Skip to comments.Afghan Forces Struggle as U.S. Weans Them Off Support
Posted on 06/28/2013 11:18:11 PM PDT by Zhang Fei
When the American-led NATO coalition officially transferred security responsibility for all of Afghanistan to government forces in a ceremony on Tuesday, it was in part a formality. Already this year, Afghan forces have been in the lead in fighting the Taliban in more than three-quarters of the country and they have been killed and wounded at a record pace, accordingly.
But after Tuesday, these are supposed to be the rules everywhere: while American units may sometimes be close by, Afghan forces must operate without American air support, medical evacuation helicopters or partnered combat units. If they get in trouble, NATO will not be riding to the rescue, except in the most dire cases.
This summer is shaping up as a lesson in tough love from American military mentors to demonstrate whether the Afghan forces really can become self-sufficient by the withdrawal deadline for Western forces in 2014.
Just how tough that has been is perhaps nowhere more evident than in Room 648 of the Afghan National Armys Military Hospital in Kabul. The room is shared by two soldiers wounded in the same battle against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan on May 22 and 23. One of them lost three limbs, the other lost two.
Their company, with the 205th Afghan Army Corps, was based in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province. In May, they were sent to a village near Zangabad, the site of a popular anti-Taliban uprising in March that American and Afghan officials had hailed as turning a corner in an area long dominated by the militants. Just two months later, though, the insurgents were back.
According to the wounded soldiers accounts, later confirmed by their company commander, they found the area heavily mined and booby-trapped.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Why haven’t we been able to “get” Mullah Omar?
We have to find him first. Bin Laden was a stroke of luck. He stuck out a little too much, what with his unusual height (6' 4"), his mini-fort, and multiple consorts.
Chinese civil war 1948. Both sides were Chinese, why the Communist Chinese willing to fight and KMT Chinese willing to run? Vietnam war, North and South Vietnam are the same people. Why North is willing to fight and die and South runs once Americans are gone? Now in Afghanistan, the two sides fighting are Afghan, why is the Taliban willing to fight and the US backed side is willing to run? That is something we need to think about every time we stick our noses into other people’s affairs beyond the two God given oceans that protect us.
His Muslim Religion is a severe boundary to protecting the US.
Very good point.
Does anyone not know what’s going to happen next in Afghanistan?
Yup, just like with Vietnamization the place will collapse soon as we are gone.
Why expend blood and treasure for such people!?
Maybe the same thing that happened in Vietnam? The US pulled out, and S. Vietnam was conquered. Lots of refugees, and lots of dead people.
It's going to be handed back to the Taliban... one way or the other.
They’ll slide back into the comfort of the 11th century. Or whatever primitive time they’re comfortable with.
The Soviets supplied the Communists with all the money and war materials they needed while we cut the Nationalist Chinese and the Republic of Vietnam off. It's not that complicated. The Communist Chinese and Vietnamese spent decades paying off their war debt to the Soviets. A wrinkle in the China story is that the Nationalist Chinese (1) had the cream of their troops killed off during the Sino-Japanese War (by taking 90% of the casualites), (2) were never really a unified army and (3) were on the verge of finishing off the Communists when the Japanese invaded (perhaps figuring that the Nationalists would be too busy fighting the Communists to react), thereby undoing all the progress made, and giving the Communists time to rebuild while Joe Stilwell* destroyed the Nationalist Chinese Army by flinging it in ill-considered attacks against the Japanese.
* May he burn in hell - this is one guy who deserved to die in agonizing pain.
The Northern Alliance held out against the Taliban from 1996 until 2001, when Uncle Sam came to the rescue. The Tajiks, Uzbeks and the Hazara will probably return to their respective ethnic redoubts, if it comes to that. There's a lot of predictable liberal hand wringing over how every civil war is Vietnam, with the side we back losing, but I suspect we've weakened the Taliban to the extent that the Afghan government has the ability to slowly grind it down over decades, the way such wars are usually decided. For instance, the Colombian government spent 50 years fighting the FARC, to the point that the FARC is still around, but a shadow of its former self. The West backed all of Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) against Communist insurgencies trained, supplied and financed by China and the Soviet Union, and only three of the countries fell to the communists.
It would have been wise then to have created a governable Afghanistan by separating it into a Daristan and a Pashtunistan.
People will bring up 9/11. Fine, but that was also planned in Germany and Florida.
The natural disposition of Afghanistan is Communist, ie former Northern Alliance vs. Islamists. Good. Let them kill each other. This will wake up the Chinese. They already have some pretty large financial interest in Afghanistan. The real concern is Pakistan. Though that is overstated as well.
“Maybe the same thing that happened in Vietnam? The US pulled out, and S. Vietnam was conquered. Lots of refugees, and lots of dead people.”
“It’s going to be handed back to the Taliban... one way or the other.”
“Theyll slide back into the comfort of the 11th century. Or whatever primitive time theyre comfortable with.”
I don’t doubt it.
Since you mentioned “Nam” there’s more similarities the only difference is not having helicopters picking up last evacuees off the roof of our embassy as the enemy closes in.That may come later.
Afghanistan vs Iraq. It isn’t war-mongering when the Left does it.
Follow the money, war is a racket! I’m ashamed to have actually believed the stupid ‘War on Terror” was anything but a lie! Responsibility must be doled out! Someone besides the taxpayers and troops should pay!
Afghanistan will be interesting to observe from afar. That’s for sure. Note to many Afghans: Put your heads between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.
South Vietnam fell after a treacherous democrat congress cut off funding; meanwhile, north vietnam was receiving military support from both the soviet union and china. North Vietnam supposedly used more armor in its final assault of South Vietnam than Germany used against France in WWII.
