Afghanistan Sold Short -- Allied Troops Die

#1
Afghanistan Sold Short -- Allied Troops Die

The situation in Afghanistan has gotten me pretty pissed off these days. I got off the phone a little while ago with the commander of a battalion of Marines -- 2nd battalion, 7th Marine Regiment -- who's trying to hold back the waters of "Taliban" violence manning the ramparts of a 28,000 square kilometer area of operations ... a swath the size of Vermont, he said.

Because of this lack of forces, Lt. Col. Richard Hall, the battalion CO, has lost by my count 13 Marines in the short time he's been in Afghanistan. That's getting close to the total number of Marines killed in Iraq this year. Hall's been extended once already -- and he's praying for relief by November if Gates will free up some Marines from Anbar (Iraq) as the commandant reiterated his desire to do today at the Pentagon.

My fundamental question is how could we have let it get this bad? Hall said he's got no coalition forces buffering his provinces (Helmand and Farah) to the north, so the enemy slips back and forth with impunity. He says the "Taliban" that are killing his men aren't religious fanatics -- they're criminals who are pissed about the disruption of their smuggling routes.
More on the link
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/004390.html
 
#2
Skynet I was equally p****d off by the complacent attitude on display by Brit Ambassador in Kabul. I had a big anti-afghan day today, disgusted by calculating people who appear to be content to allow the slaughter of brit troops to continue with absolutely no change to the policy on drug eradication. Well, let's face it there isn't one and our guys will continue to get killed because the insurgency is strengthening.

"Afghanistan death rate for British troops tops height of Iraq fighting
British forces are now being killed in Afghanistan at a faster rate than at the height of the war in Iraq, experts have warned."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/new...tish-troops-tops-height-of-Iraq-fighting.html


Huge respect as ever for the undermanned front line.
 
#3
It seems to me that the American commanders can tell it like it is yet the Brit commanders in comparison act like virgins in a brothel. Without a rethink our policy is doomed and in my opinion we should either get on with it in a determined way to prevail or pack our bags and go.
 
#4
Skynet said:
It seems to me that the American commanders can tell it like it is yet the Brit commanders in comparison act like virgins in a brothel. Without a rethink our policy is doomed and in my opinion we should either get on with it in a determined way to prevail or pack our bags and go.
An interesting quote. Your Septic commanders ‘telling it like it is,’ does that involve bombing a shed load of civilians and then lying through your teeth, claiming there was no more than 30 AQ? No worries it was only 90 civvies, 50 kids. I’m sure the Afghan people will understand it’s all just collateral damage. You’ll be happy with the appointment of General McNiell then; after all “Bomber McNiell,” will happily kill anyone who stands in the way. It is THIS POLICY CHANGE that is leading to the increase of AQ and the increased attacks on, and fatalities among, coalition troops; not soft British officers.

Under General Richards the Taliban made no real gains and were being pounded to a piece of shit, whilst maintaining the hearts and minds of the natives. When it comes down to it Willpower vs. Firepower there can only be one winner, you think the US would have learned that by now. This “Virgin in a brothel,” act as you put it, is the only way we can be successful in Ganners. Dropping a JDAM and not giving a damn about the consequences is only recruiting for AQ, so you might kill 10 men, you are giving them an entire village in recruits.

You are right a policy change is required, we have to return to General Richards’ “Soft,” policy and the Septics have to get over there inferiority complex and stop putting their perceived image in front of the most combat effective plan. It is like they would rather fill Arlington Cemetery than do something that might make them appear weak, even if appearing weak for a minute creates peace.

Just my opinion anyway.
 
#5
i would suggest the biggest step would be to remove political interference from the decision / policy making. Even the most brief studies of the failure of the US in vietnam shows that a large part of the issue was political interference. historically, uk governments have allowed our forces to 'get on with it', but that is not the case with new labour as i understand it. get the politicians out of it, and let the poeple on the ground deal with things. (the washing machine example comes to mind ...again)
 
#7
pvtePile said:
BBC
loki-1984, the 50 children bit was a bit under the belt..since kabul has sacked the 2 people responsible in that region who authorised the attack
BBC said:
“President Karzai subsequently sacked Gen Jalandar Shah Behnam, head of the army in western Afghanistan, and Maj Abdul Jabar, for "neglecting their duties and concealing the facts", indicating that they were partly to blame for the incident.”
The Afghani’s make a token gesture and sack two of their top brass, but there will be no disciplinary action for the US fly boys. I know these guys are saving our arrses day in day out but there is no accountability for them, ala Lance Corporal Matty Hull (RIP) and many others.


