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Thread: US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure

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    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure

    US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure: https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...a-457m-failure

    This story is one failure too many. For many years i was a firm supporter of an American and Western commitment to Afghanistan. But now i am of the view that it is an exercise is uselessness. Afghanistan is hopeless, it will never be a functioning, progressing and cohesive state. It is clear to me that it is perhaps the most corrupt, backwards and dysfunctional of all countries in the World by far, and America cannot help it to evolve. Indeed, it is a failed state on so many levels. The sucess stories post-2001 are artificial, and wholly dependant on American and other foreign backing. The Afghan state would collapse within a week without foreign aid of any sort. I dont believe that this artificial post-2001 state that was installed there should be propped up any further. They have to find their own way, and on their own terms as one state, or as many states and satellites of others.

    Pathetic is the only word that comes to mind now when i hear "Afghanistan".

    Time to call it a loss and just get out of there, right now!

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Topic comes up from time to time
    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=62911

    Quote Originally Posted by 1980s View Post
    i was a firm supporter of an American and Western commitment to Afghanistan. But now i am of the view that it is an exercise is uselessness. Afghanistan is hopeless, it will never be a functioning, progressing and cohesive state. It is clear to me that it is perhaps the most corrupt, backwards and dysfunctional of all countries in the World by far, and America cannot help it to evolve. Indeed, it is a failed state on so many levels.

    I dont believe that this artificial post-2001 state that was installed there should be propped up any further. They have to find their own way, and on their own terms as one state, or as many states and satellites of others.

    Pathetic is the only word that comes to mind now when i hear "Afghanistan".

    Time to call it a loss and just get out of there, right now!
    aka cut and run. Some years pass, something bad happens, its tracked down and people ask why did we leave Afghanistan

    The sucess stories post-2001 are artificial, and wholly dependant on American and other foreign backing.
    But they are real. We mostly hear about bad things because they are the exception. Time to worry is when we only hear good news because then the bad stuff is so common it isn't worth reporting on.

    Has that point been reached in Afghanistan ?

    The Afghan state would collapse within a week without foreign aid of any sort.
    Najibullah lasted till '96. Soviets folded three years earlier. The reason was the mujahideen starting quitting soon as the soviets left. This actually allowed the afghan army to survive longer than anticipated and only had problems when soviet fuel shipments stopped entirely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Topic comes up from time to time
    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=62911



    aka cut and run. Some years pass, something bad happens, its tracked down and people ask why did we leave Afghanistan


    But they are real. We mostly hear about bad things because they are the exception. Time to worry is when we only hear good news because then the bad stuff is so common it isn't worth reporting on.

    Has that point been reached in Afghanistan ?


    Najibullah lasted till '96.
    Soviets folded three years earlier. The reason was the mujahideen starting quitting soon as the soviets left. This actually allowed the afghan army to survive longer than anticipated and only had problems when soviet fuel shipments stopped entirely.
    I dont see the relevance or point of your reply. It's 2017, not 1992, when the Najibullah regime collapsed (not 1996 as you appear to claim - he was exeucted in '96, but had resigned years before). We are living in a very different time and age from the 1990s.

    America has nothing left to offer, or to gain, from Afghanistan. This may be an entirely different situation for your country, but America is not fighting for India's agenda in Afghanistan, nor should it be.

    Indians can foot the bill for propping up a failed and useless Afghanistan if they want to, but American tax payers should no longer do so. Afghanistan is a failure, and has always been so. This is an American war with zero benefit for America, but most importantly, zero benefit for the American people.
    Last edited by 1980s; 08 Aug 17, at 01:34.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    US policy has yet to come out for the region. So the lobbying has already started. I don't believe the US is leaving the area any time soon.

    Indian servicemen haven't died in Afghanistan so what will you tell the families of those that did lose loved ones.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKBN1AM0F5

    Nothing has been decided yet. The question is of status quo or increase.

    Full pull out isn't even an option but is included because of Trump.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 08 Aug 17, at 04:12.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Good summary here from Gen Keane, now to get Trump to agree. We'll only know after a month.



