Afghanistan

Going on 19 years of troop deployments and conflict and what have we got to show for it?

The American people have lied to for at least 15 years on the progress of our exercise in regime change (a post on that coming)…..

So let us consider what exactly they are hiding from us. It began with last year’s announcement that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – the congressionally mandated watchdog on all aspects of this war – would no longer report Afghan Security Force (ASF) casualty data. It’s now classified. I wonder why. Could it be that the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties, is losing troops faster than it can recruit? Maybe its because Washington finds it inconvenient to admit that the ASF is nowhere near its target personnel strength, that desertions and absence without leave are rampant in the ranks, and that the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay for its own security forces.

After all, every president from Bush to Obama to Trump has told us that advising the ASF is America’s number one priority and the key to a successful exit. Given that, one would think it rather important to face the truth about the utterly insufficient Afghan military and police force. Instead it’s classified. You’re no longer allowed to know that discomfiting truth.

Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War

This country has spent billions on the training of the Afghan police and military and for damn near two decades and what is the prognosis?

“The Afghan military – and particularly the Afghan police – has been a hopeless nightmare and a disaster,” Sopko told lawmakers on Wednesday. “And part of it is because we rotate units through that aren’t trained to do the work, and they’re gone in six-to-nine months. I don’t blame the military, but you can’t bring in a Black Hawk pilot to train an Afghan policeman on how to do police work. And that’s what we were doing — we’re still doing.”

Sopko testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday following the Washington Post’s publication of the “Afghanistan Papers,” a series of interviews that SIGAR has conducted in which top U.S. officials have privately conceded that the war in Afghanistan has provided few — if any — tangible successes.

https://taskandpurpose.com/afghan-troops-police-disaster-sopko

So we have got NOTHING in return for our money spent…is that about right?

It is time to cut our losses on a hopeless endeavor….and I am not alone with this feeling…..

Even conservative veterans are now calling for an end to Afghanistan…..

Those two voices were among five unveiled Thursday in a 30-second television ad that will air in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, urging voters to demand their lawmakers put an end to “endless wars.” As part of that effort, the first order of business for the sponsor of the ad, Concerned Veterans of America, is to get America out of Afghanistan.

“We would like to see a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible,” said Nate Anderson, an Army Green Beret and executive director of CVA, a conservative veterans’ group.

“The reality for us is that leaving our forces there only puts them at further risk in a country where we don’t have a strategic objective that we have not already met,” Anderson said, recalling the death of Osama bin Laden, punishing the Taliban for harboring al Qaeda, and largely uprooting the terror group from the country. “All those things happened,” he said.

And yet, 18 years, 3 months, and 9 days after Operation Enduring Freedom officially launched, the war continues to grind on, albeit under a different name. This past weekend, two American service members were killed and two others were wounded after their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Their deaths were the first in the new year.

https://taskandpurpose.com/cva-ad-endless-wars

A new ally for the call to end our endless wars……slowly but slowly the antiwar movement is gaining popularity….

Yes, Conservative Vets Want Out of Afghanistan, Too

The question is….is anyone listening?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More US Deaths

Closing Thought–13Jan20

Sad news from Afghanistan…..two more Americans have been killed in country…..

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Both soldiers were killed in action yesterday when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. The incident is under investigation.

The deceased are:

Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia.

Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois.

Both soldiers were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

For more information regarding Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, media may contact Lt. Col. Mike Burns, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Officer at (910) 432-6189 or michael.j.burns34.mil@mail.mil.

I am so sorry that these families have to go through this…..the thoughts and well wishes from IST go out to the families.

Taleban In 2020

We enter another year of conflict in Afghanistan…..so let’s look at what is happening in the beginning of 2020….

First let’s look at what has happened in Afghanistan….

The Back Story to the ‘Afghanistan Papers’

Nextt there has been the inklings of a possible ceasefire in Afghanistan……the media hyped it….but is it?

