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Alastor June 24th, 2008 3:05 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Thanks for the links, monster_mom, Mundungus and Morgoth. :)

I have to admit that it shouldn't be any surprise.

Ali July 17th, 2008 10:31 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
As previously mentioned, Al Qaeda is getting stronger and their recruitment drive is a cause for concern.

Al-Qaida draws more foreign recruits to Afghan war :

Quote:

More foreigners are infiltrating Afghanistan because of a recruitment drive by al-Qaida as well as a burgeoning insurgency that has made movement easier across the border from Pakistan, U.S. officials, militants and experts say. For the past two months, Afghanistan has overtaken Iraq in deaths of U.S. and allied troops, and nine American soldiers were killed at a remote base in Kunar province Sunday in the deadliest attack in years.

Mundungus Fletc July 18th, 2008 5:53 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ali (Post 5087635)
As previously mentioned, Al Qaeda is getting stronger and their recruitment drive is a cause for concern.

Al-Qaida draws more foreign recruits to Afghan war :

Part of the reason for that is that locals realise the futility of taking on the West (and many don't want a Taliban type government back either) So they have to recruit outside

Wab July 18th, 2008 8:33 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Al Qa'ida was not orignially an indigenous Afghan group, originally consisting primarily of Arab fighters funded by the Saudis and US and trained in Pakistan during the Soviet invasion.

After the invasion they hit the road only returning in number to Afghanistan when Osama Bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia in the nineties.

WarriorEowyn July 19th, 2008 8:12 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wab (Post 5088024)
After the invasion they hit the road only returning in number to Afghanistan when Osama Bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia in the nineties.

I thought they went there because the US drove them out of Sudan.

lindaluna July 19th, 2008 9:28 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Obama is in Afghanistan now.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080719/...ma_afghanistan

Wab July 19th, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by WarriorEowyn (Post 5088990)
I thought they went there because the US drove them out of Sudan.

First they were expelled by Saudi and "In 1996, Sudan expelled bin Laden due to threats of U.N. sanctions for bin Laden's complicity in an attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak."

http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...200109216.html

monster_mom July 19th, 2008 4:37 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wab (Post 5089069)
First they were expelled by Saudi and "In 1996, Sudan expelled bin Laden due to threats of U.N. sanctions for bin Laden's complicity in an attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak."

http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...200109216.html

The US was offered bin Laden by the Sudanese but turned them down and bin Laden ended up in Afghanistan.

Chris July 19th, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by monster_mom (Post 5089175)
The US was offered bin Laden by the Sudanese but turned them down and bin Laden ended up in Afghanistan.

9-11 commision report, chapter 4, dealing with Bin Laden's history.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 9-11 commission report, chapter 4, page 3

Sudanís minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered to
hand Bin Ladin over to the United States.The Commission has found no credible
evidence that this was so.Ambassador Carney had instructions only to push
the Sudanese to expel Bin Ladin.Ambassador Carney had no legal basis to ask
for more from the Sudanese since, at the time, there was no indictment outstanding.

7



Seems as if this particular assertion is disputed and it may forever remain a "he said / he said" game between the ambassador and the United States diplomats. Regardless of whether or not an opportunity was missed, Bin Laden ended up there and now, ca. 12 years later, Afghanistan's a very different place with a future that I think is very hard to predict.


Wab August 8th, 2008 4:38 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Here's some interesting reporting on how NATO and the Karzai government are getting thoroughly trounced by the Taliban in the propaganda battle.

"On the ground in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan, the Taliban and their allies are winning analysts' plaudits for the efficiency and effectiveness of a propaganda machine that increasingly keeps locals sitting on the fence in conflict-prone areas of the country.

On the other hand, one of Washington's most assiduous analysts of the so-called war on terror, Anthony Cordesman, is scathing in his critique of the quality and quantity of the information released by the US and its allies."

Not that the war itself or the government are winning plaudits among Afghans.

"Nearly 65 per cent of Afghans say Karzai does a poor job in combating corruption and more than half believe he is failing at rebuilding the country....the President's aides openly admit his best political asset these days is the absence of a credible alternative.

In the meantime, 40 per cent of Afghans say it's too early to say whether the Government and its foreign backers can defeat the Taliban. More than 40 per cent rate the Taliban to be stronger and more than 70 per cent have concluded that the Karzai Government should negotiate with the Taliban.

...

The steady decline in positive ratings for US forces is alarming - down from 68 per cent in 2005 to 42 per cent in 2007. It is remarkable that a people which has lived with such privations could develop such a poor image of the world superpower in such a brief span of time, notwithstanding significant gains in fields such as education and health.

But the threat from roadside bombs is up 400 per cent since April. Fewer than 10 per cent of Afghans get electricity and never regularly."

And the RAND Corporation has concluded a study which determined that military action is about the worst way to combat terrorism.

