The reality in Afghanistan - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14193296
For all of the boosterism in Canberra and Washington, what emerges is a near-total disregard for the West's efforts to foster a parliamentary democracy.
Instead, the locals look to multi-millionaire police chief Matiullah Khan and other warlord figures, fearful of the violence by which they rule their turf, but seemingly resigned to an acceptance that the new Afghanistan is very much like the old Afghanistan - a chronically corrupt society in which the first language is violence; and in which the best militia, not the best argument, wins the day


veteran Australian reporter Paul McGeough once again gives us the real picture of Afghanistan - exposing the myths and the lies about what we are told every day by our politicians and media.

For those who still see this as a simplistic "taliban vs the forces of democracy" conflict need to wake up and smell the roses. The reality is the taliban are really just a secondary issue to the real problems related to corruption, warlords and the culture of violence. McGeough merely reiterates what I have been saying all along about Afghanistan - that the counterinsurgency against "the taliban" is just one small part of the overwhelming (and altogether hopeless) challenges facing the occupation forces and their client regime. This is perfectly summed up by the quote by a top analyst lamenting that:

''There were four things to do - counter corruption, contain abuse, and reconcile the people to living with each other. There's not been much progress on those three.

''But on the fourth, counterinsurgency, we've been great. We've destroyed the insurgency three times over, and every time it's come back because we haven't done the first three things we had to do.''


the truth of what our boys are doing to "help" the Afghanis is this:

Despite an obsessive focus by the Australians and their coalition colleagues on the Taliban, there is as much or even more alarm among Afghans over the inordinate power of tribal elders and the resort to violence by a brutal warlord class, which they say has been resurrected by the same Western powers that claimed to be bringing democracy to their ravished homeland.
The Australian-backed Khan is a new-age warlord, who is positioning a well-armed personal strike force to fend off what important community figures warn will be inevitable challenges to his alternate, one-man government.


Here is our great democratic mission - to pick out which random warlord - all as corrupt and unsavoury as each other - we want to prop up, and empower him as undisputed lord of his own fiefdom. In this futile game of "pick your warlord", the war against the "taliban" is more often than not simply intervening in local tribal conflicts, in order to prop up one faction against the other. And of course as soon as we leave, that warlord will simply be toppled, and replaced by another. And so the cycle continues undeterred.

http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/1365 ... ter/?cs=12
#14193387
The moment the ISAF mission is brought to a formal close and major combat operations cease, Karzai's days are numbered.

That said, there is some extremely suspicious information coming out of Afghanistan as of late, and I admit to not following it as intensively as I should. What were Karzai's recent accusations about? (referring to U.S. and Taliban cooperation behind the scenes) - Is this just a desperate attempt at populism for him? U.S. officials and key Taliban figures are now meeting in Qatar, ostensibly to discuss the future of Afghanistan, but some speculate that long-term collaboration is being worked out, not merely on a national but a regional level as well.

It's plain to see that what is going on here is very very different than what is being portrayed. In my opinion, and this is only my opinion - The Taliban is being groomed and is no longer considered by the relevant authorities in the West to be a decided future enemy. Those elements of the Al-Qaeda network which could not be bought off or co-opted have been killed in the thousands, but strategically, there is actually no reason why it is profitable for the U.S. and company to continue advising and expending aid on a puppet government in Kabul with minimal popular support after 2014. There is also nothing which makes collaborating with a resurgent Taliban an impossibility, as this was effectively the case through the entirety of Taliban rule in the late 90's until 2001. Officially, the U.S. didn't recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, but all whopping three states which did - Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates - were or are all solid clients.

The maintenance of influence for Washington in Central Asia, the oft-discussed oil pipeline to the Caspian Sea which can now serve to rival the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project as the Pakistanis further drift from the U.S. orbit, and primary access to "the Saudi Arabia of lithium". Really, the only thing Western powers stand to lose if the Taliban re-asserts control is the tapping of the opium trade, and here is what I believe may be driving this warlord pawn game.

