Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The same thing started happening in Iraq around 2008 or so, iirc-the news media simply stopped covering it because there wasn't much to report anymore.

    Or it could just be cyclical; when I was in Afghanistan in 2003-2004 the colder months were when violence was at an ebb, although it wasn't particularly violent during that time frame anyway.
  2. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    From what I hear, Afghanistan is still pretty bad....dunno about violence but rampant corruption is still destroying the country. We don't hear anything about it because the Arab uprising is the big story of the moment. Heck we don't even hear about Egypt much anymore, since that was so last month.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Gen. Petraeus testifies before Congress



    Basically, he's saying more or less the same thing about Afghanistan, now, that he was saying about Iraq in 2008 or so. It's not much of a surprise; the Taliban has had serious issues with maintaining the initiative they've built up predominantly because of their endemic logistical issues-most of their available weapons are 1980s era or older. Military equipment simply does not last that long even when it's well-maintained, which isn't something I can say for anything that's been sitting in an adobe hut or cave for decades.

    I'm currently wrapping up my fourth deployment, and while the Iraqis s
  4. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    My brother returned from Afghanistan a few weeks ago and his best friend was hsot by a police man he was meant to train. Just like that. So, I´d say it´s still pretty bad. German forces had a lot of trouble, lately. I also read a few news about bombs in Kabul. Different from Iraq is the level of organisation the "opposing" forces have their and they are not there on some unreasonable war of faith, but because of very real political interests. Especially a drug trade and the billions of dollars invovled.

    All in all, if the US leaves, they all leave. And if that happens, nothing will change. Will it if the US stays? No. No necessary. But possibly. That was the chance they took when marching in, did they?
  5. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Iraq's insurgency died out because the Sunnis who were behind it were quite weak. The Shi'ite side basically killed their way to victory and the Sunnis had to sue for peace. That's not quite the case with Afghanistan where you have the Pashtuns in the southeast arrayed against a bunch of other ethnicities in the northwest. The Pashtuns form the power base of the Taliban, and are overall more sympathetic to them than to the international forces in Afghanistan. And unlike the Sunnis in Iraq, they're much stronger numerically and they inhabit/control a sizable chunk of real estate.

    In other news, the Taliban are out on an ongoing assassination spree.
  6. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Report: time is now for talks with Taliban to end the war


    The war in Afghanistan has reached a stalemate and the best time to jump-start a political settlement with the Taliban is now, according to a report released Wednesday by a U.S. think tank.

    The report, issued by the New Century Foundation, said the U.S. and Afghanistan's neighbors, especially Pakistan, must play key roles in any negotiations. Demands that the Taliban sever ties with al-Qaida or that foreign troops exit the nation, for example, should be considered goals, not preconditions of talks, the 126-page report said. The group also proposed that a neutral party, perhaps the United Nations, be named to facilitate the process.

    The report was released as President Hamid Karzai, for the second day in a row, called on the Taliban to lay down their weapons. At a high school in Kabul, Karzai pleaded with the Taliban to stop burning schools and reconcile with the government.

    "Once again I'm calling to the Taliban: Make friendship with education and come and make peace," Karzai said. "Let the Afghan children stand on their feet and then the foreigners will voluntarily leave. They will not come back and we won't need them. ... If you're going to burn the schools, it means you are the friend of the foreigners."

    Karzai has had informal contacts with Taliban figures, but no formal peace talks are under way. Publicly, the Taliban say they won't negotiate as long as foreign forces are in Afghanistan. The Afghan government and the U.S. have said they will reconcile only with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, cut ties with al-Qaida and embrace the Afghan constitution.

    "Both sides have set preconditions for talking to their foes that may reflect the concerns of highest priority to them, but which should no longer prevent their talking to each other," the report said. "Fulfillment of each specific point should be their goals in a political settlement."


  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    If "negotiating with the Taliban" is a euphemism for "cutting our losses and abandoning Afghanistan to its fate," then I'm all for it.
  8. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    New Afghanistan Plan: Hole Up in Fortress Districts

    It makes sense to focus efforts where they're likely to succeed, or where success would actually mean something. I'm reading the Army report on the Battle of Wanat for school, and the Army wasted a lot of time by putting inadequate numbers of soldiers in a hostile area, where they couldn't accomplish anything.

    Still, it looks like regardless of what the West does, there is no end in sight to the fighting in Afghanistan. Already, most of the population was born during wartime. In about ten or fifteen years, the time spent at war will have surpassed the average life expectancy. Perhaps we will someday reach a point where nobody in Afghanistan remembers peace.
  9. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Does anyone think we'll see a quicker or more dramatic withdrawal from Afghanistan, beginning this summer, now that Osama bin Laden has been killed?

    I think we should definitely keep up the pressure on Al Qaeda while they're down, but I don't think we need so many troops stationed in Afghanistan to do so. I've also heard that the Afghanistan army is much bigger and stronger than it was even a year ago, so maybe they'll finally be able to step up?
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Maybe, although I doubt it unless you've got any statements by genuinely important (IE SECDEF, the President obviously, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, etc) politicians saying that it's being thought about.

