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    Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 01:54

An opinion piece by German Commentator Jürgen Todenhöfer outlines why the NATO presence in Afghanistan has become a kind of surreal experience; its mission no longer clear, its goals pusher into an ever more murky future:

 

The first lie says we're there to fight international terrorism. Even David Petraeus, supreme commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, conceded in May 2009 that al-Qaida is no longer operating in Afghanistan. The organization became decentralized a long time ago, with nerve centers spread around the globe. And al-Qaida's leaders don't transmit instructions from Afghanistan anymore because all electronic data traffic in the region is monitored by American drones and satellites.

In Afghanistan, what we're really fighting is not international terrorists, but a national resistance movement -- and, in doing so, we're creating exactly the thing we claim to be combating. For every civilian we kill, 10 more young people across the globe rise up, determined to strike back with terror. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, called this "insurgent math" in the interview that would ultimately cost him his job. Like a boomerang, our own violence comes back to haunt us in the guise of global terrorism.

The second lie is that we're there to defend our civilization's values. I recently held a position teaching constitutional law. I tried to explain to my students that our constitution protects every individual's dignity. No one can be deprived of his or her freedom without a trial. But where is human dignity being respected in Afghanistan? Every day, two to three Afghan civilians die at the hands of Western troops. By night, nameless American death squads move in to liquidate resistance leaders -- and often civilians as well -- violating the most basic rules of international law. Young Afghans have sat in the Bagram torture prison for years with no hope of being granted a trial and in conditions worse than at Guantanamo.

Our "defenders of civilization" never considered this worthy of a parliamentary debate. Indeed, since the dawn of colonialism, our involvement in the Muslim world has never been about defending our civilization's values; it's about defending our interests -- and Iraq and Afghanistan are merely the latest episodes in a long history. What's more, in most cases we've even been more brutal than our Muslim opponents. Granted, over the past 19 years, al-Qaida has brutally murdered some 3,500 Western civilians in the United States and Western Europe. But former US President George W. Bush has hundreds of thousands of civilian lives on his conscience in Iraq alone -- and all of this is in the name of our civilization.

The third lie is that we prioritize civilian reconstruction over military activities. Although the US spent $100 billion (€74 billion) on the war in 2010, only $5 billion of that was for development aid -- and 40 percent of this "aid" happened to flow back to the US as profit and fees. The rest of the money had to wind its way through the dark channels of international subcontractors before a trickle of 20-30 percent finally reached development projects.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Afghanistan is currently the poorest country in Asia, and UNICEF estimates that 20 percent of all children there die before reaching the age of five. Even US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry admits that 77 percent of Afghans don't have access to clean drinking water and 45 percent go hungry. Under these circumstances, can we really call this "prioritizing civilian reconstruction"?

The fourth lie is that we're in the Hindu Kush to prevent the return of the Taliban for good. That almost sounds like a goal we can rally behind. After all, who really wants to see a return of those Stone Age warriors who trample women's rights under their feet? Nevertheless, the truth is actually much more complex. The Taliban already controls half of Afghanistan, and the danger that it will capture the rest won't be any smaller four years from now. Indeed, the Afghan Taliban grows stronger every day and -- unlike its imitators in Pakistan -- it seems to have learned from past mistakes. The New York Times has reported that, in some regions controlled by the resistance, girls are once again being barred from attending school -- with the Taliban's approval. The "Layeha," or "book of rules," laid down by Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar suggests that things will soon change in many respects.

Even if things were different, the Taliban's unacceptable worldview is still not a good enough reason to wage war. If that were the case we would also have to invade Somalia, Yemen and North Korea and a number of other authoritarian states, some of which we even count among our allies. The world would become one massive, bloody battlefield.

 

The questions arise- how do military and civil authorities get themselves into these kind of catastrophic situations? Lack of academic training, bureaucratic ineptitude, destructive infighting by special interest groups, military hubris, corruption    or maybe it is much simpler.  Foolish mistakes are made, but on a scale that is a human disaster, but once made cannot be easily undone. To do so would mean confessing what is politically and humanly impossible: that a few ill informed decisions and miscalculations have led to considerable death and destruction, and to admit them would mean admitting foolishness, if not outright stupidity, at the top, and needless death at the bottom.