The Taliban has denied press reports indicating the group was on the cusp of declaring a ceasefire in Afghanistan, saying this is “false and baseless.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued an official statement (reproduced in full, below) denying the reports, which claimed that the group’s ruling council has approved a ceasefire, thereby opening the door for possible intra-Afghan negotiations. However, it was unclear if the reported ceasefire would include Taliban attacks against the Afghan government and security forces.

The reported ceasefire agreement was sourced to “Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations” who “spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media,” the Associated Press reported on Dec. 29.

https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2019/12/taliban-says-it-has-no-intention-of-declaring-a-ceasefire.php

The first report of the year and it is crappy news.

Since the Taleban is no longer the government of Afghanistan ever wonder where they get their money…I mean besides from the opium industry…..

Look NO further than American defense contractors…..

A lawsuit filed Friday claims that US and international contractors paid the Taliban protection money to complete projects in Afghanistan—and says that money was used to kill Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plaintiffs are family members of 143 US service members and contractors who were wounded or killed there between 2009 and 2017. The accusation itself is nothing new—congressional probes have documented the funneling of such protection money to insurgents—but the lawsuit aims for a direct impact. “This will change the way business is done in war zones,” says August Cabrera, whose husband, Lt .Col. David Cabrera, died in a 2011 suicide car bomb in Afghanistan. “I believe that this can bring justice to those of us who have lost somebody.”

The suit says 20% to 40% of funds for big construction projects went to warlords and insurgent groups, when more than 100,000 US troops were serving in Afghanistan. The plaintiffs name specific projects, like the Kajaki Dam and part of Afghanistan’s Ring Road, as well as US-based companies including Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., Centerra Group, and Janus Global Operations. Most of them aren’t talking, but a Black & Veatch rep says the company “followed directives of the US government” and is “proud of our record in successfully completing projects in Afghanistan,” per CNN. The money’s original source? Over a 10-year period, the US Agency for International Development in Afghanistan reportedly gave more than $1 billion to top contractors there.

Good to know that corporate profit is more important than American lives….

I am sure that there will be more shitty news from Afghanistan.

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Afghanistan And Years End

2019 slowly comes to a climax and many of us will settle back and be thankful that it ended on a high note…..

A high note?

The release of the Afghanistan Papers…..a subject that I felt needed to be covered more so than the MSM has done so far…..https://lobotero.com/2019/12/11/afghanistan-papers/

This is my wrap up of the news in Afghanistan….

Can our presence actually fix the nation?

President Trump is reportedly preparing to announce a withdrawal of 4,000 troops from Afghanistan. This comes as negotiations between the United States and the Taliban restarted before being suspended again as a result of the Taliban assault on Bagram Airfield. All this comes on the heels of a new World Bank report arguing that even with some sort of ceasefire, the Afghan government would still need significant foreign aid for many years to spur economic growth. Its public expenditures are 58 percent of gross domestic product right now, and grants from international donors make up 75 percent of those expenditures. But the ongoing problems in Afghanistan are beyond the ability of the international community to fix.

Any kind of reduction in American troops is a step in the right direction. As the Afghanistan Papers report in the Washington Post makes clear, this war will not be “won” in any sense of the term. But the talks are ultimately unnecessary and the Trump administration should take the extra mile of bringing everyone home. The United States does not need to work things out with the Taliban before keeping ourselves safe, and there is simply not much else the United States can accomplish in Afghanistan at this point.

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/475343-outsiders-will-not-fix-afghanistan

Not to worry….the US is helping corporations rake in billions while raping the country of Afghanistan……

This week, the Washington Post published a devastating account of the situation in Afghanistan. What the paper revealed should come as no surprise to WhoWhatWhy readers and anybody who has been paying attention.

In 18 years, the US has achieved virtually nothing. For this complete failure, it has paid a staggering price — not only in terms of taxpayer money but, most importantly, the loss of life of Afghans and coalition forces alike.

We thought we’d take this opportunity to look ahead and predict what it might sound like when the US finally withdraws from this ill-fated adventure.

Afghanistan — the Gift That Keeps on Giving (to Defense Contractors)

So did our troops die in vain for the policies around Afghanistan?