    The negotiation with Taliban elements is ongoing and it wouldn't surprise me in the long run if they're ultimately successful; the US had similarly ideological radicalists (KKK in the early 20th century) that were quite politically powerful in their day and basically form a tiny minority now. Every society has a radical subset; there's no real reason to expect the Taliban to be completely obliterated.

    The biggest thing from my POV is Afghanistan's complete lack of anything resembling an economy. Yes there's the mineral deposits, but that was just found last year. Things like that take time to exploit, especially in a political environment as corrupt as Afghanistan.

  11. firesaber Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 3
    You mean other than the Opium fueled economy?
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    That's not a viable economic system for reasons that don't need explaining.
  13. firesaber Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 3
    Agreed and my point. Until Karzai takes care of his in house corruption, actually takes a real stand on the narcotics issue or we force his hand and actually handle it across the board its the only economy they are going to have. With the amount of aid money thats been missapropriated and large scale rebuilding still a way off it's still going to be tough to "finish" the job. Meanwhile, the narco money continues to make the insurgents fat in the wallet.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, the government corruption problem-and general lack of anything BUT minerals and heroin-makes the economic issue a tough one to tackle. This isn't Iraq, which has an economy beyond oil; not much of one, but it does exist. Afghanistan hasn't had a functioning government since the late 1970s, and the only hope for economic growth is the admittedly massive mineral deposits, which will take time to develop. The government, right now, doesn't really have a tax base besides small businesses, and you can't develop a country based on taxing small business.

    Another big problem even without the Taliban is the lack of communication infrastructure. The government in Kabul is very distant indeed when you consider major portions of the country aren't accessible except by helicopter or on foot; the mountains north of Bagram in particular are like this.
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I read an article a while back that said something to the extent that Afghanistan should have a decentralized system of government rather than what it has now. Basically, you have a highly tribalized society that never yielded to any sort of central authority, which is why Karzai isn't terribly popular. I think it also makes sense that if most tribes were given more autonomy and responsibility, that there would be greater incentive for them to defend themselves against the Taliban, as well as root out any corruption.
  16. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    Not to mention Afghanistan's abysmal literacy rate, the second lowest in the world. Literacy goes a long way in training soldiers, plus it gives people a way to participate in governance and promotes cultural unity around the government.
  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    That's such a bad blueprint for a country I'm not even sure where to begin. It'd be at the mercy of whichever tribal leader was the least easily swayed by people with money. The Articles of Confederation more or less set up this sort of system in the United States post Revolutionary War; it did not work.
  18. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Does anyone know the current deal with Afghanistan? When you hear about fighting terrorism, it's all drone strikes in Pakistan or Yemen/Somalia.

    What's going on in Afghanistan?
    Where are our troops stationed?
    How much of the country is under the control of the Taliban, and how much under Karzai?
    Who is likely to succeed Karzai, who's held the job for nearly 10 years?
    What is the influence of the Haqqani network, and what other terrorist organizations are operating in Afghanistan and who's funding them?

    I don't even know the basic info of this war anymore.
  19. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, I can't answer all of those, but here are some:


    What's going on in Afghanistan?

    This year has not been a good one for the Taliban. Their planned summer offensive failed to take back terrain they had previously taken, and given the massive civilian casualties they've caused the civilian populace is starting to turn on them as well.
    Operation Badr

  20. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Very good info, thanks for writing all that out DarthBoba!

    It's good that this has been a bad year for the Taliban, which you'd think is something the media would report. (As well as an awful year for Al Qaeda).

    I wish there was a map that showed what territory the Afghan government controls, what territory the Taliban controls, what territory is friendly to the official government, what territory is friendly to the Taliban, what territory is neutral, and what territory is mixed. That would be an awesome map. Particularly if it included population density. Someone, somewhere msut have come up with it. :p

    I'm afraid of Karzai becoming another dictator in all but name, like Mubarak. There could be worse guys than Karzai, but he's been losing his edge for a while now. For Afghan democracy to have a chance, they need a fresh face. Preferably one without drug and corruption problems.

    Pakistan is definitely the real problem. Pakistan (supporting militants in Afghanistan), Iran (supporting militants in Iraq), and Syria (supporting militants in Lebanon and Gaza) are the only real problem countries for the United States in the Muslim world now. There's also the issue of Israel/Palestine, and the future of Saudi Arabia, but at least those countries are our allies. Minor problems in Somalia and Yemen too, but they're under control. We just really need to worry about those "big three," in my opinion.
  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    You're welcome.

    I think the main issue with a political map of Afghanistan is access, particularly in the northern part of the country. There is literally one highway, that runs in a sort of loop around the country, and beyond that, vehicle travel is not easy and is virtually impossible in some areas; there's alot of smaller villages and towns that you can only get into by foot or helicopter.