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29 December 2013


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What gains?
I read the Post. Parsed the words. Tried to adjust for the agendas of the unnamed sources and am left with this question: What gains?



There are no gains. The Afghans remain what they were. pl

The Twisted Genius

Arrogance and ignorance is a deadly combination that can be found in abundance among the bureaucrats. They are skilled at only one thing... self-aggrandizement. Perhaps someday even they will realize that they are not near as clever and powerful as they think they are. But I won't hold my breath.

dan bradburd

Once again Kipling's Arithmetic on the Frontier comes to mind. And his calculation concerned a place contiguous with the E mpire's crown jewel. To what of ours is Afghanistan near or dear.

William R. Cumming

So BHO bet on the Afghan war and will depart in 2016 a loser! Who helped BHO bet on a win in that war? Brennan?

FB Ali

Col Lang,

Your commentaries on current events are always insightful and well-phrased. This one is a gem - in both aspects.

This NIE is a refreshing change from the usual wishful thinking and skewed "analysis" that seems to have been the hallmark of the official take on that part of the world.

Babak Makkinejad

I think that within US political culture, he demonstrated that he is not "weak in defense" and thus has ensured that another Democrat has a chance at the White House.

Personally, I find this sort of calculus repugnant and corrupt - paying in human lives for political gains at home.


The commonality in the various reports is the call for significant employment of US assets. Without substantial US advisors and materiel, this Afghan government doesn't stand much better chance than the USSR client did. But the issue is what will happen, who will come to have influence and benefit, and will this be damaging to US interests in future years? Will additional influence by Pakistan, China, India or Iran put the US in a better or worse circumstance in South Asia? If the answer is worse, then there is an argument for some level of future US engagement, though perhaps not the extension of current military operations. Abandoning Afghanistan to its own devices after the USSR pulled out didn't seem to work out for the best for us.


Leaving the Afghanis to their own devices worked well for the Afghanis. They even managed to replace Opium production profitably for a year of so until the USA invaded.




different clue

I will offer the guess that Russia and maybe China will work to support a new Northern Alliance that emerges after our departure to keep the Taliban out of as much of non-Pashtun Afghanistan as sustainably feasible and supportable. Also China will want to keep the areas around its coppermine investments and other mineral investments (present and future) and any railroads leading from these mines back to China peaceful enough for steady resource extraction. Russia and China ( and the Central Asian republics) have more at stake there than we have, and they will protect their interests. Hopefully they and Pakistan can find a way to co-operate on all this. That's all just a pure layman's guess, of course.


It seems support for the war has dropped like a rock in the five years since Obama took office. Why can't he see the obvious and put and end to the circus of bi-lateral agreement talks?

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