Can Afghanistan Be Saved?

The US went to Afghanistan after the cowardly attacks of 9/11 to get the mastermind of the attacks…..we failed originally but we stayed to save Afghanistan from the brutality of the Taleban…..to be honest…we are failing at that attempt as well.

There are peace talks these days between the government of Afghanistan and the Taleban and the US is playing a minor role (or so we are told)…..but all indications are that the US wants peace much more than the Afghans…..

I recently read that only a little over half of Americans are even aware the U.S. is, after 17 years, still fighting a war in Afghanistan. Since the beginning of the war, the U.S. has spent more than $900 billion dollars in military and civilian support. This does not include the human toll of those killed and the tens of thousands wounded.

Unfortunately, there is little to show for all this expense.

Yes, Afghanistan has an army, but without U.S. forces they would quickly succumb to the Taliban, who today control more than half of the country. On the civilian side, the Afghan government, despite proven reserves of valuable minerals including lithium and rare earth (estimates are over a trillion dollars worth) remains dependent upon a constant stream of donor dollars.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/04/27/afghanistan-trump-taliban-opium-corruption-column/3589562002/

Basically we Americans are trying to save Afghans from themselves….and in the long run (if that benchmark has not been met yet) do Afghans want to be “saved”?

After nearly two decades of bloodshed, meaningful progress is finally being made towards a conclusion of the war in Afghanistan. Negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar have achieved an uncommon consistency. On the domestic front, a bipartisan resolution matching the Taliban’s proposed timeline has emerged in the U.S. Senate. The main voices opposing peace originate from within the Pentagon and the Afghan National Unity Government. In a departure from their constitutionally mandated subordinate role, top generals are calling for yet another extension on murky grounds. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has also urged against a timely withdraw, claiming that the government in Kabul lacks the strength required for independence. Whether by incompetence or corruption, neither contingent should have the credibility to dictate the plan for removing U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

The conditions Washington and Kabul point to as requirements for a withdraw cannot be met. The National Unity Government does not represent a plurality of the Afghan people, and with former warlords in its ranks, it will continue to lack the requisite legitimacy to govern. In spite of the nearly $900 billion dedicated to reconstruction and governance efforts since 2001, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) suffer from infiltration, ineptitude, and high casualty rates. It is unclear how additional years, lives, and billions of dollars will guide Afghanistan toward a stable future. The peace talks in Doha represent gradual yet genuine progress, and they warrant all the support Washington can muster. Alternatives to this current opportunity for peace represent a continuation of the same failed strategies toward an even more shameful, inevitable departure.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/america-cannot-save-afghanistan-55142

If Afghanistan cannot be saved then why must the US continue to pour cash and blood into the country?

There is a question for your next president or supreme leader (the title may change by next election.

Advertisements

Ending Afghanistan

Our longest war has been raging for nearly 18 years and our troops have had multiple deployments with multiple chances to being killed or maimed…….it is time for this insanity to end……

I read where SecState Pompeo is trying to end this war…….

Speaking at Texas A&M University, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that US negotiations with the Taliban are trying to end the longest war in US history, and that a goal is trying to “broker peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government.”

Negotiations have been ongoing for months, and have established a growing understanding with the Taliban. The US and Taliban have the framework of a deal, where the US withdraws from Afghanistan and the Taliban keeps the ISIS and al-Qaeda out.

Pompeo’s talk of brokering peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government is unusual, as the US has largely kept this on the back-burner, and the Taliban has shown no interest in talking with the Ghani government.

There have been some talks involving an Afghan committee this week. The Ghani government has been reluctant to endorse the US negotiations so far, complaining that the US isn’t directly including them in decision-making.

Seriously?

If anyone in DC wanted this war to end…then it would! It is that damn simple.

Or maybe some sort of international solution….I mean after all we have international partners in Afghanistan……

We cannot fight our way to peace and stability in Afghanistan. If we have learned anything after 40 years of continuous war there, it is that a myopic focus on military solutions will not lead to peace. The path to stability does not depend on the number of U.S. troops in the field or the number of Taliban leaders killed.

Sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires an economy that can satisfy the needs of its people. While Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, it cannot harvest them to the fullest without the stability and good governance required for business to grow and thrive.  

 
Or  better idea is that the US get out of everywhere…..bring the troops home for a well deserved rest…..

