Afghanistan - “we didn’t know what we were doing”

The US SIGAR* interviews have been forced out into the open by the Washington Post using US FOI requests.

Whilst there is nothing shocking if you’ve been paying attention, some pretty eye opening quotes, including the pull quote from Lt Gen Lute** in the thread title.

Of course, it would be interesting to see if we had something similar, perhaps where senior Officers involved in HERRICK were interviewed, and their responses recorded. I mean, we could’ve done that, but in common with other critical aspects of HERRICK (cf my signature block), what we absolutely wouldn’t have done is watered down their criticisms and obfuscated them. That would not be in the spirit of learning etc...

The source documents


The source article from WaPo





*Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
** The Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan under both Bush 43 and Obama. In effect, the top US Civilian for both wars.
 
The US SIGAR* interviews have been forced out into the open by the Washington Post using US FOI requests.

Whilst there is nothing shocking if you’ve been paying attention, some pretty eye opening quotes, including the pull quote from Lt Gen Lute** in the thread title.

Of course, it would be interesting to see if we had something similar, perhaps where senior Officers involved in HERRICK were interviewed, and their responses recorded. I mean, we could’ve done that, but in common with other critical aspects of HERRICK (cf my signature block), what we absolutely wouldn’t have done is watered down their criticisms and obfuscated them. That would not be in the spirit of learning etc...

The source documents


The source article from WaPo





*Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
** The Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan under both Bush 43 and Obama. In effect, the top US Civilian for both wars.
People wanted jobs and promotion and in American parlance the system is infested by ticket punchers.
 

Toppet

War Hero
The US SIGAR* interviews have been forced out into the open by the Washington Post using US FOI requests.

Whilst there is nothing shocking if you’ve been paying attention, some pretty eye opening quotes, including the pull quote from Lt Gen Lute** in the thread title.

Of course, it would be interesting to see if we had something similar, perhaps where senior Officers involved in HERRICK were interviewed, and their responses recorded. I mean, we could’ve done that, but in common with other critical aspects of HERRICK (cf my signature block), what we absolutely wouldn’t have done is watered down their criticisms and obfuscated them. That would not be in the spirit of learning etc...

The source documents


The source article from WaPo





*Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
** The Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan under both Bush 43 and Obama. In effect, the top US Civilian for both wars.
Thank you for these - I worked alongside SIGAR for a tour so will be interested to read.
 

Mufulira

Old-Salt
Canada's Parliament is going over an 'after action' US report on this country's experience in Afghanistan and it makes for sad reading indeed. What is obvious is you cannot do war on the cheap and 'nickel and diming' your commitment is never a good way to go. It becomes apparent to your troops that cost is always on someone's mind and that, that someone is usually far away from all the expensive bullets being sent down range, Never mind the ticket-punching class who need some tour time on the personal ticket to CGS and beyond into parliament.
 

Poppycock

Clanker
The Times review of the Afghanistan Papers gives the Brits a kicking - unprepared / dysfunctional / manipulating data / fraudulent nonsense - are just a few choice phrases used to describe us

And here was me thinking we'd won after Dave Cameron said "mission accomplished"

 
You’ve obviously not been paying attention if you think any of that is new news.
 
what is disappointing is the level of interest this seems to have generated in the US (and to a lesser extent here) given the fact that they still have significant numbers of troops in the country and continue to provide significant financial support to the Afghan government.

everyone seems to agree that its a mess which is progressing nowhere but no-one seems willing to tell the emperor that he has no clothes
 
It's just that people get tired after a while of the same news cycle and move on.

There's only so much they give attention to.
i understand that, and we've been hearing noises about this for years, but the reason i mentioned the US and not also the UK is due to the fact that the states are still losing people out there, and to what end?
 
i understand that, and we've been hearing noises about this for years, but the reason i mentioned the US and not also the UK is due to the fact that the states are still losing people out there, and to what end?
I have no clue actually...prop up/ support the gov't..- which will eventually fall once the insurgency/ Taliban comes in again? I actually don't know.
 
I was going to post this on the Cummings/Defence procurement thread but it probably just as appropriate here;

My point is not ‘the DfE / Whitehall is filled with rubbish people’ – it is that Whitehall is a bureaucratic system that has gone wrong, so that duff people are promoted to the most senior roles and the thousands of able people who could do so much better cannot because of how they are managed and incentivised, hence lots of the best younger people leave and the duffers are promoted. I have been encouraged to explain the problems by many great officials particularly younger ones who are fed up of watching the farces that recur in such predictable, and avoidable, ways.

Dominic Cummings
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
American veterans speak about their time in Afghanistan

https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/post-reports/voices-from-the-war-in-afghanistan/

'I just thought 'This is bogus'.....for all of us who went over there who worked so hard and put our families through so much .......they had abandoned us......for them it was a box to check in their career.. why do you guys get to NOT care about it ?....after 3 years there and you don't get to see any progress and after 6 months at home you go back and the rock is back at the bottom of the hill...giant disconnect between what we were seeing living with these farmers in the valley and what was going on in the Pentagon and at Bagram....'

More at www.postreports.com
 
Missed this thread when it first was started. I was interviewed by SIGAR a few times when i was working out in Afghanistan. Was over naughty contracting companies maybe not doing what they were contracted to do. I hasten to add i was not working for these companies!! As has been said, there is a massive disconnect between what is happening on the ground and what is reported back home and to be fair that applies to the UK as well but obviously not as much for us now.
The money involved even still now out in Afghanistan keeping Coalition forces out there is still eye wateringly expensive. Not just what the military spends on itself but paying contractors to do mil esque jobs which the US rely heavily on.
 
Missed this thread when it first was started. I was interviewed by SIGAR a few times when i was working out in Afghanistan. Was over naughty contracting companies maybe not doing what they were contracted to do. I hasten to add i was not working for these companies!! As has been said, there is a massive disconnect between what is happening on the ground and what is reported back home and to be fair that applies to the UK as well but obviously not as much for us now.
The money involved even still now out in Afghanistan keeping Coalition forces out there is still eye wateringly expensive. Not just what the military spends on itself but paying contractors to do mil esque jobs which the US rely heavily on.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens to the Afghan economy once the outside money stops pouring in.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
I was briefly looking at Rory Stewart's profile and came across reference to a TED talk he gave back in 2011 on Afghanistan.

I took the trouble to track it down. 9 years ago he made some interesting points.

I'm not sure anyone has listened to what he actually said ...then or since.

Worth a quiet listen over a coffee (20 minutes)



[You'll just have to forgive his nervous tic over the David Beckham photo - yes, it's a .50 cal HMG, of course ]
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
Interesting TED talk, thanks.

What he doesn't mention, but is, in my opinion, a serious factor in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 'OJAR moment'.
 
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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Concur.

The wry point he makes about each incoming General ( including General Richards ) talking about their role in making it 'THE decisive year in Afghanistan ' is noted.
'
 

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