It was pushing these too fast that led to the first modern insurgency there, which in turn drew in Soviet military presence in order to prop up what was, for the Soviets, a very friendly government.

The people want a peaceful stable state. Most of them could care less about a central government in Kabul, but they certainly don't want the Taliban in most cases.

It's going to be very critical to eventually pull of a fairly clean, relatively fair election, where the presidency changes and the results are abided by. They need to see that a transition of power can be accomplished without violent overthrow.

There is also a huge need to improve the educational system and other social infrastructure. They need economic opportunity other than agriculture and herding. A generation of kids needs to be raised to be optimistic about their country, and to know enough to want better than what the Taliban offer them.

An alternative needs to be found to opium cultivation, and this is starting to happen with wheat crops. Wheat can bring in as much cash for the farmers, without resulting in the massive drug profits that have typically benefited the Neo-Taliban and other insurgents.

The border with Pakistan needs to be secured. Right now insurgents pass across at will. The border itself is very artifical; known as the Duran Line it was artificially imposed through the middle of Pashtun tribal territory by the British, so as to create a buffer state between what was then the Russian empire and the British empire in India. Afghanistan could well be a more viable state if the Pashtun regions were separated from the rest of Afghansitan and given autonomy. To be blunt, the Pashtuns are the problem. If we could carve off southern Afghanistan and northern PAkistan, wall them in and cut them off from the rest of the world, checking back every century or so, we'd be better off than we are now., The place is just so goddamned backwards it's mind numbing.

In the long term they must be weaned off of the tribal system. It is very, very real and very powerful. Take two neighbouring villages; one may love us and support us, the other may be a deathtrap for coalition forces moving through their territory.

We must swallow hard and accept the continuing human cost. What we're doing IS worth it, but it WILL be very hard to accept the sacrifices necessary. The people there want a better life, and we can give it to them if we stay the course. If we give up and pull out it will be a tremendous betrayal of all the Afghans who've sought for the past eight years to make their country better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldsoldier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2009 at 7:42pm
Several centuries of internal conflicts by the various sect within Afghanistan will not be settled anytime soon. The "Warlords" of these sects see no advantage of giving up thier power in lieu of a central government. The warrior ethos is a tradition, weapons being found go back to the British of the 19th Century, and are handed down in families as a almost religious expierience. Being a warrior is a right of passage for Afghan males. My boy has worked civil action missions out in the hinter lands far from the urban centers. Most of these tribal groups are still in the 12th-14th Century in tradition. The British, the Russians, now US have tried, and are trying.
As my boy has said to me, most of the Afghan population could care less who thinks they are in charge in Kabul, the local "Warlord" is who is truely in charge, and all actions are to please the local, rather than a "government" these people have never seen.

Interesting side note, the group my son worked for were armed with Martini-Henry's and early LeeEnfields, no modern arms, and they were kids in a candy store when they recieved the olded M16A2's from the US. In the initial celebration alone they burned through several cases of ammunition and the elders were busy planning a raid on their neighbors under a rival "warlord". Yes that is Afghanistan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2009 at 7:55pm
To piggyback on what Bri had to say. The key theme in Afghanistan is that no one trusts the central government, and with good reason. Karzai's brother is the biggest drug-lord in all of Afghanistan, and much like the provincial governments of Somalia, the central government has zero control outside of the capital city.

In reference to the division of the country by the tribal powers. I lay this issue directly at the feet of the British Empire. Rather than taking their time and setting the boundaries back the way they were before they came along and mucked everything up, the Brits essentially created countries that exist solely on maps out of hundreds of tribal kingdoms and chiefdoms. If the option to secede from the nation of Afghanistan was given to each district, I think you'd see at least half the country wish to break into their own little kingdoms.

So, to achieve what we would wish to see, a peaceful, whole, and most importantly sustainable Afghanistan, we need to quit supporting a corrupt government, recognize the desire of the tribal groups to have at least some autonomy, and secure the border with Pakistan to keep insurgents from coming across and stirring up a hornets' nest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednekk98 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2009 at 11:52pm
The entire government we've tried to set up there is wrong. It centralizes power too much. Karzai should not be able to appoint local governors. If it weren't for their human rights record, I'd say give it back to the Taliban. Get as many CIA contacts in there as possible to give us some idea if non-afghans are being trained there, pull out, and bomb it periodically.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 1:23am
Are you talking militarily, or the strategic long term view?


Militarily is simple: Take the kiddy gloves off.

Long term? Totally different story which Bri has pretty much hit on.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 7:14am
The second we 'take the kid gloves off', we lose the moral high ground, and our legitimacy for being there.

