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Afghanistan First ^ | January 21, 2018 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 01/21/2018 7:22:19 AM PST by Kaslin

In the last half of last year, U.S. armed forces under President Donald Trump’s direction launched 2,000 air strikes against Taliban targets in Afghanistan. That constitutes more raids than in all of 2015 and 2016 combined, the last two years under President Barack Obama’s command.

“The huge spike in airstrikes is the product of new rules of engagement, adopted as part of a strategy that President Trump announced in August,” reports the Washington Post. “U.S. forces can now strike Taliban targets at will, whereas under the Obama administration they were restricted to defending Afghan forces under imminent attack.”

Like the wise change to no longer announcing to our enemies the specific date of our withdrawal, common sense might suggest that the Trump policy of taking the fight directly to that enemy makes a lot more sense than Obama’s completely defensive posture. That is, if one’s goal is to win the war.


But this is no Hollywood war. Sure, the Taliban was long ago toppled from power in Kabul, the capital, but the radical Islamist group has continued to control massive territory across the country. In fact, even the increased U.S. bombing campaign has so far failed to shrink Taliban positions.

“U.S. military leaders acknowledge that the Taliban controls or contests nearly half of Afghanistan’s districts,” the Post informs, “a number that has slowly crept higher through the past year, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a U.S. government watchdog.” [Emphasis mine.]

That sounds like losing the war. Not winning.

One would also assume that defeating the Taliban is the purpose of said longest-ever U.S. war, now being waged for the 17th year by U.S. forces . . . and a very, very slowly developing Afghan army.

One would be mistaken, however.

The fecklessness of our overall strategy for waging war in Afghanistan is really not disputed. We have no plans to defeat or destroy the Taliban.

Then, what on earth are we still doing there, you ask?

“But whether the new [bombing campaign] strategy is a decisive step toward forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table or just another curve along a seemingly endless road of war,” notes the Post, “depends on whom you ask.”

Two possibilities: First, the heightened bombing may be of no value. Second, it may force the Taliban to the negotiating table and a deal creating a joint power arrangement between the Taliban and the ephemeral Afghan government.

Yes, that’s right: the “good” outcome — the repeatedly stated goal of our current mission — is to force the corrupt, sickening, evil Taliban into a power-sharing role.

We are now spending ‘blood and treasure’ to force the wicked government we somewhat successfully sought to remove from power to come on back and re-take a measure of political control.

“The new strategy presupposes that U.S. and Afghan forces can pound the Taliban so hard that it has no choice but to relinquish its war against the Afghan government and instead join it in some sort of power-sharing agreement,” explains the Post, adding that one American general acknowledged “the Taliban could even be given control of entire provinces in such an agreement.”

Hmm. This goal is worth . . . how many lives?

“We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard & quick. Rebuild the US first,” private businessman Donald Trump tweeted in 2013.

Nearing the end of a second decade in Afghanistan, it seems painfully obvious that Trump was (and is) correct. We cannot build a sparkling, new, self-sufficient, freedom-loving Afghan society. If a resurgent Taliban government were to again threaten the USA, that could be addressed, as Trump put it, “hard & quick.”

It is a far more realistic policy, destined to be cheaper in lives and treasure, than nation-building decade after decade — and bombing an enemy you are hoping to turn into a partner in a future Afghan government.

Asked about the increased bombing, Barnett Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan, dismissed its significance: “I’m not skeptical in the sense that they say it’s going great and I say it’s not. It’s more that it doesn’t matter what happens on the battlefield. The Taliban cannot be eliminated. We can say we’ll wait them out, but we can’t. We have the option of leaving, and they don’t. Eventually, one way or another, we’ll take that option.”

“What are we doing there?” Trump argued in a 2012 video blog. “These people hate us. As soon as we leave, it’s all going to blow up anyway. And you say, ‘What are we doing there?’ We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions of dollars on this nonsense. . . . What are we doing? We’re a debtor nation. We can’t build our own schools, yet we build schools in Afghanistan.”

Let’s listen to candidate Trump, not President Trump’s advisors. Let’s get out now, before another American soldier is killed.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; airstrikes; presidenttrump; taliban; trumpdod; trumpgwot; usmilitary; war

1 posted on 01/21/2018 7:22:20 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Give it to the Chicoms the same way they took over Tibet. Protect their mineral rights. Keep a lid on the muzzies.

2 posted on 01/21/2018 7:29:01 AM PST by DIRTYSECRET (urope. Why do they put up with this.)
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To: Kaslin

Should have let the russians keep it.

