18 thoughts on “Afghanistan”

  1. My son knows more about Afghanistan than anyone I know, has written overview papers for a think tank. He likes the new strategy – leave out the nation-building stuff and just concentrate on destroying terrorists.

    1. Systematically destroying the enemy until they give up or are all gone is how wars are generally won.

  2. the United States would take India’s side in its multifaceted, existential quarrel with Pakistan

    This is a strategy, not a tactic. …and it’s long overdue.

    We need to teach Russia their near abroad are independent. India can help with that. Also a strategy.

    Dem’s cacophony of Russia, russia, russia is the tactic that undermines a very dangerous future.

      1. The president made zero attempt to connect ends and means.

        Blatantly false. The ends is to reduce the bad guys to an ineffectual level. The means is by letting the military in the field do their job without the interference of the experts in Washington.

  3. Trump laid out the broad strokes of a strategy but without any specifics. He often says he wont telegraph these things. He also laid out some high level tactics that would support the strategy. They included using diplomacy, economics, and the military.

    One of the tactics is going after Pakistan. This is long overdue. Afghanistan isn’t a magical country, but many people have magical thoughts about it. Afghans, and the Taliban, are humans. They are not invincible magical beings. The problems we have in Afghanistan are largely due to Pakistan acting as an off limits base to recruit, train, and fund many different Islamist groups that pass freely over the border.

    Trump said the war would proceed based on conditions. The only condition he laid out though was an honorable and enduring end. But the reality is that there are a series of conditions that lead up to that. We didn’t get to hear them because Trump doesn’t believe in telling our enemies what our strategy fully entails.

    A careful reading of the speech will also show that the strategy for Afghanistan isn’t just about Afghanistan. This is good because the problem of jihad isn’t just an Afghan problem. Solving the riddle of Afghanistan doesn’t mean the larger effort is over.

    The author might not realize this but China and India are already fighting border skirmishes. We already pressure China with group of nations and India would be a good addition to them. Pakistan needs both the carrot and the stick. He seems to be arguing that any action will lead to doom so we are best off to let Islamists take over, like Obama did in Iraq.

    He is right to say there were no details on troop movements and what our troops will be doing and how they will do those things. But much of his analysis is seriously flawed.

    This is a nice map of some of the groups operating out of Pakistan, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/08/mapping-terrorist-groups-openly-operating-inside-pakistan.php

    1. I should add that skepticism is in order. We often don’t know what is going on with the military. Afghanistan got zero coverage over the last 8 years. As outsiders all we can do is look at the eventual outcome. Only time will tell if Trump’s strategy is successful. Its a bit premature to judge it one way or the other right now but fatalism isn’t good criticism.

  4. Meh. I think this problem doesn’t have an easy solution to it. That’s why I thought the US should have just pulled out once OBL was killed.
    The border with Pakistan is just too porous and those guys keep coming in. Pakistan’s secret services probably even want them to come in. While the regular military is too busy trying to prevent Pakistan from falling apart internally to bother with the border. Have you seen documentary from OBOR? The amount of military protection those Chinese working on Pakistan construction projects need to have around them is plain insane.

    1. The border with Pakistan is just too porous and those guys keep coming in.

      That can work both ways.

      Pakistan’s secret services probably even want them to come in.

      This is very true.

      The hard part of finding a solution to Afghanistan is dealing with Pakistan. You can’t defeat an enemy when you don’t fight the enemy. For the past 16 years, our efforts to fight in Pakistan have been very limited.

  5. No-one has a strategy in Afghanistan, because the only sane options are:

    1. Withdraw.
    2. Kill all the Afghans.

    Since the US government won’t do either of those, they’ll just keep bumbling along getting people killed for no good reason.

    1. What if your objective is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist training state that has no impediments?

      Even killing all the Afghans and then leaving won’t achieve that…as stupid as the option is.

      If you just leave, afghanistan goes back to being the free wheeling terrorist haven it was.

      Ok so what is your objective? Do you care whether or not Afghanistan becomes a trouble-free training zone for terrorists?

      If not why not? What are the ramifications of it being a trouble free training state for any terrorist group that doesn’t want to be pestered?
      State those ramifications and how you intend to defend against that circumstance.

      If you DO care, how do you propose to achieve that?

      This is not a simple problem – certainly not the simple problem your two solution list suggests.

    2. Killing Afghans wont win the war because the Taliban and other Islamist groups are mostly based in Pakistan.

      1. I don’t see Trump as distracted, but he has rent free space in your brain, Rand. I’m calling projection in that last comment.

    1. I haven’t seen him get distracted yet and its foolish to think Trump needs to run the war personally.

      Let’s say he did get distracted, what would happen? The generals would keep doing their assigned mission. Some people seem to be thinking he will just pull the troops out on a whim but all of his statements about Iraq shows that he wont. There isn’t a reality based set of evidence to support this new conspiracy theory.

      Its like some people read a thirty second tweet and then think that is all Trump did that day. It isn’t but it is usually what people focus on all day. I still think it would be really funny if he schedules posts just to make the histrionic people wake up early.

  6. It’s silly to complain that the President hasn’t done what is impossible for him to do and isn’t part of his job description.

    I don’t want the President to come up with the strategy. That’s not the President’s job. He can’t do it because he doesn’t have all the necessary info or time. To say he has no strategy is to say he’s doing his job correctly.

    To complain that he has no strategy is to make another one of those non sequitur attacks.

    I want the President to come up with the Objective. Strategy and Tactics (2 separate items) are best done by State and Defense.

    State has the wherewithal and data to come up with global and local strategy. Defense has the next level of military strategy and tactical control. Defense is only one tool that can be used to implement strategy.

    They present Strategic options and the President picks the path that seems most doable and fits the President’s One Sentence Objective.

    The President should state the Objective in one sentence. Maybe two. It can even be as undefined as: “Defeat Caliphatic Extreme Islam” or “Crush Islamic Extremists so thoroughly that they become as unimportant and neutered as the KKK”.

    For Obama is was “Facilitate the Islamic Extremists”

    State and Defense then come up with a set of strategies and associated tactics and requirements to fulfill those strategy/tactics pairs. They present them to the President and the President chooses.

    The President HAS defined the Objective: “Defeat Isis”.

    Whether or not he wisely chooses a strategy from the set presented to him is another question and one that hasn’t been answered yet.

    Whether or not that Objective is achievable is for State and Defense to figure/

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