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Afghanistan: its present and future



 
 
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  #81  
Old September 1st, 2009, 9:22 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Sounds like they're going to adopt the strategy suggested by David Kilcullen posted earlier.

"...don't be the one moving into the valley, be living in the valley or the village with the villagers. And in parts in the east of Afghanistan, for example, in Kunar province, or Nangar province, we have had a lot of success by having outposts in the villages and valleys who are living with people, side by side. You do end up fighting the Taliban, but what happens is it's the Taliban moving, not you, so they're the ones moving into the environment, you are in the compound with the villagers and you have a much better result."

http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline//int...lcullen_563591


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  #82  
Old September 1st, 2009, 10:00 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab View Post
Sounds like they're going to adopt the strategy suggested by David Kilcullen posted earlier.

"...don't be the one moving into the valley, be living in the valley or the village with the villagers. And in parts in the east of Afghanistan, for example, in Kunar province, or Nangar province, we have had a lot of success by having outposts in the villages and valleys who are living with people, side by side. You do end up fighting the Taliban, but what happens is it's the Taliban moving, not you, so they're the ones moving into the environment, you are in the compound with the villagers and you have a much better result."

http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline//int...lcullen_563591
Sounds interesting - and like a pretty solid dose of common sense. Do you think this is something where, once an area has become more secure, people trained in helping rebuild a community might be deployed as opposed to soldiers? The Peace Corps was one of the first groups that came to mind.


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  #83  
Old September 2nd, 2009, 7:06 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Based on Killcullen's best case scenario of at least another 10 years of western involvement the mid-term solution would be that once an area is reasonably under control primary responsibility in the communities would fall to the Afghan National Army augmented by military engineers/construction corps whose primary duty would be rebuilding and, most importantly, training Afghans (after more than 30 years of war work and trade skills are in desperately short supply). These guys would also supply back-up to the ANA should the village come under attack.

Once a lasting level of security is established then the government aid bodies and NGOs can start to take a bigger share of the load, but with strict parameters as to what they can and can't do to avoid some of the problems caused by charities who have in the past barged in with no respect for local political and cultural sensibilities.


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  #84  
Old September 2nd, 2009, 1:32 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by Wab View Post
Based on Killcullen's best case scenario of at least another 10 years of western involvement the mid-term solution would be that once an area is reasonably under control primary responsibility in the communities would fall to the Afghan National Army augmented by military engineers/construction corps whose primary duty would be rebuilding and, most importantly, training Afghans (after more than 30 years of war work and trade skills are in desperately short supply). These guys would also supply back-up to the ANA should the village come under attack.

Once a lasting level of security is established then the government aid bodies and NGOs can start to take a bigger share of the load, but with strict parameters as to what they can and can't do to avoid some of the problems caused by charities who have in the past barged in with no respect for local political and cultural sensibilities.
10 plus years seems like an awfully long time, but the approach sounds quite reasonable. Would employing such an approach require increasing the number of soldiers in Afghanistan for a period and then, as things became more stable, replacing the soldiers with NGO's and other such groups or would the two groups come at the same time?


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  #85  
Old September 4th, 2009, 9:00 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Their definitely needs to be an increase of ISAF forces in at least the short-term, but that's going to become increasingly difficult as it's increasingly obvious that it is propping up a corrupt regime.


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  #86  
Old September 4th, 2009, 9:22 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

This whole mess troubles me, if not for the reason that history is not kind to foreign powers in Afghanistan. What is the mission? Is it to promote democracy? Kill Al Qaeda? Establish a permanent presence to bolster Afghanistan and tweak the Russians? I honestly don't know.

Karzai has had almost 8 years and I've seen no discernible change. At least in Iraq, you saw a bit of a turnover of power. Afghans have never really responded well to central authority and I don't know if building dams, schools and hospitals will change that.


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  #87  
Old September 5th, 2009, 1:28 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Pointless conflict. Murky objectives. Britain should get out now.


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Old September 7th, 2009, 9:30 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Michael Portillo nails the problem on the head.

"The campaign in Afghanistan suffers from debilitating mission drift. It began with a clear focus on removing Al-Qaeda and the objective now ought to be simply to keep it out. Our forces have been diverted into defeating the Taliban (a different aim completely), bringing good governance to Afghanistan, creating a capitalist economy, educating the people and effecting social change, especially in the status of women."

And lots more.


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  #89  
Old September 7th, 2009, 1:46 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by Wab View Post
Michael Portillo nails the problem on the head.

"The campaign in Afghanistan suffers from debilitating mission drift. It began with a clear focus on removing Al-Qaeda and the objective now ought to be simply to keep it out. Our forces have been diverted into defeating the Taliban (a different aim completely), bringing good governance to Afghanistan, creating a capitalist economy, educating the people and effecting social change, especially in the status of women."

And lots more.
I agree on this...what is the mission? Add in the convoluted rules of engagement, an administration lacking in experience in these matters, the fatigue of fighting, this all the ingredients of a long term disaster.


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  #90  
Old September 7th, 2009, 2:30 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Yes.

And British soldiers just keep on getting killed.