"Global policy experts at the Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation have made an exhaustive study of the forces that determined the fate of almost 650 terrorist groups which operated between 1968 and 2006. Their objective was to examine how terrorist groups come to an end. The findings are sober reading. The most common demise for such groups - in 43 per cent of cases - was a transition to the political process. Effective police work defeated another 40 per cent and 10 per cent dissolved after emerging victorious.

Just 7 per cent were defeated militarily."

SMH

Mundungus Fletc August 8th, 2008 5:19 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wab (Post 5107691)
And the RAND Corporation has concluded a study which determined that military action is about the worst way to combat terrorism.

"Global policy experts at the Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation have made an exhaustive study of the forces that determined the fate of almost 650 terrorist groups which operated between 1968 and 2006. Their objective was to examine how terrorist groups come to an end. The findings are sober reading. The most common demise for such groups - in 43 per cent of cases - was a transition to the political process. Effective police work defeated another 40 per cent and 10 per cent dissolved after emerging victorious.

Just 7 per cent were defeated militarily."

SMH

The other way of looking at those figures is that in 90% of cases terrorist groups did not succeed.

Military action is merely one part of a sensible strategy to combat terrorism; it can never be the only part. I have no doubt the IRA would claim that they were undefeated but they had so little success in achieving their aims because of effective military and police action (They were more thoroughly infiltrated than the Communist party of the USA) that they gave up on terrorism. In effect they were forced to use the normal electoral process to try to achieve their aims and as far as I am concerned that meant they were defeated.

Wab August 8th, 2008 5:25 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
If they achieve their aims how can that be construed as a defeat?

But the point of the study is that the groups which were defeated only 7% were defeated by military means.

The conflict in NI was a negotiated solution, not a military victory by the British.

Ali September 13th, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Playing with fire...


The Value of One, the Value of None: An Anatomy of Collateral Damage in the Bush Era

OldLupin September 13th, 2008 2:13 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ali (Post 5136950)



O.K., let's get a legit, non-editorial source for the key assertion that civilians were aimlessly targetted by U.S. Military forces, drones, planes, naval gun fire or any other means of armed engagement. As a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, I take great offense to that type of charge without more evidence than, "while they can never admit it". This has been more transparent than any armed conflict in history and the conduct of forces has been incredibly good. I defy anyone to come up with any operation of similar scale in which the forces were more accountable and had a more consistently high level of conduct.
I tire of the unsupported accusations that the U.S. targets civilians made by those with nothing but an opinion an an agenda, with no further investigation or idea what they are talking about. Is the Taliban notorious for propaganda set-ups? Of course they are. They used them in the Russian conflict. They would position civilians to claim that the Russians were targetting them. They would use heavily populated areas to stage attacks to create the likelihood of civilian deaths again to build propaganda. Rhetoric is king in the Middle East and these unresearched, unsubstantiated reports that parrot Taliban talking points as if they are proven fact and makes self-serving assertions of dishonesty and duplicitous motives on the part of the U.S. are rubbish, IMO.
It isn't that the Taliban uses this type of tone in recruiting propaganda, that is their agenda, that surprises me. It is the complete disrespect and total cynicism of supposed allies and citizens that is remarkable. I can see someone taking exception with a military action that results in civilian casualties, but the rhetoric of this hit piece is just venomous. Even in this, if you take all given facts as true, the data doesn't support the conclusion. The U.S. hasn't and doesn't target civilians, does more than any Army in the world during combat to safeguard civilians and insinuations to the contrary are a, to borrow a phrase from this article, "a ball-faced lie".
If you disagree, let me know who actively does more to safeguard civilians in combat.

Ali September 14th, 2008 9:22 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
I don't think the editorial is implying that US forces are deliberately attacking civilians. However, as evident by many reliable sources (unlike that of US government and their mouth pieces) they are trying their darned hardest to keep a lid on these stories.

Though I would argue that very fact that leaders wage pre-emptve strikes shows that they do not value human life and do indeed consider the innocents killed as "collateral damage".

Alastor September 15th, 2008 6:49 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
I'm afraid that the only thing we can consider absolutely certain is that no such thing as an infallible human exists.

Mistakes happen. But if they do it too often we may safely conclude that there is a systematical error somewhere in the procedures.

As for the Azizabad incident on August 21 it's hard to dismiss as a mere Taliban propaganda set-up. The US friendly president of Afghanistan has claimed that 90 civilians were killed there and local UN personnel have found the number credible.

Until an impartial investigation has issued a report, none of us can know exactly what happened there. Nor why.

And regardless of what such a report may tell us one day, the PR damage has already happened. Things like this tend to increase the local support for the Taliban.

OldLupin September 15th, 2008 4:24 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alastor (Post 5138568)
I'm afraid that the only thing we can consider absolutely certain is that no such thing as an infallible human exists.

Mistakes happen. But if they do it too often we may safely conclude that there is a systematical error somewhere in the procedures.

As for the Azizabad incident on August 21 it's hard to dismiss as a mere Taliban propaganda set-up. The US friendly president of Afghanistan has claimed that 90 civilians were killed there and local UN personnel have found the number credible.

