Return to Tora Bora

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by tomahawk6, Jun 7, 2005.

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  1. http://www.dod.mil/news/May2005/20050531_1444.html

    Afghanistan is a real success story. Combat operations that incorporate civic action are a real success. We are handing out more aid to the civilains than seeing actual combat, a good thing I think.
     
  2. You're joking, aren't you ? Mind you, if the US administration truly believes that nonsense then the reasons for their incompetent foreign policy become clear.

    Just a few things to ponder:

    Afghanistan is now the world's number one producer of opium for the drugs trade - an increase from practically zero under the Taliban. As it forms 60% of the economy any attempt to stop it will be met with force by the locals.

    However, as long as we leave their crops alone the locals won't get stressed if we turn up in overwhelming force bearing gifts. They'll just smile and wait for us to go away like all other foreign powers have done.

    Karzai controls Kabul and anywhere else foreign troops are. That's all. He has to be guarded by US contractors paid for by the US DoD as no Afghan can be trusted to do the job. He does not push outside his area as he does not wish to be pushed back. He tailors his policies to ensure support from the US and will not do anything that exposes his weakness. Afghanistan under his rule might well be a textbook example of a failed state. How many of his troops would when push came to shove choose to support him over their tribe ? Precious few.

    Look at the geographical footprint of US and other forces in Afghanistan. Outside these areas no real aid work goes on as no-one wants to take the risk. Most Afghans see nothing and just get on as best they can.

    The Taliban are still out there - and so is Bin Laden for that matter. They will wait and plan and one day come back in force. That's not my definition of "mission accomplished".

    Finally, if it's all so wonderful why are we all planning to boost troop numbers over there ? Or is it because our bosses think we all need a pleasant holiday in the paradise we've created.

    I used to think Soviet Union propaganda was simplistic but that tripe from the US DoD takes the biscuit.
     
  3. OOTS

    I think that you are too true, from what i have heard Afghan deployment is going to increase as it is handed over to NATO to administer.

    I really do feel that a whole can of worms has been opened and wasps nest twated with a baseball bat.

    Not to be simplistic just brief, look at how NI started and expanded, how long has that taken, this in a First world country on our doorstep.
     
  4. Bush refused an offer by the German government to send a battalion of specialised mountain troops (Gebirgsjäger, who are trained and equiped) to fight in alpine conditions to Afghanistan. Instead he let the flanks of the operation against Tora Bora be guarded by the Afghan Northern Alliance, who will fight for anybody who pays them. As we know today, OBL simply bribed the Afghan fighters to let him pass.

    Jan
     

  5. Jeez, talk about weeping into a half empty glass OOTS.

    So there is still Heroin production in Afghanistan. Is that (a) surprising, or (b) America's fault? Considering they have been producing the stuff there without hindrance for centuries (except of course when those nice Taliban boys were in charge), it's no surprise that the economy is dependent upon it.

    The difference now is that the Taliban have gone and young children are no longer stoned to death for picking their noses, elections have been held for the first time ever and the West now have immediate and direct influence in the one country that produces 90% of the UK's (and most of the world's) heroin and can now realistically plan to eradicate the trade within a few years.

    Remind me again how things were so much better there four years ago?
     
  6. They also went round snatching up anyone they could find without the cash and selling them to the Yanks as "genuine AQ operatives". Some were, some weren't. Allegedly they spread the net rather wide to snatch suitable foreigners. Kind of puts the lack of decent int out of Guantanamo Bay into perspective.
     
  7. Heroin production has picked up as no real effort was put into reconstruction or supporting the locals to choose alternative cash crops. The amounts needed would not have been large but instead effort was diverted to Iraq instead of cleaning up the post-Taliban mess. Actually, lack of preparation for the post-conflict phase, there's a pattern developing here isn't there ?

    The Taliban have not gone. Bin Laden has not gone. They are still out there and planning their comeback. Hard line sharia justice is practised anywhere foreigners are not. Which is most of the country. Try finding a news story that's not from either Kabul or immediately adjacent to foreign troops.

    The elections have produced a regime that can do very little - Afghanistan isn't a country as we understand it, it's a collection of tribes who put up with the current incumbent in Kabul as they don't want the sky above their heads to fill with the USAF.

    We have influence over the areas our troops stand on or are prepared to bomb. We come and go, the drug lords live there full time. Realistically, who will the locals choose if we make them pick sides ?

    Or if you like do a few sums. Look at the number of troops, the number of inhabitants and the size of the place. Compare to say NI or Iraq and then tell me how we control somewhere that size with so few troops.

