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22 August 2017

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dilbert dogbert

Could the plan be to keep the Mayor of Kabul in office till the 2018 elections are over? Depending on election results, there will be a "Double Down" or a declaration of "Victory" and a "Bring the Boys Home",

Jony Kanuck

Col,

A fantasy I've been entertaining for a few years:

Under leadership of USA a regional security conference is struck; Russia, India, Iran, China & Pakistan. The point is to design a 'security framework' & 'Marshall Plan'. All 'kafir'troops leave. Russia, India & Pakistan will supply Sunni muslim police & military police. Elections are planned. Numerous development projects are announced, all coming from muslim countries & bankrolled by USA. My point being that if a critical mass of Afganis are working, in fact the economy could be made to boom, & there are no kafir soldiers blowing things up, security becomes a minor issue.

Pakistan would need a carrot & stick approach because the issue in Pakistan is territorial as much as security. The carrot is probably grounding the drones. Pakistan has to be a player for this to work.

Would it work? Probably; surrounding countries have genuine security concerns & Afganis would rather work than make ied's. It would be expensive but not as expensive as an equally fantastic military solution. It would be a hard sell in Washington though.

Maybe if the US govt sponsored a remake of 'the Man Who Would Be King' & if the 'realdonaldtrump' started tweeting Kipling every morning!

Oilman2

We did a GTFO in Vietnam, so that is certainly not without precedent. It is what we should have done long ago. Now we are busily binding the word "victory" into policy, when we cannot even point a finger at and name an enemy. Such is the "war on terror"...

It will be most interesting in the coming years, as the debt we have accrued continues to mount and congress delivers no solutions (none are available), to see exactly how long it will take for our military expenditures to actually stop growing. It seems to be the only thing growing in our country, and this isn't good for us or the rest of the planet. Interesting to me is that 3X more private military personnel will be employed (not deployed).

It looks like our oligarchs are beginning to hire their own armies at the expense of the rest of us. That's a hell of a business model...


ann

Afghanistan has no economy. Except, maybe, poppies. When wheat went to $8.00 a bushel a few years ago, they ripped up their poppies to plant wheat. What if, I know, I'm a dreamer, what if we guaranteed the price of wheat for a few years. Purchased their crops.

turcopolier

Oilman2

We abandoned VN when the Congress passed a law forbidding any further help for them pl

iowa steve

Obama 2009: As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined."
Trump 2017: "From now on, victory will have a clear definition."

Obama 2009: The days of providing a blank check are over."
Trump 2017: "Our commitment is not unlimited and our support is not a blank check."

Obama 2009: "We must deny Al Qaeda a safe haven."
Trump 2017: "We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America."

Obama 2009: "We have no interest in occupying your country."
Trump 2017: "We are not nation-building again."

I agree with the poster above who advocated a counter-terrorism approach rather than a counter-insurgency mission. I believe that in the past, Colonel, you had also advocated something along those lines as well. After 16 years, I would think the US would have enough intelligence resources in Afghanistan to make a go of that.

BrotherJoe

Brother Peter,
Your view of the China factor in the Afghanistan equation is intriguing. I hope others will comment.

Bandolero

Jony

You said:

"A fantasy I've been entertaining for a few years: Under leadership of USA a regional security conference is struck; Russia, India, Iran, China & Pakistan. The point is to design a 'security framework' & 'Marshall Plan'."

I don't understand why such a regional security conference should be struck "under leadership" of USA. I think it's much more promising if such a security conference is led by a regional power like Russia.

I mean just like this one at the end of 2016:

Russia, Pakistan, China warn of increased Islamic State threat in Afghanistan

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-taliban-russia-pakistan-c-idUSKBN14G19I

And then a follow-up like this one in February 2017, this time also with Afghanistan, Iran and India:

Russia Bars U.S. From Afghanistan Peace Conference...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anderscorr/2017/02/17/russia-bars-u-s-from-afghanistan-peace-conference-supports-an-alliance-with-taliban-terrorists/

And of course, a wider 11 nations conference would be good, to deepen regional results, just like this one:

US snubs 11-state Afghanistan peace conference, says Russia trying to ‘assert influence’

https://www.rt.com/news/384774-afghanistan-conference-moscow-us/

Yes, Pakistan was not happy that the US as it's main ally was not present, but I don't think it was all too harmful to get results.

