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13 October 2013


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r whitman

The whole idea of leaving 10,000 troops behind with or without immunity seems incomprehensible. Who would want to leave himself/herself exposed to the current politico/military situation in Afghanistan with no real backup?

Richard Armstrong

I will go to my grave not understanding what in the world the USG thought when it continued military operations in Afghanistan once the Taliban had been defeated and UBL had escaped.

The people involved seem to have no knowledge of history or of Kipling.


Afghans don't want US troops behaving as they see fit, continuing the occupation and operations of the past decade. US can't imagine its troops being subject to local law and courts. Shake hands and return to your corners. I will be pleasantly shocked if the current Afghan government has anything like the staying power of the Iraqi government. But I can't see how the Taliban won't wash back over the land.


So does this mean we agreed to protect them from their neighbors?

What is this about really? We don't want to be there and they don't wnat us there, although they'd love us to keep up the multi-billion dollar money stream.

I see the Chinese are recommending that the world "deAmericanize" after the current crisis is resolved.

I would say we are dangerously overdue for a refocus on our own country, its problems and its citizens.

How can we fix the world as we ignore ourselves and act like uninvolved bystanders to our own disintegration?


I was amused by the headlines, such a lot of talk about being close to a deal - when they hadn't managed to sell the Afghans on the only thing that actually mattered.

Lipstick on a pig I suppose.


Actually, I don't blame Kerry for this.

I see that immunity question as a way of asking Karzai whether Afghanistan really wants US troops to stay and Karzai's reply as a polite answer of saying "No, we don't."

This way opens a way of divorce in grace resulting in much better pictures than the US withdrawal from Vietnam.

And, for the future, if the USA wants to have some things from Central Asia, oil or minerals or whatever, then the preferred way of getting it should be to simply buy it. So long, the US may take place in the backseat and watch how good or bad the SCO will manage the affairs of that region.

In the end, China is now a 9-bn-USD economy, so they and their partners shall show now what they can and what they can't.



"much better pictures than the US withdrawal from Vietnam." What pictures are those? If you mean the roof of the embassy pictures, that was two years after US forces completed their withdrawal from VN under the terms of the armistice.

As for Afghanistan, if you think the US government is sophisticated enough to employ a gambit like that you have not served in Washington. pl

Peter C

As a side note to the U.S. drawdown, I've noticed several forced thinning's of ranking military troops for several different reasons, is this a prelude to deeper forced cuts in the Officer Corps across the board with similar reduction in Enlisted ranks. Using any excuse to either not promote due to limited slots, or one little mark on an evaluation to kick them out.

Babak Makkinejad

Which neighbour would that be from whom Afghanistan needs protection?

The only one that comes to my mind is the one aligned with China - Pakistan.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are reading too much into SCO; it a discussion forum for old men to get together and chat about world politics while doing not much that is concrete.



Yes, I meant the "roof of the embassy pictures" from Saigon, and I tend to think, if US troops stay in Afghanistan, we'll soon see some similar pictures from there, too. The biggest difference to Vietnam seems to me that Afghanistan is landlocked without a port, so evacuation could get a bit more difficult.

Whether John Kerry intentionally avoids such a scenario by heading for a graceful divorce with Afghanistan, or whether he really wants the US to stay there and was just bogged down, I don't know. But the result of this, the prospect of US troops leaving Afghanistan completely, I see as a quite promising development for all sides.

FB Ali

Underlying all the 'negotiations' and political posturing, the basic realities of the Afghan situation are:

- The US wants to keep a small but effective military presence and capability in Afghanistan. For this it is prepared to pay a certain sum as 'aid'.

- There are many influential Afghans who want the present order to prevail and are fearful of a Taliban resurgence or even takeover. They want the US to retain troops in the country and continue aid after 2014, and would gladly concede immunity in return.

- The vast majority of the Afghan people have an innate dislike of foreign troops in their country, and are ever ready to fight to expel them, or support others to do so. This is especially true of the Pashtuns.

- Karzai knows that the continuation of the eminence of his clan in future depends on the support of their Pashtun tribal base. While he would like to have US aid and military support continue, he cannot afford to have them operate outside government control. He will never concede immunity.

- Whether conceded on the negotiating table or wrested on the battlefield, the Taliban will have a prominent role in the Afghanistan of the future. They will never agree to US troops remaining in the country.


FB Ali

Yes to all of that. The immunity thing was never going to happen. Can Kerry really be this deluded? Yes. pl



We must be looking at a major RIF. It is inevitable and in some ways desirable since people have been promoted at these strength levels who should not have been. I sweated for several years after VN until someone in DC told me to stop worrying, This was confirmed when the Army decided to send me to civil schooling for an MA. pl



Yes to the land locked bit. This would be a bad time to piss the Russians off. pl


- There are many influential Afghans who want the present order to prevail and are fearful of a Taliban resurgence or even takeover. They want the US to retain troops in the country and continue aid after 2014, and would gladly concede immunity in return - FB Ali

Sir, six months to year before the Taliban take over again?



As I see it Russia is only in charge of the northern -stans. I find the all-weather friedship of Pakistan and China much more interesting in regard to the situation of the US troops in Afghanistan.

China became much stronger in the recent decade and so became the Pak-China-relations. A decade ago, when the US started occupying Afghanistan, China didn't have the clout to sideline US and Saudi interests in Pakistan. Today, I think, it may be very different. In Pakistani politics China became a big and popular game. In contrast to this, the USA, in my opinion, is currently not very popular in Pakistan.

And, yes, I believe that China, Russia and Iran coordinate their policies regarding Afghanistan, not only in the SCO, where Pakistan is also present.



Wanna make a side bet on immunity? pl

Babak Makkinejad

There is no coordination in my opinion.


Sir, I am agreeing with you, so what is the bet?

Peter C

Having been exposed to some current carrier officers, and listening in on their chatter, the subject of promotions was top of the list in the discussions. Not once did I hear about doing a superior job, being innovative, supporting troops under their command to be effective to carry out the mission/orders. What I heard was the political angle of promotions, who is on the promotion boards, the supposed secret review process, the attempts to reduce favoritism, and how certain people were promoted that should not have been in their opinion.

I am a bit of a pessimist when it comes to thinning the dead wood, the wrong branches will be cut. I still don't buy into the up or out process if that is still in place.

Charles I

I noted the whole repatriation imbroglio at the start of the summer I think it was, with reference to the Canadian forces stranded containers (20% confirmed filled with rocks and sand) fiasco - unresolved to date. We left a secure base last year.

Somebody be gonna making a lot of money,whatever state the planning is in now. And I've never bothered to look into how much kit has bee stolen or captured or lost to date, wonder what the Pentagonj would let on about that.

Charles I

Take a look at how many times the Pakistani border has been closed, closed in a snit, attacked with god knows how much gas &avgas & tankers blown up - or stolen. It is not what I, armchair logistician, would consider a more secure, all weather reliable route than Russian.



I know. My way of mentioning this reality was saying that "the USA, in my opinion, is currently not very popular in Pakistan."

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