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Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by hepcat » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:56 pm

I would like to get the opinions of both Earth 616 Rip and Bizarro Rip before I draw any conclusions.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Holman » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:33 am

It just dawned on me that we probably have soldiers in Afghanistan who don't actually remember 9/11.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:17 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Kunduz hospital strike
The U.S. military took responsibility on Tuesday for a deadly air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, calling it a mistake and vowing to hold people accountable.
AP
More than a dozen U.S. military personnel have been disciplined — but face no criminal charges — for mistakes that led to the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital that killed 42 people in Afghanistan last year, U.S. defense officials say.

The punishments, which have not been publicly announced, are largely administrative. But in some cases the actions, such as letters of reprimand, are tough enough to effectively end chances for further promotion. The military has previously said some personnel were suspended from their duties but has given no further details.

The disciplined include both officers and enlisted personnel, but officials said none are generals.
...
In November the U.S. military provided an outline of what happened. It said the crew of the AC-130 gunship, which is armed with side-firing cannons and guns, had been dispatched to hit a Taliban command center in a different building, 450 yards away from the hospital. However, hampered by problems with their targeting sensors, the crew relied on a physical description that led them to begin firing at the hospital even though they saw no hostile activity there.
...
At a November news conference, Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, a spokesman for Campbell, said the actions taken by the U.S. aircrew were "not appropriate" to the threat they faced, suggesting that a number of them could be faulted.
...
The main U.S. military investigation was completed on Nov. 15 but has not yet been publicly released. U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and across the greater Mideast, rejected in December an AP Freedom of Information Act request for the report, which it said was approximately 5,000 pages long.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Sat May 21, 2016 5:19 pm

There don't seem to be a lot of details out yet, but I'm seeing reports that Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the newish leader of the Afghan Taliban, has been killed by a US drone stike.
BBC wrote:The Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour is "likely" to have been killed in US air strike on the Afghan-Pakistani border, US officials say. The Pentagon announced it had carried out a series of raids targeting the militant leader in a remote border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mansour assumed the leadership last year, replacing Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Reuters wrote:Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour and another combatant likely were killed in a U.S. military drone strike in Pakistan authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama, a U.S. official said on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity. The strike took place at about 6 a.m. EDT, the official said, which would have placed it late on Friday night in the target area. Multiple U.S. drones targeted the men as they rode in a vehicle in a remote area in Pakistan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal, the official said.
IIRC, he's been reported killed before, so we'll have to wait and see if it sticks this time.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Fitzy » Sat May 21, 2016 8:07 pm

Max Peck wrote: IIRC, he's been reported killed before, so we'll have to wait and see if it sticks this time.
It's possible that the Middle East is full of zombies. That is the most logical explanation for why the media keeps reporting people dead, yet they are spotted later.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Sun May 22, 2016 3:45 pm

As usual, things may be a little on the murky side...
A passport found at the site of a U.S. drone attack targeting Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour bears the name of a Pakistani man named Wali Muhammad and carries a valid Iranian visa, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. The ministry did not directly comment on the possibility that Mansour might have been traveling under another name. Afghanistan's spy agency said it was sure Mansour had been killed in the attack, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told reporters in London that Pakistan was unsure if Muhammad was "Mullah Mansour or someone else". He called the attack "a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty".