In the end it's anyway the regional countries that must make a solution a success. And, of course, if talk is about security in the region, then a regional security organization should rund the process. Luckily, with the SCO such a regional security organisation exists, and it got quite capable in recent years.

b

"The main point for me is that he takes on Pakistan ..."

Through which country runs the sole supply line for U.S. troops in Afghanistan?

b

The issue of Kashmir is not ideological or religious.

Kashmir and its glaciers of the Himalaya are the source of the freshwater that runs downs the Indus. It is Pakistan's sole freshwater lifeline. India diverting that water from its (occupied) part of Kashmir to Indian proper is a deadly threat to Pakistan. It needs to secure Kashmir to survive.

Oilman2

pl

I remember. My point was that we did a GTFO quite effectively, and in a much more heated war.

Ann hits the nail on the head - opium is the only export. Why do we need to be there? What Afghan terrorist plot has injured Americans? And we are trying to rope all the neighbors into this rodeo too - right into the graveyard of empires.

From the cheap seats, it seems that Meyssan's hypothesis is the only one making sense of US policy and military activities.

turcopolier

Iowa Steve.

Yes. When Obama was debating his options in 2008 I advocated a US force in Afghanistan of not more than 20,000 centered in Bagram Base with the two purposes of conducting counter-terrorism operation (raids) theoughout the country with a Clandestine HUMINT search for terrorists across the country and keeping Kabul mor eor less in friendlt hands. I lost that argument and the COIN surge occurred, I still think that woiud have been possible at that time but much time has passed. the Taliban and other jihadis are much stronger now and I think the present policy announced last night is so open ended that there will inevitably be crreping escalation of mission and resources unless Trump finally decides to sack the lot of the generals who oushed him into this policy. pl

Bill Herschel

Afghanistan on the map looks like the crossroads between Iran and China. What is more, Afghanistan, whatever it is between, is Iran's principal Eastern neighbor.

All of which brings us back to the quote above: "SECDEF Mattis in Baghdad says he will borrow "a lot" from strategy in Iraq for Afghanistan."

This is all about Iran. I suspect that Trump knows it is all about Iran and believes it is all about Iran.

Trump: "As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology."

The key question for the history of the United States and humanity is what happens with North Korea. What do the generals want to do there? What does our partner Saudi Arabia want us to do in Korea?


Dr. K.

Maybe the congress we have now should do the same. There is no other alternative

SmoothieX12

Russia think they have answers

7 years ago General Gromov and Rogozin appealed to the US to stay in Afghanistan and finish the deal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/opinion/12iht-edrogozin.html?_r=0

Recently things changed and there were calls from the very political (and military) Russian top for the US to wrap it up. I don't think Russia has answers to Afghanistan but it sure as hell better have ones for CIS countries bordering that land. I know the discussion was ongoing actively since ODKB meeting in 2013 when it was assessed that US will not meet political objectives in Afghanistan.

Mac

Colonel,

A wise policy?

In spite all of our resources and firepower, geography enables Afghanistan's neighbors to play spoiler, should they elect to do so...

At least with respect to one of those neighbors, after the JCPOA, new horizons were possible, nay, hoped for...a return to the cooperative environment found in Bonn circa 2001/2002 would certainly be a wise policy.

As main spoiler, a wise policy must address the role of Pakistan. In doing so, addressing Pakistan's role in Afghanistan implicates Pakistan's relationship with the Saudis. A wise policy that ab initio publicly recognizes this fact is key.

That's how I would start....