The Pentagon says NO……

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley sought to defend the Afghan War on Friday, despite the Afghanistan Papers showing systematic official lies about the failed conflict, insisting that the documents were a “mischaracterization” of the war, and that there was no unified decision to deceive the public.

Rather, the position here seems to be that hundreds of Pentagon officials took it upon themselves and each individually decided to deceive the public a little bit, culminating in a colossal lie which couldn’t be explicitly blamed on anyone.

Gen. Milley insisted the war had been a success in that there hadn’t been any specific terror attacks out of Afghanistan for the war’s duration, and particularly objected to the idea that anyone had died “in vain” in the conflict.

I don’t think anybody has died in vain, per se,” Milley said, saying if anyone’s death was in vain, he “could not look at myself in the mirror.” Since he can still do that, he’s concluded no one died in vain.

The entire idea that troops died in vain is largely a military creation at any rate, built to try to shame politicians into keeping the war going on the notion that if the war is lost all the deaths were in vain.

(antiwar.com)

WE have spent 18+ years trying to give democracy to Afghanistan…..maybe we should have asked if they wanted it before committing our troops to install it…..

When the United States invaded Iraq in the early 2000s, President George W. Bush pledged to turn the autocratic nation into a democracy. “Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation,” Bush said in a speech in November 2003.

The idea that installing a democracy in a country causes a populace to embrace democratic values, such as respecting the rights and freedoms of all people, has often influenced the foreign policy decisions of the United States and other countries. Yet a recent study of the attitudes of almost 500,000 individuals worldwide suggests that Bush and others have that equation backwards. Such interventions will likely fail unless a country’s citizens have already adopted values that accompany democracy, researchers report December 2 in Nature Human Behaviour.

Installing democracies may not work without prior cultural shifts

If it is not wanted then why are we still there?  (I know the answer….it was rhetorical)…..

Just a thought.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sad News From Afghanistan

There are rumblings that a ceasefire in Afghanistan may be close to being implemented…that is the Good News.

The Bad News is that yet another American has been killed in Afghanistan…..the 20th.

An American service member was killed in combat Monday in Afghanistan, the US military said, without providing further details, while the Taliban claimed they were behind a road while the Taliban claimed they were behind a roadside bombing in northern Kunduz province that killed the US soldier. The Taliban now control or hold sway over practically half of Afghanistan but continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and US forces, as well as government officials—even as they hold peace talks with a US envoy tasked with negotiating an end to what has become America’s longest war. Scores of Afghan civilians are also killed in the crossfire or by roadside bombs planted by militants.

Monday’s death brings the number of US deaths in Afghanistan this year to 20, the AP reports. There have also been three non-combat deaths in 2019. The statement from the military did not identify the US soldier or say where in Afghanistan the service member was killed. Shortly after the US military statement on Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that the US soldier was killed in the Chardara district in northern Kunduz province where US and Afghan forces were carrying out a joint raid. Mujahid said the insurgents had planted roadside bomb that killed the service member. He even tweeted a purported photo ID of the slain US soldier, without saying how it was obtained.

Sad news for the family at this time of the year…..Christmas may never be the same for them.

Our thoughts are with the family……and I am sorry for their loss.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

Afghanistan–The Never Ending Story

The newest buzz is the release of the “Afghan Papers”…..the Pentagon has said that the papers subjects are “no big deal”…..

Pentagon officials are continuing to react dismissively to questions about the Afghanistan Papers, and the revelation that the Pentagon systematically lied about the state of the war. This is leading the experts to conclude that the Pentagon does not intend to change its policies.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman surprisingly attacked the primary point of the papers, that the Pentagon was misleading the public, and used that to dodge questions about whether the Pentagon would be more honest in the future. He said the reports of dishonesty were just what people “believed at the time.”

In other words, he isn’t promising that the Pentagon won’t keep lying in the exact same manner. The only indication that things might be different is that since the papers came out,the Pentagon has been refusing to provide any details at all, which seems to be one way to prevent them from lying to the public for the time being.

