The Afghan Papers – Part 1 (at war with the truth)

Shahiid

Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.

In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.”

None expressed confidence that the Afghan army and police could ever fend off, much less defeat, the Taliban on their own. More than 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed, a casualty rate that U.S. commanders have called unsustainable.

“Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.

In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.”

None expressed confidence that the Afghan army and police could ever fend off, much less defeat, the Taliban on their own. More than 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed, a casualty rate that U.S. commanders have called unsustainable.”

Comment: So, why are the Taliban fighting? I have been asked that a number of times. They are fighting; for God, for salvation, for the sake of their Pushtun tribal brothers. They are fighting to demonstrate that “God is great” and he is not mocked or deceived by the pretensions and idolatry of the Crusaders. I am a Christian. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/?itid=lk_inline_manual_28

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20 Responses to The Afghan Papers – Part 1 (at war with the truth)

  1. Harry says:

    Very useful. Much appreciated

  2. Lysias says:

    Just like Vietnam.

    Both times, we were fighting for the wrong side.

  3. EEngineer says:

    Makes one wonder if the Taliban actually used the US military trainers as *their* bootcamp.

  4. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    “They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.””
    Reminiscent of General Stilwell’s remarks in his diaries about Chiang Kai-shek’s Army officers during World War II.

  5. Babeltuap says:

    Col,

    Agree. I knew this day one on the ground. There is no defeating an enemy that never accepts defeat. They will not quit. 10,20,30 years is not a thing. US military has a timeline. If they can’t hit it they leave. I knew it was over the second I stared running IED crews. Defeating those was not that hard. Defeating the Taliban impossible. At that point it was about surviving, doing my time and getting our Soldiers home. No getting out of MRAPs. Clear the roads of IED’s but we urinate in empty water bottles. No ambushes. We all survived.

  6. Lytenburgh says:

    The sad thing here is… Talibs are crappy soldiers when it comes to the “craft” of warfighting. I mean, have you seen any of the (now ubiqutous) videos of them going on offensive? It looks like that the pinnacle of their tactics consists of:

    – Shouting “Allhu Akbar” enough times, so that it’s dangerous for your kidneys to make a drinking game out of it.
    – Advancing in their full height – no crouching, no taking cover.
    – Shooting entire clips from the hip at imaginary targets.

    E.g.: https://twitter.com/i/status/1423262912534220801

    Average/random observer from elsewhere might be flabbergasted at the thought of “them” winning and making territorial gains.

    … But then you see the so-called “Afghan army” training:

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1420451721164247041

    …and suddenly you “get it”!

    Ultimately, current collapse of the Afghan state is the direct result of the total failure to create normal, modern economy in the country.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Lytenburgh

      I went to Kabul in the midst of the war. The incompetence and self seeking of the American generals was comic as was their pretention. The various ministers were unimpressed by any need for a commercial legal code. Children playing at war and development. “Just bring money,” they said. “We will find something to do with it.”

    • Serge says:

      Lytenburgh,
      And then there are the many videos coming out recently showing Taliban use of drones in coordinating/correcting artillery strikes to great effect, a big contribution to the rout of ANA in Kunduz. And of course the surgical use of suicide VBIEDs on government hardpoints as a counter to the lack of airstrike capability. Yes the rank and file is as it has always been, but the military coordination required in taking 10 provincial capitals across the country in 1 week should not be underestimated. They clearly had this planned, and had been working since June in fixing the ANA in the feints on Kandahar and Lashkar Gah.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        Serge

        I would very much like to know who is orchestrating Taliban strategy. Their blitzkrieg across the north and northwest is masterful. It seems to be aimed at neutralizing the warlords and securing the borders with the Stans. Leaving no strongholds for those intent on spoiler tactics is smart.

        The real problems may start after victory on the battlefield, when the unifying force of an external foe is gone. The Doha dwelling leadership has been wooing the regional powers and promising the jihad will be strictly limited to Afghan soil. I have to wonder what the military commanders and rank and file young Talibs who’ve actually done the fighting think of this. These guys have probably been brought up on a diet of slick media productions by ISIS and the like, in which nationalist jihad is just not a thing. After Kabul falls we’ll get to see how cohesive a whole “the Taliban” actually is. An Emirate, if they can keep it.

        • Pat Lang says:

          Barbara Ann

          “Which staff college did Cochise attend?”

          • Barbara Ann says:

            Indeed. I’m seeing comparisons made with the Tet Offensive, though the Taliban’s version is a total success on the battlefield. And the might of the US IC seems to have been totally unaware/unprepared for it. Extraordinary.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Barbara Ann
            People see what they want to see.

  7. Poul says:

    And the leadership of the Government forces is spending their time on turf wars while the house is burning.

    https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-173870

    Gen. Wali Ahmadzai got fired today.

    https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-173870

  8. Fred says:

    “They are fighting; for God, for salvation, for the sake of their Pushtun tribal brothers. ”

    Given Lloyd Austin’s pronouncements about the US Military it makes me wonder just what he fought for all those years, other than a promotion and a high paying job at a defense contractor. God help us when he gets done indoctrinating the troops.

    • Fasteddiez says:

      What did the ARVN forces in Vietnam, and Iraqi forces during the Gulf war have in common? The ghost soldier payoff is the answer. The higher the rank, the greater the recompense in Ducats received. Using math, if a company-sized Iraqi unit in Kuwait was let’s say 200 soldiers, what would a guesstimate of percentage increase be if the increase in payoff if the actual number was 25 per company. The reward starting at the platoon level, and working its way up to the divisional commander, if the actual payoff was doubled at every level? As to the certainty of the Iraqi numbers, I got these from the horses’ mouths. Many horses and many mouths in that survey occurred. I am sorry, but the highest level of my math knowledge is geometry, Algebra I and II, and some coding.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Fasteddiez

        In VN the LLDB (VN SF) were advised by straight SF and paid the CIDG troops. In MACVSOG we paid our own indidge.

        • Fasteddiez says:

          Colonel, I was speaking of the regular Vietnamese Army, not their much better units. The Ranger and Marine units were golden. I understood that the Airborne was also superior, but I never saw them personally. Whenever we went inland from route 1 north of Hue, a regular ARVN unit was almost impossible to find. Even their vaunted 1st division did not venture too far inland.

          My last company commander was, some years later, a CoVan with the Viet Marines during the NVA Easter offensive. It was a small miracle he survived. Most of the firebases west and north of Cam Lo were overrun, and later, all the territory south to include Quang Tri city became, for the lack of a better word North Vietnam.
          It was retaken a while later.

          You might have run into him in a briefing in 1990.
          His name was Walter Boomer. In August 1990, in Dharan, We met for an hour and shot the shit about the old times. He had not seen any of the old company members in ten years. He retired as a four-star. Many times I reflect that
          were it not for him I would not be here running my jibs.

          As an aside, in the future, a USN destroyer, DDG-127
          will join the fleet named the Patrick Gallagher, a machine-gun team leader from the old company. He jumped on a Chicom frag, as his two hole mates bailed out. the grenade did not go off. two more came into the hole, and he threw them back. Later, he died leading from the front. He was an Irish Lad living in the Big Apple. He did not have to join, since his relatives urged him to return to Eire.

          The cruelest part of this story is that Walter Boomer had to
          do everything possible to get his troops their deserved honorifics only to be sidelined, seemingly forever, by the US military’s useless-eating nomenklatura.

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