Saturday's strike, which U.S. officials said was authorized by President Barack Obama and involved multiple drones, took place in Pakistan's remote Baluchistan area near the Afghan border. Pakistan said the air strike had destroyed a car carrying two people, and that Sharif had not been told about it in advance. The ministry said one of the charred bodies had been identified as a local taxi driver but the badly burnt second body had not. It added that the purported passport holder was believed to have returned to Pakistan from Iran on May 21, the day of the drone strike targeting Mansour. Photos of Muhammad's passport seen by Reuters show a passing resemblance to some of the old photos available of Mansour. "(Muhammad's) passport was bearing a valid Iranian visa," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Mohammad Qasim, brother of the dead taxi driver, told Reuters his brother had picked up his passenger from Taftan, a town on the Iranian-Pakistani border. If it is confirmed Mansour had traveled to Iran before his death, it would raise fresh questions about the Taliban's use of neighboring territories. Afghanistan has often accused Pakistan of harboring Taliban and other Islamist militant groups, and said Islamabad has not put enough pressure on the Taliban leadership to commit to stuttering peace talks. Pakistan has said it is doing all it can to pressure the Taliban to enter talks. Iran's predominantly Sunni Muslim Sistan-Baluchistan province borders both Pakistan and Afghanistan and has long been a hotbed of rebellion by Sunni Islamist militants against Iran's Shi'ite authorities, as well as a point of entry for drugs being smuggled into Iran.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Canuck » Sun May 22, 2016 11:59 pm

Holman wrote:It just dawned on me that we probably have soldiers in Afghanistan who don't actually remember 9/11.
Scary, right? In a few years there will be soldiers in Afghanistan who hadn't even been born when the initial invasion started. That, my friends, is fucked up.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon May 23, 2016 11:33 am

Mark him off the list.
Senior Afghan Taliban figures were meeting on Monday to agree on a successor to Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the leader of the militant movement who U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed had been killed in an American air strike at the weekend.

The Taliban have so far made no official statement on the fate of Mansour, who assumed the leadership only last year.

But senior members have confirmed that their main shura, or leadership council, has been meeting to discuss the succession in a bid to prevent factional splits from fragmenting the movement.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Wed May 25, 2016 2:51 am

Yup.
The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that their leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week and that they have appointed a successor - a scholar known for extremist views who is unlikely to back a peace process with Kabul. The announcement came as a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying court employees in the Afghan capital, killing at least 10 people, an official said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement sent to the media, the Taliban said their new leader is Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, one of two of Mansour's deputies. The insurgent group said he was chosen at a meeting of Taliban leaders, which was believed to have been held in Pakistan, but offered no other details.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Wed May 25, 2016 12:10 pm

Settin' 'em up and knockin' 'em down. At least they don't have to offer a retirement package.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by hepcat » Wed May 25, 2016 12:34 pm

Taking out their leadership sounds good in press conferences, but you never know if doing so will simply result in someone even worse taking over.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by El Guapo » Wed May 25, 2016 12:48 pm

hepcat wrote:Taking out their leadership sounds good in press conferences, but you never know if doing so will simply result in someone even worse taking over.
If we keep going we're bound to hit the George Washington of the Taliban eventually, right?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by GreenGoo » Wed May 25, 2016 2:42 pm

I'm relatively ok with killing whoever takes charge, at least until they decide to become a charity or something because life expectancy as a military extremist group has gotten uncomfortably short.

Obviously I'd prefer not to create any new martyrs that could be used for recruitment purposes, but the "truth" is not something they bother to stick to anyway, so what the hell.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by El Guapo » Wed May 25, 2016 3:01 pm

GreenGoo wrote:I'm relatively ok with killing whoever takes charge, at least until they decide to become a charity or something because life expectancy as a military extremist group has gotten uncomfortably short.

Obviously I'd prefer not to create any new martyrs that could be used for recruitment purposes, but the "truth" is not something they bother to stick to anyway, so what the hell.
I am fine with it as well, insofar as leaders of armed insurgencies seem like legitimate targets, and if nothing else organizational instability would presumably tend to weaken the Taliban as a fighting force.

Though I did read something the other day that was arguing that fragmenting an insurgency in a civil war can wind up extending the civil war by eliminating individuals who have the capacity on the insurgent side to negotiate an end to said civil war. So, there's that I guess.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Wed May 25, 2016 3:26 pm

El Guapo wrote:
GreenGoo wrote:I'm relatively ok with killing whoever takes charge, at least until they decide to become a charity or something because life expectancy as a military extremist group has gotten uncomfortably short.