What do AE members think?

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 01:57
Afganistan has been for the U.S. and NATO the same problem that it was for the Soviet Union. And it will end the same, that's for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 05:49
This AE Member thinks this topic does not meet the subject requirements of the thread: MILITARY HISTORY. If you wish to discuss the contemporary and enter the realm of the talking heads with respect to Current Events and political jabberwocky then pose such in the appropriate area. Here unless you wish to discuss the travails and triumphs of the Hotaki, the campaigns of Ahmad Shah Durrani or even the Barakzai period from 1837 to 1937 fine; other than that, please respect the Forum's divisions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 06:15
Ideology pure and simple.
 
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Ideology pure and simple.
 
Wait that appears to have already been said, so I'll add: The occupation of Afghanistan is mainly the result of the feminist lobby. Who provide the moral impetus in the war against the taliban.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2011 at 23:54
Is 'ideology pure and simple' meant to be a criticism of someone? In which case who?
 
The rule of the Taliban should be unacceptable in the modern world even if wanted by a majority. And disparaging those who cannot accept things like public executions for trivial offences as being merely a 'feminist lobby' is disgraceful.
 
Granted the action against the Taliban seems to have lost its way, and maybe a military pullout woudl be a good thing at this point. But if he Taleban does resume its rule in the same manner as before, there needs to be some acction taken against it. IN the days when there was still hope for the UN as a force, the appropriate measure would have been expulsion from the organisation with all that that should mean with regard to access to internatinal markets and capital and so on.
 
The trouble is that the UN, due to the policies pursued by the permanent members of the SC as much as anything, has failed to find any way of dealing with countries that infringe the Declaration of Human Rights[1]. With expulsion hardly possible given the makeup of the organisation's leaderhsip, the alternative should be, and indeed may become, the setting up of one or more international groupings that do insist on certain minimal standards of morality in countries with which they deal.
 
It's difficult to see the US doing that. It's not impossible that the EU might. The Commonwealth in fact has had some success in doing it.
 
[1] Starting at the very beginning when Saudi Arabia was allowed to become a member without agreeing to the declaration.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 00:59
First of all the Taliban were never a member of any international organisation to begin with, they were the de facto rulers whom everyone went and had a discussion about Afghanistan but did not recognise as the rightful rulers of the country.
 
Second point, the UN declaration of human rights was breached by everyone of its signators except Saudi Arabia because when Saudi Arabia signed the document it clearly mentioned in the text that it exempted itself from certain clauses. All the countries that signed it pledged to follow the declaration to the letter. So should we dissolve the UN because of that?
 
Third point, the war in Afghanistan should have been declared won and the US withdrew around 2004-2005. Back then animosity to the Taliban was at its highest and the movement was at its weakest, Pakistan's NWFP was quite safe and stable (Michael Palin visited the border back then) and Al-Qaeda moved its operations elsewhere. Only ideology kept the US and in this case an alliace of different ideologies that had a common interest just like in Vietnam.
 
In Vietnam the anti-communists allied themselves with racists, military-industrial complex, nationalists and other minor forces to support first to commital to and then the continuation of a failed war.
 
In Afghanistan, anti-muslims, christian fundamentalists, neo-cons, the military-industrial complex as well as minor allies rallied behind the war and resisted every attempt to end and even argued for expanding it to Pakistan and Iran. Just in Vietnam each one of those groups looks towards the war in a different way and sees the withdrawl as catastrophic for their vision. Realpolitik dictates that this war was won 6 years ago but lost afterwards and also dictates that no matter what the economic, political or ideological gains that come from this war its not worth the destabilisation of Pakistan. But when did realpolitik ever formed the US foregin policy?
 
Al-Jassas 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 01:54
See what I mean about the "contemporary" with respect to a thread even in the context of "Modern". One lobs a grenade, another places a IED, and then pretty soon there is a flame war. Not that I am not chomping at the bit to release my drones and find a particular target upon which to focus. However, what is more than obvious is the nefarious activity of our esteemed colleague from Totem Land, who poses a rhetorical question (or rather several) drawn from the classic conflict that perverts meaning in war and seeks to rationalize military action in terms of political considerations. One might say that Afghanistan is much like the problem that confronted Marcus Aurelius along the Danubian frontier: How do you handle barbarians that will not accept the benefits of civilization!

