Sixteen Year Long Afghan “Raging Tiger By The Tail” – Now What…

For sixteen years and to some accounts more, the US has been involved in a stalemate in Afghanistan. Neither winning, nor losing simply pouring more tax dollars down the tubes. We have a tiger by the tail; but now that we have engaged, how do we stop and evaluate our efforts as a success or failure?

This is what the Trump administration is left to deal with after billions have been lost, soldiers killed or maimed, equipment stolen or sold to insurgents, and dishonorable or plain stupid, dangerous decisions, or indecisive attitudes by the past administration.

“As Afghan Stalemate Grinds On, Trump Mulls Additional Troops” by Associated Press author,
Robert Burns in Military.com, on May 7, 2017 takes a hard look at the problem.

From long-term fighting fatigue to high battlefield casualties, the Afghan soldiers are breaking down. They have seesawed so long between wins and losses that they are fast losing sight of why they even should continue to fight. Prospects for any kind of negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban is falling further behind every day.

The insurgents failure to capture and hold a major city has in no way diminished their control or influence in the region and like a oozing wound infection, their poison is reaching out into ever more territory infecting every place they move through.

According to an article from 2016 by Steven Biddle, Adjunct Senior Fellow for the Defense Policy at Council on Foreign Relations,

security has deteriorated sharply since the U.S. ended its official combat role in 2014, however, and Nicholson is expected to favor slower U.S. drawdowns. If so, the general is right. But what’s needed isn’t a slower timetable for withdrawals – it’s the end of timetables altogether.

“The Taliban have little incentive to negotiate a peace deal and “the battlefield trend is against it.”

The U.S. objective in Afghanistan is not to leave; it is to end the war on terms Americans and Afghans can live with.

The range of plausible outcomes in Afghanistan is now very narrow. The Afghan government could lose the war outright, or it can negotiate a compromise settlement with the major insurgent factions. There is no longer any meaningful prospect to defeat the Taliban. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are barely holding the line; they are not going to take the offensive and drive the Taliban from the country.

According to a Pentagon policy official it is possible that President Donald Trump should be receiving a proposed new approach to the war soon.

Trump walked into a mess in foreign affairs and in particular the Middle East when he became President. Military actions have increased and continued all across the area even though little has been reported in the media. Trump called for significant changes to how the U.S. fights IS in Iraq and Syria, yet he has not really spoken much on Afghanistan.

The Pentagon is reviewing the possibility of sending more troops, as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan requested, mainly for training and advising.

The larger questions before doing that though ought to be:
-what they would do;
-why bother when those trained prior to now either defected to the opposition or hasn’t the capacity to take over the country and lead;
-how would they fit into a broader strategy to actually stabilize Afghanistan; and,
-even more importantly, how much longer the US should even be involved in, not just this country, but the entire region?

The cost in our soldiers lives and our tax dollars versus the obviously never ending lack of stability or leadership has to be strongly considered. The region has been a hotbed for thousands of years. Does the world, in particular the US, plan to continue this warring mode for another thousand years?

 

Center for Strategic and International Studies defense analyst, Anthony Cordesman, said:

Afghan forces aren’t capable of securing the country. Unless Trump adopts “a far more decisive approach,” security could collapse “either slowly and painfully over years or as a result of some shattering military defeat or critical political power struggle at the top that divides the security forces and the country.”

Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, wants an infusion of U.S. and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army. However, his request may have to take a back seat to a broader administration review of Afghan policy and a push for NATO to contribute more troops when these matters are discussed at a NATO summit May 25.

The war is now in its third U.S. presidency with tens of billions of US dollars and money from other UN countries. We have used that money supposedly to equip, mentor, and support Afghan security forces but to what level of success?

While Afghans have become more effective in recent years, breaking the Taliban’s grip on much of the territory has barely been achieved. Right now the current government appears to be losing ground — barely controlling even half of its territories.

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And yet, we cannot forget the many women fighting or suffering under archaic attitudes, nor families still there who have been suffering either.  Today’s FOX news article highlights that there are still some people working in Afghanistan in the shadows to help women and girls who have suffered horrible abuses simply because they are female.

