Afghan Update–Nov 2017

Afghanistan the forgotten war….but the old professor missing toes and all will not let it be pushed to the back page of the local newspaper…..

This is just my update of the situation in the country that we have invaded and fought over for 16 years….

After nine months of confusion, chaos, and cascading tweets, Donald Trump’s White House has finally made one thing crystal clear: the U.S. is staying in Afghanistan to fight and—so they insist—win. “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might,” said the president in August, trumpeting his virtual declaration of war on the Taliban. Overturning Barack Obama’s planned (and stalled) drawdown in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that the Pentagon would send 4,000 more soldiers to fight there, bringing American troop strength to nearly 15,000.

Every year there seems to be a record opium crop in Afghanistan and this year appears to be the same…..

Opium poppy cultivation has hit a record high in Afghanistan, according to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics. The milestone is just the latest in a long string of failures associated with Washington’s 16-year war in Afghanistan and its even longer ;war on drugs.

The U.S. has spent more than $100 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2002, and more than $8 billion on counternarcotics efforts alone. Yet while 750 hectares of poppy fields have been eradicated there this year, another 328,000 hectares were cultivated in 2017—up from 201,000 hectares in 2016.

The big news is the Russia is once again in Afghanistan (a neocon dream with little proof)……

Three decades after a humiliating military defeat in Afghanistan, Russia has returned to the scene. This adds Afghanistan to a long list of hotspots – from Syria and Libya to Venezuela and Ukraine – where Moscow’s low-cost, high-impact foreign policy is challenging the West. In Afghanistan, the Kremlin is covertly supporting the Taliban and other groups, and hosting regional talks with Pakistan, Iran and China. And whereas Moscow was strongly opposed to the Taliban throughout Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, it seems a U-turn is underway.

Looks like the Marines will return to Helmand province soon…..

When U.S. Marines entered the Afghan military’s operations control center at an airfield here in April, they found a scene of confusion.

Afghan officers were coordinating operations against Taliban insurgents using paper maps taped to the walls. They were uncertain of the locations of key mosques, hospitals, bridges – even their own ground troops.

The war was going badly in Helmand, one of Afghanistan’s most volatile provinces and the deadliest for international forces in 16 years of hostilities. Since the Marines left in 2014 as part of a U.S. military drawdown, Afghan forces were losing scores of troops every month and had watched the Taliban march up to the outskirts of the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, lobbing rockets inside the airfield.

The NATO head honcho made a statement about troop levels in Afghanistan for 2018……

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported on Wednesday that the alliance is close to having its goal of 16,000 troops for Afghanistan, and said he is “absolutely confident” they’ll have enough by 2018.

After the US announced their own escalation of the Afghan War, they began to push NATO to commit more troops to the country. With many NATO nations having withdrawn from Afghanistan in recent years, they are not very interested in going back.

The 16,000 troops are to officially be on a “training mission,” though it’s not entirely clear that this will be the sum total of their activities. US forces are to be embedded in combat situations, for instance, though they are not included in the 16,000 NATO figure.

Facing mounting losses to the Taliban, the Afghan military is facing a constant rush to train up more troops for the war. This has been a problem throughout the 16 year conflict, with corruption and low pay meaning many Afghan troops don’t last long before fleeing.


And then there is the big question to be asked…..Is NATO stuck in Afghanistan?

It’s not a question of NATO being stuck in Afghanistan. The alliance’s military mission is only a part of the long-term efforts that have been undertaken to help Afghanistan develop into a stable and developing society in the years to come. It’s of key importance to support the Afghan security forces in different ways, but defeating the Taliban can never be only, or even primarily, a military matter. When the Afghan state is seen as legitimate, effective, and fair by all of its people, the country will have a reasonable chance at stability. It’s certainly in our interest to help in that process.

NATO is indeed stuck in Afghanistan—and the only way out is political. Two of NATO’s vital interests, countering terrorism and alleviating migration, depend upon a stable Afghanistan. Yet, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has publicly underscored, no purely military solution for the conflict exists.

The US has a new idea….a rehash of an old idea…..bring back to days of militias……

As the Afghan government struggles to stem the Taliban insurgency and shore up its dwindling security forces, the US military is turning to a controversial solution long known to stoke unrest and exploitation: local militias.

International donors, including the UN, have warned against such plans and lobbied the Afghan president to reject the US proposal. They say the new militias resemble the Afghan Local Police, a force notorious for grave human rights abuses and destabilising villages by undermining the central government.

The so-called Afghan National Army Territorial Force, essentially self-defence units of locally recruited men serving in their own villages, will be piloted with 1,000 men, once Afghan president Ashraf Ghani approves the proposal, and will eventually number some 20,000, officials say.

Good plan!  Not only will our troops be fighting AQ, ISIS and the Taleban but now they want to make war lords stronger and arm them…..Good Plan!

There is your update of all the reports that you will never see in your local paper…..and after all that is why I am here.


4 thoughts on “Afghan Update–Nov 2017

  1. You sum up the mess there very well.
    Of course, opium poppy cultivation= hard drugs. Hard drugs = CIA involvement in distribution and supply.
    Just saying…
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I’ve been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before Very well written!

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