3 posted on 01/21/2018 7:42:53 AM PST by Theoria (I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive)
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To: Kaslin

And once we bomb every population gathering, cave, mosque, school, crossroads, bridge, and bolt hole in Afghanistan

Then what?

Start over

4 posted on 01/21/2018 7:49:09 AM PST by silverleaf (A man who kneels for the national anthem doesn't stand for much of anything)
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To: All

Should have never gone there. Need to leave now.

The only way to win there is to use the medieval Spanish approach.

We are pointlessly wasting blood and treasure.

5 posted on 01/21/2018 7:53:47 AM PST by TheTimeOfMan (A time for peace and a time for war)
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To: TheTimeOfMan
Blame the DemocRATS.
They kept screaming that we had more vital interest in Afghanistan, and that "The War in Iraq is LOST !"
6 posted on 01/21/2018 7:57:14 AM PST by Yosemitest (It's SIMPLE ! ... Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Kaslin

They can’t win because the central government doesn’t have the loyalty of the people. They need a more decentralized approach. Local warlords who do inspire loyalty of the people in their district need to be seen as the real government of Afghanistan. Give them some kind of official title, call them governors or something, but our strategy needs to be wrapped around them. That’s how we won in the first place, a Special Forces war with teams assigned to the warlord in that district.

The warlord in Kabul can be called “president” but in real life he is just another regional ruler.

7 posted on 01/21/2018 8:03:39 AM PST by marron
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To: marron

Afghanistan, like most muzzie countries is still Tribal.

8 posted on 01/21/2018 9:03:46 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Kaslin

and the Forever War rolls into its 17th year...same as it ever was.

9 posted on 01/21/2018 9:32:34 AM PST by Thunder 6
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To: marron

Nuke them. The poison the poppy fields with some persistent agent. I recommend salt.

Then nuke them again.


10 posted on 01/21/2018 9:39:18 AM PST by Lurker (President Trump isn't our last chance. President Trump is THEIR last chance.)
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To: TheTimeOfMan

What is wrong with leaving them to their own devices? What is the strategic purpose of us being there? Protecting poppy?

11 posted on 01/21/2018 10:26:58 AM PST by Kudsman ( Anyone to the Right of Stalin is a Far Right Wing candidate to the Far Left Wing Media.)
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To: Kaslin

This article is just more Wormtounge whispering in our ears: “Its too hard, it will never work, better to just walk away from it - surrender.”

The truth is that this air campaign is powerful, and the Taliban are not made of stone.

In addition to really fighting them for a change, we very artfully struck their main source of funding this year - their drug money. We waited till the crop was in, the bulk processing was done, the main payments had been made, and the product was stockpiled for shipment. Then we swiftly blew up the bulk of their product, and bulk of their processing labs. That is new, and it is a big blow.

Also, we have fundamentally changed our policy with Pakistan, who gave birth to the Taliban in Pakistani madrassas. The Taliban only took control in Afghanistan with the support of the Pakistani ISI (Military Intelligence), and when needed, regular Pakistani military units, artillery and air. Pakistan provides them their essential safe haven. Pakistan is arguably the real center of gravity, and it has not really been challenged before.

Also, there is a new approach to enabling Afghanistan to grow its own economy - which would put more resources into the hands of the Government and civil society, while the Taliban is simultaneously losing income and influence.

If we kill the islamist core of the Taliban, who were indoctrinated in Pakistan’s Saudi-funded religious schools(most of them need killing) the bulk of their forces are basically Pashtun tribes, who are in it for the money. They just need a better opportunity elsewhere to move on, and the security to get away from the islamists (and they are pretty capable of that on their own, if they want it - tough people).

12 posted on 01/21/2018 3:05:57 PM PST by BeauBo
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To: Kaslin

At least the ROE are more America friendly.

13 posted on 01/21/2018 4:20:23 PM PST by airborne (I don't always scream at the TV but when I do it's hockey playoffs season!)
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To: Lurker

Poisoning the poppy fields would be a win-win.

Cut off a big part of their funding and help with the opiods crisis here in America.

14 posted on 01/21/2018 4:22:16 PM PST by airborne (I don't always scream at the TV but when I do it's hockey playoffs season!)
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To: airborne

“Poisoning the poppy fields would be a win-win.“

Sure would. Then nuke whatever is left twitching.


15 posted on 01/21/2018 4:23:44 PM PST by Lurker (President Trump isn't our last chance. President Trump is THEIR last chance.)
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