Obviously I'd prefer not to create any new martyrs that could be used for recruitment purposes, but the "truth" is not something they bother to stick to anyway, so what the hell.
I am fine with it as well, insofar as leaders of armed insurgencies seem like legitimate targets, and if nothing else organizational instability would presumably tend to weaken the Taliban as a fighting force.

Though I did read something the other day that was arguing that fragmenting an insurgency in a civil war can wind up extending the civil war by eliminating individuals who have the capacity on the insurgent side to negotiate an end to said civil war. So, there's that I guess.
In this case, they eliminated a leader that was dogmatically opposed to negotiating an end the conflict and who seemed to be a competent military commander, based on the Taliban successes over the last year. Try as I might, I don't really see a downside to taking him out.

I still feel bad for the cab driver (presuming that is all that he really was), even if he did get a posthumous promotion to "armed male combatant" in the AAR. It always sucks to be an egg when there are omelets that need making.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:09 am

What's 2,900 troops between friends?
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he will leave behind more troops in Afghanistan than originally planned.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said he would draw down troops to 8,400 by the end of his administration, from the initial target of 5,500. The current level of troops in Afghanistan is 9,800.

"The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious," Obama said. "I strongly believe it is in our national security interest ... that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed."
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:17 pm

Snipers and green tea on Helmand's front line
Going home to Helmand felt different this time - things really are unstable.

The last time I witnessed such a fluid situation was in the early 1990s after Kabul had fallen to the mujahideen.

A few communist families were in control. After that Helmand was ruled by the mujahideen and then by the Taliban. For the last 15 years, however, it's mainly been ruled by the Afghan government, although it's still considered a Taliban heartland and a centre of insurgency, smuggling and opium.

I took the road from Kabul to Helmand via Kandahar in mid-March - a precarious 10-hour bus journey. In recent months the main road leading to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, has been in and out of government control.

From the bus I saw police stations that had been partially blown up by the Taliban. Bridges had been destroyed. The roadside was littered with the carcasses of burnt-out government Humvees.

This is normally the scariest part of the journey, as Taliban fighters try to kidnap government personnel, but I didn't encounter any.
Cool story, bro. (I need an "I'm not being ironic!" smilie, stat!)
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Smoove_B » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:16 am

Everything old is new again in Afghanistan:
The U.S. military in Afghanistan has detected an increasing number of Russian-made small arms being used by Taliban fighters on an increasingly complex battlefield here.

U.S. military officials confirmed Monday that in the last 18 months, they have seen more weaponry from Russia in the hands of Taliban fighters, including machine guns and antiaircraft machine guns. U.S. officials have been complaining that the Kremlin has interfered in Afghanistan on the Taliban’s side, but the comments Monday marked the most serious U.S. charges yet.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit Monday, said it would be a violation of international law for Russia to provide the Taliban with weapons.

...

Asked Monday if the Russians were providing such weapons, Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said, “I’m not refuting that.”

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Holman » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:30 am

This means there are middle-aged Taliban fighters who've shot at Russians with American-supplied weapons and at Americans with Russian-supplied weapons.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Remus West » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:33 am

Smoove_B wrote:Everything old is new again in Afghanistan:
The U.S. military in Afghanistan has detected an increasing number of Russian-made small arms being used by Taliban fighters on an increasingly complex battlefield here.

U.S. military officials confirmed Monday that in the last 18 months, they have seen more weaponry from Russia in the hands of Taliban fighters, including machine guns and antiaircraft machine guns. U.S. officials have been complaining that the Kremlin has interfered in Afghanistan on the Taliban’s side, but the comments Monday marked the most serious U.S. charges yet.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit Monday, said it would be a violation of international law for Russia to provide the Taliban with weapons.

...

Asked Monday if the Russians were providing such weapons, Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said, “I’m not refuting that.”
So basically we are just still flipping sides as to which of us is attacking them and which of us is arming the opposition. Seriously, how far back in history do we need to look to find an Afghanistan that is at peace and ruling itself without international interference? Probably pre-WWII but how much further? I honestly do not know their history enough to know.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:06 am

Remus West wrote:
Smoove_B wrote:Everything old is new again in Afghanistan:
The U.S. military in Afghanistan has detected an increasing number of Russian-made small arms being used by Taliban fighters on an increasingly complex battlefield here.