Rednekk hit on a good point vis a vis the overcentralization of power. Afghanistan would work better as a somewhat loose republic (your mom, LOL) then as a tight federal state. There's also a problem with Pashto hegemony in government- yet the Pashtuns in the south will never tolerate a president who's a Hazara, or a Tajik, or an Uzbek, or really any other ethnicity that isn't Pashto. Unfortunately the Pashtuns tend to treat anyone else like crap.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 12:06pm
You can be brutal in your fight against enemies and still be just and right in your dealings with the innocent.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote agentwhale007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 12:38pm
Exactly what are we doing where we are using "kid gloves?" 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldsoldier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 12:49pm
Limited warfare as we practice it has a serious flaw. The Rules of Engagement vary too much for the individual soldier to understand the concept of the operation he/she is on. As I understand it from son, he and his unit can not fire unless fired upon and only after positively identifying the hostiles. Now in a land where every male carries a weapon amd in a ville with these locals walking around armed and you take incoming, what are your options? By the ROE you only can fire on the individual that fired on you, and any threat you percieve. But with every male in sight carrying a weapon Mr. Murphy will ensure you shoot at the wrong individual(s) with the media right there filming the "attrocity" as the wrong target(s) is hit. That is the purpose of the insurgent/guerilla to get the more powerfull force to commit these acts, and lose in the living rooms of that forces home country.

Initially we grabbed all the weapons we could from these villes. Now in the infighting among the warlords, the villes are rearmed with more modern weaponry, as the drug trade and warlords arm the villes. So like my boy states, he drives into a ville and everyone is armed, now who is the true "g" in this mass of humanity, and when he shoots one of my boys people how does he retaliate, and not commit an "attrocity" in front of the media.

My boy states his Hummer has at least 20 bullet scars on the body and gun shield, and he could not return fire because of the inability to locate the individual(s) responsible in the mass of armed people now running around after hearing the inbound rounds.

What a way to run a war.

"Kid Gloves" is the ROE's we are forced to operat under. We put the word out, you are armed you are considered a hostile. Give it 2-3 weeks to sink into the populace, and resume operations. You see an individual with a weapon you warn them to drop weapon, if they do not they are now a hostile and a threat and you engage. Problem will soon sort itself on its own as locals will no longer be armed, some sort of civl control can be installed, and a more controled combat enviornment installed. For those of you who have no concept of combat operations with limiting ROE's just imagine you are playing baseball, and your coach states you can not swing at any pitch other than a fastball or you will be fined. How can you tell its a fastball as it leaves the pitchers hand, and if you swing are you wrong in the eyes of the coach and the fans.

Edited by oldsoldier - 20 September 2009 at 12:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 2:47pm
Sorry OS, but you're a couple decades out of date.

We're not hurting because we can't shoot armed people. We're hindered because they retain enough support amongst some segments of the local population to be able to carry out IED attacks. Not with impunity, but successfully enough to kill our guys.

The issue is identifying who is *actually* an enemy- and at times who is *actually* a friend. Shifting tribal allegiances don't make this any easier.

We are not facing so much difficulty due to a lack of military might or from failures in our ROEs. It's instead hard because the central government has little perceived legitimacy, and little ability to project power. It's taken us too long to accomplish much, and consequently the optimism that had pushed many locals into our arms from the start is eroding.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FreeEnterprise Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 5:55pm

When you have a president that doesn't have the guts for a long lasting war, and significant goals in mind. You end up with another vietnam...

 
I personally would like to see us leave that area of the world. If we see terrorists having training camps bomb them with drones from the air, and get our guys off the dirt.
 
We don't want to take over the country, so why are we there?
 
War means one side wins, and the other side loses... Unless you are trying to do something politically.
 
And when you combine politics and war, the winner ends up losing.
 
How much did we spend on Iraq? and for what? Did we take enough oil to pay for the cost of the war. Nope, we spent billions more to rebuild what we destroyed...
 
Stupid imo.
 
Leave that sand pit to the vipers. Put our soldiers on our boarders and protect them. Put in missle defence to protect our airspace, and let the rest of the world police itself. We can't afford to be the world policeman. We have lost way too many of our soldiers lives already and for what?...
 
politics and war don't combine. Its like oil and water.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2009 at 7:22pm
Originally posted by agentwhale007 agentwhale007 wrote:

Exactly what are we doing where we are using "kid gloves?"†


No shooting at a mosque without prior approval.

No going in to a mosque, as that's the IF's job.

Severly limited firepower around places of civilian population, even though our munitions can strike within meters.

Amd that's just from my "2 weeks" of learning.



Do what we did in Fallujah. Cordon off an area, give an ultimatum, and go in with the full force necessary to inflict maximum damage against the enemy and sustain minimum losses on ourselves.   This is war, not "politically correct conflict" time.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 2:51am
Originally posted by FreeEnterprise FreeEnterprise wrote:

When you have a president that doesn't have the guts for a long lasting war, and significant goals in mind. You end up with another vietnam...

 

B.S.

Bush got you guys into Afghanistan, and then diverted the needed troops away, and to Iraq instead, leaving us and other NATO allies hung out to dry, and fighting hard just to maintain our own small AOs without chance of expanding them.