[quote="PvtePile]...America might not be wrong in this one...
[/quote]

They certainly were not right…

BBC said:
"The destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with some seven-eight houses having been totally destroyed and serious damage to many others.”
Do you seriously believe that they thought they could have dropped, what must have been, significant ordnance on a built up area without inflicting heavy civilian casualties.

I am not trying to focus on this incident and say “Look, the Septics killed X amont of civvies,” I was simply using it as an example to the shift in policy to “Telling it like it is.” :roll:
 
#9
Blah blah blah, lets turn this into a pissing match between us and the yanks thats such a good idea. NOT

War is sh1t, and sh1t happens, bad and terrible things happen to good and innocent people who don't deserve to die. Children are maimed, and orphaned, wives are widowed. Things go wrong.

So, does it make it any better to have a pop at our allies when things go wrong?

I can't say that their top brass say it as it is, but I am very comfortable in saying ours certainly don't well not until they have got their pensions. Is it because our CoC respects the political hirarchy? or is it because they want to protect their ARRSE's until they can retire? I cant say for sure as I don't know anyone in that pay grade.
 
#10
Loki-1984 said:
Skynet said:
It seems to me that the American commanders can tell it like it is yet the Brit commanders in comparison act like virgins in a brothel. Without a rethink our policy is doomed and in my opinion we should either get on with it in a determined way to prevail or pack our bags and go.
An interesting quote. Your Septic commanders ‘telling it like it is,’ does that involve bombing a shed load of civilians and then lying through your teeth, claiming there was no more than 30 AQ? No worries it was only 90 civvies, 50 kids. I’m sure the Afghan people will understand it’s all just collateral damage. You’ll be happy with the appointment of General McNiell then; after all “Bomber McNiell,” will happily kill anyone who stands in the way. It is THIS POLICY CHANGE that is leading to the increase of AQ and the increased attacks on, and fatalities among, coalition troops; not soft British officers.



Under General Richards the Taliban made no real gains and were being pounded to a piece of s***, whilst maintaining the hearts and minds of the natives. When it comes down to it Willpower vs. Firepower there can only be one winner, you think the US would have learned that by now. This “Virgin in a brothel,” act as you put it, is the only way we can be successful in Ganners. Dropping a JDAM and not giving a damn about the consequences is only recruiting for AQ, so you might kill 10 men, you are giving them an entire village in recruits.

You are right a policy change is required, we have to return to General Richards’ “Soft,” policy and the Septics have to get over there inferiority complex and stop putting their perceived image in front of the most combat effective plan. It is like they would rather fill Arlington Cemetery than do something that might make them appear weak, even if appearing weak for a minute creates peace.

Just my opinion anyway.
Hello Loki-1984
You seem to have missed my point or I put it over in too simplistic a manner. The reason we are not making progress and are unable to adopt a soft policy is surely because we do not have enough troops on the ground. We seem to be using a sward and not a rapier. It seems to me that imprecise air power is having to be used because we do not have the ability to do otherwise? The American Marines are merely saying we will never win here until we get more troops on the ground. Surely it cannot make for good policy when our senior commanders are not clearly saying this. It may not have been in the past, policy for senior officers to speak out in a more robust fashion,however it seems to work better with our present politicians. We are surely not going to maintain an effective army which for the next decade or so takes casualties but makes little progress.
 
#11
Throwing more bodies at a problem is not always the best way forward. The British fought the Malayan insurgency by winning hearts and minds and convincing the average Malayan villager that he/she would be safe because the British Army would protect them. The result was a total collapse in morale of the insurgents who ended their activities believing they could not win.
There is never an easy answer to the problem, partly muddied by the perception by many of the indigenous population that the ISAF are there as an invading Army. Any miscalculation by allied forces which ends in the death of innocents will be a propaganda goldmine for the opposition and, as stated earlier, be a recruitment bonanza for AQ or the individual warlords vying to extend or consolidate their own fiefdom.
However, what is an indisputable fact is that our own morale and ability to fight/win hearts and minds effectively will be buoyed by being issued the latest and best equipment possible and the belief that what is attempted or achieved is given the full and unequivocal support of the population, the Government and the media.
 
