Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Are We Losing Afghanistan Again? - OP-ED

  1. #1
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
    Join Date
    19 Jul 08

    Are We Losing Afghanistan Again? - OP-ED

    Are We Losing Afghanistan Again?
    OCT. 21, 2015

    “ALLAH has promised us victory and America has promised us defeat,” Mullah Muhammad Omar, the first head of the Taliban, once said, “so we shall see which of the two promises will be fulfilled.” When his colleagues admitted this summer that Mullah Omar had died, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups around the globe remembered those words — victory is a divine certainty — in their eulogies. And in Afghanistan today, though the majority of Afghans still do not identify with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, Mullah Omar’s bold defiance in the face of a superpower is beginning to look prescient.

    Since early September, the Taliban have swept through Afghanistan’s north, seizing numerous districts and even, briefly, the provincial capital Kunduz. The United Nations has determined that the Taliban threat to approximately half of the country’s 398 districts is either “high” or “extreme.” Indeed, by our count, more than 30 districts are already under Taliban control. And the insurgents are currently threatening provincial capitals in both northern and southern Afghanistan.

    Confronted with this grim reality, President Obama has decided to keep 9,800 American troops in the country through much of 2016 and 5,500 thereafter. The president was right to change course, but it is difficult to see how much of a difference this small force can make. The United States troops currently in Afghanistan have not been able to thwart the Taliban’s advance. They were able to help push them out of Kunduz, but only after the Taliban’s two-week reign of terror. This suggests that additional troops are needed, not fewer.

    When justifying his decision last week, the president explained that American troops would “remain engaged in two narrow but critical missions — training Afghan forces, and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda.” He added, “We’ve always known that we had to maintain a counterterrorism operation in that region in order to tamp down any re-emergence of active Al Qaeda networks.”

    But the president has not explained the full scope of what is at stake. Al Qaeda has already re-emerged. Just two days before the president’s statement, the military announced that it led raids against two Qaeda training camps in the south, one of which was an astonishing 30 square miles in size. The operation lasted several days, and involved 63 airstrikes and more than 200 ground troops, including both Americans and Afghan commandos.

    “We struck a major Al Qaeda sanctuary in the center of the Taliban’s historic heartland,” Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, a military spokesman, said. General Shoffner described it as “one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan.” Other significant Qaeda facilities are already being identified in local press reporting.

    Recently, Hossam Abdul Raouf, a chief lieutenant of the Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, confirmed in an audio message that Qaeda’s senior leadership has relocated out of northern Pakistan — no secret to the military and the C.I.A., which have been hunting senior Qaeda figures in Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the year.

    The Taliban are not hiding their continuing alliance with Al Qaeda. In August, Mr. Zawahri pledged his allegiance to Mullah Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. Within hours, Mullah Mansour publicly accepted the “esteemed” Mr. Zawahri’s oath of fealty. And Qaeda members are integrated into the Taliban’s chain of command. In fact, foreign fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda played a significant role in the Taliban-led assault on Kunduz.

    The United States made many mistakes in the 9/11 wars. After routing the Taliban and Al Qaeda in late 2001, President George W. Bush did not dedicate the resources necessary to finish the fight. President Obama was right in December 2009 to announce a surge of forces in Afghanistan, but it was short-lived. Al Qaeda is not nearly as “decimated” in South Asia as Mr. Obama has claimed.

    We don’t think 5,500 troops is enough. No one is calling for a full-scale occupation of the country. But a force of as many as 20,000 to 25,000 would far better support our local Afghan allies, helping them defend multiple provincial capitals at the same time and fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban in their strongholds.

    While many believe that Al Qaeda is solely focused on attacking the West, it has devoted most of its efforts to waging insurgencies. This is the key to understanding how it has been able to regenerate repeatedly over the past 14 years. Al Qaeda draws would-be terrorists from the larger pool of paramilitary forces fighting to restore the Taliban to power in Afghanistan or to build radical nation-states elsewhere. Therefore, the mission of the United States is bigger than the one Mr. Obama envisions. Drones and select counterterrorism raids are not enough to end the threat.

    Al Qaeda and like-minded groups were founded on the myth that the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan because of the mujahedeen’s faith in Allah alone. This helped spawn a generation of new wars and terrorist attacks, most of which have targeted Muslims. Should the Afghans suffer additional territorial losses, Mullah Omar’s words will appear prophetic. And a new myth, one that will feed the Taliban’s and Al Qaeda’s violence for years to come, will be born.

    Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio are senior fellows at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the editors of The Long War Journal.

  2. #2
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Whoa whoa whoa....let's not be hasty here. What do you mean "we?" That's like a democrat saying "we ended slavery."
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  3. #3
    Contributor ambidex's Avatar
    Join Date
    03 Aug 09
    Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe
    Taliban drone footage of VBIED attack on an Afghan Army base in Nawa distric, Helmand

    Is it for real ??

    No Barricades, no security grid for Army base ??

  4. #4
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Mar 05
    Panama City Fl
    Quote Originally Posted by ambidex View Post
    Taliban drone footage of VBIED attack on an Afghan Army base in Nawa distric, Helmand

    Is it for real ??

    No Barricades, no security grid for Army base ??
    Other videos of the incident identify this as a police HQ. Not Army.

    Still pretty shocking
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  5. #5
    Contributor ambidex's Avatar
    Join Date
    03 Aug 09
    Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    Other videos of the incident identify this as a police HQ. Not Army.

    Still pretty shocking

    This video is shocking to me as well because I can not imagine a medium to small size car can carry an explosive that can take down a complex including surroundings spread in many hectares. Just horrific.

  6. #6
    Global Moderator
    Dirty Kiwi
    Parihaka's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 04
    Wellington, Te Ika a Maui, Aotearoa
    I can't imagine the lack of security that allowed that to happen.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility

    Gottfried Leibniz

  7. #7
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Apr 05
    San Diego, CA
    Sorry, replying to an oldish thread.

    It is disheartening to read how the Taliban are making inroads into Helmand Province.

    Helmand, the largest of 34 Afghan provinces, has seen the fiercest fighting during the last 15 years of war. Most of the province is under Taliban control, with the government only holding the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, and a few surrounding district centers.

    According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Taliban control eight of Helmand’s 14 districts.
    I was there in mid-2011 and the Taliban controlled all or most of 3 of the districts - Baghran, Kajaki, and Dishu. Baghran was at the very northern end of the Province and we had never been there. Likewise Dishu was at the very southern end, bordering Pakistan and there was no US presence and very little population-wise. Fighting was heavy in Sangin, but we were steadily pushing the insurgents out. The push into Kajaki was on the horizon and was executed after I left. Now, it's all back under Taliban control. Makes me want to cry.

    The latest:
    The United States has announced it would deploy a new group of about 300 troops to Helmand to help Afghan forces beat back the Taliban during the upcoming spring fighting season.
    For crying out loud, we had an entire MEF there, plus a sizeable Brit and Dutch(? could be mistaken, I've forgotten) contingent and a battalion of Georgians for good measure. 300 troops? That could be a disaster waiting to happen, too small to provide more than the occasional advisor and reliant on the Afghans for security.

    What a waste....go big or go home.

  8. #8
    Senior Contributor kuku's Avatar
    Join Date
    28 Feb 08
    New Delhi, India, India
    In its most recent quarterly report to the U.S. Congress, SIGAR warned that the Afghan government is losing territory to the Taliban and now controls less than 60 percent of the country.
    Pakistan, China and Russia are now starting talks with Taliban about the future of Afghanistan, (under strong protest of the Afghan government), with the Taliban representatives travelling on Pakistani passports (i assume).
    How can the world forget the mess of the late 90s and early 2000s that was done by these same guys calling themselves the Taliban, they need to be chased, and killed, to the last of their successors with their philosophy opposed violently.
    What a waste....go big or go home.
    Yes, If US now goes back home and the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership come back and with legitimacy from the new China, Pakistan, Russia combine, and take control of most of Afghanistan, then what was the whole war for? Killing Bin Laden & company?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 3 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 3 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Losing Humanity?
    By Minskaya in forum Warfare in the Modern Age
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 20 Jan 13,, 13:14
  2. Losing your job
    By Stan in forum International Economy
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 07 Nov 08,, 17:43
  3. We're losing in Afghanistan too
    By Ray in forum Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn
    Replies: 57
    Last Post: 15 Nov 07,, 14:44
  4. Losing my Jihadism
    By astralis in forum International Economy
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: 11 Aug 07,, 22:29
  5. Am I losing my mind?
    By THL in forum World Affairs Board Pub
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 18 Mar 06,, 20:20

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts