Afghanistan–Late 2018

I read recently that the US may have a build-up of troops for Afghanistan……

Increasingly resigned to the reality that the US simply isn’t going to stumble into a military victory in Afghanistan, US military commanders are looking to redouble their efforts. The goal now to to not just kill people, but “shape the political environment” ahead of negotiations.

Officials now see their goal increasingly as bolstering America’s bargaining position in inevitable negotiations with the Taliban. Their tactics for this are, unfortunately, further escalation of the raids and airstrikes that failed to win the war in the first place.

“You turn the dial up,” Gen. Miller said of the US intentions now that they think the Taliban are willing to negotiate. The assumption is that the Taliban will want an end to the war and start making concessions to avoid further US escalations.

Yet this ignores the entire 17+ year history of the war, in which the Taliban has always been content to wait out US surges, particularly those that seem extremely temporary, and continue to amass gains where they can.

(antiwar.com)

After 17 years of constant fighting in Afghanistan can anyone really say why we continue to put the troops through this ordeal?

The quote below is from a letter from the White House to Congress that informs the House and Senate about deployments of the U.S. Armed Forces to combat areas. (White House, Dec 7, 2018).

“Consistent with the strategy I announced publicly on August 21, 2017, United States Armed Forces remain in Afghanistan for the purposes of stopping the reemergence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten the United States, supporting the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field, and creating conditions to support a political process to achieve lasting peace.  United States forces in Afghanistan are training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces; conducting and supporting counterterrorism operations against al-Qa’ida and against ISIS; and taking appropriate measures against those who provide direct support to al-Qa’ida, threaten United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan, or threaten the viability of the Afghan government or the ability of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to achieve campaign success.  Although reconciliation efforts are ongoing, the United States remains in an armed conflict, including in Afghanistan and against the Taliban, and active hostilities remain ongoing.”

Does that answer the question?

Does that sound like we actually know what we are doing?

Basically it is pride that will keep our troops fighting and dying….PRIDE!

In an interview with the Washington Post on November 27, President Trump reiterated his personal skepticism of the continuing American military presence in Afghanistan. He said the only reason for this status quo policy was because “virtually every expert” told him the United States needed to keep fighting there, otherwise they will be fighting here.

This deference to the Pentagon and military experts didn’t begin with Trump, as presidential candidates since 9/11 have always defended their foreign policy prescriptions by insisting they would listen to the counsel of the military brass. Trump alarmed many Washington insiders during his campaign for his seeming willingness to reject the advice of experts on most topics, but the foreign policy establishment has been successful thus far in containing his more unconventional instincts.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/americas-war-afghanistan-now-about-only-one-thing-pride-37997

More troops for Afghanistan?  Well we are taking troops out of Syria…that could free up some new deployments (that was sarcasm in case you missed it)

After reading about the possible build-up came word of a possible draw down…..

Fresh off the announcement of a US military withdrawal from Syria, officials are saying that the Trump Administration is actively considering a major drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, potentially starting in the next few weeks.

(antiwar.com)

Head spinning yet?

This is the perfect illustration of the Trump foreign policy!

While I agree with the idea of bringing troops home…..this confusion is NO way to run a foreign policy.

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3 thoughts on “Afghanistan–Late 2018

  1. I’m sad to read this. Sending more troops in on the ground is probably exactly what the Taliban want. More chances to kill foreign troops, and make it look as if they are still just as effective, despite the talks. Proving a point with the lives of soldiers is just unacceptable. Realising that you cannot defeat an idea with boots on the ground is the logical (and sensible) option.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Now he wants to draw down half our or forces…..this is why foreign policy for me is great….gives me all the material I need for posts….sadly it involves the lives of troops that are just a tool to be used then discarded….chuq

    2. I consent Pete! In the past Russia lost the game in Afghanistan, now the USA lost the game too. I remember a speech of a german journalist, commented the Vietnam war. Peter Scholl-Latour’s gave this prophecy some years ago. He had spoken about many different Warlords not willing to loose their influence. In Afghanistan you are surrounded by snakes, and do not really know which one is more harmful to you. Michael

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