Afghan fighting - the latest reports.

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
I heard that ! (pardon?)
 
As your report says, most of the problems with mining REMs in Afghanistan are stalled by the security situation. They want secure areas. The govt doesn’t have the ability to secure those areas so any chance of China (or whoever) mining the REMs and making money for the Afghan govt is pretty minimal. A bit of ‘Catch 22’ ie if the mines were working the govt would have the money to secure the areas.

What's happening in Herat ?
Taliban kill dozens of police in western Afghan province
Drug smuggling to Iran, Taliban spring offensive, Afghan Police shot. US and Afghan reinforcements in to try and stabilise the situation:
Farid Bakhtawar, head of the Farah provincial council, said fighters had stormed a police base overnight in Balabuluk, a district that has been under heavy pressure for months, killing at least 23 and wounding three.

In a separate attack in Farah city, Taliban fighters killed 11 police and seized a large quantity of weapons and equipment, he said.
 
It’s always better to negotiate from a position of strength

Taliban have given help to AQ in the past. Same as all of the other groups There’s a thing called GCT or Global Counter Terrorism. I personally don’t want the country to be controlled by groups who aid global terror groups, much as what happened prior to late 2001.
Seriously? You use the 911 argument for spending 17 years in Afghanistan when it was our 'allies' the Saudis who were largely responsible?

Prolonging the Afghanistan war is good for American contractors profits. This is the main reason for staying
 
Seriously? You use the 911 argument for spending 17 years in Afghanistan when it was our 'allies' the Saudis who were largely responsible?
Saudi’s? Or Saudi govt? Weren’t OBL and AQ in Afghanistan at the time? Must have missed that .......
Prolonging the Afghanistan war is good for American contractors profits. This is the main reason for staying
If you say so. Trump wanted out. His General’s told him what would happen. He reinforced.

The only political solution for Afghanistan, for it to actually have any kind of future and stability allowing it to use its resources is for a negotiated peace with the Taliban. Maybe the Haqqani as well. That just leaves IS-K and a few others to deal with.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Cheers S-B.

If I recall, Farah was a U.S responsibility back in the day, on account of it snuggling up to the Iranian border. I expect there's a fair amount of SIGINT set up over there ?

Every time I hear rumbles about ' More British troops for Afghanistan' it's HMG testing public opinion before committing boots on the ground. I don't think UK civpop wants us to go back in any strength.

Which in turn demonstrates the hollowness of our Security Council cred....

Trump wanted out. His General’s told him what would happen. He reinforced.
That will be down to Gen. Mattis more than anyone else. Plain speaking man and a Marine to the soles of his J C Penny loafers....
 
Cheers S-B.

If I recall, Farah was a U.S responsibility back in the day, on account of it snuggling up to the Iranian border. I expect there's a fair amount of SIGINT set up over there ?
It was but it’s also where EFPs and other IED components were intercepted by U.K. forces coming from Iran
Every time I hear rumbles about ' More British troops for Afghanistan' it's HMG testing public opinion before committing boots on the ground. I don't think UK civpop wants us to go back in any strength.
I agree. There’s no appetite for the same troop levels there were in the Herrick days, especially the peak
Which in turn demonstrates the hollowness of our Security Council cred....
P5 and all that. Still, it’d be helpful if one of the P5 wasn’t supplying the Taliban
That will be down to Gen. Mattis more than anyone else. Plain speaking man and a Marine to the soles of his J C Penny loafers....
Not just him. There’s reports from those in theatre asking for more troops posted earlier in the thread
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
This is a worthwhile thread - don't let our lurking friends forget that there are still British lives on the line in AFG every single day.

Re the Chinese copper mine - I suspect they have paused to get a few internal lines squared away.

If the Afghan Govt was approached by China for permission to put three battalions of PLA on the ground around that mountain I'm pretty sure the answer would be :

'How big is the brown envelope? Okay that's fine'

 
Baby powder helping fund Islamic State in Afghanistan - report
There was me thinking it was drugs. It would appear talc (as in talcum powder). Maybe there's some form of talc like dolphin friendly tuna, so that you know it comes from legitimate sources:
About 500,000 tonnes of talc, used in products ranging from paint to baby powder, were exported from Afghanistan in the year to March, according to Afghan mining ministry figures cited in the group’s report.

Almost all went to Pakistan, where much of it is re-exported. Pakistan provides more than a third of U.S. imports of talc and much also ends up in the European Union, it said.

“Unwitting American and European consumers are inadvertently helping fund extremist groups in Afghanistan,” Nick Donovan, Campaign Director at Global Witness, said in a statement, calling for stronger checks on imports.
Rebels, including IS are fighting for control of the areas being mined and IS say 'At any price we will take the mines.'
Illegal mining of gemstones and minerals such as lapis lazuli is a major source of revenue for Taliban insurgents and the report said Islamic State was fighting for control of mines in Nangarhar, the province where it has its stronghold.

Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan, has large deposits of talc as well as minerals such as chromite and marble, and sits on major smuggling routes used for drugs and other contraband.

The report quoted a senior Islamic State militant commander as saying that wresting control of mining assets from other armed groups in Nangarhar was a priority: “The mines are in the hands of the mafia ... At any price we will take the mines.”
Elite U.S. special operations commander picked to lead Afghan war
Scott Miller may be taking over from Mick Nicholson as Commander for coalition forces in Afghanistan. He's former Delta and Gothic Serpent (aka Blackhawk Down)
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Putting a SOCOM man in charge confirms the U.S use of small unit ops, rather than attempting to garrison CIMIC houses and hoping the 'ink-blot strategy ' would work in AFG.

