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Hes November 26th, 2007 2:20 pm

Afghanistan: its present and future
 
After 9/11 as we all know, the US with the support of many other countries launched the operation Enduring Freedom. It's aim was to destroy Al-Qaeda, capture Osama Bin-Laden and replace the Taliban government.

Plans for a new democratic government were made in December 2001 and in 2002 Karzai was chosen Interim President of Afghanistan. Later in 2005 he was elected as official president. Democratic progress has been successful and women are allowed to become members of parliament.

The fight against Al-Qaeda and remaining Taliban has not been as easy as to replace one government for another. After an initial decrease in resistance, grows the Taliban's insurgence more and more every year.

Since 2006 the NATO (ISAF) has replaced US troops mainly in Southern Afghanistan. ISAF has launched several operations to rid the Southern provinces and it's people from the influence of the Taliban. However every time a victory has been claimed over an area the next week the Taliban seems to return again.

A few questions:

1. It's useless to discuss if there should ever been a war in Afghanistan, because we can't change the fact that it's there and we have to deal with it. But what has gone wrong in Afghanistan and dealing with the Taliban? Could different choices in the past have avoided the current situation?

2. There comes a time when nations will stop supplying troops to fight the insurgency. A Dutch complaint for instance is that they had come to rebuilt the infrastructure, but instead they have to fight to protect people and themselves from the very well armed insurgents. Do you think that the Afghan army would be capable dealing with the Taliban itself, if foreign support would stop? What would be Afghanistan's future?

3. What would be your solution to the problems in Afghanistan?

Mundungus Fletc November 26th, 2007 4:30 pm

Re: Afghanistan: it's present and future
 
What went wrong In Afghanistan was that when the Taliban was defeated they were not destroyed - eyes were turned elsewhere and they were allowed to regroup (especially in the South where there was virtually no foreign or Kabul government presence) As a result there is now an armed insurgency. The Afghan Army is hardly equipped to deal with it so it needs foreign troops on the ground. or an acceptance that the Taliban will win and Al Qaeda's training camps re-established.

Most of the Taliban foot soldiers are in it for the money. We have to demonstrate that it isn't worth the wages and at the same time provide them with an alternative source of income. I particularly like the idea of buying the opium crop rather than allowing it to go into the illegal narcotics trade (thereby funding the Taliban) Even if it's then destroyed it will get the ordinary Afghan on side at a reasonable price.

I think that if the West just pulls out in the foreseeable future the Taliban will return and we can expect an increase in terrorist attacks. We simply cannot let this happen both for the Afghans sake and for our own. It is possible that in due course the Afghan Army will be able to hold the ground taken but that is a long way ahead.

I find it especially encouraging that some Taliban leaders are seeking an agreement with the Kabul government - it shows the present strategy in their heartland is having an effect

monster_mom November 26th, 2007 8:01 pm

Re: Afghanistan: it's present and future
 
Can I just say ditto to everything Dung had to say and leave it at that or do I have to string together a coherent sentence about the topic at hand? :)

USNAGator91 November 26th, 2007 8:45 pm

Re: Afghanistan: it's present and future
 
I find it interesting that we seek rapid solutions to long term problems. Afghanistan has no history of democratic self-government, yet we are now talking about what happens when NATO forces leave based on their weariness to continue. It took the United States well over one hundred years of relative isolation to firmly ensconce its democratic republic in its culture.

Western Europe post-nazism took three generations of self-government by its war-torn nations to develop strong roots for its parliamentary democracies. Even Russia, after almost twelve years of self-government, finds itself at a crossroads as Putin tries to extinguish its nascent democracy.

What is needed is time. Time for the leadership to turn over in Afghanistan. Karzai needs to give way to someone else for a true assessment of the country's future. Using the Russia example, Putin came after Yeltsin. If new leadership emerges in Russia, only then will we know if its own democratic experiment will work.

Afghanistan, for all the talk of central government, was a collection of warlords and tribal relationships. Building a common foundation of government, like the states during the early Constitution era will take several missteps and iterations to firmly implant the notion of democracy. The problem with our fast food culture is that we expect it to take hold right away and human nature doesn't work that way.

MmeBergerac December 11th, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
1. It's useless to discuss if there should ever been a war in Afghanistan, because we can't change the fact that it's there and we have to deal with it. But what has gone wrong in Afghanistan and dealing with the Taliban? Could different choices in the past have avoided the current situation?

