Afghanistan–Well Duh!

It has been 17 years that our troops have been fighting in Afghanistan……I was never in favor of a continued presence after the first 2 years….I felt it would be an irritant and just a replay of the Vietnam scenario…..and so far I have seen NOTHING that would warrant us staying this long or another minute longer……..

But Hell I am a crotchity old fart but I am NOT wrong……and now so says the Pentagon’s Inspector General……

The inspector general has issued a new report openly scorning Pentagon claims of progress in the war in Afghanistan, noting the continued large attacks from the Taliban and ISIS, and that available data simply doesn’t show progress in much of anything.

That’s been a recurring theme in the war, now 17 years in. Pentagon officials have claimed in recent months that they see progress being made, and that they’ve “turned the corner,” but they’ve made similar claims dozens of times with nothing to show for it.

Meanwhile, ISIS and the Taliban are able to carry out major attacks even in supposedly secure districts. The Taliban controls broad swathes of the country, and only yesterday the Afghan senate admitted that roughly half of the country is outside their direct control.

That’s all bad news that’s been growing markedly worse in the past couple of years. The US has increased their own presence in Afghanistan, and is launching a soaring number of airstrikes, but neither of those has changed the underlying reality that the war is being steadily lost.

(antiwar.com)

This is not the first report that has shitty news about Afghanistan….if so then when will a spineless bunch of Congresspeople do something.  Time for these cowards to stand up and demand that our overworked and over-deployed troops come home and leave Afghanistan to the Afghans?

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Just When Afghanistan Means Nothing

Afghanistan has not been in the headlines much lately although reports about the war have been regularly written about here on IST…..well that came to an end yesterday when an attack in the capital of Kabul was reported…..

An ISIS suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday, killing at least 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, officials say. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro says that among the 57 killed, 22 were women and eight were children. He says 119 people were wounded, among them 17 children and 52 women, and “the tolls could still rise,” the AP reports. The bomber targeted civilians who were registering for national identification cards, Kabul police chief Gen. Daud Amin says.

The large explosion echoed across the city, shattering windows miles from the attack site and damaging nearby vehicles. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite “apostates.” The attack comes almost a month after an ISIS suicide bomber carried out an attack near a Shiite shrine in Kabul that targeted attendees celebrating the Persian new year. That attack killed 31 people and wounded 65 others. A statement issued by the president’s office condemned Sunday’s attack and quoted President Ashraf Ghani as saying such “terrorist attacks” won’t prevent people from participating in upcoming parliamentary elections.

There you have it…ISIS Sleeper cells…..there has been much written about their possibilities….some pundits even went as far as to call it wishful thinking….just ano0ther story to keep the War on Terror money flowing….

But these “sleeper cells” are a reality that needs to be acknowledged……

Over the past four weeks, ISIS has run a series of articles in its weekly Arabic publication on a vital aspect of the type of threat posed by the organisation today. The central theme relates to how members, who are so far laying low during a military campaign against them, could regroup and resume operations after months of what the group describes as a “slumber” period.

The extensive coverage dedicated to this topic is timely. It follows a noticeable uptick in the group’s operations in recent months in much of Iraq and Syria, in both quantity and quality, since the beginning of the year, according to a senior official in the anti-ISIS global coalition.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/we-have-not-yet-seen-the-full-impact-of-isis-sleeper-cells-coming-back-to-life-1.722796

AS ISIS loses its “territory” these “cells” will become more and more important to the existence of this group.

Afghanistan In The News

WE do not get much news from Afghanistan while the Lawyer-fest is in full bloom…..so I feel that we need to keep abreast of where our troops are asked to die.

This region has been calm for awhile…well at least in the news but otherwise it remains the same……..

The short video begins by showing the jihadists preparing for the military raid and driving through a remote Afghan village. A clash with Afghan forces, the majority which occurred at night, is featured. During the aftermath of the assault, a fighter is seen climbing a tower to place the Taliban’s white flag. Fighters are then seen parading and celebrating with captured equipment. This includes several captured US-made Humvees.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/04/11/islamic_jihad_union_conducts_joint_raid_with_the_taliban_113316.html

In recent months the Taleban has made great strides in Afghanistan and now the Marines are trying to turn back those successes…..