Edited by drgonzaga - 22 Feb 2011 at 02:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 02:13
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

First of all the Taliban were never a member of any international organisation to begin with, they were the de facto rulers whom everyone went and had a discussion about Afghanistan but did not recognise as the rightful rulers of the country.
I didn't suggest the Taliban were members of any international organisation. I'm prepared to take your word for it. It has nothing to do however with my belief they should not be allowed into (or allowed to trade with) any organisation that takes human rights seriously.
 
The international community was quick enough to ban (rightly) trading with Southern Rhodesia.
Quote
Second point, the UN declaration of human rights was breached by everyone of its signators except Saudi Arabia because when Saudi Arabia signed the document it clearly mentioned in the text that it exempted itself from certain clauses. All the countries that signed it pledged to follow the declaration to the letter. So should we dissolve the UN because of that?
I recognise that Saudi Arabia was honest about it, which is to their credit. I just don't think they should have been allowed into the UN. Slavery was still legal in Saudi Arabia at the time.
 
As to dissolving the UN, there are two possibilities. One is for the organisation itself to expel or suspend countries where the government does not adhere to the Declaration. The other is for countries that do so observe (as in general Europe and the Commonwealth do) to set up a separate organisation with a regulated membership to carry out many of the things the UN does now.
 
Expulsion from the UN should of course remove the protection of the UN's safeguards frm the country concerned.
Quote
 
Third point, the war in Afghanistan should have been declared won and the US withdrew around 2004-2005. Back then animosity to the Taliban was at its highest and the movement was at its weakest, Pakistan's NWFP was quite safe and stable (Michael Palin visited the border back then) and Al-Qaeda moved its operations elsewhere. Only ideology kept the US and in this case an alliace of different ideologies that had a common interest just like in Vietnam.
You're probably right about the timing. I said myself it had gone on too long and lost its way.
Quote
 In Vietnam the anti-communists allied themselves with racists, military-industrial complex, nationalists and other minor forces to support first to commital to and then the continuation of a failed war.
Incomplete. Anti-communists, racists, a military industrial complex, nationalists and others also opposed the war in Vietnam. Just depended what side you were on which military industrial complex you were talking about.
 
Quote
In Afghanistan, anti-muslims, christian fundamentalists, neo-cons, the military-industrial complex as well as minor allies rallied behind the war and resisted every attempt to end and even argued for expanding it to Pakistan and Iran. Just in Vietnam each one of those groups looks towards the war in a different way and sees the withdrawl as catastrophic for their vision. Realpolitik dictates that this war was won 6 years ago but lost afterwards
Again, sounds a reasonable series of points. But doesn't address the question of what to do if the Taleban returns to power and acts in the same way as before.
Quote
 and also dictates that no matter what the economic, political or ideological gains that come from this war its not worth the destabilisation of Pakistan. But when did realpolitik ever formed the US foregin policy?
Pakistan at this stage is Pakistan's business, unless it asks for help in gaining stability. Incidentally, the Commonwealth's non-violent action in expelling Pakistan was not without effect. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2007/11/22/harper-commonwealth.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 03:30
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

First of all the Taliban were never a member of any international organisation to begin with, they were the de facto rulers whom everyone went and had a discussion about Afghanistan but did not recognise as the rightful rulers of the country.
I didn't suggest the Taliban were members of any international organisation. I'm prepared to take your word for it. It has nothing to do however with my belief they should not be allowed into (or allowed to trade with) any organisation that takes human rights seriously.
 
The international community was quick enough to ban (rightly) trading with Southern Rhodesia.
 
The decision to ban trade or business between states should be left to states themselves not the UN because the UN is not a democratic organisation to begin with. Most western countries continued to deal with Rhodesia and South Africa anyway as they would deal with the Taliban. You simply can't dictate domestic policy unless it affects you.
 