Many commentators argue that the U.S. political system has become increasingly polarized, pointing to the prolonged shutdown of the federal government as evidence. However, the difference between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is one of style, not substance, as revealed by the history of bipartisan support for U.S. intervention and occupation abroad. Republican administrations may be more frequently associated with U.S. invasions, but establishment Democrats have long backed the policies of U.S. imperialism. 

This is, in part, because U.S. interventionist foreign policy is driven by capitalist ideals, shared across the aisle by those in power in Washington. In order to sustain a profitable capitalist economy, there must be a continuous expansion of markets and increase in consumption. This capitalist imperative has been influential in shaping a U.S. foreign policy of invasion, destruction and resource extraction during open-ended wars. In 1971, the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano famously described this extractive relationship as “the open veins of Latin America.” The rhetoric of defending democracy, which was used to justify the invasion of Syria as well as the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, has always been a cover story for neo-colonialism.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/21846/war-militarism-imperialism-invasion-iraq-syria-afghanistan-isis-troops

We must end our useless wars……but how to do so?

After decades of catastrophe, the same basic strategy endures. Donald Trump’s presidency makes plain that global supremacy has become an end in itself, unmoored from the interests of the American people and most of humanity. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” Trump has declared, “and I mean unquestioned.” Trump has stripped supremacy of ethical pretense and strategic justification. He values it for its own sake, as a gesture of brute domination.

What have liberals to say about this? Scandalously little. For decades, they have failed to stop war and violence for the same reason they have failed to reverse soaring inequality. At best, they have offered solutions inadequate to the scale of the problem. At worst, they have denied there was a problem, casting endless war as “global leadership.” Few Democrats will admit, for example, that not one power in the Middle East poses an existential threat to the United States, not one merits devoting precious lives and scarce resources to such misadventures as Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen.

https://newrepublic.com/article/153239/end-endless-war-case-against-american-military-supremacy

All in all….make peace as profitable as war and we will see an end to these conflicts…..yes, Irene, it is that f*cking simple!

More Deaths!

Our longest war, Afghanistan, has given the US 4 more deaths…..3 military and one civilian contractor were killed in convoy by an IED……

Three American service members and a US contractor were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main US base in Afghanistan, the AP reports. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The US and NATO Resolute Support mission said in a statement that the four Americans were killed near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, while three others were wounded in the explosion. The wounded were evacuated and are receiving medical care, the statement said. It added that in accordance with US Department of Defense policy, the names of service members killed in action are being withheld until after the notification of next of kin.

In their claim of responsibility, the Taliban said they launched the attack and that one of their suicide bombers detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near the NATO base. The conflicting accounts could not be immediately reconciled. On Tuesday, local officials said at least five Afghan civilians were wounded in the commotion after the attack on the American convoy. Four were passers-by and the fifth was a driver of a car going down the road, said Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief. Monday’s US fatalities bring to seven the number of US soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan. The Taliban have continued to carry out daily attacks on Afghan security forces despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the United States in recent months.

Time for the deaths to end because of this “war”….these were wasted lives for a hopeless situation.

IST would like to offer our heart felt condolences to the friends and family of the fallen soldiers……

 

Afghanistan: Is Peace Near?

After 18 years of constant war and multiple deployments the US is looking at the peace process taking shape…..

The US gets bad press worldwide…..the American propaganda machine we call the MSM does not pile on….but the news is not good for America…..like the number of civilian deaths……

According to UN officials, the 2018 civilian death toll in Afghanistan was a record high, with 3,804 killed and another 7,189 wounded. This was an approximately 11% increase over the previous year, and the highest annual figure since the UN began keeping track in 2009.

The report concluded that both an increase in suicide attacks, mainly from ISIS, and a sharp increase in US airstrikes were driving the record deaths, with over 1,000 casualties just from US air operations.

The Taliban were blamed for the largest number of civilian casualties, at 37%, which is in keeping with UN reports of the past. The Afghan government, US, and NATO were blamed for 24%, and ISIS was blamed for a further 20%. This is a huge number of ISIS killings given how comparatively small the group is.

The UN said a particularly concerning fact was that the civilian casualties from US airstrikes were overwhelmingly women and children. This, however, should be unsurprising, as the US tends to define adult men in Afghanistan as “suspects” or “militants” simply by virtue of being in a strike.

(antiwar.com)

With those numbers rising the parties involved are meeting and discussing an end to the hostilities……

A new round of negotiations on Afghanistan has begun on Monday in the Qatari capital city. A delegation of US diplomats and top Taliban figures, including deputy Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, are present for what is sure to be the highest level of talks yet.

