Afghans question US worth in Taliban fight, as Pentagon watchdog admits ‘lack of progress’
[ Editor’s Note: My question in the title is a serious one, because it does not take a genius to understand that an incremental increase in US ground troops would be easily countered by additional Taliban-recruiting to drive out the infidels.
Using the big bombers has a history of failure in insurgent warfare, where high causalities boomerang because the Taliban then wants to wipe out more government positions while inflicting retaliatory attacks on Kabul.
The smart money has long advised a negotiated settlement, which the US has chosen to ignore, preferring the ongoing stalemate, as it keeps the Afghan government under its total control. The Afghan government would otherwise likely be overthrown in the first year, should the US leave.
The Inspector General’s office is historically and widely respected. Somehow the Israelis have not managed to take it over when it has so many other branches, to assure Israeli interests win out over everyone else’s.
I would love to say that this report might trigger some backlash against the current US policy, but I doubt it. The US public has a record of growing tone deaf and losing interest in all foreign wars whenever significant US casualties are not being incurred.
Most US “troops” in Afghanistan stay “inside the wire”. They train the Afghan military and provide technical and air support.
No one in Congress seems curious how, after decades of war, the Afghan government has not learned how to train its own forces, when rural Afghanis practically come out of the womb already knowing how to shoot with a rifle.
That said, Kabul has lots of company, in that US and Israeli trainers cover the world with their “trainers”, which allows them the ability to recruit long term Intel assets by staying in constant contact under the cover of training.
I was surprised that even after the successful but expensive defeat of ISIS by the Iraqis, where the Popular Militias played such a key role, Baghdad is continues to use US “trainers”, despite knowing the US has been a proxy terror group sponsor in the Mideast for many years now. Please riddle me that in the comments … Jim W. Dean ]
… from Russia Today, Moscow
Despite committing additional resources to Afghanistan, US troops and local security forces have made little inroads against the Taliban. Some Afghan lawmakers are questioning whether the country needs US assistance at all.
A report to Congress prepared by the Pentagon’s inspector general challenges an earlier assessment of the US military that the latest increase of support to the Afghan national security forces helped turn the corner and gain momentum against the militant movement. Over the first quarter of 2018 the Taliban’s threat has not greatly diminished.
“The Taliban continued to hold territory and launched devastating terrorist attacks in Kabul and across the country,” Glenn Fine, the deputy Pentagon inspector general, wrote in an introductory note to the report, which was released on Monday.
The Trump administration changed the US Afghanistan policy in August last year, deploying 3,000 additional troops to the country. Yet Kabul is far from achieving the benchmark of controlling areas where at least 80 percent of the Afghan population lives, as set out by Washington.
As of the end of January, the figure stood at 65 percent, compared to 64 percent last quarter, the report said. There were few changes in control over territory too, with the Taliban controlling or contesting almost half of Afghanistan.
The listed strength of the Afghan security troops, the , has dropped in January to 313,728, down from 331,708 a year earlier, the report said. The estimated number of actual troops is 11 percent below the target of 352,000 set by the Afghan government, reflecting the recruitment difficulties it faces.
Amid the stalemate in the 17-year-long war, some politicians in Kabul are saying the support it gets from the US is not enough. Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, first deputy speaker of the upper chamber of the Afghan parliament, said on Monday that Kabul should change the security agreement with the US, TOLO news reported.
“What have we achieved from this security agreement? Nothing, except notoriety,” agreed senator Zalmai Zabuli. “The foreign forces in Afghanistan have not fulfilled their commitments,” argued senator Mohammad Hanif Hanifi.
In a fresh example of failing security in Afghanistan, 16 people were reported killed and dozens injured on Tuesday after a suspected car bomb explosion in the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. And on Monday night clashes between Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces in the Ghazni province left seven officers killed.
The US mission in Afghanistan may soon receive a new commander, Reuters said on Tuesday. Army Lieutenant General Scott Miller would replace Army General John ‘Mick’ Nicholson in the position in a matter of months, sources in the Pentagon told the agency.