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
 In Vietnam the anti-communists allied themselves with racists, military-industrial complex, nationalists and other minor forces to support first to commital to and then the continuation of a failed war.
Incomplete. Anti-communists, racists, a military industrial complex, nationalists and others also opposed the war in Vietnam. Just depended what side you were on which military industrial complex you were talking about.
 
But the political power was in the hand of those who supported the war. Plus the war was popular with the people in general as the elections of that period show (doves like Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening lost elections because of their stance). 
As for the military-industrial complex, I don't like the term but are you kidding? Do you even have any idea how much expensive military hardware the US lost in Vietnam and sold to freightened friends? This war made millions rich and I'll bet my two cents that it war the war spending that was responsible for the wealth and economic growth in the 60s.
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
Quote
In Afghanistan, anti-muslims, christian fundamentalists, neo-cons, the military-industrial complex as well as minor allies rallied behind the war and resisted every attempt to end and even argued for expanding it to Pakistan and Iran. Just in Vietnam each one of those groups looks towards the war in a different way and sees the withdrawl as catastrophic for their vision. Realpolitik dictates that this war was won 6 years ago but lost afterwards and also dictates that no matter what the economic, political or ideological gains that come from this war its not worth the destabilisation of Pakistan. But when did realpolitik ever formed the US foregin policy?
Again, sounds a reasonable series of points. But doesn't address the question of what to do if the Taleban returns to power and acts in the same way as before.
 
Pakistan at this stage is Pakistan's business, unless it asks for help in gaining stability. Incidentally, the Commonwealth's non-violent action in expelling Pakistan was not without effect. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2007/11/22/harper-commonwealth.html
 
If we are going to build our foreign policy on what ifs better hire psychics and frtune tellers than waste money on analysts and career foreign service employees.
 
If the Taliban returned than find a way to deal with them that isn't dirty. In this case the key is Pakistan. One must acknowledge that Pakistan is the regional superpower and since Afghanistan is their own backyard respect that fact and run everything past them. This is helpful in two ways, it delegated responsibility to another country that will share the brunt of the problem and will make accountability much more easy. Just like the situation in Korea.
 
The current problems in Afghanistan stem from the fact that the US and the west in general bypassed Pakistan completely, handed Afghanistan to India and its anti-Pakistan allies and forced the Taliban into Pakistan where they are now making alot of problems.
 
The Pakistanis did what any country would do in that case and supported the Afghani Taliban on the premise that they would attack Americans. The Talibans instead established a Pakistani Taliban and decided to move into a more universal role as an Islamic liberation movement.
 
Al-Jassas
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 05:21
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

First of all the Taliban were never a member of any international organisation to begin with, they were the de facto rulers whom everyone went and had a discussion about Afghanistan but did not recognise as the rightful rulers of the country.
I didn't suggest the Taliban were members of any international organisation. I'm prepared to take your word for it. It has nothing to do however with my belief they should not be allowed into (or allowed to trade with) any organisation that takes human rights seriously.
 
The international community was quick enough to ban (rightly) trading with Southern Rhodesia.
 
The decision to ban trade or business between states should be left to states themselves not the UN because the UN is not a democratic organisation to begin with. Most western countries continued to deal with Rhodesia and South Africa anyway as they would deal with the Taliban. You simply can't dictate domestic policy unless it affects you.
In other words the UN wasn't tough enough. Well, that's the point I'm making. After all what I'm doing is arguing for change at the UN, not continuity.
 
I don't think most western countries went on trading with Rhodesia, though some did, but at least there was an international force deployed to stop it.
Quote  
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
 In Vietnam the anti-communists allied themselves with racists, military-industrial complex, nationalists and other minor forces to support first to commital to and then the continuation of a failed war.
Incomplete. Anti-communists, racists, a military industrial complex, nationalists and others also opposed the war in Vietnam. Just depended what side you were on which military industrial complex you were talking about.
 
