How a ‘Good War’ in Afghanistan Went Bad - NYTimes

#2
part of that article

[...]

To Afghans, a Fickle Effort

In September 2005, NATO defense ministers gathered in Berlin to complete plans for NATO troops to take over security in Afghanistan’s volatile south. It was the most ambitious “out of area” operations in NATO history, and across Europe, leaders worried about getting support from their countries. Then, American military officials dropped a bombshell.

The Pentagon, they said, was considering withdrawing up to 3,000 troops from Afghanistan, roughly 20 percent of total American forces.

NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said he had protested to Mr. Rumsfeld that a partial American withdrawal would discourage others from sending troops.

In the end, the planned troop reduction was abandoned, but chiefly because the American ground commander at the time, Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, concluded that the Taliban were returning and that he needed to shift troops to the east to try to stop them. But the announcement had sent a signal of a wavering American commitment.

“The Afghan people still doubt our staying power,” General Eikenberry said. “They have seen the world walk away from them before.”

To sell their new missions at home, British, Dutch and Canadian officials portrayed deployments to Afghanistan as safe, and better than sending troops to Iraq. Germany and Italy prevented their forces from being sent on combat missions in volatile areas. Those regions were to be left to the Americans, Canadians, British and Dutch.

Three months after announcing the proposed troop withdrawal, the White House Office of Management and Budget cut aid to Afghanistan by a third.

Ms. Rice said that much of the money allocated to Afghanistan the previous year had not been spent. “There was an absorption problem,” she said.

Mr. Neumann, then the ambassador, said he had argued against the decision.

Even so, American assistance to Afghanistan dropped by 38 percent, from $4.3 billion in fiscal 2005 to $3.1 billion in fiscal 2006, according to a study by the Congressional Research Service.

By February 2006, Mr. Neumann had come to the conclusion that the Taliban were planning a spring offensive, and he sent a cable to his superiors.

“I had a feeling that the view was too rosy in Washington,” recalled Mr. Neumann, who retired from the State Department in June. “I was concerned.”

Mr. Neumann’s cable proved prophetic. In the spring of 2006, the Taliban carried out their largest offensive since 2001, attacking British, Canadian and Dutch troops in southern Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Taliban swarmed into the south, setting up checkpoints, assassinating officials and burning schools. Suicide bombings quintupled to 136. Roadside bombings doubled. All told, 191 American and NATO troops died in 2006, a 20 percent increase over the 2005 toll. For the first time, it became nearly as dangerous, statistically, to serve as an American in Afghanistan as in Iraq.

[...]
 
#3
Another sidelight as to why things are getting difficult to solve

UK officer calls for US special forces to quit Afghan hotspot


High civilian toll as teams rely on air strikes to provide cover

Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday August 10, 2007
The Guardian

Tension between British and American commanders in southern Afghanistan erupted into the open yesterday as a senior UK military officer said he had asked the US to withdraw its special forces from a volatile area that was crucial in the battle against the Taliban.

British and Nato defence officials have consistently expressed concern about US tactics, notably air strikes, which kill civilians, sabotaging the battle for "hearts and minds" and infuriating Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

More at:

Hop Along Cassidy
These things will occur when a mix of different types of troops are employed because of the differing mindset that is singular to each country.

Notwithstanding, in a Counter Insurgency environment, it is essential not to alienate the local population. Wanton killing or heavy armed tactics is obviously not the answer. A great amount of sensitivity is required, even if one may feel like emptying a whole magazine in anger or disgust. Unless one is dead sure that one is a terrorist, one should desist from firing with the inevitable result of killing or maiming.

Afghanistan is important to the US and ISAF cause since it is important that Afghanistan turn out to be a success story in the pall of gloom that floats heavy over Iraq! Unlike, the govt in Iraq, which is practically lameduck, the Afghan govt has at least some sheen of governance.

Hotheadedness in Afghanistan will only bring in an Iraq like situation.
 
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