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01 February 2010

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Charles I

That is quite the pile o data.

Its all going to collapse against Nato withdrawals, electoral machinations, Pakistani chaos, and the US will be left fighting a border war where there is no border until it is exhausted and leaves, or needs the resources elsewhere. The buy a talibanlite thingy will just be more baksheesh and, as Canada's FM struggles with, is rewarding the problem while stiffing the civilians who endured the war. Sure to win no hearts and buy more mines. Why not just say we'll give the $500m to Karzai, he can buy 'em off, we're outta here. And if the Afghan Taliban want a slice, they better be at the table when we count out the dough.

ISL

Many thanks, A very thorough, and not encouraging briefing. Presumably Pres Obama received something similar before his AfPak decision/speech?

Interesting that Ramadan used to correspond to a decrease in activity, but no longer. Perhaps this could be interpreted as the Taliban cause is religiously approved? The dates for Ramadan on "Time is running out" is incorrect in 09.

"We have a key advantage – Taliban is not a popular movement (yet); population is frustrated by GIRoA, we must make them believe ISAF / GIRoA can succeed"

I think a good argument could be made the the Govt of Afghan is far less a popular movement.

Neglects on Pakistan page that the "popular" military has more sympathy with Taliban than with the US goals for geostrategic reasons.

Paul

In his meeting with the Republican poseurs last week, Obama demonstrated a clear grasp of details.

A lot of people scoffed when Obama said that we'd be out of Afghanistan sooner rather than later.

Could it be that Obama has given McCrystal enough rope to hang himself?

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The metrics don’t look good. The only way this can continue is that the true costs of the war are being hidden from Americans.

It seems sensible that everyone negotiates. NATO buys its way out of Afghanistan. A greased version of the withdrawal from Vietnam. Where 40 years later, old Farts can go visit and tell war stories.

The basic problem is that Americans think they are the Good Guys. But, after being subjected to Free Fire Zones, Predator bombing, losing wives, sons and daughters, extracting revenge on the departing foreigners will be a basic human need. There maybe no one to negotiate with.

I seriously doubt there will be Park Hyatt Hotel or visiting Vets in Kabul 40 years from now. Vietnam was a secular political war. Afghanistan is a cultural religious war. Both are 19th Century colonial wars fought in the wrong Century.

fanto

US is now actually defending Russia and -Stans and possibly China from the pressure from the fundamentalist Moslems - so that these 'innocent bystanders' benefit from the US involvement - the longer the better. They may be willing to allow US to be the 'policeman' there. Is this far fetched thinking?

curious

I seriously doubt there will be Park Hyatt Hotel or visiting Vets in Kabul 40 years from now. Vietnam was a secular political war. Afghanistan is a cultural religious war. Both are 19th Century colonial wars fought in the wrong Century."

Maybe, but Afghanistan cultural peak is not very intense compared to vietnam. It's biggest kingdom, Durrani , lasted only about 80 years (1747-1823). After that it's Zahir tossed around in anglo-afghan war.

Comparatively, Vietnam rebelled against china's emperor in the year 248, 722, and again in 1418. In between those, they have relatively coherent dynasties. In the last long period before Indochina war, they have 3 dynasties lasting 400 years. Vietnam is an old kingdom.

Afghanistan doesn't even compare. In fact, if it weren't for the terrain, that place probably would be part of russia like Kazakstan or Uzbek. Just some God forsaken land in eurasian plain.

The biggest afghanistan problem is not that they are skilled guerilla, it's that they are weak culturally. Afghanistan doesn't really have anything strong in their past that can hold them together as a people, where modern nationalism can thrive on top of. Not even Islamic nationalism, which is really a new religion to large part of afghanistan. (unlike Pakistan.) This is why it is so easy for afghanistan to lapse into one war after another. And their leaders happily dive into conflict. It is also too weak to fight external influence from it's giant neighbors.

Afghanistan is Asia's sub-saharan country. It needs a ruthless leader that can create coherent culture or long period of brutal occupation to instill sense of identity.

Otherwise it is what it is. warlords/mafia state. Their cultural sophistication can only hold hundred thousand of people before they lapse into another internal clash or external meddling.

------

PS. I wonder if Pentagon actually work on that ammonium sulfate fertilizer.

1. control export import. Control distribution. play with pricing. State monopoly of ammonium fertilizer supply is a must.
2. work with fertilizer maker to add additive or dilute the ammonium content to make it less effective explosive. (special marking, special additive mix, etc)

Taliban is not going to be able to import hundred tons of fertilizer on their own to keep up with the amount of bomb they make.

Somebody is seriously sleeping at the wheel out there. This is easy and obvious solution. It's 80% of afghanistan annoying bombing problem. hello...? Did people fall asleep during highschool chemistry class?

Alex

Interesting that they shifted from making IEDs from ordnance or military explosives to using AN/FO. Notably, that means they could make them whatever size they wanted, using less suspicious material (although not by much - everyone knows what you can do with fertiliser and diesel).

William R. Cumming

By the end of this century all the "Stans" will be under the formal or informal control of the HAN Chinese. IMO of course. This is all just a way station to that end. It should be played acccordingly.

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