But the political power was in the hand of those who supported the war. Plus the war was popular with the people in general as the elections of that period show (doves like Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening lost elections because of their stance). 
I assume you mean the US people in general? Don't you think the war to liberate South Vietnam was popular in North Vietnam (and Moscow for that matter)? World-wide both sides had their supporters and their detractors, as well as the possible majority that just thought 'the hell with both of them', as they do now about the Israelis and the Palesinians.
Quote
As for the military-industrial complex, I don't like the term but are you kidding? Do you even have any idea how much expensive military hardware the US lost in Vietnam and sold to freightened friends? This war made millions rich and I'll bet my two cents that it war the war spending that was responsible for the wealth and economic growth in the 60s.
Wars are usually good for the short-term economy especially for the countries not actively involved in it. However my point was that the USSR also had its military industrial complex (albeit state-owned).
 
It's not irrelevant that the '60s was the last decade of US economic dominance
Quote
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
Quote
In Afghanistan, anti-muslims, christian fundamentalists, neo-cons, the military-industrial complex as well as minor allies rallied behind the war and resisted every attempt to end and even argued for expanding it to Pakistan and Iran. Just in Vietnam each one of those groups looks towards the war in a different way and sees the withdrawl as catastrophic for their vision. Realpolitik dictates that this war was won 6 years ago but lost afterwards and also dictates that no matter what the economic, political or ideological gains that come from this war its not worth the destabilisation of Pakistan. But when did realpolitik ever formed the US foregin policy?
Again, sounds a reasonable series of points. But doesn't address the question of what to do if the Taleban returns to power and acts in the same way as before.
 
Pakistan at this stage is Pakistan's business, unless it asks for help in gaining stability. Incidentally, the Commonwealth's non-violent action in expelling Pakistan was not without effect. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2007/11/22/harper-commonwealth.html
 
If we are going to build our foreign policy on what ifs better hire psychics and frtune tellers than waste money on analysts and career foreign service employees.
You can't do any kind of planning, foreign policy or otherwise, except on the basis of 'what if's. In particular you need a whole set of them, not just one.
Quote  
If the Taliban returned than find a way to deal with them that isn't dirty. In this case the key is Pakistan. One must acknowledge that Pakistan is the regional superpower and since Afghanistan is their own backyard respect that fact and run everything past them. This is helpful in two ways, it delegated responsibility to another country that will share the brunt of the problem and will make accountability much more easy. Just like the situation in Korea.
No problem with that assuming Pakistan is willing. Again a 'what if'.
Quote  
The current problems in Afghanistan stem from the fact that the US and the west in general bypassed Pakistan completely, handed Afghanistan to India and its anti-Pakistan allies and forced the Taliban into Pakistan where they are now making alot of problems.
 
The Pakistanis did what any country would do in that case and supported the Afghani Taliban on the premise that they would attack Americans.
That's not what 'any country' would do. I'm not disputing it may be what Pakistan did.
Quote
 The Talibans instead established a Pakistani Taliban and decided to move into a more universal role as an Islamic liberation movement.
Tough on the Pakistanis. Can't trust anyone to stay bought any more.
 
What 'anti-Pakistan' allies are you talking about? The Central Asians? It is of course time India and Pakistan both grew up. They've been independent long enough, so they can't blame their squabbling any more on the British.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 07:21
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
 
Quote
 
The decision to ban trade or business between states should be left to states themselves not the UN because the UN is not a democratic organisation to begin with. Most western countries continued to deal with Rhodesia and South Africa anyway as they would deal with the Taliban. You simply can't dictate domestic policy unless it affects you.
In other words the UN wasn't tough enough. Well, that's the point I'm making. After all what I'm doing is arguing for change at the UN, not continuity.
 
I don't think most western countries went on trading with Rhodesia, though some did, but at least there was an international force deployed to stop it.
 
Nor it will ever be. Either the UN be open for all or close its door. Better be open for all in this case.
 
 
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
 
I assume you mean the US people in general? Don't you think the war to liberate South Vietnam was popular in North Vietnam (and Moscow for that matter)? World-wide both sides had their supporters and their detractors, as well as the possible majority that just thought 'the hell with both of them', as they do now about the Israelis and the Palesinians.
 
Of course I meant the US and I was just making comparisons between then and now, what has the Palestinians have to do with it?