Supporting the Taliban in the past was a great mistake. The US supported them at the end of the Cold War because they fought the USSR. Then, when the URSS existed no more, they were in power and nobody cared for Afghanistan till they destroyed the giant Buddahs. Because, let's assume it, the Taliban was a dictatorial, fanatical regime long before 9/11. It was the rest of the wordl (especially the West) which didn't notice them.


2. There comes a time when nations will stop supplying troops to fight the insurgency. A Dutch complaint for instance is that they had come to rebuilt the infrastructure, but instead they have to fight to protect people and themselves from the very well armed insurgents. Do you think that the Afghan army would be capable dealing with the Taliban itself, if foreign support would stop? What would be Afghanistan's future?

Taliban don't conceive war as were are used to, with a regular army fighting another and so. They don't fight in a battle, but in small, isolated attacks that make the largest army completely useless. Forgive the patriotic example, but it's like when the Spanish rose up against Napoleon's army in 1808: the French had the best army of their age, but, though it was deadly effective in an Austerlitz-like battle, it turned completely useless for a guerrilla warfare as happened here.

Besides, in Afghanistan the army is quite a lot in the hands of different "Lords of war", who don't depend of the Government, but support it for their own interest. It turns things still more complicated, because they all must be contented to be secured of their allegiance.


3. What would be your solution to the problems in Afghanistan?

There's a great question with Afghanistan: it's very hard implanting democracy in a country where the concept of tribe has greater importance than citizenship. In his Government, Karzai had to include members of each and every one of the tribes living in the country, because they considered themselves as pashtun or... (well, that's the only name I remember) before Afghans. If there's no conscience of country, it's very difficult it works. In those conditions, establishing universal suffrage, equal rights for men and women or religious freedom, for instance, is almost utopic.

In Western Europe, the first democratic ideas began to gain shape in the French Revolution, but it wasn't till the end of XXth century when democracy became the real system. How is it going to work in Afghanistan in ten years?

Hes December 11th, 2007 4:26 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 4864850)
In Western Europe, the first democratic ideas began to gain shape in the French Revolution, but it wasn't till the end of XXth century when democracy became the real system. How is it going to work in Afghanistan in ten years?

I guess it all depends on the questions:

When will the foreign troops leave, how is the status of the Taliban at that moment and is Afghanistan's army capable of defending the country from rebel influences.

Even if democracy in ten years time isn't perfect (is that even possible?), its difficult to tell what people prefer. There is a good chance that when foreign troops leave the country will collapse. One day there might come a time when no country wants to deploy soldiers anymore.

Some people might prefer to live under the relative stability of the Taliban rule. In our view that's not right. However with the current unstable situation in many Afghan provinces you hear voices longing back to Taliban rule. A time when they might have little to no democratic rights, but at least they had security (when keeping quiet) food and work.

Wab June 15th, 2008 6:50 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
The Kandahar prison break raises serious questions about just how well the locals are being trained to deal with the new environment.

For those who missed the news.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBC
Nato has admitted a jail-break by hundreds of prisoners after Taleban fighters blew up a Kandahar prison gate was a success for the Taleban.

Nato concedes Taleban jail blow

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hes
Some people might prefer to live under the relative stability of the Taliban rule. In our view that's not right. However with the current unstable situation in many Afghan provinces you hear voices longing back to Taliban rule. A time when they might have little to no democratic rights, but at least they had security (when keeping quiet) food and work.

An excellent book covering this is Chris Kremmer's The Carpet Wars which, in part, notes that the rise of the Taliban was in part due to the fact that they removed local warlords who were even more repressive.

Alastor June 15th, 2008 7:01 pm

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
President Karzai threatens with military action against the Taliban on Pakistani territory.
http://www.reuters.com/article/world...16749720080615

WitchHunter June 16th, 2008 3:06 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
As with Iraq, the problem in Afghanistan is that our military has been denied some of the most effective weapons and tactics for fighting in undeveloped nations. Firstly, it must be made clear to the Afghan people that anyone who does not cooperate with the US/NATO troops will be considered an insurgent, and will be treated accordingly. Secondly, we must make periodic shows of force to remind both the insurgents and any civilians who may be less than cooperative that resistance is futile and will result only in further death and chaos. Using air strikes to destroy any building that we suspect insurgents may be using, as well as occasionally patrolling the streets with tanks instead of the more easily destroyed Humvees. The Western world is at a crossroads, and must choose between being liked or being strong. As unfortunate as it may be, we cannot have both.

purplehawk June 16th, 2008 3:27 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by WitchHunter (Post 5059345)
The Western world is at a crossroads, and must choose between being liked or being strong. As unfortunate as it may be, we cannot have both.

