Afghanistan is harder than we thought…

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 "There are currently about 87,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, a number expected to rise to 98,000 by the end of August.

Military officials expect insurgents to try and further step up the use of roadside bombs to increase NATO casualties in 2010. Following the announcement of the U.S. troop surge, insurgent leaders shifted from direct attacks to roadside bombs and other indirect assaults.

The insurgency has easy access to fighters, small arms and explosives for roadside bombs, the report notes, giving fighters a "robust means" to sustain military operations.

"A ready supply of recruits is drawn from the frustrated population, where insurgents exploit poverty, tribal friction, and lack of governance to grow their ranks," the report said.

The report also notes that insurgents' tactics are increasing in sophistication and the militants have also become more able to achieve broader strategic effects with successful attacks. The Taliban continue to use threats and targeted killings to intimidate the Afghan population.

At the same time, Taliban shadow governments, which can include courts and basic social services, have strengthened, undermining the authority of the Afghan government, according to the report."  LA Times

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I'm tired of bitching about this.  Just read this article in conjunction with the thing I posted about SF in Afghanistan.  pl 

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-fg-0429-us-afghan-20100429,0,3038681,full.story

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9 Responses to Afghanistan is harder than we thought…

  1. Redhand says:

    Seems to me the heart of the problem is this from your prior post:
    plans to expand the [SF] program have been stymied by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who fears the teams could turn into offensive militias, the kind that wreaked havoc on the country in the 1990s and prompted the rise of the Taliban. “This is playing with fire,” an Afghan government official said. “These groups may bring us security today, but what happens tomorrow?”
    I’m dating myself, but why do our dealings with Karzai remind me of the “Alice in Wonderland” quality of US diplomatic relations with Cambodia’s Prince Norodom “Snooky” Sihanouk before things went completely to hell for us in Indochina? Perhaps it is because of my belief that both “leaders” only look/looked out for themselves.
    I can’t imagine our involvement in Afghanistan ending well so long as Karzai is our “ally.”

  2. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel,
    The United States can only win in Afghanistan if it goes big and stays long: i.e. Japan or Germany. That takes an industrial base and the draft; neither of which the USA has right now. Families subject to the draft were the “Lobby” that ended American participation in an earlier war, 35 years ago, not the NVA.
    The United States is fighting a classical colonial war using ethnic divisions to try to keep control. The thing is the USA is nine years in and the war is getting worse not better. For every family member killed in Afghanistan, the whole tribe will swear revenge.
    The only alternative to a culture of revenge is security and the rule of law. But, the USA has neither has the manpower or the money to make each village in the Taliban infiltrated Provinces a Strategic Hamlet or force good governance on the central Karzi government.
    Finally, it is starting to sink in that since deregulation Wall Street is a gigantic Ponzi scheme based on selling Grade C securities at Triple A prices. TARP was a last gasp attempt by the government to keep the scheme alive. But, sooner or later, regulation and sanity will return to financial markets and everyone will be a lot poorer.
    During the Great Depression, the USA promised its last Colony, the Philippines, their freedom in 1946 to end the financial and ethical burden. In hard times, never ending wars fought for no good reason will peter out despite the War Profiteers best efforts to keep them going forever.

  3. Between October and March, the insurgency was responsible for 157 civilian deaths while NATO and Afghan security forces were responsible for 68, according to the report.

    This report does a bit of cherry picking when it comes to reporting civilian deaths. for example

    German troops in Afghanistan called in the airstrike in Kunduz province last May. The move was triggered by Taliban’s hi-jacking of two NATO fuel tankers. The attack killed over 140 civilians — including women and children.

    being strongly anti-war, justification for invading and occupying Afghanistan is quite hard for me to see. I can not see why it was necessary even from the revenge point of view as it as apparent then as it is now that any attack on the US was not sponsored by the Afghan government.
    so, there must have been a reason to invade and occupy. Once that is clear and the real objective for going there and staying there is known to all and not just our betters, we might have a chance of coming up with a solution.
    is it because of the opium? to prevent a pipeline to China from the Caspian basin? To further encircle Iran? or the latest thing thrown out by the serious people on teevee that we need to kill rogue Pakistanis?
    if it is none of the above, why can we not simply declare victory and go home?