Analysts say they don’t believe the Pentagon sees any upside to addressing the complaints, and so they are just ignoring it, and pointing out that most people keeping track of the Afghan War knew about this dishonesty long ago.

(antiwar.com)

If that is the case that it is “no big deal” then the Pentagon should stop hiding numbers and costs….

I’m not going to get into specifics,” insisted Rear Admiral William D. Byrne, during a recent Pentagon briefing, saying only that the commander is “satisfied” with where things are at.

Indeed, Pentagon officials have refused to provide any metrics at all that might be used to gauge how the war is going. That’s likely because any metrics show the war is generally not going well, and any claim that the war is going fine risks being uncovered as another in decades of lies.

(antiwar.com)

In an attempt to head off any blowback from the release of the “Afghan Papers” the White House will soon announce the removal of 4000 troops from Afghanistan…..

White House officials say President Trump will soon make an announcement of a withdrawal of 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan, with the troops to leave over the next few months. The Afghan government has confirmed that this is the case.

This announcement has been expected for some time, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying the drawdown would come with or without a peace deal with the Taliban. The US has paused the Taliban talks, so it appears it will be coming without a deal.

This move will make it better when the 2020 election rolls around…Trump can say that he brought 4000 troops out of Afghanistan…..

But the rest of the story is…these troops may NOT come home for a rest but rather be redeployed…..

The withdrawal of some 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan, expected to be formally announced soon, isn’t just a drawdown for its own sake. Rather, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wants to focus on competition with China, which he views as “higher priority.”

Esper says the troops will be sent to the Indo-Pacific “to face off our greatest challenge in terms of the great power competition that’s vis-a-vis China.” It’s not clear where in the Indo-Pacific those troops will end up.

Nor is it apparent what 4,000 more troops scattered around China’s periphery would really do in a challenge sense. China, after all, has the world’s second largest military and is focused almost exclusively on control and defense of its own region.

(antiwar.com)

What purpose and how effective will 4000 troops be in the grand scheme of Trumpian foreign policy?

This would be just one of many, many adventures the Pentagon has decided it is participating in, and between the Indo-Pacific, Iran’s periphery, and eastern Europe, the US is committing a lot of troops to standing around doing non-specific things close to major rivals that they envision future wars against.

In other words …..not much besides pissing people off.

The next question would be why is the MSM ignoring the “Papers”?

The Afghanistan Papers are, in other words, a bombshell. Yet the report has received scant attention from the broader press. Neither NBC nor ABC covered the investigation in their nightly broadcasts this week. In other outlets, it has been buried beneath breathless reporting on the latest developments in the impeachment saga, Joe Biden’s purported pledge to serve only one term, and world leaders’ pathological envy of a 16-year-old girl.

The relentless news cycle that characterizes Donald Trump’s America surely deserves some blame: This isn’t the first time that a consequential news story has been buried under an avalanche of other news stories. But one major reason that the Afghanistan Papers have received so comparatively little coverage is that everyone is to blame, which means no one has much of an interest in keeping the story alive. There are no hearings, few press gaggles.

https://newrepublic.com/amp/article/155977/media-ignoring-afghanistan-papers

The Afghanistan Papers are just as important important and revealing as the Pentagon Papers……so why the “black out”?

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Afghanistan: They LIED!

Before I go into the “Afghanistan Papers”……news has come out that the US bombed a hospital….and the most pathetic of excuses…..

Pentagon officials are trying to spin the aftermath of Wednesday’s Bagram attack, in which US airstrikes did major damage to an under renovation hospital near the air base. They are now saying they had no choice but to bomb the hospital to get the Taliban.

The attack saw the Taliban use a suicide car bomb to force their way onto the site, and they dug in defensively for a 10 hour battle. Airstrikes were clearly the most convenient way for the US to kill those Taliban, but given the damage inflicted, it may not have been the most ideal for the construction project.

That’s why the Pentagon is now so eager to blame the Taliban for what happened, which is a go-to reaction, but very much beside the point. The Afghanistan Papers reports about failures in US reconstruction in Afghanistan, after all, wasn’t just lacking a scapegoat. The inability to construct sites without getting the unbearable urge to airstrike them is part and parcel to why nothing ever gets built in US-occupied Afghanistan.

