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  • Is the US giving up the northeast?

    Published: January 4, 2011
    BOSTON — In May of last year, military officials decided to leave the Korengal Valley in northeastern Afghanistan because they didn't think the small gains they were making were worth risking the lives of U.S. troops. Now they are having the same debate about the neighboring Pech Valley.

    GlobalPost correspondent James Foley spent several weeks in the Pech Valley in September and talked to the soldiers stationed there about what they thought the best course of action would be. Those troops were as divided as everyone else.

    Some felt that the presence of U.S.-led NATO forces in the region was just giving the Taliban an excuse to continue fighting and that their efforts would be better used in more populated parts of the country, where they could more effectively fight for the hearts and minds of average Afghans. Others worried the Taliban would view any withdrawal as a victory.
    Afghanistan War | U.S. Troops | War Video

    An afghan friend of me says: "As far as I know, foreign forces have withdrawn from most of Nuristan as well, on the border with Kunar. They have a force in the capital. I think those two provinces are a lost cause to any government in the future. Even the Taliban didn't have a big presence in either."
    Last edited by Pak Nationalist; 13 Jan 11,, 11:05.
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  • #2
    This I think isn't good. It will turn Afghanistan into a wild furious ocean with small islands of peace.
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    • #3
      Its going to happen one way or another, there is no way you can enforce peace in a area as large as Afghanistan, the Taliban was the one of the cruelest regime on earth, even they had trouble keeping Afghanistan together.

      Even if some cities and large areas can be kept peaceful there will be some hope flowing out of them with some sort of a regular economy, law and order. Hopefully things can grow from that.
      Last edited by kuku; 13 Jan 11,, 11:30.

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      • #4
        Pak Nationalist Reply

        "This I think isn't good. It will turn Afghanistan into a wild furious ocean with small islands of peace."

        You bring your own perspective generated to a large extent by Pakistan's continuing operations in Bajaur. Bear in mind those operations have been conducted since September 2008. Our forces didn't begin departing portions of Kunar and Nuristan before the spring of 2010. What occurred in the interim?

        Secondly, to extrapolate events in Kunar and Nuristan to all of Afghanistan may or may not be realistic. As the video indicated, there are at least two views of a U.S. presence. If you understand the Nuristanis and tribes of Kunar, then you'd appreciate their antipathy to all foreign elements-not just Americans. Would they be more resistant to the taliban were our presence diminished? Certainly, should the taliban begin interfering with their daily lives and pursuit of traditional methods for generating income-lumber and other forms of smuggling as example, they'd likely find a very similar reaction.

        For now, the thesis offered by the battalion commander is clear and two-fold- 1.) does our presence in these largely unpopulated regions help or hurt and, 2.) how can our forces be best utilized? Certainly, if we've had little positive effect over the preceding eight years of presence, there's call to wonder and revisit if we've chosen the best course of action.

        This is a site you should come to know-

        Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Force Disposition-Institute For The Study Of War

        The map takes a moment to download and then needs to be re-sized but shows the elements stationed on both sides of the border.

        Here is the Afghanistan Order Of Battle at present-

        Afghanistan ORBAT-Institute For The Study Of War Dec. 2010

        The Institute For The Study Of War does an excellent job of maintaining an accurate picture of the forces (by battalion) that ISAF has in-country and where they're located (by province).

        We've retained an ISAF presence in Nuristan and Kunar at all times. We've not maintained a continuous presence in some valleys. If Qari Zia Rahman has set up a "sanctuary" in Konar, he does so knowing full well that, if identified, he'll be attacked. That doesn't fit the description of sanctuary. If Mullah Fazlullah is with him, he runs the same risk.

        Pakistanis have recently began using this as rationale for their own tolerant approach to afghan militants on their side of the border. That perspective, though, ignores that Pakistan's choices long pre-date U.S. actions; the operating area within Pakistan is far greater in size; includes Pakistani citizens engaged in the afghan war like Maulvi Nazir, Hafez Gul Bahadur and Qari Rahman; and has operated unimpeded by attack at any time excepting Rahman in Bajaur.

        Finally, while ISAF has diminished its presence in Nuristan and Konar, the ANA's presence is growing. Ultimately, Pakistan's desire for border control must address coordination and cooperation with Afghan governmental authorities and not ISAF.

        We are, afterall, withdrawing.
        Last edited by S2; 17 Jan 11,, 05:51.
        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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        • #5
          Pak Nationalist Reply

          To followup with my previous comments regarding Kunar and Nuristan come these reports from ISAF-

          Afghans, Coalition Broaden Assault On Insurgent Leaders-DoD Jan. 18, 2011

          "In Kunar province, a coalition air weapons team killed numerous insurgents after they engaged a coalition foot patrol with small-arms fire in the Dangam district.

          In a separate clearing operation in Kunarís Shigal wa Sheltan district, another ISAF patrol was engaged by insurgents with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Again, a coalition air weapons team was called in and killed numerous insurgents."


          I think it's fair to say that Kunar and Nuristan haven't been completely surrendered to the insurgents as some of our Pakistani friends might otherwise believe.
          "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
          "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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          • #6
            Pak Nationalist, S-2, et al,

            I think you are both pointing to the ground truth.
            Originally posted by Pak Nationalist View Post
            Afghanistan War | U.S. Troops | War Video

            An afghan friend of me says: "As far as I know, foreign forces have withdrawn from most of Nuristan as well, on the border with Kunar. They have a force in the capital. I think those two provinces are a lost cause to any government in the future. Even the Taliban didn't have a big presence in either."