US Marines have been operating in Helmand Province nearly through the entire Afghan War. This area was the center of the capture-and-hold strategy for years. But Taliban gains are mounting in recent years, and they control more territory than any other time in the war.

US Marines are being sent back to Helmand and the surrounding area with a familiar goal, retake all those Helmand districts they used to hold. That may not be as easy as it used to be for US troops.

Afghan forces around Helmand are more and more limited, and under growing pressure. Much of the Marines’ focus is defending those allies. Officials are trying to put a positive spin on that, saying they can improve intelligence sharing from the Afghans.

But those Afghans are always under pressure, and that means that a lot of Marines will be stuck dealing with that, with few left to try to retake territory. The soaring amount of territory the Taliban is contesting also means that, while trying to reclaim districts, the Marines are racing to try to gain more than the Afghans lose.

(antiwar.com)

I will try to keep my reader up-to-date on our troops and they are asked to do in the name of freedom.

Afghanistan–News And Views

17 years and counting and in all that time not one word of how long this will continue to effect the country.

The Trump Pentagon is searching desperately for some success that they can hold up to the nation and claim that we are definitely winning this war.

As the US continues to escalate the war in Afghanistan, the official position is that there are no timetables anymore, no deadlines. 17+ years into the conflict, any pretense of a quick ending has long since evaporated.

That does not, however, mean that the Pentagon isn’t feeling pressure, as preposterous claims of “progress” ring as hollow today as they did in 2004, or 2013, or any other time in the war. The US may feel comfortable committing to decades more of the same, but NATO allies that keep getting dragged in for a new escalation are increasingly skeptical that there is a real endgame.

Pentagon leaders are desperate to show that something is different this time around, and that they aren’t just spinning their wheels in Afghanistan, even though that’s really what’s happening. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford insists that this year will be “fundamentally different” from the last 17 years of US war in Afghanistan.

(antiwar.com)

Finding some success that could be taunted as a win is getting harder and harder o fine….and now the US has an old problem made new……

The Trump Administration is supportive of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s call for talks with the Taliban in order to bring peace to Afghanistan. Russia, Iran and China have also reached out to the group The interest in talking to the Taliban is partly the result of concerns about the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

Calling itself Wilayat Khorasan, the Islamic State’s South Asian branch is more commonly referred in Western media as ISIS-K or ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province). ISKP lays claim to an emirate comprising parts of Iran, three Central Asian republics, Afghanistan, Pakistan and in some maps parts of Kashmir in India and Xinjiang in western China. The group has sworn loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi even though most analysts agree that at least in the early years there was little or no connection between this group and the Islamic State in the Middle East.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/the-trump-administrations-new-afghan-problem-the-islamic-state/

Just when Trump is pushing the death of ISIS they are rearing their ugly mugs more and more in Afghanistan.

I want to see Trump address this rising problem and stop soft soaping the wars of intervention.

Then There Is Afghanistan

Afghanistan!

That little war that goes on and on and……endless and eternal.

A war most Americans have tried to erase from their memories…..but the death and destruction continues….

Soon there will be an exercise in democracy…..an election…..an all the biggies in the country are jockeying for position….as  usual the big guys are pulling no punches as they make plans for the vote.

Afghanistan’s powerbrokers are in the early stages of an intense competition as they prepare for the planned 2019 presidential election. The multi-month disagreement between President Ashraf Ghani and warlord and long-time Balkh Province Governor Mohammad Atta Noor over the latter’s governorship is the first stage of a much larger battle between the two politicians for the presidency. Atta is exploiting friction caused by how President Ghani wields his power to build a network of alliances to challenge President Ghani in 2019. Meanwhile, Ghani is actively using his immense presidential power to undermine Atta’s attempts to build an opposing coalition.

http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/afghanistans-powerbrokers-prepare-2019-presidential-elections

With the election is a good time for the US to re-think the policy toward the country…..

President Trump has suspended about a quarter billion dollars in military aid to Pakistan. That move is the right one, but an examination of the wider failed U.S. policy toward the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is warranted and how that unending fiasco has evolved.