I think the key is the sentence from Biddle — “little incentive”. The choices Trump and his military advisors ultimately settle own should hopefully provide that incentive, either as a three or four pronged assault through weapons, education, and economy or whatever means works best; but regardless, this needs to end.  Our time, our soldiers, our tax dollars can no longer support such a useless endeavor. The US has many other problems to face, most importantly those within our own country.

–Uriel–

 

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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12 Responses to Sixteen Year Long Afghan “Raging Tiger By The Tail” – Now What…

  1. I.R. Wayright says:

    The original objective was to get bin Laden.
    Mission accomplished. He wasn’t in Afghanistan for several years before we found out where his hideout was, which the Pakis knew about all along.
    We have ZERO friends in the region. I think we should pull out now and let the Afghanis decide if they want to fight to defeat the Taliban or not.
    Until we deal with the head of the snake in the whole middle East, which is Iran, we are just banging our heads against the wall.
    Obama helping Iran was the worst treason ever perpetrated on this country by any president in history.

  2. Uriel says:

    I agree IR. Obama deserved impeachment on many issues but that was at the top. These people there have had “wars” ongoing for so long it is difficult to know if ANY can be believed. We have seen more than a few instances already where we have trained Afghan troops only to have them defect to a radical group. We have also seen where our soldiers have reported “friendly” fire when they were in country. So how the heck do we continue to fund. I HATE liars and I really HATE when our efforts are thrown back against us.

  3. Popular Front says:

    Just come home. No more casualties. If there is one country/region on this Earth that is utterly not worth having it is Afghanistan.

    Some history:
    * Alexander the Great got there, looked around and saw nothing of value, and left.
    * The Mongol Golden Horde did the same.
    * Peter the Great of Russia tried in 1707 and gave up at the River Oxus, and went home.
    * The British Empire tried three times to conquer and hold in the 19th century and couldn’t do it. Plenty of VC’s for heroic ‘last stands’.
    * The Soviet Union (empire) tried it in the 20th century and with all their technological advantages gave up and went home.

    There is a very strong trace of Persian-style duplicity in your Afghan. They smile at you in temporary defeat and start preparing for guerilla warfare at which they are superb. Today’s allied tribe is tomorrow’s sworn and bitter enemy. They will take your money and weapons today and use them against you tomorrow. They despise ALL foreigners and when there are none around to harass and kill they resume their constant inter-tribal warfare, which they enjoy.

    Pull out now. Just leave everything behind, load your people into C-5s and come home, all at once. Leave no-one behind. I can guarantee that they’ll be at each others throats again within a day and that asshole Karzai will be beheaded in the flaming bombed-out ruins of the presidential palace within a month.

    • Uriel says:

      Except for the women needing help I have to agree. However their treatment has been ongoing for a very long time. It was only after western women got involved that some things changed – it appears possibility for the worst. Remember the photos I showed of some of the cities ten years ago. It seems they may have been better off then.

      • Popular Front says:

        You are right Uriel, they were better off before we (the West) started meddling again. Not only Afghanistan either. I had a week in Egypt on leave wayyy back in the mid-70s and despite all the sabre-rattling towards Israel at that time Cairo and Alexandria were very secular and modernistic. Girls wearing mini skirts, riding scooters, having coffees outside and so on. Not today however. As I understand from people who were there pre-1979 Iran was also.

  4. skip says:

    Don’t walk but run from there ASAP. What military goods we cant take with us blow it up.

    • Popular Front says:

      Definately. Palm a handful of sugar into each humvee, generator etc. Leave booby traps everywhere and go home. That shitstain country is worth not ONE MORE western soldier’s life.

  5. vonmesser says:

    Bring 50,000 Afganis here. Run them through Parris Island and MCRD San Diego. Get the tribalism out of them, and send them home with all the gear they want to clean up the mess. Pay zero attention to how they clean out the toilet.

  6. Hardnox says:

    I’m with PF. Get out now. Not one more drop of American blood needs to be spilled in that shithole of a country.

    Further, 1) Identify the friendlies who have worked with us and offer them safe haven. 2) Drop MOAB’s on every ISIS and Taliban position and call it a day.

    • Uriel says:

      Sounds like a plan to me. My youngest son was in Afghanistan in the mid to late 90’s its way past time they handle their own.