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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Afghanistan is Collapsing. Get Out: Now!

Afghanistan is Collapsing. Get Out: Now!

Photo Source Expert Infantry | CC BY 2.0
November has been quite a month, so far, in Afghanistan.  The level of violence has been appalling and the most serious recent atrocity was yet another suicide bombing in Kabul. It killed over fifty
people and injured twice that many but didn’t merit a Trump tweet, which isn’t surprising because he doesn’t seem to be interested in the place.  Further, as reported by the Washington Post on November 19, he hasn’t visited a single country in which his troops are fighting.
The reason he hasn’t visited his troops in such areas is because he is a coward.  He is a physical yellow-belly who lacks the courage to go anywhere near a war zone.  He is below contempt, but he could gain a little bit of respect if he ordered the US and NATO to get out of Afghanistan.
Early in November the New York Times summed up the shambles in Afghanistan by stating
In the past week, the Times confirmed that 118 members of the security forces were killed, a significant increase over the previous week, but, unusually, there were no confirmed deaths of civilians. Fighting spread to nine provinces, but the emphasis shifted to the south as cold weather intensified in the north. An entire battalion of Afghan border soldiers was wiped out in western Farah Province, and the Taliban tried — unsuccessfully so far — to take over Jaghori District in Ghazni, an anti-insurgent stronghold.
On November 3 yet another US soldier was killed by a member of Afghanistan’s military forces.  Major Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard was instructing Afghan soldiers when one of them shot him dead.  He left a wife and seven young children. On the same day, as reported by the New York Times, twenty Afghan soldiers were reported missing after a Taliban attack in Uruzgan Province, and on November 5, six policemen and seven soldiers were killed in Ghazni, two Afghan Humvees were blown up, 17 policemen were killed in Kandahar Province and seven soldiers in Herat.
Seven soldiers were killed on November 7, two of them in Nangarhar Province in an airstrike by United States aircraft while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was visiting foreign troops in Herat. The following day seventeen soldiers were killed along with eight policemen.
After the NYT’s report that no civilians had been killed in the first week, the situation changed dramatically and the Taliban killed 15 civilians and 10 members of the special forces in Ghazni on November 11, then “In the western province of Farah, at least 37 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in overnight attacks by Taliban fighters on checkpoints that triggered hours of fighting, local officials said on November 12.”  That was the day that a loonie of Islamic State killed at least six civilians and wounded 20 others in a suicide bombing in Kabul.
Stoltenberg told foreign soldiers in Herat they “have to remember that you are in Afghanistan because NATO is in Afghanistan to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorism.  So this is about helping the Afghans but also about helping ourselves.  It is in our security interest to make sure that Afghanistan not once again becomes a platform, a territory, a country where terrorist organizations can prepare, plan attacks against our own countries.”
This is fallacious nonsense, but he’s got to say it because there is no real reason for the NATO presence in Afghanistan.  In the words of the World War One dirge sung by British soldiers in France, “We’re here, because we’re here, because we’re here . . .”
They got there because the United States was hell-bent on war. And this war has had a most significant and disastrous spin-off  that the drum-thumpers didn’t think about. It has shown the world that there has been yet another war which the US couldn’t and can’t win.
The foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan — almost 3,500 of them, including 1,892 American combatants — have died for nothing.  The entire war has been a disgraceful catastrophe, and as I recorded in Counterpunch in 2012, the US-NATO fiasco was well described by US Colonel David Davis:
The United States, along with over 40 NATO and other allied nations, possesses the most sophisticated, powerful, and technologically advanced military force that has ever hit the field of combat. We have the finest and most well trained soldiers that exist anywhere; we have armored vehicles of every type, to include MIA2 Main Battle Tanks; artillery, mortars, advanced rockets, precision guided missiles, and hand-held rocket launchers; we have a wholly uncontested air force composed of NATO’s most advanced ground attack fighter jets, bombers, AWACS controllers, spy planes, signals-interception aircraft, B 1 bombers, attack helicopters, and massive transport jets to ferry our troops and critical supplies where they are needed; we have thousands of unmanned aerial drones both for intelligence collection and missile-launching; we have a helicopter fleet for personnel transport and attack support; we have an enormous constellation of spy satellites; logistics that are as limitless as the combined weight of the industrial world; we have every technological device known to the profession of arms; we are able to intercept virtually every form of insurgent communication to include cell phones, walkie-talkies, satellite phones, email, and even some ability to eavesdrop on otherwise private conversations; a remarkably capable cohort of intelligence analysts that are as educated, well trained and equipped to a degree that used to exist only in science fiction;  and our various nations have the economic wherewithal to spend $10s of billions each month to fund it all. And for almost 10 years we have pitted this unbelievable and unprecedented capability against:  A bunch of dudes in bed sheets and flip-flops.
Remember the idiot General Petraeus? In 2010 he declared “We must demonstrate to the people and to the Taliban that Afghan and International Security Assistance Forces are here to safeguard the Afghan people and that we are in this to win. That is our clear objective.”
But they lost. And there’s no point in reinforcing failure.  US-NATO forces failed to follow almost every Principle of War, and they paid the price.
Get the hell out of Afghanistan.  Now.
More articles by:
Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

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