The Taliban, to their credit, burned the poppy fields to stem opium cultivation, but since their fall, we know it is a pie U.S. and European officials have had their hands in. Now the drug trade is stronger than ever and Russia is being flooded with cheap heroin which has reached levels of an epidemic, and Afghanistan is the leading supplier. Something very suspicious has been going on with the opium trade in that country since the Taliban was ousted, and I suspect a return to warlordism rather than a strengthened central government might actually be a key motivation of some.
#14194176
Apologies for the double posting, but this is quite an enlightening and rather accurate article on the state of the conflict:


NATO's 'unwinnable' Afghan campaign leaves Kabul unviable

NATO troops in Afghanistan have unsuccessfully tried to impose a foreign ideology in a war unwinnable by military means, the UK military has said. The planned 2014 pullout is expected to leave Kabul unable to survive the Taliban onslaught.

The Afghan mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), now in its 12th year, closely resembles the failed Soviet occupation of the country, a damning British internal report argued. The document was prepared in November last year by a British Ministry of Defense think tank and obtained by the Independent newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The highest-level parallel is that both campaigns were conceived with the aim of imposing an ideology foreign to the Afghan people: The Soviets hoped to establish a Communist state while NATO wished to build a democracy,” the document said. “Equally striking is that both abandoned their central aim once they realized that the war was unwinnable in military terms and that support of the population was essential.”


Both occupying forces found it difficult to deal with insurgencies they overwhelmed militarily, the report said: “The military parallels are equally striking; the 40th Army was unable decisively to defeat the mujahedin while facing no existential threat itself, a situation that precisely echoes the predicament of ISAF. Neither campaign established control over the country’s borders and the insurgents’ safe havens; both were unable to protect the rural population.”

Most NATO troops will pull out of the country next year, leaving behind a fragile and unpopular national government and a strong armed opposition, much like the Soviet Union, the report noted.

“Both interventions have been portrayed as foreign invasions attempting to support a corrupt and unpopular central government against a local insurgent movement which has popular support, strong religious motivation and safe havens abroad,” it said. “In addition, the country will again be left with a severely damaged and very weak economic base, heavily dependent upon external aid.”

In a grim warning, the document points to the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan as one of the reasons for its weakening and eventual collapse: “The international setting for both campaigns has significant similarities with world opinion judging both as failed interventions. Both faced a loss of confidence in their strategic world leadership and increasing domestic and financial pressure to abandon the enterprise.”

The assessment, which a Ministry of Defense spokesperson said was meant “to stimulate internal debate, not outline government positions,” mirrors another assessment prepared by the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). In its annual Military Balance report released this week, the think tank forecast that the Afghan insurgency would not be eliminated by the end of 2014.

“The hope is that it can be reduced to such a level that it no longer poses an existential threat to the state and can be contained by Afghan forces,” the IISS said, predicting that in 2015 the country would be “a patchwork of insurgent activity.”

Colonel and Afghan war veteran Evgeny Khruschev believes that both Soviet and American campaigns in Afghanistan bear strong similarities.

“Foreign occupation of Afghanistan, again. In historical perspective, 9/11 and subsequent US invasion in Afghanistan is delayed iteration of CIA’s Wilson’s War: a strategic payback for American anti-Soviet proxy jihad in Afghanistan. They have put in motion chain reaction and now, after 12 years, still have no clue how to control & manage their runaway ‘freedom-fighting’ terrorist assets,” he told RT.

The colonel is also sure that ‘US learning curve in Afghanistan has been inverted from day one’.

“Washington had studiously ignored the Soviet lessons learned – only to repeat all Soviet mistakes on a larger scale and pile up on their own genuine blinders,” added the veteran.