In late 2001, in response to the sheltering by the Afghan Taliban, then the rulers of Afghanistan, of al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, the perpetrators of the horrific 9/11 attacks, the U.S. overthrew the Taliban government using U.S. military, the CIA and local anti-Taliban fighters. So far, so good.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=9242

Most f my regular readers know that I am against the US staying one more day in Afghanistan.  After the defeat of AQ and the Taleban back in 2002….we should have stayed one more year and helped with elections and then come home…..we would have the option of a return engagement if events warranted it.

I agree re-think the policy…bring our troops home they have given enough to a country that does not appreciate anything we have done or will do…….our troops deserve the rest.

Afghanistan Update

I wish that I did not have to report an update to a 17 year war…….my granddaughter has never known a time when the US was not at war……but since we are still fighting God knows who I need to keep my readers informed…

The Pentagon Inspector General has released a new report on Friday regarding the Afghan War. The report contradicts administration claims that escalation of the conflict was making headway, concluding that “no significant progress” was made in the war in all of 2017.

It is particularly noteworthy, as the Inspector General used actual metrics to gauge progress, noting that the stated goal was to get 80% of Afghanistan’s population under government control, and that the US is no closer to reaching that, with most estimates in the 60% range, still the lowest in the war.

16+ years into the US war in Afghanistan, they control less territory than ever. Despite a priority in striking opium poppy cultivation, that too hit a record in 2017. No substantial changes have been made since the escalation.

The narrative that the war has “turned the corner” has been a popular one for years, indeed over a decade, but the reality is that the war has been struggling throughout, and even claims of a “stalemate” are wildly optimistic.

(antiwar.com)

We are always hearing from whoever is in the White House that we are only days away from a total victory in Afghanistan…..that forecast is more bullsh*t from the WH.

Before Trump occupied the Oval Office he was Tweeting that we need to get out of Afghanistan…..as early as 2013…..

Whatever happened to the Donald Trump who tweeted in 2013, “Let’s get out of Afghanistan … we waste billions there. Nonsense!”

And whatever happened to the reality TV star who used to tell under-performers, “you’re fired”?

Today, as commander in chief, President Trump is indefinitely extending the Afghan war’s record as the longest in U.S. history. He’s wasting $45 billion to wage it this year alone. And he’s not even thinking of firing his huckster generals who claim that sending a few thousand more troops and stepping up the bombing will be a “game changer.”

Much like the Vietnam War, every day’s news of war from Afghanistan puts the lie to optimistic claims of a military solution. A recent BBC study concluded that Taliban forces are now active in 70 percent of the country, more than at any time since the end of 2001. Unofficial U.S. estimates of their strength have soared from about 20,000 in 2014 to at least 60,000 today.

http://theantimedia.org/war-afghanistan-nonsense/

No one sees Afghanistan as a victory or a success…..what it is is a cash cow for the M-IC…….the longer the war the more profits are made….time to call out the d/bags and cowards…..time to declare a victory and bring the troops home.

We have invested enough blood in this country.

Apparently not yet….

the Washington Postreported that the U.S. Air Force is now bombing Chinese Islamist separatists in a remote corner of Northeast Afghanistan. You’ve likely never heard of the group, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), nor should you have. These ethnic Uyghurs want to secede from China and form their own state in western Xinjiang province. They do not present any sort of existential threat to the United States. Sure, they’ve made common cause with Al Qaeda when it suited them, but overall, according to a terrorism analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, ETIM “typically has local aims.” Sounds to me like a China problem.

The Post report indicated just how far the U.S. effort in that country has gone off the rails—it is now almost entirely and openly disconnected from vital U.S. interests yet continues apace at a cost of $45 billion annually.

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/02/trumps-aimless-war-afghanistan-expands-again/146126/

Same sh*t, Different president!

Afghanistan Today

Afghanistan is back in the news thanx mostly because of a new film about the early days of this war and occupation.  Sadly this film will not force the American people into actually caring about the war and its consequences.  But then there are hard headed SOBs such as myself that force feed information to his readers.

A new president and new slogans…..but is there a new policy to go along with the person and/or the slogans?