    A fifth of the world's terrorists live in Afghanistan & Pakistan

    See what happened in Iraq, US quits around 2011, it took just two years for Da'esh to spring up. Now the US is fighting Da'esh and is back in Iraq.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 09 Aug 17, at 16:09.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    And we have a decision, thought it would take longer and only come out after Labour day (heard they needed all summer to make their minds up) but Trump just okayed the increase his generals asked for : )

    Trump OKs sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan | Fox | Aug 22 2017

    It's real simple, so long as the Afghans have a govt in office it means the Taliban are losing


    The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach in how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists. In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices.

    But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change. And that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order and to peace.
    Now let's see just what price the Paks will pay for their position

    Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.
    India get the cheque book out

    Finally, my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work, and work effectively, and work quickly. I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the secretary of defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy. Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles. They’re won in the field, drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders, and front-line soldiers, acting in real time with real authority, and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy.

    That’s why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan. These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms. Retribution will be fast and powerful, as we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field. We’re already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq.

    Since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard. We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror. When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive and overwhelming force. Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition. Attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing Al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge. We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will.
    Finally, the pros will be allowed to get the job done

    He wants an honourable and enduring outcome, a fitting tribute to those that paid with their lives.

    Sounds good so far.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 23 Aug 17, at 02:22.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    The question on peoples minds

    How the U.S. Can Pressure Pakistan | Atlantic | Aug 24 2017

    "it’s going to be very difficult to simultaneously be punishing the Pakistanis, and withdrawing aid, and financing, [while] at the same time … saying, ‘We really would like your help with Taliban reconciliation and supplying our troops in Afghanistan.”
    But Haqqani, the former Pakistani envoy, sees it differently. Pakistanis, he said, have paid a heavy price in the form of terrorism, because of their leaders’ engagement with militants. The elites, he said, have little incentive to change their bad policies because those policies, despite U.S. criticism, work for them; the U.S. offers harsh words, but little else. Pakistan’s support for militancy will only stop, he said, when the “cost of that policy is greater for them than the perceived benefit.” And, he said of the plan he put forward with Curtis: “Things that haven’t been tried cannot be rejected as never having worked.”

    With the paper’s coauthor now at the NSC, at least some of its policy prescriptions might have a chance at getting a hearing within the Trump administration.
    Several months back When Haqqani was presenting this policy recommendation co-authored with Lisa Curtis, Chris Fair et al at the hudson institute. There were some characters in the audience most likely from the Pak embassy that had to be ejected for heckling him and accusing him of being a RAW agent : D
    Last edited by Double Edge; 24 Aug 17, at 18:35.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Zalmay Khalizads recommendations to deal with Pakistan

    A key element of the new strategy is the recognition that America needs a new approach toward Pakistan. Unlike his two predecessors in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump has chosen to address the fact that Pakistan has been playing a double game. He unequivocally called out Pakistan for pretending to be a partner and receiving large-scale American assistance while providing sanctuary and support for the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network, which have been killing Americans and Afghans.

    Mr. Trump’s announcement of a change in American policy implies that the United States will end its support and assistance for Pakistan. He also signaled that deference to Pakistani sensitivities will no longer prevent the United States from developing a stronger strategic partnership with India, concerning Afghanistan and more broadly.

    The president must be ready for Pakistan to resist and test his resolve. This might come in the form of attacks on American assets in Afghanistan or of interference with supply routes across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Pakistan’s security apparatus will try to prove that the United States cannot succeed without cooperating on Islamabad’s terms.

    Toward the end of his presidency, Mr. Obama signaled that the United States would seek to isolate Pakistan if it failed to change its policy of providing sanctuary to terrorists. In 2016, he also signaled that the drone strike that killed the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour would be followed by more attacks on Pakistani territory against similar targets. Yet Mr. Obama never followed through.

    Pakistan will seek to replay that cycle under the Trump administration, but the president can take effective countermeasures.

    - The United States should impose sanctions against senior officials in the Pakistani military and intelligence services who play a direct role in supporting terrorists and extremists. (These sanctions should include bans on travel to the United States and allied countries, and the freezing of bank accounts.)