    I would like to be more optimistic, I really would as another involuntary holiday beckons to support our latest deployment over there. But I call them as I see them and I don't see any easy or practical way of sorting things out in timescales shorter than decades. If we want to commit to the long haul then fine, just let's not convince ourselves it'll all work out fine by this time next year.
     
  8. So it's going to take time. More credit to the West for trying to intervene in what is obviously a snakepit. No oil either I see....
     
  9. Well, we've ONLY had a 100 years experience flexing our national policy muscles. We're getting better at it though...

    I'd rather have a pro-Western government in charge in Afghanistan, than otherwise. At least there's a better chance to eradicate the illegal opium trade.
     
  10. NATO free's up the US to do the heavy lifting. As the song goes "He's not heavy he's my brother".

    www.armytimes.com

    June 13, 2005

    NATO expanding role in Afghanistan
    U.S. will focus on more violent areas

    By Vince Crawley
    Times staff writer


    NATO is taking over from U.S. troops in western Afghanistan and has “ambitious” plans to take command of multinational operations throughout that nation next year, but there are no discussions for a comparable expanded role in Iraq for the alliance, its top official said.

    The alliance plans to deploy three additional battalions — roughly 2,000 troops — to Afghanistan to support Sept. 18 provincial and National Assembly elections, said NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands.

    A decision will be made following those elections on whether NATO will take over reconstruction operations in the more turbulent Kandahar region to the southeast, de Hoop Scheffer said.

    “At the end of the day, we should in Afghanistan see ISAF [the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force] covering the whole of the country,” de Hoop Scheffer said.

    If current momentum continues, all multinational forces could end up under the control of the U.S.-led military alliance, he said.

    “The end result should be that it is under NATO command,” de Hoop Scheffer told defense reporters June 1 in Washington.

    Under the plan still being developed, combat troops and peacekeepers would be under two “distinct” chains of command that report to the same dual-hatted U.S. commander.

    The arrangement would provide “more unity of command,” de Hoop Scheffer said. Various nations would continue to play a leading role in their sectors, and the United States would likely continue to be the lead nation in the southeast, where combat operations are concentrated.

    NATO efforts in Afghanistan are focused on peacekeeping and reconstruction, allowing the 18,000 U.S. troops there to concentrate on combat operations against Taliban and al-Qaida holdouts.

    U.S.-led coalition troops on May 31 handed over a forward support base in Herat to an Italian-led force under ISAF. The turnover began in Kabul in August 2003 and has gradually expanded to provinces in the less violent northern part of the country.

    On May 31, NATO forces also took over two provincial reconstruction teams in Herat and Farah. Later this summer, two more ISAF reconstruction teams are planned for the Ghor and Baghdis provinces.

    Though focused on reconstruction, NATO’s move into western Afghanistan is expected to result in more combat operations as alliance forces assemble in regions where some inhabitants are more resistant to the government.

    In Iraq, NATO forces provide logistical support for the Polish-led multinational division and help train and equip the Iraqi military.

    But an expanded combat role for the alliance in Iraq “is not a discussion … going on in the NATO framework,” de Hoop Scheffer said. “When we discuss Iraq, we discuss training.”

    Several European allies strongly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But “all 26 allies are in agreement about the training mission, and all are assisting in one way or another,” de Hoop Scheffer said.

    For example, the Iraqi military is equipped primarily with former Soviet hardware, and several new NATO members are former Warsaw Pact nations whose troops are familiar with T72 tanks and AK47 assault rifles.

    Even as it continues its mission in Central Asia, NATO is also preparing to provide airlift and other logistics support for a dramatic expansion of African Union peacekeepers in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.

    The African Union in mid-May asked NATO for logistical support to help transport and supply a beefed-up peacekeeping presence. About 3.5 million people are at risk of starvation following military action in the turbulent region.

    “They want to increase substantially the number of troops,” de Hoop Scheffer said. “That means airlift.”

    The Darfur mission is an African Union operation, not a NATO undertaking, he said. Still, the African Union wants to increase its peacekeepers from 3,000 to 7,000 in the weeks ahead, with a goal of 12,000 by this fall.

    NATO continues to field a force of 18,000 troops as part of its Kosovo Force.

    De Hoop Scheffer also voiced “a good sense of frustration” that Bosnian Serb rebel leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic remain at large nearly a decade after the end of the Balkans war. Both have been indicted for war crimes by the international tribunal in The Hague for their suspected role in ethnic murders that included the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys near Srebrenica in July 1995.

    “Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina will not enter the Partners-for-Peace program of NATO before these two people are in The Hague,” he said.