There’s a new faith among the latest U.S. generals who have come to win the war in Afghanistan, but plenty of old realities. U.S. Central Command’s Gen. Joseph Votel, who is overseeing the Trump administration’s Afghanistan War reboot, came here to see its beginning and its promise of victory, with newly arriving squadrons of attack jets, howitzer cannons, and hundreds of specialized and experienced U.S. troops.

Just hours earlier, the 4-star distinguished visitor had been in Kabul discussing those plans at the Afghan Ministry of Defense when a suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb disguised in an ambulance. Welcome back to the war.

http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2018/02/meet-believers-afghanistan-wars-us-commanders-ready-trumps-reboot/145744/

Yet another look at the US Afghan strategy from another neo-con source…..

The Taliban was and remains an insurgency. It must be dealt with as an insurgency by focusing on the human terrain. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) must develop and pursue an indigenous Counter Insurgency (COIN) campaign focused on the principles of security, governance, and basic services. This does not need to be the full spectrum, comprehensive COIN led by the U.S. from 2010 to 2012, but a “light” version of that campaign. Regardless, GIRoA will likely require coalition forces to work by, with, and through them, providing training, advising, and assistance (TAA) in order for GIRoA to identify and address the specific elements of security, governance, and basic services which are the most critical for winning over the population and bringing the Taliban insurgency to an end.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/02/05/the_case_for_counter_insurgency_light_in_afghanistan_113012.html

There seems to be at least one bomb a week in Kabul…..probably not that often but just seems like…..

Two weekends ago, a Taliban bombing killed more than 100 and injured over 200 more in Afghanistan. The bombing took place in the heart of Kabul in an area considered among the country’s most secure. Along with a recent flurry of terrorist violence, the attack demonstrates the magnitude of the challenges facing the coalition effort in Afghanistan.

When he announced a new way forward in South Asia, the President made clear that he was going against his initial instincts to withdraw American forces. Instead, after listening to his senior advisors and military leaders, he decided to modestly expand our footprint in the country. In light of the President’s reservations, this may be our last chance to get Afghanistan right. Seventeen years into the longest war in our nation’s history, we still have enduring interests in South Asia—but securing them requires an honest look at our goals and the resources we are willing to spend in pursuit of those goals.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/02/12/in_afghanistan_hard_is_not_hopelessbut_time_is_running_out_113047.html

Ever heard of the Uighurs?  They tend to be localized in Southern China…..now you are asking what has that got to do with Afghanistan?

Appears the US is picking a fight…….

Over the past week, escalating US airstrikes in Afghanistan have shifted away from their usual focus on the Taliban and ISIS, and have shifted northward to Badakhshan, the province on the border with neighboring China.

This region has few Taliban, but it has Uighurs loyal to the East Turkastan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is mostly seen as a secessionist group in China, and rarely thought of at all in Afghanistan.

Still, the US is targeting them, reflecting President Trump’s attitude that any groups that are “enemies” of Afghanistan, even if just on paper, are now the target. Some analysts are spinning them as part of a “broader” terrorist presence, and with the orders for the Pentagon to escalate, it doesn’t take much to get targeted.

Unspoken in all of this is that such strikes are having no impact on the Afghan War itself, as ETIM has little to no presence beyond the immediate border region, and while US strikes on them might be very pleasing to China, ETIM poses no threat to Afghanistan itself.

(antiwar.com)

A little news from Afghanistan that the MSM does not find important enough to share with the country.

Believe it or not but there have been on-going peace ‘meetings’ between the Taleban and the Afghan government and it looks like some others have been invited to participate……

The Taliban is extending an invitation to Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, to their political office in Doha, to discuss possible peace plans to end the 17-year Afghan war.

The invitation, proposed on the terror group’s social media accounts under the moniker of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” was extended in response to Mr. Paul’s recent comments on the status of the war.

“We invite the respectable U.S. Senator Rand Paul, in his official capacity to visit our political office in Doha for mutual talks,” the Twitter post by the Information Committee of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan read.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/11/rand-paul-invited-peace-talks-taliban/

There you have an update on our Afghan War…..stay tuned…….