    - Washington should also suspend all American aid to Pakistan and use its influence with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to do the same.

    - It should begin a security assessment that would put Pakistan on the list of states that sponsor terrorist groups.

    - Finally, the United States should conduct strikes against terrorist hide-outs in Pakistan.

    The Trump administration should make clear to Islamabad that it would be willing to reverse these moves and repair relations — but only after Pakistan has demonstrated a change in conduct that has the clear result of diminished violence in Afghanistan.
    lets see the Donalds resolve

    Amrullah Saleh approves of this new policy

    Trump Afghan strategy is as if Masood rules from his grave | IE | Aug 23 2017
    Last edited by Double Edge; 25 Aug 17, at 04:20.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    It isn't just Pakistan that supports the Taliban but Iran & Russia as well. This committee hearing back in Feb this year has some interesting info

    Why is Iran supporting the Taliban

    Senator Cotton: A year ago, your predecessor, General Campbell, testified about his concern of the role Iran was playing in Afghanistan. Could you give us your view of what Iran has been up to in the last year since he testified?

    General Nicholson: Iran is directly supporting the Taliban in western Afghanistan. There is a complex relationship between Afghanistan and Iran, and it not only involves security matters like this. Iran is also recruiting Afghan Shia to fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

    On the other hand, there are also areas of cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan. Number one would be economic cooperation. The governments of India, Iran, and Afghanistan signed an agreement over the Chabahar Port in southern Afghanistan. Actually this initiative would be very beneficial to Afghanistan in terms of economic development. There are also ongoing conversations about water treaties between Afghanistan and Iran. Iran needs Afghanistan’s water. So it is a complex relationship. It has areas of potential synergy and benefit for both parties, but it also has important security equities. And so the Afghan Government is raising these issues with the Government of Iran and asking them not to support the Taliban and undermine the Afghan Government.

    Senator Cotton: Is Iran’s support for the Taliban primarily or exclusively located in Herat and Farah, or are they supporting the Taliban throughout the country?

    General Nicholson: Without getting into a lot of classified material in an open hearing like this, Senator, I would say it is primarily in the west, but their financial inroads go around the country in the north and in Kabul in particular.

    Senator Cotton: So Iran, which is a Shiite-led government, is supporting a Sunni-led movement, the Taliban, in Afghanistan but recruiting Shia from Afghanistan to travel to Syria and fight. It seems like a complex act from Tehran united by a single consideration, which is undermining U.S. interests.
    The Iranians have been using Afghan Shia to fight in Syria as the Iranian public became increasingly sensitive to body bags returning home. Taking shia fighters out of Afghanistan means less resistance to the Taliban so there is a modus vivendi of sorts with the Taliban but it also suggest a certain degree of confidence Iran has that the Taliban cannot over run the Northern alliance. There are shia fighters to spare in other words. Could also be a question of priorities. Syria & Iraq being the more important


    Why is Russia supporting the Taliban

    Chairman McCain: And the Russian involvement?

    General Nicholson: The Russian involvement this year has become more difficult. First, they have begun to publicly legitimize the Taliban. This narrative that they promote is that the Taliban are fighting Islamic State, and the Afghan Government is not fighting Islamic State, and that, therefore, there could be a spillover of this group into the region. This is a false narrative. The Afghan Government, along with the U.S. counterterrorism forces, are successfully fighting against Islamic State in Afghanistan. In this year alone, we have reduced their fighters by half, their territory by two-thirds. We have killed their leader, in fact, their top 12 leaders, and continue to disrupt their operations.
    If the US & Russia along with Iran are jointly fighting IS in Syria and Iraq then why would the US not do the same in Afghanistan ? that is the big hole in the Russian narrative.

    Senator Fischer: You spoke about the increase in Russian involvement in Afghanistan and that growing relationship that they are having with the Taliban. Can you elaborate on that a little bit more for us, please?

