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.

Afghanistan: 15 Year War

We do not hear much about Afghanistan these days even though it is our longest war….EVER!

But for those that are interested…..another American soldier has died in defense of their country…..

A U.S. service member and a U.S. civilian died Wednesday after an attack near a coalition base in Kabul, according to a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.

The attack was carried out by an unknown assailant, who was later killed, according to the release. The release does not elaborate on the nature of the attack.

In addition to the two deaths, one U.S. service member and two U.S. civilians were injured. They are in stable condition.

The two people who were killed were carrying out unspecified duties associated with the NATO mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces, according to the release.

I realize that few seem to care about the death of an American soldier…that is until it can be used as a political prop (a practice I find distasteful and pathetic)…….but I will be the conscience of the country if I must……

There is more about Afghanistan……we here that the Afghan army is doing well just they need more planes and such to be successful…..but is that true?

15 years into the NATO occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban controls more territory now than at any other time during the war, and the losses continue to mount for the Afghan government. The war has never been going “well,” exactly, but the losses are becoming a lot more visible.

the NATO nations involved in the war invested heavily in capturing and holding certain key cities, and as they began to draw down their forces, many nations sold these territorial gains, however limited they were, as their chief military accomplishments. Now, they’re watching those cities fall.

These stories exist everywhere around Afghanistan, as NATO spent billions to build up an Afghan military which is falling apart at the seams, unable to properly defend much of anything, and likewise unable to recruit enough people to make up for their losses.

Afghan officials are downplaying the losses, insisting they are temporary. Yet they are losing an estimated 10,000 police a year just to casualties, above what they’re able to recruit, and in the military, force levels have always been dubious, given the widespread corruption and existence of tens of thousands of “ghost troops” created by crooked officials just to collect salaries.

(antiwar.com)

So as you can read….Afghanistan is NOT the success that some would have you believe……after 15 years it is time for the US to consider whether they want to invest more lives and money in a cause that is falling apart as I type.

Is it worth further investment?

News From Afghanistan

As usual the news is NOT about the deaths of Americans…..no one seems to care that our soldiers are still dying….well most everybody.

Yet again…..an American soldier has been killed while on ops in Afghanistan…..in case anyone is interested….this is the 7th death of an American soldier in 2016…..

The seventh death of a US soldier in Afghanistan so far in 2016, the Pentagon today announced an unidentified US service member was killed in an operation against the nation’s ISIS affiliate. The operation was in the Nangarhar Province, just a few miles from the Pakistan border.

Officials say an investigation is still ongoing to determine exactly what happened, but the soldier reportedly died during a foot patrol, as the result of an improvised explosive device (IED). It is unclear, according to those familiar with the situation, if the device was detonated remotely or not.

I guess only American deaths that we care about are the ones that can have some sort of political weight….kinda like Benghazi…..

I recall all the criticism of the 10 year Vietnam War as a failure and a waste of American lives……with that said….what about a 15 year war in Afghanistan?

There is a perverse symmetry on display in Afghanistan right now. Fifteen years ago, American warplanes bombed targets there, beginning an offensive against the Taliban government and al-Qaida precipitated by the 9/11 attacks. This week, they were in action once again.

There was, of course, a big difference in the two operations. In 2001, our forces were opening a campaign that would end quickly in victory. Today, they are part of a war that has no victory, or conclusion, in sight.

The original triumph came quickly. By the end of 2001, the Taliban had surrendered in the capital; a new, pro-American government was in place; and Osama bin Laden was running for his life.

Source: In Afghanistan, a 15-Year Failure – Reason.com

Just maybe now is the time to re-think some of our involvement overseas…..what say you?

This is it….gotta bounce and visit my doctors…oh goody!

TTFN!

Death Comes To Helmand(Afghanistan)

What was the headline in your preferred news source yesterday?

Was it about the idiot swimmer that gives a whole new definition to the term “Ugly American”?  Perhaps it was the health of a candidate or two…….or even some celeb did something they always do…something stupid…..what was your headline?

It should have been the story about the death of an American soldier in Afghanistan……

The US military says an American soldier has been killed and another wounded by a roadside bomb during an operation in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, the AP reports. A statement says their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb on Tuesday in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, and that six Afghan soldiers were wounded. The attack came a day after officials said that 100 US troops had been sent to Lashkar Gah to help defend the city, which appears to be at increasing risk of falling to the Taliban. Afghan officials say the insurgents effectively control around 80% of the province. The US military says the unidentified soldier was killed while “conducting train, advise, assist activities with Afghan counterparts under NATO authorities.”

He died in a region that has a major uptick in activity, armed activity….it is so bad that the US is sending more troops…..

With gains in the Helmand Province mounting for Taliban forces, and the Afghan military struggling to defend both that and the other provinces around the country which the Taliban are advancing into, the Pentagon has announced an additional deployment of US ground troops into the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah.

Officials are trying to present the deployment as primarily a “training” operation, in keeping with a policy of claiming that everything they do is “non-combat,” but the reality is that there are very limited Afghan forces in Lashkar Gah, and a deployment of around 100 troops by the US is almost certain to mean direct combat roles.

Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland insisted US forces were committed to not allow the loss of Lashkar Gah, and clearly they can’t do this with a little idle encouragement to Afghan forces who are increasingly out-numbered and have been beaten by the Taliban time and again in the area.

