Wanted Dead Or Alive

Josh Randall hunts the Wild West for those dastards that have broken the law and are wanted so they may pay for their sins…..so goes the story line of a 60’s TV show.  But this time we are not talking the Old West where men were men and sheep ran scared.

This time we are looking for the leader, the caliph, of ISIS…aL-Baghdadi.  As troops zero in on Mosul and the home of ISIS leader it appears that the coward has tucked tale and ran.  He left town dressed as an elderly nun (my assertion not fact).

Did he run to the capital of ISIS, Raqqa?  Does not look as if he did…..for it is being attacked as I type.   He went where all good terrorists go when they are pursued by the US…Afghanistan.

ISIL Caliphate, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, is said to have fled Mosul. ISIL says this is not true and it makes everyone believe he is still there. Though we have never thought of killing individuals, or terrorist leaders, as important compared to refuting their ideas, it is always tempting to see the head of this criminal gang behind bars or being beheaded by one of his many victims.

But the question is: Where did Baghdadi go?

Naturally, a group like ISIL will think of securing its symbol where it has some infrastructure capable of providing a safe refuge to him. The only place that comes to mind is Afghanistan or any geographically inaccessible region in Central Asia.

This should raise again the more important issue of the expansion of terrorist Jihadism in that region. This issue is steadily growing and it is likely that in a decade or two, and so long as global cooperation does not move to this ground fast, we will be talking less about the Middle East and more about Central Asia.

Source: ISIL’s Caliph Left Mosul. Is he Now in Afghanistan? | Middle East Briefing

This could be good news….we have al-Baghdadi cornered like we had AQ’s master mind bin Laden in Afghanistan….oh wait…..we fucked up that gimme.

Al-Baghdadi could be anywhere….he could be a yak herder in southern Uzbekistan or a poppy grower in Afghanistan….no one knows just yet.

So what are the chances that we will get our man?  Or will this be a replay of the bin Laden affair in 2001?  Will it take another decade to “get our man”?

Did anyone notice?

Escalate……Escalate……Dance To The Music

Afghanistan–America’s forgotten war!

Afghanistan is seldom in the news these day unless someone goes batcrap crazy and has violent breakdown.

Just a few facts about this conflict……opium production is at an all time high…..the Taleban takes in more and more territory…..USA troops are still doing what they have been doing for a decade…..surviving….making do as it were.

Plus three U.S. soldiers were wounded when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, U.S. officials said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blast in Nangarhar province, where loyalists to the group have been operating since 2015.

We have a new president and it seems he has the same plan as his predecessor….keep on keeping on…..with one small difference……his generals want to escalate……

As a candidate, Trump was critical of America’s land wars but his generals and GOP hawks want to send more troops into Afghanistan, 16 years after 9/11.

“We made a terrible mistake getting involved in the first place,” he told CNN in October, referring to the war in Afghanistan, which he called a “mess.” “I would leave the troops there begrudgingly,” the then-presidential candidate added. “Believe me, I’m not happy about it.”

Source: Trump Has Called the Afghan War a “Mess.” His Generals Want to Escalate It.

More troops to Syria a desire to escalate in Afghanistan……and so it begins.

Given America is constantly expanding its military footprint around the world—most recently into Syria and the Central African Republic—one can be forgiven for forgetting about the longest war in the history of the United States: the war in Afghanistan. But a new column by retired colonel and professor Andrew Bacevich pulls the war back into focus, and the picture is not pretty.

Despite over 15 years of support, the government in Kabul currently controls only 63% of the country. It is likely to lose control of more territory with serious advances by Taliban forces in the last year [PDF]. The government has been rife with corruption primarily related to stealing U.S. development funds and facilitating heroin smuggling. Afghanistan remains the world capital for opium production, and is even hitting new highs.

Source: Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace In Afghanistan

This field of conflict is getting pathetic…time to declare a win and come home.

In case anyone actually cares and I doubt they do……

It’s being called an “insider attack” in some reports, but an incident today in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province, in which three US soldiers were shot and wounded by an Afghan soldier, does not appear to have involved an infiltrator, as most previous incidents have.

Col. Mohammad Rasool Zazai, an Afghan Army spokesman, insisted the soldier “made a mistake” and had not deliberately fired his gun. The soldier, as yet unidentified in public statements, was apparently killed in the incident.

Because of the size of the Afghan military and its low pay, recruiting standards are very low, and this has allowed a number of Taliban to infiltrate, stealing weapons or using their access as “soldiers” to carry out attacks on the rest of the Afghan security forces.

(antiwar.com)

And the song continues.

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……

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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.