    General Nicholson: Yes, ma’am. So in addition to the public legitimizing of the Taliban, which is surprising given the Taliban have evolved over the years into a narco-insurgency and one that engages in extensive criminal activity, narcotics, kidnapping, illegal mining, and other forms of criminal activity to fund their operations, Russia has legitimized them with this false narrative of fighting ISIL-K. They also have initiated a series of meetings in Moscow to which the Afghans have not been invited for the first several meetings in which to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan is trying to work with all of its neighbors and all of the stakeholders. They have reached out to the Russians about this. And we believe that a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan should be Afghan-led, and this has been the position of the United States Government and we believe this will be the most lasting, enduring, effective peace arrangement. So ultimately where we are trying to go and help the Afghans go is to get to a point where they reconcile with the belligerents in this long war that they have experienced and be able to move forward with a peaceful and prosperous country.
    Does not make much sense

    Senator Perdue: You spoke in I think -- well, it was recently in December I think. You said that you condemn the malign influence of external actors, particularly Pakistan, Russia, and Iran. You said, quote, Russia has overtly lent legitimacy to the Taliban by claiming the Taliban is fighting ISIS. Do you believe Russia’s intent in Afghanistan has anything to do with ISIS?

    General Nicholson: No, sir. I think it is to undermine the United States and NATO.
    ok

    Senator Graham: You mentioned in your testimony that you see a change in Russian behavior for the worse. Is that correct?

    General Nicholson: Yes, Senator.

    Senator Graham: What do you think their goals are in Afghanistan? Why are they changing?

    General Nicholson: Senator, I think their goal is to undermine the United States and NATO in Afghanistan.
    Senator Nelson: General, if the Russians’ stated goal is to undermine the influence of the United States, when did this effort start?

    General Nicholson: Sir, with respect to Afghanistan --

    Senator Nelson: Yes.

    General Nicholson: -- they have not stated that as their goal.

    Senator Nelson: No. I understand that is your opinion, and I agree with you.

    General Nicholson: Yes, sir.

    Senator Nelson: When did the evidence of them cozying up to the Taliban start?

    General Nicholson: Sir, it started in 2016, so just within the last year this has started. And it was a gradual progression.

    Senator Nelson: And is that progression increasing?

    General Nicholson: Yes, sir.

    Senator Nelson: I think we better let President Trump know that.

    General Nicholson: Yes, sir.

    Senator Nelson: If Russia is cozying up to the Taliban-- and that is a kind word -- if they are giving equipment that we have some evidence that the Taliban is getting it and other things that we cannot mention in this unclassified setting and the Taliban is also associated with Al Qaeda, therefore, Russia indirectly is helping Al Qaeda.

    General Nicholson: Yes, sir.

    Senator Nelson: In Afghanistan.

    General Nicholson: Sir, the support of the Taliban -- the Taliban are the medium for many of these other terrorist groups to operate because of the convergence of these groups. So your logic is absolutely sound, sir.

    Senator Nelson: Does that include ISIS?

    General Nicholson: Sir, we do not see that same level of cooperation between the Taliban and ISIS. They are in conflict with one another. But the Taliban is not achieving the key effects and reducing IS. That is coming from the United States in the Afghan counterterrorism effort.
    ISIS is a competitor to AQ & Taliban

    Senator Nelson: How does the Taliban reconcile with the Government of Afghanistan when in fact they are being aided and abetted by the Russians to counter all of our efforts?

    General Nicholson: Sir, you are exactly right. This is the challenge. And so this requires a whole-of- government approach, diplomatic, as well as military, to fundamentally get us to a place where we can have a reconciliation.
    So the Russians are looking for leverage, same thing they did in Syria. Try to be the swing player any where and every where

    Senator Nelson: Do you think there is any reason that the Russians, other than trying to undermine us, would be wanting to expand their sphere of influence and take back the territory that they got whipped and had to leave Afghanistan with their tail between their legs?

    General Nicholson: Senator, I think they are concerned that if there is a coalition and a U.S. presence in Afghanistan, that this affects their ability to influence the Central Asian states to the north. So I do think this is part of their concern.

