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Thread: The Next Afghan War

  1. #31
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    DoK, exactly.

    Meanwhile, some of the mujahideen benefited from expanded foreign military support from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other nations. The primary beneficiary of U.S. support, delivered through its middleman Pakistan, was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The primary beneficiaries of Saudi support, especially financial one, were Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and Jalaluddin Haqqani who had had strong contacts to Arab fighters in the war against the Soviets. The U.S. provided Ahmad Shah Massoud with close to no support despite the Wall Street Journal calling him "the Afghan who won the cold war" and was primarily responsible for the mujahideen victory. Part of the reason why he still got only minor support was that the U.S. permitted its funding and arms distribution to be administered by Pakistan, which favored Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who considered himself the archenemy of Massoud. Massoud was also seen as "too independent". Primary advocates for still supporting Massoud instead were State Department's Edmund McWilliams and Peter Tomsen, who were on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Others included two Heritage Foundation foreign policy analysts, Michael Johns and James A. Phillips, both of whom championed Massoud as the Afghan resistance leader most worthy of U.S. support under the Reagan Doctrine.
    With the end of the Soviet Union, Najibullah's regime lost all credibility and by 1992, after a Russian decision to end fuel shipments to Afghanistan, Najibullah's regime began to collapse.
    It was this halting of fuel shipments that ended the DRA.

    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    He is clearly mistaken as years of very bloody fighting followed the period between the Soviet pull out and the end of the DRA. The DRA fell because they ran out of money but they were hard pressed during the intervening years and were forced to fight a series of meat grinders to keep power over southern cities.

    His rosy/hazy memories don't remove the cold hard facts.
    Civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992)

    All the Mujahiden factions were fighting the DRA. Whereas now the NA has become the ANA. There are moves afoot to co-opt the Taliban into power sharing. Good vs. bad taliban thing. But Omar has refused any talks until the Americans leave.

    What this means is that the opposition that was present after the Soviets left is smaller come 2014.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 13 Jul 12, at 07:53.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    "...The rationale of TTP is that they are fighting PA because it supports US. Once US leaves, there is no reason for TTP to fight PA. It is a simple tribal warfare."

    Wrong. Their discontent runs much deeper although those issues appear to have eluded you...again. You may as well also put forth the rationale that the afghan taliban will have no reason to continue fighting after the Americans have left.
    I do not see such a deep discontent that will prevent TTP from announcing ceasefire and stop attacks against Pakistan. TTP got a flip due to the Lal Masjid incident as lot of those killed in this incident were from the region where TTP tribes are.

    What is the objective of TTP fight against PA/Pakistan? Islamic state? NWFP free from Pakistan federal control? Pakistan support to US on drone attacks?

    TTP are mostly from Meshud tribes. There have always been in NWFP and made deal with PA all the time. There are no demands from TTP which would be hard for Pakistan to implement, specially once US leaves Afghanistan.

    TTP after 26/11 Mumbai attack.
    Atleast Afghan Taliban have the reason of fighting NATO troops, then Hazaars, Tajik etc.

  3. #33
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n21 View Post
    We also need to keep in mind that when we refer to "Afghan government", we probably mean non-Pashtuns. Pashtuns are never going to support Baluchs. PA has made sure of that in Baluchistan.
    Pashtuns are PA's cannon fodder. They are used in Karachi, Baluchistan, Northern Regions against the Shias.
    This is not correct. Pashtun dominated regimes in Afghanistan have had a history of sympathy towards Baloch nationalist aspirations since the Balochs were absorbed into Pakistan upon its creation. Daoud Khan's Presidency during the 70s perhaps being the most friendly. Karzai's regime seems not far behind however. Even under Najibullah's short-lived regime Afghanistan was seen as a suitable refuge by Baloch nationalists. Suitable enough that a number of Baloch elders and opposition leaders stayed there in exile until his downfall in 1992.