EDIT: Rather than start a new thread, if there are any Op Herrick veterans who are at a loose end this summer, this may be of interest: https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/casting-call-5-18-herrick-veterans.277715/

Reputable company, not much pay but 8 week working holiday if you get picked. Over to you guys. PM me if you have questions.
 
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Well worth following the link.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
In a nutshell:

Source: https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/lessonslearned/SIGAR-18-48-LL.pdf

" This report draws important lessons from the U.S. experience with stabilization in Afghanistan from 2002–2017, with a special focus on the years after 2009 when most of the $4.7 billion in stabilization funds was spent. With the rise of the Islamic State and its affiliates, making poorly governed spaces inhospitable to transnational terrorist groups remains a vital U.S. national security priority.

Our analysis reveals the U.S. government greatly overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions in Afghanistan as part of its stabilization strategy. We found the stabilization strategy and the programs used to achieve it were not properly tailored to the Afghan context, and successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of coalition troops and civilians. As a result, by the time all prioritized districts had transitioned from coalition to Afghan control in 2014, the services and protection Afghan forces and civil servants were in a position to provide often could not compete with a resurgent Taliban as it filled the void in newly vacated territory. "




" Moreover, given that stabilization was occasionally effective in Afghanistan, we believe it may be more effective in other countries if the lessons below are learned and applied in future stabilization missions.
  1. Even under the best circumstances, stabilization takes time. Without the patience and political will for a planned and prolonged effort, large-scale stabilization missions are likely to fail.
  2. Most U.S. government capabilities and institutions necessary in a large scale stabilization mission should be established and maintained between contingencies if they are to be effective when they matter most.
  3. Having qualified and experienced personnel in the right positions at the right times is vital to stabilization’s success.
  4. Increased funding alone cannot compensate for stabilization’s inherent challenges, and believing that it will can exacerbate those challenges.
  5. Physical security is the bedrock of stabilization.
  6. The presence of local governance is a precondition for effective stabilization programming.
  7. Stabilizing communities requires a tailored approach.
  8. Stabilization efforts must be rigorously monitored and evaluated.
  9. Successfully conceiving and implementing a stabilization strategy requires extensive local knowledge of the host-nation government and population.
  10. Winning hearts and minds requires a close examination of what has won and lost the hearts and minds of that particular population in the recent past. "

The point for the endless internal politicking is that the Report recommends that STATE Dept takes the lead and has primacy, not DoD.

We are always eager in UK to point out where 'The Yanks' have got it all wrong.

It would be refreshing to learn that HMG had conducted a similarly frank exercise? (I ain't holding my breath.)

If there has been such a UK report, please post a link ? Thanks.
 
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Re the Chinese copper mine - I suspect they have paused to get a few internal lines squared away.

If the Afghan Govt was approached by China for permission to put three battalions of PLA on the ground around that mountain I'm pretty sure the answer would be :

'How big is the brown envelope? Okay that's fine'
It is the obvious option for an imperialist expansive power with money to spare, but the Chinese are aware of the long game and the long game in Afghanistan is 'stay away'. I'd be surprised if they go down this route.
 
  1. Winning hearts and minds requires a close examination of what has won and lost the hearts and minds of that particular population in the recent past. "
and acknowledging that when the winning answers are 'Get out of my country' and 'keep out of my country' you have to accept that you cannot win by being in their country.
 
U.S., Afghan forces clear Islamic State from eastern district
US SOF assisting Afghan troops against IS-K. Clearing up ops now, especially mines etc. The area is/was one which provided money, logistics to IS-K and was used to plan and prepare attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad:
The operation in Deh Bala, on the border with Pakistan, began at the end of April and was largely complete in early June but final mine clearance operations are still under way, said Lt. Col. Josh Thiel, from the U.S. First Special Forces Group.

“This was one of the main green zones that did two things. One, it provided money, finance, logistics to ISIS (Islamic State) and we’ve taken that away from them,” he said. “Additionally, ISIS was using this as a site to prepare and move high-profile attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad.”
167 IS-K fighters killed and had to look up ‘fungible’ as apparently it’s what the network is like:
“The network is very fungible...,” said Brigadier General John Brennan, Resolute Support commander in eastern Afghanistan.

“I wouldn’t say the actual suicide bombers came from Deh Bala, but facilitation runs all along the border and part of it used to come through here.”
of goods contracted for without an individual specimen being specified) replaceable by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.
 
@Electromagnetic : Re. Your embedded media.

That's faintly encouraging. But it's the voice of a young, moneyed, urban elite minority. Only when their attitudes are mirrored and acted upon by a majority of the uneducated poor living in the near-mediaeval rural clan communities outside the Kabul bubble will it represent a real prospect for peace, cohesion and progress in what we call Afghanistan.

I don't expect to see that in my lifetime, and I doubt my kids will live long enough to see it happen, either.
 
@Electromagnetic : Re. Your embedded media.

That's faintly encouraging. But it's the voice of a young, moneyed, urban elite minority. Only when their attitudes are mirrored and acted upon by a majority of the uneducated poor living in the near-mediaeval rural clan communities outside the Kabul bubble will it represent a real prospect for peace, cohesion and progress in what we call Afghanistan.

I don't expect to see that in my lifetime, and I doubt my kids will live long enough to see it happen, either.
There was some discussion on this on BBC World Service this morning.
 

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