    Senator Nelson: Yes, I agree.
    I see this line in op-eds that the US can undermine russia in central asia but it seems more of a russian concern, as well as an iranian concern and possibly even a chinese concern than express US intent. The location is quite unqiue and for this reason why would the US leave any time soon.

    General Nicholson: The Russians, of course, lack legitimacy in Afghanistan because of the anti-Soviet jihad. Millions of Afghans were killed by Russians and Russian-backed forces in Afghanistan. So there is a legitimacy question when it comes to Russia’s involvement in Afghanistan that is right at the forefront of this conversation with the Afghan people.

    Senator Kaine: Although it is also the case, it shows how anti-NATO Russia is that they would engage with elements of the Taliban, some of whom were responsible for kicking the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, that they would try to bolster the Taliban as a check against NATO influence in Afghanistan. That is a pretty bold statement of how much they hate NATO.

    General Nicholson: It is surprising, Senator, especially when you also consider the Taliban’s involvement in the narcotics trade and the detrimental impact that narcotics from Afghanistan are having on Russian society.
    Strange indeed but at the same time tells me the Russians are open to deals in their interest

    It's possible there may be some accommodation possible between the afghan govt, russia & Iran as their involvement is recent and more tactical than strategic. Neither Iran or Russia need the Taliban to win as badly as Pakistan. So i don't see the US as up against Iran & Russia to the same degree as with Pakistan despite news reports that would like to give Iran & Russia the same weight as Pakistan
    Last edited by Double Edge; 26 Aug 17, at 19:33.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    China US objectives for Afghanistan aren't too out of line

    China should be positively disposed towards elements of the new US strategy in Afghanistan too. Beijing will have been relieved that there is no precipitate military pull-out. Its concerns about an open-ended US troop presence will be mitigated by the fact the US has kept reconciliation with the Taliban alive as the political end goal, which China shares. Beijing also wants to see a stable settlement in place to ensure that Afghanistan cannot become a safe haven for Uygur militant groups or a threat to its growing strategic interests in the region.
    Trump beware: Pakistan’s luck playing China card is turning | SCMP | Aug 27 2017

    Can soften economic sanctions if imposed and lend some political support which is better than back in 2011.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 28 Aug 17, at 11:46.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Senior Contributor kuku's Avatar
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    Pakistan is not going to stop supporting the Taliban, it is in their good interest to keep these guys on their side.
    And supporting Taliban does not seem to be an activity Pakistan can not do if there are sanctions after all China is going to support them through investments and weapons.
    The US is not interested in anything, their purpose is served, the big bad Osama is dead.
    From India's perspective it may be better to keep Afghanistan an active battle zone, otherwise, these crazy radical Muslim guys will end up showing up in Kashmir (where we have enough crazy radical Muslims of our own), it may be better to keep Pakistan investing its intelligence, military and financial resources in Afghanistan. we will have to spend the money though.
    cheers

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Taliban Leader Feared Pakistan Before He Was Killed | NYT | Aug 09 2017

    More than a year after the event, Afghans on both sides of the war and a growing number of Western security analysts say that Pakistan most likely engineered Mullah Mansour’s death to remove a Taliban leader it no longer trusted.

    “Pakistan was making very strong demands,” the former commander said. “Mansour was saying you cannot force me on everything. I am running the insurgency, doing the fighting and taking casualties and you cannot force us.”

    After Mullah Mansour’s death, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, an Islamic cleric with no military experience, was selected as leader of the Taliban. Yet Afghanistan has seen little reprieve with his death, as hard-liners within the movement took over and redoubled their offensive to take power.

    There is little chance of anyone speaking out, the former commander said. “Ninety percent of the Taliban blame the Pakistanis,” he said. “But they cannot say anything. They are scared.”
    so there can be differences between sponsor and client

    Mullah Mansour had resisted orders from Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, to destroy infrastructure — schools, bridges and roads — to increase the cost of the war for the Afghan government. He opposed the promotion of Pakistan’s hard-line protégé Sirajuddin Haqqani to be his deputy, and he had dodged Pakistan’s demands to push its agenda in negotiations.

