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April 23, 2008

COIN in Afghanistan
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

This, I also thought was an interesting element that came out of Gates’ press conference.

Reporter: do you hope that general petraeus will sort of apply his lessons learned from iraq into afghanistan? do you hope that he will overhaul -- help lead to overhaul the afghanistan strategy?

Gates:  First of all, you have to understand that the part of Afghanistan for which CENTCOM commander has responsibility is OEF, which is basically the U.S. forces operating in RC East. RC East already has been a successful exemplar of a successful counterinsurgency, and so the key there would be also to continue to build on success. the question is, how do we do a better job with our allies in RC South? But that' not in OEF's area of responsibility.

That’s a pretty effective dodge. Basically, the argument is that Southern Afghanistan is not Petraeus’s responsibility.  That is a much better answer then we can’t apply effective counterinsurgency doctrine in Afghanistan because all of our troops are in Iraq.


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I sometimes wonder if the Administration hasn't from early on been of the opinion that 911 was a lucky one shot deal, not likely to be repeated, but very useful as an entry into Iraq. If all their long term Middle East plans revolve around Iraq it would make sense that they would care little about what happens in Afghanistan or Pakistan. The may have always been of the opinion that Bin Laden and the Taliban pose little real danger to the U.S. That war is kept going with minimal resources merely as misdirection away from their real goals in Iraq.

. . .U.S. forces operating in RC East. RC East already has been a successful exemplar of a successful counterinsurgency

The idea that Afghanistan, one of the poorest and most dangerous countries on earth, where the people in some parts are reduced to eating dead grass for lack of food, is a prime example for those with any sense of why military action only leads to death, destruction and poverty, and can't be used as an excuse for "nation-building" or for an example of successful "COIN."

I invite the attention of sock puppet Gates to these two images: here is the array of regional forces in Afghanistan, with the US forces in the east near Pakistan, and here is the image showing the portion of Afghanistan under Taliban control and the 2007 "incidents" therein.

There are no signs of success in Afghanistan, only signs of abject failure.

Pakistan is showing us the way.
news reports:
Pakistan releases Taliban leader, signs peace deal with outlawed Taliban group
April 21, 2008 (excerpts)
Within weeks after the new central and provincial governments signaled it would revive negotiations with the Taliban in the Northwest Frontier Province and the lawless tribal areas, Pakistan has freed a senior Taliban leader jailed since 2002. After signing a six-point agreement with the Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi, the government released Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the radical Taliban group.

The full terms of the peace agreement between the TNSM and the Pakistani government have not been released, but the initial reports indicate the TNSM will halt attacks on the Pakistani military. The TNSM “renounced attacks on government forces in the six-point accord but it will be allowed to peacefully campaign for the implementation of Islamic law in Pakistan,” The Washington Times reported based on statements from the spokesman for the Northwest Frontier Province.
Pakistan pushes peace with the Taliban
April 22, 2008 (excerpt)
One day after the Pakistani government signed a peace accord with a violent Pakistani outfit operating in the Malakand Division in the Northwest Frontier Province, the government said future deals are currently in the works.

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