Moreover, the problems don’t stop at the destruction of the site. The Pentagon emphasized how valuable to hospital would’ve eventually been to locals, but it was built right on the outskirts of a US military base, which probably wasn’t the most convenient for the locals, and also made the site a particular target for the Taliban to occupy, and one for US forces to airstrike.

(antiwar.com)

The first US response was to further delay the peace process by pausing the Doha talks to protest the attack, and the second response is to blame the Taliban for the damage done. Neither of these is a solution to a problem, and rather reflect why the Afghan War has gone on so long with no progress.

Now fast forward to the “Afghanistan Papers”……

For 15 years now us antiwar people have been questioning our involvement in Afghanistan beyond the crushing of AQ and the Taleban and now we “peace-niks” have been vindicated…

A new release of “Papers” like the now famous Pentagon Papers points to all the lies and deception the government would sink to to propagate a war.

As I said us antiwar protesters were right in our opposition….while about 80% of the American people feel under the lying spell of the Pentagon…..we protesters would not be swayed…..

The 80 percent of Americans who supported the war in Afghanistan back in 2001 were wrong. And the tiny anti-war faction that opposed the conflict was correct in warning that an invasion and occupation would turn into a bloody quagmire.

That was my thought as I read the long-suppressed war documents that the Washington Post published Monday after a three-year fight to make them public. Officials under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump “failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign,” the Post showed, “making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”

https://outline.com/LavwVS

One of the things that I wrote against was the supposed building projects that would make Afghanistan move into the 21st century….I thought then it was crap and it is proven to be just that……

Since 2001, Washington has spent more on nation-building in Afghanistan than in any country ever, allocating $133 billion for reconstruction, aid programs and the Afghan security forces.

Adjusted for inflation, that is more than the United States spent in Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

Unlike the Marshall Plan, however, the exorbitant nation-building project for Afghanistan went awry from the start and grew worse as the war dragged on, according to a trove of confidential government interviews with diplomats, military officials and aid workers who played a direct role in the conflict.

Instead of bringing stability and peace, they said, the United States inadvertently built a corrupt, dysfunctional Afghan government that remains dependent on U.S. military power for its survival. Assuming it does not collapse, U.S. officials have said it will need billions more dollars in aid annually, for decades.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/wasteful-spending-and-half-baked-ideas-us-officials-reveal-how-massive-rebuilding-projects-in-afghanistan-backfired/ar-BBXYeRI

To illustrate just how arrogant the Pentagon is when lying to the American people…..

Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock first brought to light that several top officials acknowledged to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that the war was going badly despite their optimistic public statements. The report, based on extensive interviews and internal government data, also found that U.S. officials manipulated statistics to create the public perception that the U.S. military was making progress in Afghanistan.

But on Thursday, Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said he “would quibble with the idea” that the U.S. military had provided inaccurate information about Afghanistan in the past.

https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-downplays-afghanistan-papers

Finally, why are we still in Afghanistan?

Good question when most Afghans want the US out.

Foreign military occupations are known to increase resentment among the local population. After 18years of war, Afghans experience similar levels of fear when encountering American-led international forces as they do Taliban forces. At the same time, they are increasingly optimistic about the prospects for peace but don’t see the foreign forces as important to that process, according to the latest iteration of the Asia Foundation’s Survey of the Afghan People. For the United States, this raises serious questions about the utility of its continued military presence in Afghanistan.

The intent of the survey is to gauge the opinions of the Afghan people over time and provide useful data for policymakers and stakeholders. This year’s survey conducted in-person interviews with over 17,000 Afghans in all 34 provinces from July 11  to August 7 of 2019. Significantly, this year’s survey included, for the first time, questions related to the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban. An overwhelming majority of the Afghan people support the negotiations (89.0 percent

Survey Finds Afghans Want U.S. Troops to Leave

Time to pack up our kit bags and come home…..if we are no longer wanted then why push agony and hatred?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”