 
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Quote
As for the military-industrial complex, I don't like the term but are you kidding? Do you even have any idea how much expensive military hardware the US lost in Vietnam and sold to freightened friends? This war made millions rich and I'll bet my two cents that it war the war spending that was responsible for the wealth and economic growth in the 60s.
Wars are usually good for the short-term economy especially for the countries not actively involved in it. However my point was that the USSR also had its military industrial complex (albeit state-owned).
 
It's not irrelevant that the '60s was the last decade of US economic dominance
 
Which is why Vietnam was popular both with the people and corporations who help elect representatives, the war was making them rich and it was in their best interest to lengthen it as long as possible. In the USSR the military complex was never powerful since not a single one of the top leadership of that country came from it.
 
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
You can't do any kind of planning, foreign policy or otherwise, except on the basis of 'what if's. In particular you need a whole set of them, not just one.
 
Some what ifs like the one above (and most what if scenarios argued by supporters of the war) are better suited for psychics than analysts.
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
Quote  
If the Taliban returned than find a way to deal with them that isn't dirty. In this case the key is Pakistan. One must acknowledge that Pakistan is the regional superpower and since Afghanistan is their own backyard respect that fact and run everything past them. This is helpful in two ways, it delegated responsibility to another country that will share the brunt of the problem and will make accountability much more easy. Just like the situation in Korea.
No problem with that assuming Pakistan is willing. Again a 'what if'.
 
A what if that we could be certain of its outcome. Pakistan is a country ruled by sensible people who decide their policies in a cool and calculated fashion. Just as the US managed to reason with China over NK it could reason with Pakistan over Afghanistan and the Taliban.
 
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
Quote  
The current problems in Afghanistan stem from the fact that the US and the west in general bypassed Pakistan completely, handed Afghanistan to India and its anti-Pakistan allies and forced the Taliban into Pakistan where they are now making alot of problems.
 
The Pakistanis did what any country would do in that case and supported the Afghani Taliban on the premise that they would attack Americans.
That's not what 'any country' would do. I'm not disputing it may be what Pakistan did.
 
Who said so? Contra anyone?
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
Quote
 The Talibans instead established a Pakistani Taliban and decided to move into a more universal role as an Islamic liberation movement.
Tough on the Pakistanis. Can't trust anyone to stay bought any more.
 
What 'anti-Pakistan' allies are you talking about? The Central Asians? It is of course time India and Pakistan both grew up. They've been independent long enough, so they can't blame their squabbling any more on the British.
 
To achieve strategic goals you need to make sacrifices. Violence is hardly unherd of in Pakistan.
 
As for the anti-Pakistan alliance, read more about the northern alliance and you will know why.
 
As for India and Pakistan, its a sad situation indeed but both countries have a geostrategic interest in Kashmir that you simply can't ignore. Much of India and Pakistan's water rises there and only a fool in any country will accept compromise.
 
Al-Jassas


Edited by Al Jassas - 22 Feb 2011 at 07:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 15:02
Yes, the topic is better suited in the Geopolitical Institute rather than military history. Topic has been moved.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2011 at 22:06
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Pakistan is a country ruled by sensible people who decide their policies in a cool and calculated fashion.
Frankly it hasn't shown much sign of that. Pakistan has frequently shown sgns of not being ruled by anyone.
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Just as the US managed to reason with China over NK it could reason with Pakistan over Afghanistan and the Taliban.
Has anyone ever seen signs of the Taliban listening to reason?
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 The Talibans instead established a Pakistani Taliban and decided to move into a more universal role as an Islamic liberation movement.
That the Taliban can make any claim to being a 'liberation movement' is laughable.
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To achieve strategic goals you need to make sacrifices. Violence is hardly unherd of in Pakistan.
To put it mildly. There's a difference of significance however between 'violence' and 'massacres' and state-sponsored murder.
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As for the anti-Pakistan alliance, read more about the northern alliance and you will know why.
As I remember it, Pakistani troops entered Afghanistan to support the Taliban in a largely racial (complicated by religious sectarianism). One could surely expect an anti-Pakistani reaction to that, no? Moreover Pakistan at the time was being ruled by a military dictatorship and about to be expelled from the Commonwealth. Hardly the stuff heroes are made of.
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As for India and Pakistan, its a sad situation indeed but both countries have a geostrategic interest in Kashmir that you simply can't ignore. Much of India and Pakistan's water rises there and only a fool in any country will accept compromise.
Only a fool refuses to compromise.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2011 at 02:42

Are the Taliban really a major factor here? If NATO wanted to take on all those who are grossly violating human rights, it would have to go on a WW2 style mobilization. Afghanistan is near the bottom of the barrel, but there are many other perpetrators. Somalia, the Congo, Sudan, Myanmar, Zimbabwe- a long list.