I can't agree with that at all. We can be strong without being the global bully we've been of late. We can use our vast resources for good instead of trying to implement coercive democracy on countries that end up in our strategic web. We can even be strong by shutting down the military-industrial complex and the ideology that drives it. Strength is not a matter of being the biggest bully in the global playground. Just my two cents, of course.

Wab June 16th, 2008 3:31 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by WitchHunter (Post 5059345)
The Western world is at a crossroads, and must choose between being liked or being strong. As unfortunate as it may be, we cannot have both.

The creed of tyrants since the dawn of time.

lindaluna June 16th, 2008 3:52 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
I thought that PRISON BREAK thing was absolutely fantastic. I would say the fantasy roles of individual hero vs establishment evil is being won by the rebels.

Redhart June 16th, 2008 4:33 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
To me it shows the need to refocus on Afghanistan...get the heck out of Iraq. Fighting wars on two fronts has never been wise.

And, I agree...being strong can be done along with being a good world neighbor and not the gunslinger or the bully.

Wab June 16th, 2008 4:42 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Redhart (Post 5059422)
And, I agree...being strong can be done along with being a good world neighbor and not the gunslinger or the bully.

Something the Incumbent has come to realise: I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.

The Times

lindaluna June 16th, 2008 4:52 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Fire the speechwriter!

Mundungus Fletc June 16th, 2008 5:52 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

WitchHunter wrote
Firstly, it must be made clear to the Afghan people that anyone who does not cooperate with the US/NATO troops will be considered an insurgent, and will be treated accordingly.
Are you a recruiting sergeant for the Taliban? I can't think of a better way of increasing their numbers.

It is difficult at the moment because the South of the country was just abandoned when the troops left to go to Iraq - they are now back and paying the price (five members of the Parachute Regiment killed last week alone) But they believe they can win because they know the Afghan people want them to win.

lindaluna June 16th, 2008 6:56 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mundungus Fletc (Post 5059481)
Are you a recruiting sergeant for the Taliban? I can't think of a better way of increasing their numbers.

:lol: "If you are not for us, you are against us. Oh wow - now we're totally outnumbered !!"

Keith Williams NBC news, says Afghanistan is the source of 91% of the world's opium. I mean, what are all the military doing over there?

"Alright sir, we see you have a truckload of *opium* here, but have you seen anyone called Obama ... er Osama ... you know who I mean "

Is this why they haven't found Osama Bin Laden ?

BTW - we've been in Afghanistan for almost seven (7) years - since October 7, 2001.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_...2%80%93present)

But you know how it is ... time flies.

Mundungus Fletc June 16th, 2008 7:30 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

lindaluna wrote
BTW - we've been in Afghanistan for almost seven (7) years - since October 7, 2001.
Except that after the initial invasion most of the country was just abandoned (Almost all the troops were around Kabul or chasing Bin Laden.) The Taliban had a field day in the South regrouping with no outside interference. It was two and a half years ago that troops went back into the South.

lindaluna June 16th, 2008 8:32 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mundungus Fletc (Post 5059529)
Except that after the initial invasion most of the country was just abandoned ... It was two and a half years ago that troops went back into the South.

Dude - what's the rush ?

Hes June 16th, 2008 8:50 am

Re: Afghanistan: its present and future
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alastor (Post 5059011)
President Karzai threatens with military action against the Taliban on Pakistani territory.
http://www.reuters.com/article/world...16749720080615

I applaud Karzai for that, at least he has plans that might do the trick. But without more effective Pakistani help against the Taliban Afghanistan will never be free from them. As long as Pakistan remains so negligent the Taliban just keeps getting weapons and funds and troops. Cut the lines and make it more difficult for them to re-group and re-arm and maybe then eventually Afghanistan will actually have a chance to move forward instead of staying where they are now.


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