  4. Jackie says:

    Col.,
    Well of course Afghanistan is harder than we thought! Couldn’t someone have asked the Brits and the Russians how easy this would be? Or read some history on the place?
    VV,
    At this point I don’t think we are going to go big, it is too late. Nine years too late.
    DOS,
    I, too, am curious about why we are still there. Yes, declare victory and leave.

  5. Jonathan says:

    General Gromov led Russian forces out of Afghanistan; is his fate meaningful information for us or just politics over there? I.e. maybe just getting out – even without declaring victory – was seen as a good thing by the Russians back then and, arguably, it is not different, or not different enough, for us now.
    Excerpt from Wikipedia entry:
    Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov is a prominent Russian military and political figure. Since 2000, he is the Governor of Moscow Oblast.

    During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Gromov did three tours of duty (1980-1982, 1985-1986, 1987-1989), and was best known for the two years as the last Commander of the 40th Army in Afghanistan. Gromov was the last Soviet soldier to leave Afghanistan, crossing on foot the Friendship Bridge spanning the Amu-Daria river on 15 February 1989, the day the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan was completed.

    After the Afghan war, he was chosen as a candidate for Vice President by the Communist Party in the Russian presidential election of 1991.

    He served as First Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation. In 1994 Gromov retired from the Russian Military Forces, and was soon appointed deputy Interior Minister. He was elected in 1995 to the State Duma, lower house of Russian parliament. In January 2000 he was elected governor of the Moscow region and re-elected in December 2003.

  6. Jackie says:

    Jonathan,
    Wasn’t Gromov closer to home than we are? Like right next door? IMO, even if we went in big and long in 2001, we would still be in this same downward trajectory.

  7. 1. It is not as if US academics, diplomats, intell folks, and military with experience did not already say this and Iraq was going to be a failure some years ago.
    2. We have wasted now a trillion plus in treasure on these.
    3. Are we stronger or weaker as a result? Have we gained any advantage? It seems to me the whole world can see we are weaker and stuck in a quagmire.
    4. What is the mission these days?
    5. Our rivals-competitors-potential enemies are only too pleased one would think to see the US wasting itself on delusional adventures.
    6. The USA cannot even secure its southern border with Mexico or deal with the mass illegal immigration (ten or twenty or what? millions of illegals) issue and the associated crime and violence and etc.
    7. The USA cannot even build railroads anymore. Californians are going hat in hand to the Chinese about high speed rail for the West Coast and New Yorkers seem to be going to China for subways or some such….of course, we can build cute little Predator things for our delusional “no-win” wars…
    8. The dumbed down, progagandized, manipulated masses in the US are too dull to get the picture, which suits the military-industrial complex and the politicians supporting it just fine…

  8. “NATO‟s Operation Moshtarak, launched in February 2010 in Helmand province, was the first deployment after the beginning of the much-debated surge of 30,000 additional US troops. It was billed as the largest military operation since the invasion of 2001. The planning for the operation emphasised the needs of the Afghan people, and the importance of winning hearts and minds as part of a classic counter-insurgency operation. However, the reality on the ground did not match the rhetoric. Welcome improvements in the size and conduct of military operations were undermined by a lack of sufficient corresponding measures in the political and humanitarian campaigns.
    This report reviews the local perceptions of the operation from more than 400 Afghan men from Marjah, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, interviewed by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) in March 2010.
    ICOS field research reveals that Operation Moshtarak has contributed to high levels of anger among local Afghan: 61% of those interviewed feel more negative about NATO forces than before the military offensive. In other words, the objective of winning “hearts and minds” – one of the fundamental tenets of the new counter-insurgency strategy – was not met.”
    http://www.icosgroup.net/modules/reports/operation_moshtarak

  9. KHarbaugh says:

    Just a quick, but sincere, question if anyone is still reading this post
    (if not, I’ll post the question again later):
    Of the people who are managing and responsible for
    the wars in the CENTCOM AOR,
    have any of you perchance read the 1958 book
    The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer?
    If so, to what extent are its vignettes of
    the experiences of Western/colonial powers in Southeast America in the 1950s
    applicable to
    the experiences of Western/Christian/Zionist powers in Southwest Asia in the 2000s?

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