You can have all the will in the world to fight, but if you don't have weapons, and your enemy does, it will probably be a short fight.
A day after we leave the ditches will be full of abandoned uniforms, and everyone will have been rooting for the Taliban all along.
The ghosts of Alexander the Great, the British Empire, and the Soviet Union say we lose.
For starters, we have a history of giving our propped up “allies” a Get Out of Jail Free card in the form of massive refugee immigrant status to the US when they fail to win. Lose the war? No problem, ‘cause you always have a place in the Land of the Big PX.
I learned this tidbit at a lecture about the history of weaponry: There are regions in what is now northern Italy that built huge fortunes and power by providing armor for both sides in the Crusades.
One group always wins in war. That would be the arms manufacturers.
So Third World cowards are still Third World cowards no matter how much equipment and training you give them?
There’s a lesson in there somewhere...
“The ghosts of Alexander the Great, the British Empire, and the Soviet Union say we lose.”
The stated goal/interest of the US is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a terrorist base, not conquest. Once the Taliban were toppled, we should have withdrawn and let the Northern Alliance take care of things backed by the CIA, special forces, etc. The US used to know how to install “our” dictators in 3rd world countries and keep them there. It still befuddles me why President Bush didn’t do this.
We lost the moment we decided to stay.
Good points all. Regards.
That would merely have created a safe haven for the Taliban in Pashtunistan. The problem is funding from Pakistan and private Gulf state donors . Without that funding, there is no Taliban. We've used non-Pashtuns to pacify the Pashtun areas, and that is as it should be. They now have a foothold and lots of infrastructure created to help them hold the country together. The rest is up to them. As I've said before, South Vietnam lost 25K military dead a year. Afghans lost 1K last year and may lose 2K this year. If they can't take that level of casualties, they should surrender to the Taliban now and save all parties a lot of money and trouble. At the same time, this low level of casualties is encouraging - this war's tempo is desultory and downright lazy. Short of Pakistani invasion, I'd be surprised if the Afghan government fell to the Taliban.
The real problem, as with China and Vietnam, is funding. The Nationalist Chinese could not fight a Communist rival funded by the full might of the industrialized Soviet economy without Uncle Sam sending aid, given that (1) China's most productive coastal regions had been bombed to shreds, first by the Japanese, then by the Allies and (2) the Chinese Nationalists had been fighting the Japanese for almost a full decade before American entry into the Pacific War (and American aid). Similarly, South Vietnam could not fight off a conventional North Vietnamese blitzkrieg composed of air, artillery, armor and mechanized infantry units all funded by the far larger Soviet and Chinese economies without financial support from the US. From Wikipedia:
In early 1975, nearly two years after the United States' withdrawal from South Vietnam (according to the terms of the Paris Peace Accords), the VPA launched a campaign to unite Vietnam. However, when the US left, with a steady decline in US funded equipment and supplies to the government of South Vietnam, the Saigon government could not muster enough force to stand against the PVA. With the near collapse of the ARVN, the Northern forces quickly secured victory within 2 months in 1975.
I understand the media narrative is that these communists were all plucky underdogs who won because they were the good guys. But the reality is that they won because their financial backers stuck with them whereas we kicked our guys to the kerb. There are some moments in time when wars are decided by sheer military genius or grit. The Chinese and Vietnamese civil wars were not among these moments.
Both the Northern Alliance and the Taliban are Islamists. The Northern Alliance wanted an Islamist state in Afghanistan that minded its own business. The Taliban wanted to help al Qaeda fight an international jihad.
The Chinese weren't too unhappy about 9/11. They continued supplying the Taliban until Rumsfeld complained. Heck, Chinese journalists touring NYC cheered as they saw the World Trade Center engulfed in smoke on big screen monitors while they were touring a media outlet in Manhattan, upon which they were quietly sent back by to China by their State Department minders. Islamists aren't supplying their brethren in China. That's why Uighur nationalists are fighting their Chinese rulers with knives and machetes. The Chinese aren't our allies against the Islamists. If anything, Islamists are China's allies against us.
The non-elite Afganis will likely be very relieved to see the US Military vacate their country. The unrelenting killing and mayhem have been nothing good to most factions in the country, a momentary liberation of females that will revert back to pre-modern Mohammedanism within weeks of US pull back and a few with huge Swiss Deposits of US $$’s like Karsai etal. A decade afterwards we will see Hummers and half-tracks dragging poppy trailers thru the country side. The Great George Bush exportation of Democracy will have resulted in nothing more than impoverishing US and Mid-E Citizens and a lot of pain for military family’s losses! Responsibility must be brought to bear! Hang the NeoCons!
“That would merely have created a safe haven for the Taliban in Pashtunistan.”
Not necessarily, and not ‘merely’. They had, or have, safe havens in Pakistan. We could have gone in and pacified problem areas of Pashtunistan, which we didn’t do in Pakistan. Pakistan had been tolerating these when the focus was activity across their border in Afghanistan. Because of separatist concerns within Pakistan, not least of which are in regard to Pashtuns, Pakistan wouldn’t want an independent Pashtunistan, because then the focus for Pashtuns in Pakistan would be in joining that independent country.
Again, we’ll see what happens. It hasn’t worked before. Maybe, as you say, it will work this time. I’m not betting on it.
“The ghosts of Alexander the Great, the British Empire, and the Soviet Union say we lose.”
I hear what you’re saying, what they’re saying. And you’re touching on an important point here. Afghanistan was an entity created during the time of European colonization of Asia as a buffer zone between the British and the Russian Empires, so that they didn’t have to share a border with each other. It is artificial. The British Empire had to say, ‘here, and no further’. The Soviet Union, as successor to the Russian Empire, was asserting itself there in a place they perhaps thought Russia hadn’t gone far enough.