The Sorry State of Our War in the Failed State of Afghanistan

From “Our Troops in Afghanistan Are Props,” Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics:

“‘The mission in Afghanistan is on track…,’ Marine Gen. John Allen, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

“If Gen. Allen really believed that, he’d be delusional.

“Afghan solders and policemen have murdered a coalition soldier or aid worker once a week on average since early 2010, according to an Army study.

“Our soldiers think their Afghan ‘allies’ are unstable, incompetent, drug abusers and thieves, according to that Army study, ‘A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility.’  They call them cowardly and lazy and say they lack discipline….

“The Afghans don’t like us either.  ‘Many ANSF members demonstrated a general loathing of U. S. soldiers,’ the study said.

“A Taliban victory is ‘inevitable’ once coalition troops withdraw, concluded a NATO intelligence report last month.  The Taliban remains ‘resilient’; the Afghan government and security forces are corrupt and ineffective, a U. S. National Intelligence Estimate, also in February, concluded.”


What Pakistan Wants

Pakistan’s Parliament is debating what it wants from the U. S. to resume full diplomatic relations, including re-opening of NATO’s supply route to Afghanistan.  What’s Urdu for chutzpah?

They want us to pay to transport our supplies to Afghanistan.  Because, you know, that $20 billion we’ve given them since 9/11 just isn’t enough.

They want us to apologize for  a mistaken attack that killed 24 of their soldiers near the Afghan border last November, a mistake that was partly their fault.  Where’s their apology for hiding bin Laden all those years?

And the big one, the ain’t-gonna-happen one, is that they want us to end our drone strikes against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Nothing about their ending sanctuary for terrorists.  The drone strikes are one of the few smart, successful things we are doing in that part of the world.

Our response to this crap?  I think we should go with Richard Armitage’s approach, when he called then-President Musharraf after 9/11 and threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age. (We can’t make that threat against Afghanistan, since they are already in the Stone Age).  We can’t be allied with Pakistan when they are providing safe haven and support to our enemies.  The friend of our enemy is our enemy too.

Ten Years, One Brigade

Ok, so we’ve been in Afghanistan for ten-and-a-half years.  According to NATO as of last year, only one brigade in the Afghan National Army was capable of fighting independently.  That’s one out of 158.

We are planning to leave Afghanistan in two-and-a-half years.  How are we going to get those other 157 brigades trained and ready?

What am I missing here?  More importantly, what is President Obama missing?

Good Point on Afghanistan

“What if the NATO transition plan for Afghanistan is based upon faulty assumptions or has created fissures that are being ignored because they are unnerving or inconvenient?  Does NATO or the Obama Administration have the capacity to honestly reassess the plan, identify its mistaken premises, and adjust?  Or do politics, fiscal limits, and the sheer exhaustion of Western governments with Afghanistan’s intractable problems mean, in effect, that the choice comes down to the success or failure of a plan set in place several years ago, one that is still on a kind of automatic pilot?”

Steve Coll, “What Is Plan B in Afghanistan,” The New Yorker

The Mess That Is Afghanistan

“In a measure of the mounting mistrust between Afghans and the coalition, however, many Afghans, including lawmakers and other officials, said they believed the attacks had been planned, and were incredulous that one American soldier could have carried out such attacks without help.

“Officials described growing concern over the cascade of missteps and offenses that has cast doubt on the ability of NATO personnel to carry out their mission, left troops and trainers increasingly vulnerable to violence by Afghans seeking revenge, and complicated tense negotiations on the terms of the long-term American presence in the country.”

“Attack Widely Condemned by Afghans as U. S. Investigates,” by Taimoor Shah and Graham Bowley, NYT

The Friend of Our Enemy Is Our Enemy

In the Middle East, they say the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  When it comes to our relationship with Pakistan, we have to recognize that the friend of our enemy is our enemy.

The NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and led to Pakistan’s closing both our military supply routes into Afghanistan just reinforces that our calling Pakistan an “ally” is absurd.  We have different regional goals and strategic interests from them.   We have not done nearly enough to tie our billions in aid to cooperation and results in going after the terrorists.

We have made progress on developing alternative routes into Afghanistan from Central Asia, but meanwhile our vehicles stranded in Pakistan right now are sitting ducks for terrorists.

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons make a frustrating relationship incredibly more complicated and dangerous and serve as an object lesson that we must stop Iran from joining the nuclear club.