A hundred and thirty one dead Canadians later, Obama has committed a massive increase in troops to the South, and the difference is being seen. Areas that were previously held by a single battalion now have nearly a division present. We can expand our existing areas and project power into new ones. We can pursue insurgent forces where we believe they are, not just waiting for them to come to where we are. HAd we been able to do this in 2004 and 2005, we wouldn't have had the neo-Taliban resurgence of 2006. The enemy saw that the fight wasn't really there from our end, that we didn't have the troops necessary, and they were heartened by it.

Now that America's once again focusing on Afghansitan, I expect the situation to improve. But don't even try to pin this on Obama, or to say it's his lack of fortitude that's leading to our difficulties there.  He's articulated the realities and the goals for Afghanistan far better than Bush ever did, AND he's following through on government plans to commit more resources where needed.


Linus, you're also right out to lunch. The goals in Afghanistan are not militayr, they are civil. Our end state is not the complete destruction of the insurgency- it is the exiestence of an Afghan military and police force that are capable of dealing with it themselves, overseen by a stable Afghan central government.

Going into mosques, and unleashing massive firepower in built up areas just pisses people off. The Soviets tried all that already.

The rules of engagement we have now WORK- and I challenge any member of this forum to show where they have more credibility and subject matter knowledge on this specific subject than I do. We can do what we need to do. At no point did I ever feel trepidation that I would not be able to defend myself if need be, and when our guys need to conduct offensive operations, as long as the intel is there to justify it, they will get the ROE authorizations we need.

Killing people isn't just some abstract thing, it's not just a body count. It's real, and those real people have real families, and real tribes, who will come back on us with a vengeance if we don't do it right and for the right reasons.

We still need more troops, but the ones we have are employed pretty well, and are able to do their job.


Edited by brihard - 21 September 2009 at 2:51am
"Abortion is not "choice" in America. It is forced and the democrats are behind it, with the goal of eugenics at its foundation."

-FreeEnterprise, 21 April 2011.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Benjichang Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 9:47am
Brihard ftw.
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I have a feeling FE wont be returning to this thread..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 11:12am
Oh snap.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednekk98 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 11:26am
I think one of the main areas Obama and the media have failed to communicate are the lumping of different factions together as "The Taliban". You have a bunch of different tribes, smuggling interests, poppy cultivation and drug running interests that will occasionally ally with, or indirectly support the Taliban by allowing them to operate in an area they control. During the campaign when Obama suggested that we engage some elements of the Taliban, he got blasted. If the Taliban's latest propaganda peice claiming that they no longer have a problem with women getting an education and will work to end mutilation etc. of non-cooperative civilians and want to limit suicide attacks, we may be able to work with them. Stoping the proliferation of terrorism is our main goal in Afghanistan, and as bad as it looks politically I don't really care if Karzai's government falls flat on its face. It's been currupt and ineffective so far.

Economically they need power and irrigation where possible, it'd be nice for them to be able to export pomegranits again and have some economic diversification beyond opium and IED's. I have a distinct feeling that congress is going to balk at sending more troops, and if the President can't convince them to do so, or to come to some sort of consensus on health care, his presidency has FAIL written all over it. Bush may have dropped the ball by keeping Afghanistan a holding operation [although he did (successfully?) pressure Pakistan to act in Waziristan] but it's Obama's job to comminicate a clear set of prioritized objectives for Afghanistan and to convince congress to grow a pair and give the generals what they need and not freak out about the opinion polls. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 1:26pm
Bri, I'm not debating that we should help/win over the general populace, as that's a major component if any war. But anyone who thinks we're doing everything we can do militarily to win this the way it should be is confusing to me.

Look at the last few major conflicts; Vietnam, Gulf1/2 and Afghanistan. They are being fought, strategically, at a much less aggressive manner. There's total war, there's total compassion, and then there's where we need to be. People smarter than you and I haven't found the perfect mix yet, so I'm not claiming to know.


What I do know is we need to quit fighting them on their terms and force them on our terms. They know they can't possibly fight a straight up fight, which is why they use insurgsjt tactics. We have to force them to face us in a battle, JUST like we dis in Fallujah. They only had 2 option: run or fight. Those who fought, died. It works, amd we need to do it more.

We can't possibly begin to think about making a country better so ling as there are people who will sabotage what we do. Eliminate the opposition, male a city better, then repeat at the next enemy stronghold.



Yes, the Afghani police and military SHOULD play an active role in this. But to think they canhabdle it on their own, let alone trust them to do so on a major scale at this point, is IMO foolish. Yes, train them up. Yes, include them on ever increasing operations. But no, if something is important, don't trust them to go at it alone, or well have another Tora Bora mishap. If it need to get done, leave it to those tgat we KNOW we can trust: Ourselves or other NATO countries.

Edited by Linus - 21 September 2009 at 1:35pm

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 1:30pm
Ps yes I know I'm over simplifying this whole thing and there are many smaller nuiences... It's just a general overview.

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