They Always Need More

We hear that all is well in Afghanistan…..well here on IST I have been trying to give my readers the “rest of the story”……

And that story is that things are going to crap in Afghanistan…..

When he took over as commander of the ongoing US war in Afghanistan late last year, Gen. John Nicholson was seen as opposed to the drawdown, and there was even speculation he’d seek increases in troop levels there, though he initially said levels should just remain flat.

Today, however, during his testimony to Congress, Nicholson is starting to push a major new military buildup for Afghanistan, complaining to Congress that the war is in a “stalemate,” and that several thousand more US troops need to be sent to break that stalemate.

The assessment of a “stalemate” is not new, and is a very generous interpretation of the state of the Afghan War, over 15 years in, as the Afghan government has actually been losing ground left and right, holding less territory now than at any time since the occupation began.

It is always the need for “more troops”…..has anyone considered the possibility that that will not help?

Here is a unique concept……stop all ops in Afghanistan and bring everyone home……if things get worse or out of control we can always re-invade….

After all we have troops in 70% of the world……

undefined

Although US elite troops typically only appear in the media when an event of particular relevance (such as the capture and murder of Osama bin Laden in 2011), this does not mean that they are not active. As this infographic above shows, elaborated by Statista, these forces were present in 138 States last year or 70 percent of the world’s countries according to official Special Operations Command data published by TomDispatch. 55.29 percent of deployments were in the Middle East, a 35 percent decease since 2006. In Africa, deployments of elite US forces skyrocketed 1,600 percent during the same timeframe.

Like I said…”we are everywhere!”

Trump And The Wars

When Obama was elected he inherited two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, there were others but those two are the longest running we have….in 2016 when Trump was elected president he inherited two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq….yep same two wars.

Maybe he could actually try and do something constructive about these two…..my guess is that he will do what the other one did….escalate and nothing…..

But let’s look at the longest war in American history…other than the War on Drugs….Afghanistan…..and possibly answer one important question….To What End?

Do you remember that war we launched in response to the September 11 attacks more than 15 years ago? You would be forgiven for assuming that the United States has long closed the chapter on Afghanistan, the longest military campaign in the country’s history. Outside of an opening question by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), Secretary of Defense-designate James Mattis was not asked about Afghanistan during his three-hour confirmation hearing—a vivid illustration that most of Congress have moved on from the issue.

The war in Afghanistan is not only still going on; it is going strong. Former President Barack Obama increased U.S. military involvement in the war during his final year in office. The Afghan security forces—designed to be America’s ticket out of the war—are performing valiantly, but are taking so many casualties from the Taliban that Washington has had to slow down the pace of American withdrawals. Indeed, when the next administration is fully in place, it will inherit a war that the American people have all but forgotten—but that U.S. soldiers on the ground and pilots in the air are still very much involved in.

Source: Still at War in Afghanistan, but to What End? | RealClearDefense

Then there is America’s second longest war….Iraq…..

Last week, President Trump ordered his national security team to undertake a 30-day review of the nation’s strategy to combat ISIS.[i]  However, in just the 11 days since he took office, Trump has already jeopardized the hard-earned gains of the last two years against ISIS in what has been the central theater of the campaign: Iraq.

Last week, the new Commander-in-Chief doubled down on his campaign riff that America should have “taken Iraq’s oil” – this time while standing in front of a wall of fallen CIA officers, idly musing “maybe you’ll have another chance.”  Then on Friday, he banned nationals from the seven countries, including Iraq, from entering the U.S. for 90 days.  Yesterday, Iraqi’s Parliament responded in kind – voting to block U.S. citizens from entering Iraq.

Source: President Trump Needs to Reverse Course on Iraq – and Fast. | RealClearDefense

our president has made several statements about the situation in Iraq….one was that we should just take their oil and the other was to keep Iraqis from our shores…..he has made others but those two made the most stir.

Now that he is in the Big Chair maybe it would be a good idea to know something more about these countries than their names…

Closing Thought–27Jan17

America’s longest war……

We have a new president and his cabinet is beginning to take shape…..and he, Trump, will have to deal with the US longest war…Afghanistan….

Mr. Trump has not said much on this subject…I am hoping it is not because he is unaware but rather just has not given it much thought…..

But to help him out I will let him know that there is mixed signals coming out of Afghanistan and the Taleban…..

Two days after President Donald Trump took office, the Taliban asked him to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan but hinted at a willingness to work with the United States.