18+ years into the US war in Afghanistan, they’ve gone from the Taliban denying negotiations were even taking place, to confirming they are. Progress is now being confirmed by both sides, with a basic framework of a war-ending deal in place.

That deal, specifics not-withstanding, are that the US would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, and the Taliban would ensure that neither al-Qaeda nor ISIS could operate inside of the country in the future.

Having Mullah Baradar and US negotiator head Zalmay Khalilzad sitting across the table from one another only underscores how serious the talks are getting, and this latest round of talks is expected to continue hammering out specific details.

(antiwar.com)

I read dissertation papers that grad students submit and this one covers the “Long War” in Afghanistan and the possibility of a peaceful settlement…..

During the last week of January, the news was awash with stories covering the current administration’s ostensibly unprecedented progress with Special Envoy Khalilzad’s recent talks with the Taliban and their Pakistani sponsors in Qatar. In a statement that the U.S. Embassy Kabul released on the last Monday in January, Khalilzad stated that the peace talks had made progress on important issues and that the negotiators had agreed on a framework for further talks in February. In the eighteenth year of a long and stalemated war, there are reasons to be sanguine about these developments, to some degree, simply because this seems to have been the most talk about peace among the belligerents yet in this long hard war. And Mr. Khalilzad is indeed one of the best people to be the U.S. envoy leading the talks given his Afghan origins and years of experience as ambassador in Afghanistan and Iraq

However, there are also reasons for much caution and some alarm about the current progress and the potential for peace in Afghanistan since the deliberations and decisions about many previously intractable issues still require prudence and patience.  These details may potentially augur the gravest consequences for Afghanistan, its neighbors, and the U.S. Several things of great importance have yet to be worked out. There is still much uncertainty in what outcomes these talks will result in, and looming yet elusive peace also brings up questions and concerns about the Taliban’s and their sponsor’s true intentions.

This could be good news….or it could be just a lull in a continuing situation….

light at the end of an excruciatingly long tunnel, the prospect of American withdrawal from Afghanistan now seems to glimmer ahead. Several rounds of negotiation in Russia, Qatar, and elsewhere have produced the outlines of an agreement. Details are unknown, but by all accounts, the accord will be based around a simple deal: the United States pulls its troops out and the Taliban pledges to never again host terror groups.

This would be a most un-American peace deal. Rather than a declaration of victory, it would be a reluctant acceptance of stubborn facts on the ground. Afghans repelled British invaders in the 19th century and Soviet invaders in the 20th. For nearly two decades they have held the United States at bay. By leaving Afghanistan to its fate, we would be admitting failure. This horrifies many in Washington. Americans fervently embrace the illusion that their country can succeed at anything — including crushing mountain fighters thousands of miles away who believe they are patriots resisting a foreigner invader.

https://outline.com/RwCTAB

I wish I could see this as a good thing for the people of Afghanistan….but I cannot….the Taleban when returned to power will revert to their extreme shelf…..a restrictive form of Islam will once again rule the land….

Afghanistan has another worry….the hostilities between India and Pakistan…..there is a possibility that hostilities could spill over into Afghanistan….

Fearing a dangerous spillover impacts from increased tensions between India and Pakistan, war-ravaged Afghanistan has advised its nuclear-armed neighbors to exercise the utmost restraint.

On Wednesday, February 27, the Pakistan Air Force claimed to have shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace, a day after India said it struck hideouts of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group – responsible for a deadly suicide attack in Kashmir– inside Pakistan.

India blames Pakistan-based JeM for killing more than 40 Indian security forces in the troubled Kashmir valley on February 14.

https://thedefensepost.com/2019/02/28/afghanistan-india-pakistan-spillover/

The only good thing is that American troops will come home and get the rest they richly deserve.

Let’s say that a peace plan is negotiated……what does that mean to US troops?

Ongoing US-Taliban peace negotiations, designed to end the 18-year Afghan War, has a new proposal, with the Pentagon having finally offered a formal plan for withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan.

As with the usual Pentagon plans, there seems to be reticence toward actually doing this in a timely fashion. The plan reportedly would have half of the 14,000 US troops leaves Afghanistan within a matter of months, but then the rest would stay for as long as five years.

The end of the five years would see not only all US troops out of Afghanistan, but also NATO troops. It is said to enjoy support within NATO and among administration officials. It’s not clear what the Taliban’s position is, however.