U.S. military officials confirmed Monday that in the last 18 months, they have seen more weaponry from Russia in the hands of Taliban fighters, including machine guns and antiaircraft machine guns. U.S. officials have been complaining that the Kremlin has interfered in Afghanistan on the Taliban’s side, but the comments Monday marked the most serious U.S. charges yet.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit Monday, said it would be a violation of international law for Russia to provide the Taliban with weapons.

...

Asked Monday if the Russians were providing such weapons, Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said, “I’m not refuting that.”
So basically we are just still flipping sides as to which of us is attacking them and which of us is arming the opposition. Seriously, how far back in history do we need to look to find an Afghanistan that is at peace and ruling itself without international interference? Probably pre-WWII but how much further? I honestly do not know their history enough to know.
It would definitely be some time prior to the 19th century.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:48 pm

Remus West wrote:So basically we are just still flipping sides as to which of us is attacking them and which of us is arming the opposition. Seriously, how far back in history do we need to look to find an Afghanistan that is at peace and ruling itself without international interference? Probably pre-WWII but how much further? I honestly do not know their history enough to know.
I recommend Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan by Tamim Ansary.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:14 pm

They're going to need a bigger bomb. :coffee:

The Mother of All Bombs: How badly did it hurt IS in Afghanistan?
The view from the hills overlooking the Mamand Valley is beautiful. Green fields and trees fill the valley floor. Ahead, the valley narrows and hills become mountains. In the distance rises the magnificent Spin-Ghar, the White Mountain, which marks the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But there was no chance of quiet contemplation when I visited this area of Nangarhar province. Above, three types of American fighter planes were circling and dropping bombs.

One bomb hit the narrow part of the valley. It was there, a young soldier told me, that the weapon known as the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) had been used.

I was confused. Reports of the bomb had made me think that it had wiped out the IS stronghold here in Achin district. I assumed that US and Afghan troops would have sealed off the area and that IS (or Daesh, as it is known here) would be in disarray.

An Afghan officer corrected me. "For a start this bomb wasn't as powerful as you think," he said.

"There are still green trees standing 100m away from the site of the impact."

[...]

The drive to the impact site with Haji Beag and his unit was a short one. American planes were still flying above us, targeting the next valley a kilometre away. The mountainous terrain was hard on our four-wheel drive and as we approached the site a rocket landed 200m in front of us.

No one was hurt, but it made Haji Beag cautious, and we weren't allowed to set foot on the impact site.

But we could see it, and it was unremarkable. There was no big crater. Trees had been burnt and a few rooms had been flattened. Not far from it, houses still stood and there were green trees around.

As we left the valley, the bombardment continued. It seemed clear that the bomb that was dropped on 13 April had not come close to delivering a knock-out blow to IS militants entrenched in the area, and the locals certainly expect more conflict ahead.

To me, at least, the Mother Of All Bombs failed to live up to her reputation.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Holman » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:19 pm

Under President Trump, bomb impacts are measured in TV coverage. MOAB did great.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:51 pm

Holman wrote:Under President Trump, bomb impacts are measured in TV coverage. MOAB did great.
And unfake opinion polls. His poll numbers were beautiful after the Syrian strike. Yuge!

In other news: Two Americans killed in IS Afghan raid
Two Americans were killed and a third was wounded in a raid in Afghanistan against Islamic State group militants, the Pentagon has confirmed.

The military personnel died in combat in Nangarhar province, said Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis.

Earlier this month American Army Staff Sgt Mark De Alencar, 37, was killed in the same province.

It comes only days after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the country.

The American soldiers were conducting an operation against IS Khorasan, an affiliate of the core Middle Eastern group.