The insurgent group posted a statement on its website Sunday calling on Trump to “put an end to the invasion.” But it also asked him to “help countries with their development” rather than with “bloodshed and destruction.”

Well that was about as a positive comment from the Taleban than we will ever hear….

But just a short time later……

The Taliban has warned President Donald Trump to reverse U.S. policy on Afghanistan or face a “historically shameful defeat”, a U.S.-based monitoring group reported Sunday.

An article, which the SITE Intelligence Group said appeared on the Taliban’s website and social media, described the freshly inaugurated leader of the free world as “an enigma both to the Americans and the billions of people around the world”.

Here is my thought….BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

But what will Trump do in Afghanistan?  Heed the words of the Taleban or something else?

From Ehsanullah Amiri, Jessica Donati, & Gordon Lubold, The Wall Street Journal: ““President-elect Donald J. Trump said he would certainly continue to support Afghanistan security forces and will consider a proposal for more troops after an assessment,” according to one Afghan official briefed on the call.”

We have spent enough blood and treasure in this country….time to leave them to their fate.

The weekend approaches….Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy…..Be Well and Be Safe…..chuq

Time To Come Home!

There has been no stretch where I would support the continuing role of the US and NATO in the country of Afghanistan….in 2001 we went to Afghanistan to get the son-of-a-bitch that masterminded the 9/11 attacks….it took awhile but we finally gave the asshole his just desserts.

For close to 16 years the US and NATO have been trying to give the Afghans the know how and the tools that they can become a self-defensive entity….after all that time there is only one conclusion….. we have failed!  And failed miserably.

After I read a recent report and I am more actively supporting a US pullout of the country effective immediately…..

Afghanistan needs a stable security environment to prevent it from again becoming a safe haven for al-Qaida and other militants, but Afghan security forces have not yet become capable of securing all of the country by themselves, a U.S. report said Wednesday.

The report, by the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, offered a high-risk list assessment for the war-torn country, two years after NATO-led foreign combat forces pulled out at the end of 2014, leaving only a smaller training and assisting mission behind.

SIGAR, which provides independent oversight of U.S. reconstruction funds for Afghanistan, also noted that despite the fact that more than half of all U.S. reconstruction funds since 2002 has gone toward building, equipping and training Afghan forces, they still have lost territory to the Taliban.

“The Afghan national defense and security force has not yet been capable of securing all of Afghanistan and has lost territory to the insurgency,” SIGAR said.

Last August, the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, or USFOR-A, said only 63.4 percent of the country’s territory was under government control – compared to the 72 percent that the military said was controlled by Kabul in November 2015.

SIGAR also noted at least seven other areas of concern in Afghanistan, including rampant corruption and drug trafficking.

Read On…….

Source: US report: Afghan forces not yet capable of securing country – WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi

Time to do what empires have been doing for centuries…the British, the Russians even Alexander……just say F*ck it and bring our people home.

I mean…let’s be real we are accomplishing NOTHING as it is today with the exception of wasting money and resources…..even if we leave and things go wrong in the future we can always return to the days of blood and guts….we ahve NEVER been shy about that.

US Troops–Good News/Bad News

I attempt to keep my readers up-to-data on the movements and such of our troops….news and reports that do not make the evening news…..someone has to keep an eye on the crap the government is pulling…..and it will only get worse……..

First, the GOOD news…..NO American military personnel were killed in the past week……

Now for the BAD……Afghanistan….recently the Taleban has made a push to regain lost territory…..and the US will respond…..

Over two years after the Obama Administration announced a “draw-down” in which US Marines were withdrawn from the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan, Marines are headed back in, the latest reaction to growing Taliban gains there and elsewhere in the country.

Though once again being claimed as an “advise and assist” operation, officials concede that the troops could well face combat operations in the province, where the Taliban controls several key districts and has contested control over the capital city of Lashkar Gah.

This is actually the second time during the US occupation of Afghanistan that the US withdrew ground troops from Helmand only to put them back later, with troops withdrawn in 2006 and the Marines deployment part of the 2008 escalation of the Afghanistan war.

(antiwar.com)

More troops for the grinder…..we went to Afghanistan to get the son-of-a-bitch that caused the 9/11 attacks…..that SOB is dead….time for us to say “screw it” and bring our troops home….if things go South then we can do what we always do….use more force.

News From Afghanistan–2 American Deaths

I know this close to the election and everyone is on the edge of their chairs hoping that their candidate will pull out the win….