More troops….more activity….the chances are rising for the possibilities of more American deaths and injuries…

When will this ever end?

Really!  When?

Maybe never….why?  It seems that the rise of the Taleban may not be the only problem that our military will have to face…….

The U.S is monitoring Daesh and its affiliated groups in Afghanistan besides helping the latter’s security forces to fight out the terrorist organization which is trying to expand its base in Afghanistan, a top American official has said.

“We are always looking at ISIL’s (Daesh) ability to find safe haven and then expand to work with, these affiliate groups, factions of groups such as the Taliban that they might be able to exploit. We are monitoring it very closely,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Wednesday.

Source: US is Monitoring Islamic State Presence in Afghanistan: State Dept Official | World Affairs Journal

As long as we continue our deployments the more problems we will have to face…..and the chances for more American causalities….

America’s Forgotten War

That would be Afghanistan…..that little war that No one seems to give a crap about….a war that still has Americans in harm’s way……a war that Americans will continue fight….a war that few know why we continue to fight…..

It is Summer and the Taleban has decided to make another push in southern Afghanistan…..

With the Taliban controlling most of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the capital city of Lashkar Gah has looked less and less secure. It looks like that city could be facing another direct offensive quite soon, as major battles were reported just south of the city.

The Afghan government is rushing military reinforcements into the area, and insists the district of Nawa, where the fighting is ongoing, has yet to fall. US officials have similarly insisted they will “not allow” the city of Lashkar Gah to be captured, but whether they can do anything about it is unclear.

The largely rural Helmand Province is the center of the lucrative opium poppy farming operations in Afghanistan, and Taliban control over many districts, including the districts bordering neighboring Pakistan, allow them to control the flow of opium traffic out of the country

we have de-fanged Al-Qaeda and the Taleban can only operate one region at a time without massive losses…..just what was our objective in Afghanistan…..the boss of the group that did the 9/11 attacks is dead…dead….dead…..

Afghanistan is a money pit…..do you know what that is?  A hole in the earth into which you pour money.

What the US needs is a way out of this quagmire, right?

The failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan has been obvious for years, but neither President Bush nor President Obama wanted the defeat hung on them, so the bloody folly goes on, a test for the next president, says Alon Ben-Meir.

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced that the U.S. will draw down its troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 8,400, altering his original plan to reduce the number to 5,500. His decision suggests that conditions on the ground are not as promising as he expected them to be, and maintaining a larger number of troops is important as he believes “it is in our national security interests … that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed.”

The President, however, did not spell out what success actually means. If he meant that Afghanistan will eventually become a stable and functioning democracy, he is fundamentally mistaken. Indeed, even if the U.S. stations three times as many troops for another 15 years or more, given the multiple conflicts, ruthlessness and duplicity of the players involved and the country’s long history, the U.S. cannot rescue Afghanistan from the quagmire in which it finds itself.

Source: Needing an Exit from Afghan Quagmire – Consortiumnews

This election will bring NO relief for our troops and their families and most Americans will just keep thumping their chests and waving their flags and the troops keep living dangerously….

Time for someone to step up and make the government face reality….we had such a person, Chuck Hagel, but he would not play ball with the M-IC so he had to go in favor of the bobble head yes man Carter.

If not your grandchildren will be fighting this unwinnable war….is that what you desire?

Vacation To Die For

My weekend begins and it is Summer…what better time to think about a vacation, right?

From time to time I read something in the news that takes me aback and makes me ask…..WTF?

I do not understand some people’s choice for a overseas visit…you know those idiots that go to North Korea or Iran knowing full well that there is no love lost for Americans….but that does not matter it is the trip of a lifetime, right?

I saw one the other day about an attack on a tourist bus in Afghanistan…seriously?  A bus full of tourists in Afghanistan?

Foreign tourists being escorted by an army convoy in western Afghanistan have been ambushed by gunmen in an attack that left at least seven people wounded, Afghan officials say.

Twelve tourists from the UK, the US and Germany were attacked in the Chesht-e-Sharif district of Herat province on Thursday while on their way to Herat from Bamiyan and Ghor provinces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. Spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the foreigners were killed – a claim the governor’s office denied.

“A group of Taliban fighters conducted the attack on the tourists, injuring at least six,” Jalani Farhad, spokesman for the Herat governor, told Al Jazeera. “However, no one is dead.”

Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from the capital, Kabul, said the tourists’ vehicle had been hit by an RPG.

He described the convoy’s route as a “dangerous one”, adding that “even Afghans would avoid travelling on that road.

“This journey is three days long by road, and most of it is controlled by warlords, thieves and, of course, the Taliban,” our correspondent said.

“All these things are raising lots of questions; why did these foreigners, in the first place, decide to travel on that road,” he said, adding that “no embassy, in no country, would recommend to their citizens to take that road. Everyone knows about the risk.”

(AL Jazeera)

WTF?

Sorry I just cannot understand the ignorance of some people….scratch that…the STUPIDITY of some people…..just what was so goddamn important that one would risk their life to visit?

Just what happens to one’s brain chemistry to make then say….gee hon why not go for 2 weeks in Afghanistan this Summer.

Who the Hell booked this visit?  Do they have guided ours of Syria?

I think I will just stay in place and bitch about the heat.