    Critically, he wanted to devolve more power to regional Taliban commanders, allowing them to raise their own funds and make their own decisions, in order to own the Afghan nationalist cause and loosen Pakistan’s control over the insurgency.
    Can't be too independent

    For many in the Taliban, Mullah Mansour’s death represented a devastating betrayal by their longtime patron and sponsor, Pakistan, that has split and demoralized the ranks.
    How to exploit that sentiment

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    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1980s View Post
    US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure: https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...a-457m-failure

    This story is one failure too many. For many years i was a firm supporter of an American and Western commitment to Afghanistan. But now i am of the view that it is an exercise is uselessness. Afghanistan is hopeless, it will never be a functioning, progressing and cohesive state. It is clear to me that it is perhaps the most corrupt, backwards and dysfunctional of all countries in the World by far, and America cannot help it to evolve. Indeed, it is a failed state on so many levels. The sucess stories post-2001 are artificial, and wholly dependant on American and other foreign backing. The Afghan state would collapse within a week without foreign aid of any sort. I dont believe that this artificial post-2001 state that was installed there should be propped up any further. They have to find their own way, and on their own terms as one state, or as many states and satellites of others.

    Pathetic is the only word that comes to mind now when i hear "Afghanistan".

    Time to call it a loss and just get out of there, right now!
    We've heard this story before. In Webster's, look under corruption and it's now synonymous with Afghanistan. Corruption is endemic and people are not loyal to the state, but to their family and tribe. Historically (outside of a few exceptions) Afghanistan has never had a strong central state government. Tribal loyalties may have faded within the cities, but is still very strong in most of the rest of the country. This is not likely to change anytime soon and will make putting together a strong central government very difficult if not impossible.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuku View Post
    Pakistan is not going to stop supporting the Taliban, it is in their good interest to keep these guys on their side.
    And supporting Taliban does not seem to be an activity Pakistan can not do if there are sanctions after all China is going to support them through investments and weapons.
    How long can Pakistan remain defiant ?

    Does this mean Trump has to simply back down and return to the default mode when it comes to Pakistan’s jihadi strategy? Not so fast. The difficulties of sustaining the current US position do seem insurmountable in the face of America’s past record with Pakistan. Trump’s team has surely taken all these problems into consideration when it got the US President to demand that Pakistan must end — right now — its unacceptable commitment to jihadi terrorism.

    The Trump team is saying the past is not always a guide to the future. Just because some lines of pressure on Pakistan were not tried out does not mean they won’t be now. While signalling a new political will to do things it would not in the past — kinetic and financial targeting of terror groups and their facilitators in Pakistan’s security establishment — the Trump administration has held these measures close to its chest. How and when they might be unveiled will depend on the political engagement with Pakistan in the coming weeks.

    Although it has thumbed its nose at Trump, Rawalpindi is bound to talk with Washington sooner than later. It has always valued the special relationship with America and is aware of the dangers of inviting Washington’s wrath. Pakistan’s upper crust too has many personal and pecuniary links with the West. While defiance marks Rawalpindi’s public posture, its private approach might well be defined by pretended deference, claims of victimhood, protests against abandonment and obfuscation on supporting terror.
    Raja Mandala: Curing Rawalpindi | IE | Aug 29 2017


    Quote Originally Posted by kuku View Post
    The US is not interested in anything, their purpose is served, the big bad Osama is dead.
    Yet for some reason they seen unwilling to leave six years later ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuku View Post
    From India's perspective it may be better to keep Afghanistan an active battle zone, otherwise, these crazy radical Muslim guys will end up showing up in Kashmir (where we have enough crazy radical Muslims of our own), it may be better to keep Pakistan investing its intelligence, military and financial resources in Afghanistan. we will have to spend the money though.
    India can help build the Afghan air force amongst others, they need helicopters and light combat aircraft. If we're going to cultivate a proxy then make it more credible. Should be enough to push the Taliban back. Afghans are tired of battle zones. 70% of the population are in areas controlled by the govt. The Taliban have been reduced to a rural insurgency,

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