But for those that actually care…..two more American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan fighting the Taleban…..and unlike the media I will NOT put the troops on the back shelf for any reason……

Two US service members were killed Thursday battling Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan alongside local troops, reports the AP, rare combat deaths for American forces who largely handed over securing the nation to Afghan troops some two years ago. NATO described the Americans killed and two other Americans wounded in the assault as being part of “a train, advise, and assist mission” in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. They have not been identified. Kunduz officials later said they were investigating claims that local civilians also were killed in the fighting, possibly in a retaliatory airstrike.

Taliban fighters briefly overran the city of Kunduz in early October, a show of strength by the insurgents that also highlighted the troubles facing local Afghan forces 15 years after the US-led invasion of the country. The Taliban captured and held parts of Kunduz a year earlier as well before the city was fully liberated weeks later with the help of US airstrikes. Though US combat operations are officially over, thousands of US troops remain in Afghanistan, and special forces routinely accompany Afghan forces on missions, notes Reuters.

IST wishes to give our heart felt sympathy to the families of these slain soldiers……

With the deaths of these two brings up the subject of money spent and results accomplished in Afghanistan……after 15 years…..

If there is one thing that is certain in this tumultuous presidential election, it is this: Whoever replaces Obama will have to deal with the mess in Afghanistan that he leaves behind – the one he inherited from George W. Bush almost eight years ago and was unable to clean up.

Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent trying to build up an Afghan army and instill Western values in a hard-bitten land of warlords and tribal hostilities that has never been successfully controlled or changed by a foreign power.

Now a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that points to a resurgent Taliban and failing social programs – including improving the plight of Afghan women — begs the question, “Why are we still there?”

In a story Monday, the Times says that the Taliban has stolen a page from ISIS and is actively using social media as a propaganda vehicle to trumpet its victories and taunt the government. One video, for example, showed Taliban fighters cruising around the outskirts of Lashkar Gar, the capital of a southern province, in a captured American Humvee; the government has said there were no insurgents near there. In recent days, the Times said, the Taliban released video footage – shot from cameras mounted on a drone — of a suicide-bomb attack in Helmand Province.

A bumper crop of opium poppies this year is helping to fuel the Taliban resurgence. The SIGAR report says that since 2002, the U.S. has spent $8.5 billion on counter-narcotic efforts “yet this year saw a 43% increase in opium production, according to the United Nations. Eradication results are the lowest in a decade because of security challenges, namely in Helmand Province.”

(yahoo news)

In case you are interested….we have spent $780 billion….that is just over 3/4 of a trillion dollars that is trillion with a “T”……

What part of this sounds like a success?

What Can Cambodia Teach The US?

How long has the US been fighting the Taleban in Afghanistan?  Don’t hurt yourself…..15+ years…..and by all reports it is not getting any better.

We have been fighting for a long time and our promise of destroying the opium production of the Taleban which is used to fund their ops has been a dismal failure…….

Opium production in Afghanistan rose by 43 per cent to 4,800 metric tons in 2016 compared with 2015 levels, according to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey figures released today by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the UNODC. The area under opium poppy cultivation also increased to 201,000 hectares (ha) in 2016, a rise of 10 per cent compared with 183,000 ha in 2015.

The higher production can be explained by the larger area under opium poppy cultivation, but the most important driver is the higher opium yield per hectare. The largest yield increase occurred in the Western region where the average yield grew by 37 per cent and the Southern region, with a 36 per cent rise. Since these two regions account for 84 per cent of the total opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the yield increases in these regions had a strong impact on the national potential opium production.

That is not the only problem……the allies are losing territory at an alarming pace….whole provinces have been lost to the Taleban.

But what can the US and its allies do to end this?

Cambodia in the 1970’s comes to mind….well at least to my mind….and that is what is important…….

In Afghanistan, as in Cambodia, bombing has hardened and radicalized the insurgents. Dean hoped that including elements of Prime Minister Marshal Lon Nol’s government, as well as religious leaders, in a coalition government would countervail the power of the Khmer communists and force them to temper their extremist ideology. The Taliban are a rural insurgency and incorporating them into a coalition government would expose them to huge changes that have taken place in Afghanistan’s cities in the past 15 years.

America’s continuing failure in Afghanistan, as in Cambodia five decades earlier, remains “the refusal to find an alternative to military solutions.”

Source: Learn From Cambodia and Reach a Settlement With the Taliban | World Report | US News

Sadly, a solution to our Afghanistan problem will not be on the table….for the winner of this election will just double down on the tactics used today……

There is an answer….but few want to pursue it.