            Originally posted by S-2 View Post
            ,,, --- ...
            I think it's fair to say that Kunar and Nuristan haven't been completely surrendered to the insurgents as some of our Pakistani friends might otherwise believe.
            (COMMENT)

            I tend to think that both sides are re-assessing the battle space, relative to how they see the future value. Not all ground is good ground for confrontation. Both sides are looking at who has the advantage and how much of a commitment it will take.

            I don't think of it as giving up ground; but merely applying limited resources where they will do the most good and luring the opponent into costly ground.

            Most Respectfully,
            R

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            • #7
              RoccoR Reply

              I think you are both pointing to the ground truth."

              There's a narrative in Pakistan that we've intentionally ceded the Konar/Nuristan region to provide sanctuary to anti-Pakistani elements that's a very dangerous and misleading perception. Common to this misperception is the cry that we've abandoned wholesale checkpoints along the Pakistani-Afghan border. In fact we've closed eight sum total.

              Nonetheless, despite websites like ISW that have chronicled closely and accurately our specific order of battle, the outcry continues that we've left Pakistan to bear the brunt. It's unreasoned and that makes it, IMV, unfair.

              "I tend to think that both sides are re-assessing the battle space, relative to how they see the future value. Not all ground is good ground for confrontation. Both sides are looking at who has the advantage and how much of a commitment it will take."

              There's no "...think..." to it, RoccoR. It's' been re-assessed and low profit-high investment locales like the Korengal have come up losers for the interim. That's clear from the perspective of the American battalion commander in the interview video. It'll be increasingly to the ANA to determine over time what's of worth to hold in that region and to what extent they'll do so. The ISAF releases strongly suggest that the units engaged in Konar recently were ANA with coalition air-ground controller support.

              The Korengalis have proved historically resistant to any outsider interference-Kabul, America, Moscow and, yeah, probably the taliban. Much of Nuristan is the same. There's a reason those folks are termed Kaffirs by the rest of Afghans and the land Kaffiristan.
              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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              • #8
                Originally posted by S-2 View Post
                It's' been re-assessed and low profit-high investment locales like the Korengal have come up losers for the interim. That's clear from the perspective of the American battalion commander in the interview video.
                This is the thing that worries me. I mean if you search for some good nicely populated areas with some economic importance in a country like Afghanistan, you wont find more then a few dozens.

                This would turn Afghanistan into a furious ocean with islands of peace at some places as i said earlier. And anti-govt forces will gain ground and morale boosts.

                In this condition; Afghan govt wont be able to draw much economic benefits even from these key district cities because of the lack of supplies and communication drawbacks that will be created if the militants control the countryside.
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                • #9
                  And of coarse this will create hideouts and sanctuaries for the Taliban. Where there are no soldiers there are militants ..there is no third condition.
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                  • #10
                    "This is the thing that worries me."

                    You worry too much and read too little. We've troops in Konar and Nuristan. We've fought battles there in recent days.

                    We've also troops in Mazur-I-Sharif, Herat, Farah province, Helmand, Wardak, Paktia, Paktika, Kandahar, Kwost, Gardez, Nangahar, Baghlan and more. You know that, of course, because you've availed yourself to the link I've provided.

                    Or have you?

                    If not-start reading.

                    Meanwhile, consider the disingenuousness displayed in abdicating vast swaths of Pakistani land as true unattacked sanctuary to the Haqqani and Quetta Shuras. Not ONCE in eight years have your forces conducted a military operation against those usurpers of your own lands.

                    Why? Lack of resources...

                    Well...Pakistan ZINDABAD!
                    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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                    • #11
                      Biden's old plan for Iraq(of splitting the country up) should be imposed in Afghanistan. Let the Tajiks and Uzbeks have their own country. This way all the headaches about the racial composition of the government and the Afghanistan army can be cured. US can then withdraw from the rest of the area while maintaining bases in the new Tajik/Uzbek country. This way let the Pashtuns blow each other up and if they dare to stow hideaways like OBL again the bases to launch new attacks will be right there.

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                      • #12
                        calass Reply

                        Not an option. Afghanistan is a sovereign country. It'll take a civil war to generate that outcome, which may yet happen, but there'll be no formalized partition.
                        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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                        • #13
                          Is it?..from the Britannica Encyclopedia.

                          sovereignty, in political theory, the ultimate overseer, or authority, in the decision-making process of the state and in the maintenance of order
                          Last edited by S2; 20 Jan 11,, 10:30.

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                          • #14
                            I don't think there can be a third country to decide that Afghansitan should be split.

                            Let them decide.

                            Or are you all suggesting that they are all fools?

                            The ISAF is on the spot and they know where to deloy.

                            Or are they fools too?

                            I get confused by each succeeding post.
                            Last edited by Ray; 20 Jan 11,, 10:21.


                            "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                            I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                            HAKUNA MATATA

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                            • #15
                              calass Reply

                              Do you see any momentum to partition Afghanistan by any group of nations? ISAF? The U.N.?

                              Is the GIRoA recognized by governments the world over as the legal authority over the dominion of Afghanistan? Of course.

                              Formal partition of Afghanistan isn't an option.

                              This thread, btw, remains about the distribution of ISAF forces in the northeast. Have you a contribution to make there?
                              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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