  4. #34
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Amrullah Saleh's piece on this topic from a few weeks ago:


  5. #35
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Afghanistan Civil War Unlikely, U.S. Official Claims | AP | Jul 12 2012

    U.S. Ambassador Hails 'Significant' Turn in Afghan Talks | WSJ | Jul 12 2012

    Ryan Crocker, who is retiring a year earlier than expected, also said he thinks it's unlikely that the departure of most foreign troops by 2014 will plunge the country into another civil war or prompt a precipitous economic slide.

    "I tend to consider those unlikely scenarios," Crocker told The Associated Press in an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

    Crocker, a soft-spoken, gray-haired diplomat who became the civilian face of America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said the international community has pledged support for Afghanistan post-2014. And he said minority ethnic political leaders seem more interested in positioning themselves in the next Afghan administration than bracing for a civil war like the one that led to the rise of the Taliban after the Soviet exit in 1989.

    "Politics is breaking out all over," he said of the uptick in political activity ahead of the Afghan presidential election in 2014. "You don't see many signs of the people saying `Well, it's time to start digging the trenches again.'"

    On prospects for peace talks with the Taliban, Crocker said moderate Taliban figures like Agha Jan Motasim were "sending out feelers." Motasim, one of the most powerful men on the Taliban leadership council, told the AP in May that a majority of the Taliban want a peace settlement and that the movement has only a few hard-liners.

    Asked if these Taliban leaders – some of whom are based in Pakistan – were worried about getting killed by the hard-liners, Crocker replied "Yep."

    He said Pakistan is believed to have given some safe passage to attend reconciliation discussions.

    "Let me just put it this way. We are certainly aware that senior Taliban figures have made their way to third countries. Exactly how they did that, I can't say, but I'd like to assume that they did so with Pakistanis not interfering."
    Bhadrakumar's take on the above.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Jul 12, at 21:03.

  6. #36
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    this meme has been getting a lot of traction lately. here's an excellent piece by dexter filkins.

    Will Civil War Hit Afghanistan When The U.S. Leaves? : The New Yorker
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #37

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    Excellent article, Astralis. Thank you. Nothing offered by Filkins has changed my view but it was, again, another example of his excellent journalism. Many worthy souls committed to a better Afghanistan are condemned to suffer horribly by what lies shortly ahead.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  8. #38
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Good article. Drills down to where the reality lies. My hunch is that there won't be a widespread civil war like in 1993. I have nothing to go on except what I hear from time to time that the Afghans are tired of fighting. Of course, if the US pulls the aid plug or skimps on aid, all bets are off.
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  9. #39
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Good article. Drills down to where the reality lies. My hunch is that there won't be a widespread civil war like in 1993. I have nothing to go on except what I hear from time to time that the Afghans are tired of fighting. Of course, if the US pulls the aid plug or skimps on aid, all bets are off.
    They may be tired of fighting, but they'll have no choice but to fight as there is no indication that the Taliban will sincerely settle with the Karzai regime, and more importantly, no indication that Pakistan has abandoned its support for them. The Pakistanis in fact just continue to mock the US - Tense Talk in Conference Between U.S. and Pakistan: NYT - These people are not serious at all.

    Great article btw. Very informative.

  10. #40
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis
    this meme has been getting a lot of traction lately. here's an excellent piece by dexter filkins.
    It starts off with the usual FUD but has its bright spots.

    One illuminating example comes from 1989, as the Soviet Union began withdrawing its soldiers. The mujahideen, suddenly deprived of an enemy, began to quit in droves, making the Afghan Army’s job easier. The Afghan Army did indeed come apart—but only after three years, and only after the Soviet Union itself collapsed. Even today, people marvel at the resiliency of the now defunct Afghan Army.

    One of those is Lester Grau, the author of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain,” a history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and a civilian employee of the U.S. Army. “If the money hadn’t stopped flowing, I firmly believe that the Afghan Army would still be intact today,” Grau said. “The Afghan state would probably have held together, and there probably wouldn’t have been a civil war.”