And that might be a tough sell for the Taliban. After resisting a US occupation for 18 years, the Taliban’s demand is to get the US out of the country, and while the logistics of that might take awhile, five years is a very long time.

If anything, such a long time is likely to raise fears that the Pentagon is dragging its feet specifically to give officials time to change their minds and dishonor the deal, and keeping thousands of troops inside Afghanistan means Trump, or his successor, could end up resuming the war.

(antiwar.com)

US troops are the key to any peace deal with the Taleban…..

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Qatar, told reporters in Qatar that the war will come to an end in the country and the Taliban fighters will join the ranks of the Afghan army if the two sides sealed an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

He said talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government is an internal issue and that Taliban is currently carrying out talks with the US about troop withdrawal.

“When the occupation is ended, there is a full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and there is an Afghan-inclusive Islamic government in the country, I think there is no need for any military operation and war. So, there will be a sustainable peace in the country and all the military people and our people, they will be included in a national army,” said Shaheen.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/taliban-sees-troop-withdrawal-key-peace

Appears as troops are the main condition for peace in Afghanistan….

I say bring ’em home!

Peace For Afghanistan?

After close to 18 years of US involvement in the armed conflict in Afghanistan there is a rumble of a possible peace within the country.

Personally, I say about damn time….what took so long?

An op-ed that appeared in Truthdig…….

It has been more than nine years since I resigned in protest over the escalation of the Afghan War from my position as a Political Officer with the US State Department in Afghanistan. It had been my third time to war, along with several years of working in positions effecting war policy in Washington, DC with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department. My resignation in 2009 was not taken lightly by my superiors and my reasons for opposing President Obama’s “surge” in Afghanistan found support amongst both military officers and civilian officials at senior levels in Kabul and Washington.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/15/time-for-peace-in-afghanistan-

and-an-end-to-the-lies/

Peace may be a pipe dream for Afghanistan….but with that said what would it take to get peace for Afghanistan?

Peace may be offering…the legislative body of Afghanistan, the Jirga, will be meeting to discuss peace talks….

Afghan politicians and tribal, ethnic, and religious leaders are set to meet for at least four days next month to discuss negotiations with the Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani’s special peace envoy has said.

Daudzai said that the consultative Loya Jirga will discuss the government’s “values and red lines” and will aim to come up with a framework for the Western-backed government in Kabul to engage in peace negotiations with the militant group.

https://www.rferl.org/amp/afghan-loya-jirga-to-convene-next-month-to-discuss-peace-talks/29781362.html

Constant military surveillance of Afghans yields almost no real intelligence about the problems they face each day. An unusual group of volunteers uses a far different approach.

 

 

Hossein, a member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), which hosted my recent visit to Afghanistan, rolled up his sleeve to show me a still-healing three-inch wound. Thieves had broken into his family home in Kabul. When they were discovered, one of the robbers stabbed Hossein.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/15/what-it-really-takes-to-secure-peace-in-afghanistan/

I have been calling for an end for this madness…of course I am just a small voice in the wilderness but at least now there are more people seeing the need for an end to the war in Afghanistan for now all we are doing is throwing people and cash into a hole that will NEVER fill.

Give peace a chance….you might like it!

Where Is Afghanistan?

I heard the question asked when I was eating a gyros in a cafe….the guy was about 20 and his question just made me frown……how could this be?

So I guess I have been missing the point on all my writing…

So I keep trying……

Is our efforts in Afghanistan really helping the people gain some form of security?

A nighttime raid left a family home in flames. Two brothers and one of their wives were executed on the spot; the woman shot three times in the head. A little girl, just three years old, was found burned to death in a bedroom.

The scene might be at home in the erstwhile Soviet Union or a gang-run region of El Salvador today, but it is Afghanistan. And the raiding party was not communist secret police or a drug lord’s foot soldiers but an Afghan strike team managed by the CIA.

These teams have for many Afghans become the public face of the United States’ 18-year intervention, and the teams’ brutality toward civilians has made that face an ugly one. An extensive New York Times investigation uncovered stories of shocking violence against innocent people, a carelessness which makes the strike forces’ effectiveness look less like precision targeting than a shotgun spray hitting everything that moves, militants sometimes included.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/21/americas_war_in_afghanistan_fostering_anger_not_security_114123.html

Trump has said that we are fighting endless wars (I agree)….so there are rumblings that the US and the current Afghan government are in talks with the Taleban….should we trust the Taleban?