#12
The only way you can have proper reconstruction and create the climate for winning hearts and minds is by security, the only way you can achieve even a modicum of security is by having sufficient boots on the ground, properly equipped.

There also needs to be a clear and unequivical message from the politicians that the troops will stay as long as it takes, if that means 20, 30, 40 years then that must be stated.

Our enemies look at the long term, we must also get into the habit of doing the same.

As Biscuits mentioned, sh*t happens, sh*t is always going to happen in war and Joe Public needs to learn to deal with tragedy because none of this is going to go away.

We could withdraw from Iraq, we could withdraw from Afghanistan and the only result would be that the Islamists would see it as proof that they are winning. They would up the ante, the more ground we give up, the more they will demand.

In their minds they are convinced that the West has no stomach for a fight, we must show them in no uncertain terms that they have badly misjudged us.
 
#13
When you say we, just who exactly are you referring to?

Surely, the weakness at the heart of the Afg campaign is the unwillingess of NATO countries to share the burden. I do not believe it is worth destroying our Armed Forces for. FFS the French reportedly only have 2 helos in country and they were allegedly ferrying around top brass when their own guys were under fire last week, shortly before allegedly running out of ammo. The unwillingness of NATO countries to stand and fight extends to a myriad of different ROE. In the end the Taliban will take the fight to every military outfit in Afg, witness the attack in the North just yesterday.

I am tired of hearing that 4 or 5 countries have to take the burden and bring home the coffins.
 
#14
nigegilb said:
When you say we, just who exactly are you referring to?

Surely, the weakness at the heart of the Afg campaign is the unwillingess of NATO countries to share the burden. I do not believe it is worth destroying our Armed Forces for. FFS the French reportedly only have 2 helos in country and they were allegedly ferrying around top brass when their own guys were under fire last week, shortly before allegedly running out of ammo. The unwillingness of NATO countries to stand and fight extends to a myriad of different ROE. In the end the Taliban will take the fight to every military outfit in Afg, witness the attack in the North just yesterday.

I am tired of hearing that 4 or 5 countries have to take the burden and bring home the coffins.
I of course am referring to our so called allies, it is outrageous that only a few nations should bear this burden whilst others bury their heads in the sand.

By the blood of our people, their lands are being kept safe.

The Islamists are a threat to every single democratic or secular nation on the planet.

Their clearly stated and long term aim is not only the removal of western influence from muslim lands and the restoration of The Caliphate, but a completely Islamist world.

Does anyone think they are not serious about this?
 
#15
The_Cad said:
The only way you can have proper reconstruction and create the climate for winning hearts and minds is by security, the only way you can achieve even a modicum of security is by having sufficient boots on the ground, properly equipped.

There also needs to be a clear and unequivical message from the politicians that the troops will stay as long as it takes, if that means 20, 30, 40 years then that must be stated.

Our enemies look at the long term, we must also get into the habit of doing the same.

As Biscuits mentioned, sh*t happens, sh*t is always going to happen in war and Joe Public needs to learn to deal with tragedy because none of this is going to go away.

We could withdraw from Iraq, we could withdraw from Afghanistan and the only result would be that the Islamists would see it as proof that they are winning. They would up the ante, the more ground we give up, the more they will demand.

In their minds they are convinced that the West has no stomach for a fight, we must show them in no uncertain terms that they have badly misjudged us.
Fair enough. I pretty much agree but it isn't just troops that we need over there. The aid agencies need a kick. Without significant improvement to the lives/conditions of ordinary Afghans, why should they support us?

The washing machine story is truly awful. While that attitude prevails, the task is going to be much harder.
 
#16
SkiCarver said:
i would suggest the biggest step would be to remove political interference from the decision / policy making. Even the most brief studies of the failure of the US in vietnam shows that a large part of the issue was political interference. historically, uk governments have allowed our forces to 'get on with it', but that is not the case with new labour as i understand it. get the politicians out of it, and let the poeple on the ground deal with things. (the washing machine example comes to mind ...again)

The whole point is the political outcome!