The transition talks between Kabul and the US-led ISAF are continuing amid bitter accusations and recriminations. Last Sunday, after two suicide bombers killed 19 people, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused foreign troops of colluding with the Taliban to justify their presence in the region.

The allegations provoked a rebuke from several US officials, including ISAF chief Joseph Dunford. The US general said in an advisory obtained by the New York Times that "Karzai's remarks could be a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces."

The day after the Afghan President’s comments proved to be the deadliest for NATO troops in the country in 2013. Two US soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded in a suspected insider attack by a man dressed in an Afghan army uniform, and five Americans were killed in a helicopter crash that was blamed on bad weather.

"We're at a rough point in the relationship," Dunford said in his advisory. "[Militants] are also watching and will look for a way to exploit the situation – they have already ramped up for the spring."

In a move to mitigate the damage, Karzai’s office said Thursday the US and Afghanistan remain strategic partners, and that his statements "had been to correct rather than damage this relationship."

The harsh exchange came as Karzai has ramped up his nationalist rhetoric, pressuring for a swifter transition of authority in the country from foreign troops to the Afghan security forces. The president recently clashed with the US Military over repeated delays in the scheduled handover of Afghan detainees. He has also banned foreign troops from university campuses, and banned US Special Forces from two provinces over claims of harassment. Karzai also stopped Afghan forces from calling in US air strikes.

http://rt.com/news/afghanistan-war-nato-uk-297/



So similar to what we were dealt and dealing out in Nam, with only the change of costume into Central Asian chic.
#14197271
FRS wrote:It's plain to see that what is going on here is very very different than what is being portrayed. In my opinion, and this is only my opinion - The Taliban is being groomed and is no longer considered by the relevant authorities in the West to be a decided future enemy. Those elements of the Al-Qaeda network which could not be bought off or co-opted have been killed in the thousands, but strategically, there is actually no reason why it is profitable for the U.S. and company to continue advising and expending aid on a puppet government in Kabul with minimal popular support after 2014. There is also nothing which makes collaborating with a resurgent Taliban an impossibility, as this was effectively the case through the entirety of Taliban rule in the late 90's until 2001.


I think the west is finally realising - or probably more accurately - finally admitting - that the taliban is not what the occupation forces and their client regime are even fighting against. As articulated in the OP article.

What the west needs - as you correctly point out - is a partner in Afghanistan who is able to bring the warlords to heed, clamp down on the corruption and bring some semblance of unity to the country. The only force that has come close to doing this in the last 20 years has been the taliban. Unfortunately for the west is its a bit hard to welcome the taliban back into the fold after they've spent over a decade explaining to everyone how they are the root of all evil, and must be exterminated. This of course has served a domestic purpose, but it was utterly non-sensical from a geo-political point of view. The taliban should never have been seen as the enemy - and in fact they would have been the US's most useful ally in the war against terrorism and bin Laden. No doubt this reality had dawned on the western powers long before they even started engaging the taliban in peace talks. Indeed, Paul McGeough has been relaying the same message contained in this article for years during his time in Afghanistan. Most of the fighting between Afghanis has been between rival warlords, and half the airstrikes that have been called were called to settle tribal scores. Karzai is the worst of them all - using NATO forces as his own personal army - either to advance his own factional interests, or assist his key allies against their rivals. Naturally, all Karzai's, attacks against his rivals are identified as operations against "taliban" or "insurgents".

Thus its almost comical that NATO and her allies have been battling through this quagmire of factionalism and corruption, propping up brutal autocrats with their own little fiefdoms - and all the time maintaining the ruse that its all about democracy vs the taliban. I'm not sure how exactly they plan to save face when they do eventually turn around and attempt to explain to the world that, well, actually, the taliban are not so bad after all. Presumably they will attempt to paint the negotiations as happening between some "splinter" group that is not the real taliban - you know, definitely not the guys we've been spilling blood over for over a decade. Its actually some break-away movement that have seen the light.

And here is the proof of what I am saying. This […]

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