Mac

Harlan Easley

Get out. The war is unwinnable. To win you must conquer their culture, ideology, and most important their religion. Never gonna happen. It would take generations of massive investments along with massive killing. Beyond stupid. The killing alone will ensure in their eyes the moral high-ground therefore their religious beliefs are true and the predominant Western beliefs are of the devil. Good luck on convincing their primitive culture that the invaders God is the good one and their God is the bad one. We need the investment here and their culture doesn't want it. As for the argument that we can't allow this piss poor country to become a land of terrorists who threaten the Homeland. Give me a break.

Bandolero

b

I know that Pakistan is the only supply line for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. That's why I find Trump's step to take on Pakistan so important. And his "invitation" to India to invest more in Afghanistan - for which Nikki Haley said the US had to pressure India - gives a sense to Pakistan said unlike the Presidents before, Trump may really mean it. That pushes Pakistan in the arms of China and a regional solution in development by the SCO. And, of course, since India's only way to Afghanistan is the Iranian Chabahar port, it indirectly also means Trump invited Iran to do more in Afghanistan.

I know that the neocons praise Trump for his strategy speeach, but look who else praises Trump, quote begin:

"While Trump's speech was widely criticized in Pakistan by politicians of all parties, it was welcomed by Afghanistan's shared leadership of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Abdullah told a news conference the U.S. strategy marks a unique opportunity to ultimately achieve peaceful objectives in the region.

"The regional aspect of this strategy is very clear. It shows that the problem was very well identified," he said, referring to Trump's singling out of Pakistan."

Quote End, Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-trump-afghanistan-pakistan-20170822-story.html

Abdullah Abdullah is from all what I know on very good terms with Iran and the older SCO countries. And I think what Trump announced on Afghanistan seems to be very helpful for the SCO.

But I don't think Pakistan will really close the US supply line. Well, and if Pakistan really closes the supply line for US troops? Than Trump would have either to go via Russia, China or Iran. So what? Anyway Afghanistan is surrounded by the SCO. Or Trump makes Bannon and his people happy and pulls out. And then, it would not be Trump's fault, that he hasn't won in Afghanistan.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Great analysis.

To my mind there are two options, stay forever or get out. Staying will be impossible if Pakistan closes the door or if American citizens rebel at the costs financially and in blood. If history is any guide, this is a replay of the Great Game. Right now the Atlantic Empire is not wining and starting to lose Syria and Iraq to Russia + Iran. Sooner or later Central Europe, under Berlin’s guidance, will split off and come to an agreement with Russia and China. That is where the resources and money are. No matter what the Globalist Neocons profess, sane rulers will back away from World War III. They will be incinerated along with everyone else. Hopefully deadly mistakes will be avoided and healthcare provided for everyone so that it is old age that gets us in the end.

turcopolier

Bandolero

Perhaps you have forgotten that the last time Pakistan closed the ground LOC a new LOC was opened from Russia through Central Asia. In such a case the present tension with Russia might be overcome. pl

Babak Makkinejad

SCO is a political zero and absolutely irrelevant.

If LOC is closed by Pakistan, Russia is the only other alternative.

Iran will not help the United States, under any circumstance short of the aliens landing in Saravan, nor render any assistance; least of all under a Trump presidency.

China is too far and the roads only exist on maps.

US is being led by 3 military men - there is no diplomacy involved in any of this; which means that the "War" component of "US Policy" is the only part of it that now exists.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree.

Babak Makkinejad

US cannot "address" Pakistan; US is playing a game of diplomatic juggling trying to maintain stability by balancing China, India, and Pakistan in the area South of the Himalayas.

US needs Pakistan and there are limits that she could go against Pakistan, lest she shatter and disintegrate.

A study by US War College predicts the breakup of Afghanistan into two pieces by 2019 (roughly along the lines of the Seljuk Boundary).

The Trio of Iran-Russia-China can try to maintain order there among the Seljuk Muslims while Pakistan can go on playing her strategic games in the Pashthunistan.

At that time, US can walk away claiming that the country to which it was committed no longer exists.

Babak Makkinejad

If Trump thinks Afghanistan is all about Iran, he would be severely mistaken.

Keith Harbaugh

Amen.

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