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20 September 2010

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Thomas

Patrick,
Why not both? Alot of forutunes have been made in the area this past decade. The question to be answered is what is the strategy of the Taliban? All they have to do is offer a winter ceasefire with the US and work out the details of poltical resolution then they can have their cake (we pushed out the invader) and eat it too (we invited our guests to keep running convoys for commercial development).Even the Pakistanis have to realize that this war needs to end for the good of everbody.

Perhaps the US can find a solution by offering peace terms:
Osama Bin Laden is flown to Mecca while the US and Saudi Arabia adjudicate his case (and he finishes his natural life there).

The US begins its withdrawal, Afghanistan convenes a constitutional jirga to end its civil war, and a regional summit is held to address concerns and issues among the neighbors.

I guess the real question is how does this end and have all sides even been thinking about it?

WILL

i sent a copy of the article to my friend who used to be THE logistics officer in Afghanistan for comment. Also to a relative who now works at MOD who spent a tour over there. And to the Col. when i saw it at the Friday Lunch Club.

I had forgotten that those guys at the club read this blog for tidbits religiously.

John Waring

Is Karachi the port of entry? How secure is Karachi? Are there other ports? How secure are they? It does not sound like a hard job at all to destroy several unloading cranes at a port of entry.

Wait until the dead of winter in Afghanistan after we move most of our troops there. It could get terribly interesting.

WILL

read this in context

http://arsicsouth7.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/army-times-national-army-swaps-ak47s-for-m16s-pickups-for-humvees/


"The Ford Rangers get an estimated 22 miles per gallon of gas, while the Humvees get about 5 miles per gallon, so each unit equipped with Humvees will have to work the logistics system and plan for its additional fuel needs, Noonan said.

“They’re great at rolling out the gate and fighting,” he said, but the Afghan army struggles with logistics and supply."

PeterHug

@johnf's comment - that is quite simply beyond belief. If they really want Pollard, the way forward there is to execute him and give them the body. Seriously. And then tell the Israelis that they need to understand that the new baseline offer is the 1967 borders, and they have to offer a real right of return. And that we've just opened a Congressional investigation into the USS Liberty...

Regarding the Taliban and US supply lines, I cannot imagine that this comes as news to them - and the fact that they so far have not moved in that direction suggests that they see some benefit in the status quo. What precisely that is may not be as easy to figure out as one might think - possible explanations could range from simple revenue from protection rackets, to a differential competitive advantage they might see vs other militias in AfPak, to a baroque deal they could have cut with Karzai...in any case, if I were responsible for the safety of US forces in Afghanistan, I really don't think that's something that I would want to depend on the Taliban's continuing mercy for. And I say that as someone whose ex-wife will be there for a tour within the next year. (Which means that I really WILL take outcomes personally...)

William R. Cumming

I suspect that the principal reason the logistics system is not disrupted more is that it has an unintended beneficiary-specifically the AFGHAN and PAKISTAN taliban.

Richard Armstrong

Okay. The argument whether the United States should be in Afghanistan is mute. Our soldiers are there.

In the spirit of full disclosure I'm more liberal than most.

In my opinion the best reason to pull out of Afghanistan is the criminal reluctance of military leaders to do the right thing by using everything at their disposal to give our soldiers a fighting chance.

General Tecumseh Sherman apocryphally said, "War is hell". It's worse than hell when the brave who defend our nation are dying because some fool generals care more about "collateral damage" than they do about the troopers under their command. An honorable general would resign rather than accept the abhorrent rules of engagement now in place in Afghanistan.

In the video referenced below you'll see troopers from Alpha Company 2-237th Infantry 1st 101st Brigade ambushed in Kunar provence. This graphic video shows these men driving through an area known for ambushes.

What you won't see is close air support.

What ever happened to the idea of "combined arms". Where were the Apache helicopters? Where were the "fast movers"? Why were these soldiers forced to fight with one arm tied behind their back?

If the civilian leaders don't have the stomach for "collateral damage" then it is up to the military leaders to tell them that no military operation should be attempted unless the killing of civilians can be both accepted and expected.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/17/firefight-in-kunar-provin_n_721385.html

William R. Cumming

Curious? How many units of the US military have been overrun in AFGANISTAN and IRAQ?

There were a number of examples in Viet Nam excluding those in TET!

Is there any open source history of units being overrun in US military history? Question PL did shooting of prisoners that had surrendered occur in Civil War? No immediate answer necessary.

Patrick Lang

WRC

They are not really PWs in the sense of the Geneva Convention until they are disarmed and in your custody. That's what makes surrendering a tricky business.

And then, there is the issue of enemy wounded during an ongoing engagement. If the fight is going on all around you, what are you supposed to do? Remember we are not talking about police work. You or your unit have just shot this guy and his pals are still shooting at you. think about it.

I don't know of any overrun units in Iraq or Afghanistan. IN VN, VC or NVA troops sometomes overran isolated US troops. I was in one such event. pl

Medicine Man

A guy named David Axe advocating US intervention in the Congo, of all places: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/09/why-the-u-s-should-send-troops-and-spooks-to-the-congo/

I wonder if his proposition is as simple as he makes it out to be. I somehow doubt it.

John Howley

IF the Taliban have the capability to cut or seriously disrupt the NATO/US overland supply routes in Pakistan, and IF they sought maximum strategic impact from doing so, THEN would they not wait until US troops levels in-country have reached their MAXIMUM?

The size of the logistical "pipeline" is fixed by the existing highway network, the tunnel at Kohat, etc. Each additional boot on the ground increases the risk in greater proportion.

(There is some level of deployment where we get logistical gridlock even absent hostile action.)

Seems very high risk to me. And to manage the risk, we are forced to be nice to people who may not be our friends.

This is one time when I would really like to be proved wrong!

Jake

Wars are won and lost by logistics....forget strategy...

We know this so do they...

walrus

Col. Lang, it appears that the Taliban are reading your blog:

"Militants have blown up four oil tankers and three containers carrying fuel and other supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan, killing two people.

The incidents took place in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, top local administration official Shafeerullah Khan said."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/24/3020575.htm?section=justin

Patrick Lang

walrus

Perhaps they are reading Seven Pillars and not that c--p about eating soup with a knife. pl

Medicine Man

I sort of doubt that any Afghani group needs to read SST to remember how to fight foreign occupiers in Afghanistan. Insurgency is a cottage industry in that part of the world.

(Yes, I realize you weren't being literal, Walrus.)

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