 

Originally, the US invaded Afghanistan to get even for 9/11. Some pyrotechnics had to be set off somewhere, and Afghanistan was guilty enough. But the initial goal has slipped away, along with Osama Bin Laden. What remains sounds ever more like rationalization.

 

No doubt there are some groups who profit in these circumstances, the industrialist who can make money, perhaps a general after a career boost. But my curiosity is to how, after a decade, this sort of quagmire can drag on, with little gain. The vast majority in society are on the loosing end in this struggle, certainly those in the military who come home in a wheelchair, or in a box. The taxpayer is also on the short end of the stick.

 

And yet, the conflict rolls on, under the weight of its own momentum. Success is ahead, but, it’s a few years down the road yet. I guess I am musing in the realm of social psychology.



Edited by Captain Vancouver - 23 Feb 2011 at 02:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2011 at 04:49
That a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would not be the world's only problem area of the kind is obvious. What I'm suggesting is that we need new techniques and a great deal more honesty and less hypocrisy than we have now for tackling such situations and doing something about them.
 
And the only approaches that have any chance of working have to be co-operative international ones.


Edited by gcle2003 - 23 Feb 2011 at 04:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2011 at 14:15
Some may hate this, because it paints the Taliban in a bad light, but it seems too square with what i believe is happening on the ground.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htwin/articles/20110302.aspx

Does Gharani still come around? I would very much like his insight on this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2011 at 15:25
The article is more of wishful thinking than fact. Winter is the usual low point in Taliban activity and the article doesn't account for the fact that this was the coldest snowiest Afghan winter since 2008 (last two years scarcely saw any snow fell keeping passes open). Flow of men and arms was bound to have an affect just as it did in 2008 and 2006.
 
The real test is next April when the summer campaign begin.
 
If you want hard military analysis and numbers without media hype check this:
 
 
Al-Jassas
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2011 at 17:12
Well Al Jassas, That is what the Taliban have been saying for years, "Just wait until spring" and every time there has been a lot of hype from them and then they fizzle. Even after winter and during spring, when offensives operations fill the air, the casualty rate for international troops from IED, VBIED and the other like booby traps and small scale skirmishes in Afghanistan is not anything as compared to what it was in Iraq during the height of the Iraqi insurgency. Even with US Marines in Helmland!

However, the Taliban have noted where the coalition, or ISAF, is at it's weakest, in protecting the Afghan civilians and their supply lines from Pakistan. So they strike these weak points whenever the balance is in their favor.

btw... thanks for the link Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2011 at 17:58

The story isn't that simple. Yes the insurgency isn't near the Iraq war peak but its coming close. If you dig the link above you will see several maps and graphs that show just that. Taliban attackted nearly tripled since 2007 and more interesting is that Nov. 2010 attacks were close to peak 2009 summer campaign. The Taliban know that they won't win the war nor they will actually force the US out but they know that they could make the war so costly and bet on regional differences that staying would be simply too expensive. This is why they changed their strategy moving into areas that not only were safe but had no ISAF presence while at the same time keeping pressure in areas where they are currently operating:

 
In the end the best solution for Afghanistan right now is to split the Taliban ranks, there has been several incidents of infighting over the past few months and some defections too. With this as well as less visible presence in the countryside and more Afghan troops some semblence of stability might be achieved.
 
In the end do you really want to know why people join the Taliban, watch this:
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote malizai_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2011 at 03:04
 How can an organization like the UN that is sustained for the sole purpose of political leverage, be expected to champion human rights. The notion that UN should be the preserve of more 'civic' nations is completely absurd, when its purpose is to safegaurd the interests of the strong against the week, as is evident in it's abject lack of democracy. Justice was never found in any system that favored the strong versus the week. 
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