In fact, the real problem with Vietnam could be described as trying to the overuse of the military to force a political solution.

Regards the washing machine- have you read 'A million bullets'? I don't know the truth on that one, but it's not as simple as going round letting 'squaddies get on with things'.
 
#17
Jelly_Fish said:
SkiCarver said:
i would suggest the biggest step would be to remove political interference from the decision / policy making. Even the most brief studies of the failure of the US in vietnam shows that a large part of the issue was political interference. historically, uk governments have allowed our forces to 'get on with it', but that is not the case with new labour as i understand it. get the politicians out of it, and let the poeple on the ground deal with things. (the washing machine example comes to mind ...again)

The whole point is the political outcome!

In fact, the real problem with Vietnam could be described as trying to the overuse of the military to force a political solution.

Regards the washing machine- have you read 'A million bullets'? I don't know the truth on that one, but it's not as simple as going round letting 'squaddies get on with things'.
How can you have a political solution with an idealogy whose followers are diverse as they are extreme? You cannot negotiate with the Islamists, the ordinary Afghans are another matter and we certainly need a twin track approach.

The only solution when dealing with Islamists is a military one because they cannot compromise their version of Islam, as far as they are concerned they are following the word of God. Anyone who doesn't agree with them is either a Kuffar or an apostate.

As far as they are concerned, humanitarian relief is merely the unbelievers trying to weaken Islam so they not only have no problem killing aid workers, but it is their religious duty to do so.

Against this background we need to take a long hard look at what strategy we employ in the future.
 
#18
The_Cad said:
How can you have a political solution with an idealogy whose followers are diverse as they are extreme? You cannot negotiate with the Islamists, the ordinary Afghans are another matter and we certainly need a twin track approach.

The only solution when dealing with Islamists is a military one because they cannot compromise their version of Islam, as far as they are concerned they are following the word of God. Anyone who doesn't agree with them is either a Kuffar or an apostate.

As far as they are concerned, humanitarian relief is merely the unbelievers trying to weaken Islam so they not only have no problem killing aid workers, but it is their religious duty to do so.

Against this background we need to take a long hard look at what strategy we employ in the future.
So long as we can agree that the majority of Afghans and even muslims are not Islamists then I agree with you. There is no way to argue in a logical manner with someone who simultaneously holds the opinions that:- God is all-powerful but needs their help to kill people that the all-powerful all-knowing God created but hasn't got the time/inclination to educate.

Most people are not like that however. The way to winning over the average Afghan is to improve their life. That is what we should concentrate on.
 
#19
Perturbed said:
The_Cad said:
How can you have a political solution with an idealogy whose followers are diverse as they are extreme? You cannot negotiate with the Islamists, the ordinary Afghans are another matter and we certainly need a twin track approach.

The only solution when dealing with Islamists is a military one because they cannot compromise their version of Islam, as far as they are concerned they are following the word of God. Anyone who doesn't agree with them is either a Kuffar or an apostate.

As far as they are concerned, humanitarian relief is merely the unbelievers trying to weaken Islam so they not only have no problem killing aid workers, but it is their religious duty to do so.

Against this background we need to take a long hard look at what strategy we employ in the future.
So long as we can agree that the majority of Afghans and even muslims are not Islamists then I agree with you. There is no way to argue in a logical manner with someone who simultaneously holds the opinions that:- God is all-powerful but needs their help to kill people that the all-powerful all-knowing God created but hasn't got the time/inclination to educate.

Most people are not like that however. The way to winning over the average Afghan is to improve their life. That is what we should concentrate on.
I totally agree, the biggest mistake anyone can make is to treat all Afghans or even Muslims as the same.
 
#20
Jelly_Fish said:
The whole point is the political outcome!

In fact, the real problem with Vietnam could be described as trying to the overuse of the military to force a political solution.
What is most interesting about Vietnam is that the communist government had been legitimately elected by the majority. The US encouraged some disaffected generals in the south to form a seperate breakaway regime to further their own political ends.
 

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