Which, er, is the horrible cost of war, I realise that! But when our soldiers are getting killed and we don't quite know what they're dying for ...

The state of women's rights in Afghanistan is of immense concern, amongst other issues.

But that has nothing to do with whether our soldiers should still be fighting there. I think it's time to bring them home.


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Old September 7th, 2009, 3:12 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

The government (UK) may have had an argument if they said "we need to strike against Taliban-supported terrorist camps", but invading the whole country? Madness. What is the mission? To reform Afghanistan into a thriving democracy? In that case, British troops will be there for decades. I'm not convinced the "new" Afghan government is much of an improvement anyway. No clear objectives. No final goal which would serve as an indication that the mission is over. It seems to simply be Gordon Brown saying "well our troops will hang around Afghanistan for years, unsure of what they are doing, all the while being picked off by bombs"

Thankfully, we are now out of Iraq. That's one Blair/Brown disaster ended.

Just one more to go.


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  #92  
Old September 8th, 2009, 1:54 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I just wonder when the mission went from pursuing and destroying Al Qaeda, to keeping the Taliban at bay? Maybe I'm ignorant, but I always thought that the two groups, while loosely allied, were still completely different entities.


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  #93  
Old September 8th, 2009, 2:28 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I think it happened when everyone was paying more attention to Iraq. Obama seems to be trying to change it up, with the help of new eyes and a defense secretary who's overseen one successful "change-up" before, in order to improve the situation. Obama may have had little experience in foreign policy, but to me the evidence has been that he's leaned on the wisdom of those who've been successful in a different context. If that's his inexperience showing, then he's compensating nicely, since he's trying to bring in people who do have that experience. He could do far worse (ie, by expunging the entire Bush team and bringing in entirely people not familiar with the problems, instead of bringing in just some new faces while retaining others).


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  #94  
Old September 9th, 2009, 5:01 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Interesting isn't it that when the first signs of irregularity in the Iranian elections the West was in hysterics but when the Afghan election is comprehensively rigged almost silence.


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Old September 9th, 2009, 5:48 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Another "interesting": Palin and a bunch of other conservatives side with Obama on Afghanistan.

I've seen the news reports of voting irregularities, but is there a comprehensive list of them floating around anywhere?


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  #96  
Old September 10th, 2009, 12:41 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

The Jurist lists some of the complaints with links to monitoring bodies.

The Electoral Complaints Commission has so far received at total of 2,842 complaints.


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  #97  
Old September 10th, 2009, 7:00 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Quote:
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Interesting isn't it that when the first signs of irregularity in the Iranian elections the West was in hysterics but when the Afghan election is comprehensively rigged almost silence.
It was the lead item on BBC radio news yesterday. (and again this morning)


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Old September 10th, 2009, 9:28 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Interesting isn't it that when the first signs of irregularity in the Iranian elections the West was in hysterics but when the Afghan election is comprehensively rigged almost silence.
It's been reported here in America too. Right now the Healthcare debate is just overshadowing pretty much everything else.


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Old September 11th, 2009, 2:03 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I realise it's being reported. What I was pointing out is that there is none of the hysterical rhetoric from politicians demanding another election and, more importantly, describing the Afghan government as a sham and entirely illegitimate.


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  #100  
Old September 20th, 2009, 1:50 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Taliban Leader Urges US, NATO To Look At History

Ordinarily I would just dismiss propaganda for what it is, but in this case this guy has got a point. Afghanistan has a long history of war. They are good at it. This doesn't make The Taliban the good guys, not even remotely. But, it does mean that unless we level the whole country, and kill every one of them in one shot we don't stand a chance of erradicating The Taliban.

This article suggests that support for the war is waning, and, I suppose to a degree, it is. This is a just war, a logical war. If we have to keep fighting for a hundred years to keep these radicals in check, and keep them from organizing another strike on U.S. soil or that of the rest of the world, then so be it. If keeping them in their own country, and away from us is all we can do, then we are still winning.

So let us look at History: Alexander The Great was held off (of course, Alexander did lose occasionally). The USSR retreated (the country looked like a good place to build a few vodka distilleries). The British finally cut their losses (it was just another piece of real estate, but, apparently the cost per acre was too high after 80 years). Czarist Russia (not to be confused with the USSR) came and went off and on (it was competing with the British to gobble up "lawless" territories to expand the empire). The Mongols held onto it for 300 years before abandoning it (they had a tendancy to fight and kill each other as much as they did their enemies...little wonder they were as successful on worldwide campaigns, eh?). Then, of course, the Mujahadeen's various factions, once united against the USSR, began a lot of in-fighting, giving rise to the Taliban (who are just a bunch of zealots looking for 72 virgins in Paradise, and seem bent on getting there).

Afghanistan has known nothing but war for much of the last 2400 years, only finding a loose peace interspaced between power transitions. The only thing that has changed over the years are the weapons. Because of this my mind sits teetering on the fence of reason and insanity. It seems to me the only way to finally end this is to just wipe them off the face of the Earth. This, of course, has the reasoning side of my mind screaming "You facist idiot!"


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Last edited by rigdoctorbri; September 20th, 2009 at 2:07 am.
 
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