The operation was conducted in partnership with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the Pentagon said.

"The fight against ISIS-K is important for the world, but sadly, it is not without sacrifice," said General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

"On behalf of all US forces and our coalition partners, I offer our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and fellow service members of our fallen comrades," he continued.

Next of kin have been notified, but their names are being temporarily withheld from the media, the Defence Department said.

The operation took place near the district of Achin, near to where the US recently dropped "the mother of all bombs", the largest non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal.

A spokesman for the Nangarhar governor told Reuters that about 40 IS fighters were killed in the raid, and another 13 were captured alive.

Estimates for how many IS fighters are in Afghanistan vary.

US officials believe about 700 fighters occupy the Nangarhar and neighbouring Kunar province.

But Afghan officials estimate that there are closer to 1,500 militants.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Holman » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:19 pm

Trump has announced a major national address on Afghanistan war policy tomorrow night (Monday).

What's it going to be?

1) Declare victory and go home,
2) Wag the Dog with MOAB MegaSurge,
3) Appoint Erik Prince as Viceroy and give it all to Blackwater/Academi?

Interestingly, the timing of the address is intended to shit all over Paul Ryan's already-planned much-hyped CNN interview.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:49 pm

With generals calling the shots, it's hard to say. They tend to be cautious, and they can surely see that outright military victory is impossible, so I would expect MOTS with modest troop increases.

I'd prefer option 1, myself.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Chaz » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:23 pm

Massive troop surge? Gotta justify upping the military budget that he wants, and he can make a lot of hay supporting the troops.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:04 pm

Another large buildup would knock the Taliban back again, for awhile, and deliver some of the victorious optics that Trump likes. But I wonder how many Americans would lap it up...my sense is that most of us grew bored with Afghanistan years ago. Even his base might not go along if they bought into his nativist rhetoric. And our allies won't be on board -- not that Trump gives a hoot what our allies think.

IDK...if somebody's got a new idea to end this endless stalemate, I'm all ears.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:56 pm

Kraken wrote:Another large buildup would knock the Taliban back again, for awhile, and deliver some of the victorious optics that Trump likes. But I wonder how many Americans would lap it up...my sense is that most of us grew bored with Afghanistan years ago. Even his base might not go along if they bought into his nativist rhetoric. And our allies won't be on board -- not that Trump gives a hoot what our allies think.

IDK...if somebody's got a new idea to end this endless stalemate, I'm all ears.
The Atlantic just ran a realpolitik opinion piece that makes the case for pulling out and making it someone else's problem (where the "someone else" is pretty much every country in the region that is out to break America's balls).

It's Time to Make Afghanistan Someone Else's Problem
The Trump administration, as well as its critics, are reportedly wrestling with the question of a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, where the government has shown no signs of being able to turn the tide in the 16-year war against the Taliban. General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with support from Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, has asked for more troops, apparently in service of a strategy that, for the moment, seeks simply to “not lose.” President Trump has granted this request in principle, but these reinforcements have not yet been dispatched, because the president's advisors seem to believe that he is not committed to stay the course. Instead, a strategic review is underway. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain has offered his own strategy for Afghanistan, which appears to be the “old” strategy, with the admixture of a commitment to stay forever and provide the commanders with a blank check for forces and money to do so.

But these approaches, which will reportedly be discussed at a meeting at Camp David on Friday, misunderstand the dilemma. For America, the perhaps-counterintuitive answer in Afghanistan may be that only by reducing its presence, or withdrawing completely, can it advance the full range of its strategic interests.
Some may also argue that Washington cannot afford to undermine its prestige by leaving Afghanistan in the lurch. Given the lives, money, and time that it has poured into building a stable Afghanistan, it is Afghans who have let the U.S. down, pouring more resources into a losing effort won’t enhance confidence in U.S. judgment or its staying power.

Finally, others yet may assert that the United States has an ethical debt to all those progressive Afghans who fought alongside the coalition. They either have not fought hard enough, or they could not win enough domestic support to win. That said, those Afghans who cooperated with America at great personal risk, and who find themselves at some future point in need of an exit option, should be placed high on the list for U.S. immigrant visas, should that time come.