Until an impartial investigation has issued a report, none of us can know exactly what happened there. Nor why.

And regardless of what such a report may tell us one day, the PR damage has already happened. Things like this tend to increase the local support for the Taliban.

I agree. The real downside, of course my perspective is more based on the welfare of the standing military forces, is that when Western media jump on the bandwagon it lends undue credibility to false claims made by the Taliban and other anti-western groups in the area. While I believe in free press deeply, I also believe in responsible press and when this incident is sited along with unsupported accusations of indiscriminant fire and mass targeting of civilians as is implied here, the rhetoric value is incredible in the combat zone.

There is a reason that denials consistantly occur, despite some cases where our own investigations show a mistake has occurred. Despite assertions to the contrary, it isn't to avoid backlash domesticly, but to try to avoid backlash on the battlefeild. I know many would say that it is dishonest, and they are right, but as the enemy forces are consistently dishonest and our honesty is just lending credibility to their claims, and that is a strong motive to avoid admitting these terrible mistakes and articles such as the one posted earlier are a good example of why. This incident strains local allies, creates larger enemy forces and makes the coalition forces have so much more to deal with. I am curious why the indignation is so saved for the coalition forces and the U.S. specificly. The coalition forces actually try to avoid civilian casualties, at increased risk to themselves I might add, and the enemy actually routinely targets and executes civilians and they get almost no negative publicity editorially and the coalition gets slammed often.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ali (Post 5138201)
I don't think the editorial is implying that US forces are deliberately attacking civilians. However, as evident by many reliable sources (unlike that of US government and their mouth pieces) they are trying their darned hardest to keep a lid on these stories.

Though I would argue that very fact that leaders wage pre-emptve strikes shows that they do not value human life and do indeed consider the innocents killed as "collateral damage".

You could argue that, but the fact that the enemy forces are targetting civilians and non-combatants and not military targets would lead most to realize that it is an inadequate argument. No matter how convinced the world seems to be, the U.S. and coalition forces aren't omnipotent and they have to gather intelligence, perform operations and aggress as much as posible to eliminate the threat to both coalition and civilian targets. Waiting until the enemy carries out operations and then retaliating is a good way to get your buttocks handed to you in any armed conflict, but in this type of fighting it is down right suicidal.

What is the alternative proposed by the "pre-emptive strikes prove you don't value human life" crowd? What tactic is being suggested to eliminate the need for pre-empting enemy operations? It is already surgeons fighting butchers, how much limitation is being suggested here? Who is actually putting the civilians at risk here? Is the coalition intentionally killing civilian targets, or is that the enemy they have to face and find and try to stop before they kill again doing that? I am always willing to entertain alternatives and better options than the existing plan, it has kept me alive in the past, but I don't hear any solutions, just complaints about the problems. I would request that people like the author of that piece put their actual feasible ideas out there as part of their complaints and accusations. Having been on an SF team and having had to identify and face targets and attempt to verify the legitimacy of those targets, I can attest to that being difficult when they don't suspect you are coming, and pretty darn dangerous when they do. If this team misidentified a target, it wasn't on purpose. The fact that we risk that team to try and do exactly that should be evidence of a strong commitment to try to avoid these mistakes, at great personal risk.

Discordia September 16th, 2008 2:50 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Iraq might actually have a leg to stand on once the U.S. leaves because atleast they have a commodity like oil to back up their economy. What does Afghanistan have? Opium? I'm sure they'll have a booming drug industry.......Afghanistan is probably even more unstable and even more susceptible to terrorist activity than Iraq. Once we leave Afghanistan will be no better than it was before we left.

OldLupin September 17th, 2008 6:22 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Discordia (Post 5139049)
Iraq might actually have a leg to stand on once the U.S. leaves because atleast they have a commodity like oil to back up their economy. What does Afghanistan have? Opium? I'm sure they'll have a booming drug industry.......Afghanistan is probably even more unstable and even more susceptible to terrorist activity than Iraq. Once we leave Afghanistan will be no better than it was before we left.

We actually have a different mission in Afghanistan though. We initially went there because they were harboring the mastermind behind domestic attacks against us. The agenda is to eliminate or at a minimum destabilize those terror elements that base out of the region. Establishing a democratic government and removing the oppressive Taliban was a possitive side effect, but secondary. Either way, to suggest that leaving Afghanistan a democratic state instead of under Taliban rule isn't "better off", is inaccurate, IMO.

As natural resources are not very available in Afghanistan, industry is required to sustain a non-opiate based economy. As a democracy and an ally to Western nations industrial developement is far more accessable now than it has ever been in the past. There is also the added strategic value of the nation now that Russia has become more aggresive and tensions are getting higher.

Alastor September 17th, 2008 6:58 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
I think that Discordia was quite right. Once you leave the chances that there will be anything even remotely reminiscent of 'a democracy and an ally to Western nations' are so minimal that counting on them would be rather reckless.


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