    In a recent article published on a U.S. Army Web site, Grau and a co-author argue that the challenges faced by the United States in Afghanistan appear to be far smaller than those faced by the Soviet Union in 1989. Now as then, there is a good bet that Taliban insurgents will start quitting once the United States begins to depart. The international community—having seen Afghanistan implode once before—also appears to be far more committed to the state’s survival, Grau noted. And, as grave as America’s economic problems are, Grau pointed out that there is no apparent danger that the United States is going to collapse, as the Soviet Union did.


    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Of course, if the US pulls the aid plug or skimps on aid, all bets are off.
    This is the only situation where i see things falling apart. $16 billion has been pledged through to 2017, pledges are just that, promises not commitments.

    Isn't it cheaper for interested parties to just fund the right groups. I'm guessing that should work out to much less than $16billion.

    When i see articles like this it makes me wonder as to their intent.
    - they want the donors to stick to their pledges because the expectation is the donors will cut & run. If a civil war occurs then the donors have an out.

    Which begs the question, what has the US achieved to date in Afghanistan ? How about the other allies that make up ISAF.

    After eleven years, nearly two thousand Americans killed, sixteen thousand Americans wounded, nearly four hundred billion dollars spent, and more than twelve thousand Afghan civilians dead since 2007, the war in Afghanistan has come to this: the United States is leaving, mission not accomplished
    The US & the rest could have left much earlier and just supported the right groups and saved a bundle.

    Therefore a civil war breaking out in Afghanistan isn't in US interest and i expect moves from the US to delay that outcome.

    Bear in mind there is yet a SOFA to be worked out this year. If that does not happen as happened in Iraq then the picture changes.

  11. #41
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    In the end the US is not perceived by its enemies as the loser so much as the quitter. I don't believe that anyone in this fight, much less the Taliban, have any doubts that the US could have won hands down if it had the will and determination to see it through.

    In every prolonged war the US has been in since WWII, Korea, Vietnam and now Afghanistan/Iraq, the other side's best weapon has been patience. This drives people who believe in clear cut victory crazy. But could there be a method to this madness?

    First, no question it demonstrates that the US will use force to protect its vital interests. No leadership of a country wants to face the might of a superpower sure to use military power as a last resort. Therefore, settling disputes with it through diplomacy becomes the only sensible choice.

    Second, there something in the way the US conducts itself during wars that seems to turn former enemies into friends. Maybe it's the professionalism and bravery of our forces, the tendency US troops to exhibit friendliness and generosity toward the non-combatant indigenous population, a willingness to punish our own people for atrocities, the ban against systematic torture, the freedom US domestic groups have to protest the war, the intense care the US shows for retrieving its MIAs, and on and on, and finally, a policy that aims to leave behind a democratic government to run the country.
    Last edited by JAD_333; 28 Jul 12, at 21:27.
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  12. #42
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    JAD,

    I don't believe that anyone in this fight, much less the Taliban, have any doubts that the US could have won hands down if it had the will and determination to see it through.
    not sure what "winning" means here. from 2002-2005 the war was by any real standard effectively WON. i don't think the issue was will and determination.

    Second, there something in the way the US conducts itself during wars that seems to turn former enemies into friends. Maybe it's the professionalism and bravery of our forces, the tendency US troops to exhibit friendliness and generosity toward the non-combatant indigenous population, a willingness to punish our own people for atrocities, the ban against systematic torture, the freedom US domestic groups have to protest the war, the intense care the US shows for retrieving its MIAs, and on and on, and finally, a policy that aims to leave behind a democratic government to run the country.
    frankly given our only examples of this, a more accurate assessment is because we shattered enemy will completely followed by a massive occupation in which there is a considerable amount of transference.

    a lot harder to do to one sub-group (the taliban), or their pakistani backers, precisely because we're not willing to do what we were quite eager to do during WWII- burn hundreds of thousands to cinders, cut off supplies so people starve, etc. hell, in WWII we killed tens of thousands of french civilians as collateral damage.

    different times.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  13. #43
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    JAD,



    not sure what "winning" means here. from 2002-2005 the war was by any real standard effectively WON. i don't think the issue was will and determination.
    That's the problem these days. No one seems to know what winning is anymore. It seems to me that winning depends on your objectives going in. You win if you achieve your objectives; you lose if you don't.