When the Cold War ended, the national security establishment quickly came to believe that the happy accident of overwhelming relative U.S. power and the apparent decline of geo-politics would last forever. Instead, U.S. hegemony is under pressure. Some would say America must now shore up that hegemony, that the Afghan policy outlined here is simply too ruthless, or that exacerbating great and middle power conflicts is, in the end, too dangerous for global stability. Fine words. But the overall stock of U.S. hard and soft power assets is simply not sufficient to manage the world. Thus, the United States must play a tougher international game.

In particular, the U.S. should stop solving security problems for those states that are eager to create problems for us. And if getting out of Afghanistan creates a few headaches for them, so much the better.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:07 pm

I didn't watch Trump's address -- I can't stomach seeing or hearing him -- but the news reports sound like his policy amounts to MOTS, albeit led by the Pentagon rather than the White House. It's not like he had any good options, so I can't say that I'm surprised or even disappointed. We'd have seen the same from Clinton.

In the short run putting more troops in a more active combat role will probably stem the recent losing trend and get back to stalemate. Ultimately, the best outcome from our perspective is the Taliban negotiating a role in government. Do we have a strategy to make that happen? Given Trump's disdain for diplomacy, probably not.

My takeaway is that Trump just accepted an ownership stake in this war.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:00 am

To me, it is more of the same in the sense that Trump is continuing to delegate the strategic military decisions that are properly his responsibility to Mattis and the Pentagon. That is illustrated by his apparent inability to discuss the plan for Afghanistan in any detail.

Whether this also translates to more of the same in terms of how the war is prosecuted remains to be seen. During the Obama years, there seemed to be a tension between what the military wanted to do and what the civilian administration was willing to do. Those days are over.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by LordMortis » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:04 am

I also can't bear to hear him for any length of time. I suppose as long as I don't hear independent or contracted forces (or heaven forbid Blackwater by name), it could technically be much worse. I hate the idea of MotS when it comes to be people's lives but the realistic alternatives with our POtuS all seem worse.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:23 am

LordMortis wrote: I suppose as long as I don't hear independent or contracted forces (or heaven forbid Blackwater by name), it could technically be much worse.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Rip » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:26 am

hepcat wrote:I would like to get the opinions of both Earth 616 Rip and Bizarro Rip before I draw any conclusions.
Future Rip says it didn't work and is unlikely to work out that well for DJT.

Still a half measure at best and this isn't the kind of fight you can win with half measures.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Jeff V » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:24 pm

Kraken wrote: Ultimately, the best outcome from our perspective is the Taliban negotiating a role in government. Do we have a strategy to make that happen?
I don't think it is ideologically possible. It would be easier to broker a cooperative deal between Nazis and Jews than get the Taliban to play nice with anybody that doesn't embrace their ultra-extremism.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Jeff V » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:26 pm

Why hasn't anyone suggested we wrap up the easy wars first so we can focus on the hard ones? You know, like Isis? When does the 30-day plan to defeat them (one of his campaign promises) start?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by El Guapo » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:41 pm

Pffff. Why do the hard ones at all? Let's wrap up the ones we have now and then start on:

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Max Peck » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:04 pm

El Guapo wrote:Pffff. Why do the hard ones at all? Let's wrap up the ones we have now and then start on:

Enlarge Image
You can try, but Canada has always been good at fighting countries run by Nazis.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:38 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Kraken wrote: Ultimately, the best outcome from our perspective is the Taliban negotiating a role in government. Do we have a strategy to make that happen?
I don't think it is ideologically possible. It would be easier to broker a cooperative deal between Nazis and Jews than get the Taliban to play nice with anybody that doesn't embrace their ultra-extremism.
Yet it's the only path to peace in Afghanistan. Has a foreign power ever eliminated an insurgency by killing all the insurgents?

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