Reports from Washington suggest that US President Donald Trump is pushing for a quick military withdrawal from Afghanistan and that the defence establishment is attempting to reduce the number of troops pulled out and the speed of the withdrawal. However, given Trump’s maverick decision-making style, a US departure is likely to happen sooner rather than later.

It’s imperative that any analysis of the future of Afghanistan factor in the variable of Pashtun nationalism now primarily represented, even if in distorted fashion, by a resurgent Taliban. What has given the Taliban’s appeal potency is their ability to couch in religious terminology traditional Pashtun aspirations for dominance in Afghanistan and the tribes’ aversion to foreign interference.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/pashtun-nationalism-and-the-american-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/

Are the Taleban trustworthy?

US needs to find an exit point….maybe it is time to trust the Taleban if it brings our weary troops home.

But I think that the US needs to come to term with the fact that they failed in Afghanistan……

The United States failed in Afghanistan. The only points of debate left for analysts and historians are by how much and who is to blame. With negotiations and withdrawal plans still in the air as of early 2019, nearly 18 years after September 11, 2001, the true extent of American failure remains to be determined, but it is not too early to examine where our institutions and leaders fell short.

Over the course of the war in Afghanistan, pundits have laid the blame at the feet of successive administrations. The arguments were that President George W. Bush was distracted by Iraq, that President Barack Obama gave a timeline that allowed the Taliban to “wait out” the efforts of coalition forces, and that President Donald Trump simply does not have a strategy. Each of these critiques may hold some truth to them and ultimately the commander in chief is responsible for the execution of American foreign policy, but unexamined in these critiques is the limiting factor of American military capabilities.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/02/coming-to-terms-with-americas-undeniable-failure-in-afghanistan/

Face it!  Afghanistan is just not worth it anymore!

Will it end?  Can it end?

President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that “great nations do not fight endless wars.” It was a clear signal that his administration has scaled back its objectives for Afghanistan and is headed for the exit. The only question now is whether the Taliban and their Pakistani sponsors will settle for a partial victory by participating in an Afghan government they do not wholly control, or whether they will bide their time until the occupation ends, then turn on those Afghans who have been fighting alongside U.S. forces and triumphantly return to power, governing as they did before the war.

The smart money is on the latter.

Trump is not the first American president to try to bring a “forever war” to an end. President Barack Obama promised to end the war in Iraq, and he did. But America’s adversaries there took the opportunity to reconstitute a threat significant enough that Obama had to reengage.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/how-end-war-afghanistan/582310/

This is a glimmer of hope for us that want this war to end….no matter what!

But I refuse to believe that these toads in DC really want to end this war.

All Those Wars!

We have a couple of wars that most have no dear why any longer.

A couple months ago Trump said troops would be leaving Syria and a partial draw down for Afghanistan…….and the Neo cons went batcrap crazy with the MSM joining into the chorus….

Trump then stepped back from his pronouncements.

Having drifted back and forth a few times on the US withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, President Trump seemed solid on leaving last week, but facing growing opposition from the Senate now shows signs of backtracking once again.

Previously talking up how the wars in Afghanistan and Syria can’t last forever, Trump is now saying he wants a “smaller number” of troops to stay in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban already making it clear that was a non-starter for the peace deal.

In Syria, Trump is now focused on the idea that the pullout can only happen after assuring that “Israel is protected,” which is as close to a recipe for permanent warfare as one can get. Israeli officials have made clear they want the war to be about Iran, not ISIS.

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/02/03/trump-backtracks-on-syria-afghan-withdrawals-facing-growing-senate-pressure/

Then Trump had a SOTU where he taunted the ending of use less wars….

The Congress seems to be a big obstacle for the president……instead of caving to the warmongers in Congress he should push back on the cowardice…..

Who says Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything? Washington closed ranks Thursday behind two wars President Donald Trump has proposed winding down as the Senate voted 68-23 to advance a resolution warning against “precipitous withdrawal” from Afghanistan and Syria.

Afghanistan is now the longest war in U.S. history, making any withdrawal seem anything but “precipitous.” Syria hasn’t even been authorized by Congress. In both cases, our men and women in the armed forces have already achieved the goals that are militarily attainable. “It doesn’t get much more pathetic,” Congressman Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, said of the Senate vote.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-should-call-congresss-bluff-on-our-endless-wars/