    If that is the case, we can't say the war in Afghanistan was won by 2002-05. As subsequent events showed we hadn't achieved our major objective, namely to secure the country against the return of AQ and the Taliban. We night have won had we not turned our attention to Iraq, but that is conjecture.



    frankly given our only examples of this, a more accurate assessment is because we shattered enemy will completely followed by a massive occupation in which there is a considerable amount of transference.

    a lot harder to do to one sub-group (the taliban), or their pakistani backers, precisely because we're not willing to do what we were quite eager to do during WWII- burn hundreds of thousands to cinders, cut off supplies so people starve, etc. hell, in WWII we killed tens of thousands of french civilians as collateral damage.

    different times.
    I took it for granted that we all know both sides do ugly things in wartime. I was speaking of the overall impression people have of the combatants during and after the war and was suggesting that on balance the US fares reasonably well. Compare the overall conduct of the US to NAZI Germany, Japan and the USSR during WWII, and since then to the North Koreans, the NVA and the Taliban, and maybe you'll understand what I meant.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  14. #44
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    JAD,you missed a big thing in human nature,IMHO.''We'' can do no wrong.''They'' do all the wrongs.Take my word,nobody loves you in Serbia because the USAF was professional.But a lot of folks love you in Albania&Kosovo.Also,quitters are losers.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  15. #45
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1980s View Post
    They may be tired of fighting, but they'll have no choice but to fight as there is no indication that the Taliban will sincerely settle with the Karzai regime, and more importantly, no indication that Pakistan has abandoned its support for them. The Pakistanis in fact just continue to mock the US - Tense Talk in Conference Between U.S. and Pakistan: NYT - These people are not serious at all.
    The Anatomy and Future of Pakistan's Afghan Interests | Journal of Conflict Studies | 2008

    Pakistan's immediate strategy is to avoid transparent negotiations and to emphasize its lack of freedom of action for three reasons.

    First, it is fearful that direct negotiations with NATO or Afghanistan regarding the frontier sanctuaries could lead to consideration of self-determination for the Pakhtun and Baloch people there as a means of reducing the effects of Islamist influence.

    Second, Pakistan cannot obtain any concessions from Afghanistan as long as NATO is backing the Kabul regime.

    Third, Pakistan does not want to break the Islamist movement that is countering Pakhtun separatism. Pakistan's current Afghan strategy is therefore to play for time until NATO scales-back its commitment and Islamabad can more directly pressure Kabul.
    Above article references this useful backgrounder on the history of Af-pak relations.

    Resolving the Pakistan-Afghanistan Stalemate. pdf | USIP Special Report | Oct 2006
    Afghanistan and Pakistan have had largely antagonistic relations under all governments but the Taliban since Pakistan was created as part of the partition of India in 1947. Some elements of friction were also inherited from conflicts between Afghanistan and India when it was under British imperial rule.

    Afghanistan’s governments, including that of the Taliban, have never recognized the Durand Line between the two countries as an international border and have made claims on the Pashtun and Baluch regions of Pakistan. Today’s cross-border insurgencies, with their sanctuaries and support networks in Pakistan, are nurtured by the same sources as previous conflicts, as well as global Islamist movements.
    Future relations between the two countries will depend on how successfully the below suggestions are realised.

    - A process should work toward reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, leading to their integration into Pakistani national politics and administration;

    - the recognition by Afghanistan of the international border;

    - assured access by Afghanistan to Pakistani ports and transit facilities;

    - the maintenance by both countries of open borders for trade, investment, and cultural relations;

    - agreement by both countries and by India to keep the India-Pakistan dispute out of Afghanistan’s bilateral relations with both; and

    - agreements on both sides to cease supporting or harboring violent opposition movements against the other

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