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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Afghan Sit-Rep


On another front, DT obtained a copy of an after action review of operations in Afghanistan from former 24th Infantry Division commander in Operation Desert Storm and now International Affairs professor at West Point, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who traveled to Afghanistan in mid-February.

During his visit, McCaffrey met with a wide range of military leaders, intelligence officials, diplomats and local Afghans to get a read on how things are going over there. This is something McCaffrey is exceedingly good at. His OIF post-op was outstanding and lacked the politically-charged rhetoric of many other assessments – then and now.

Overall, he’s optimistic that the U.S and NATO can “without question, achieve our US national objective of a functioning law-based state -- with a performing, non-drug economy -- which rejects sanctuary for terrorism. This is the cross-over year. The execution of our plan in the coming 24 months will decide the outcome in the country.”

But “rhetoric and political will cannot achieve our goals. Afghanistan needs strong US inter-agency and Congressional support to provide the dollars, equipment, combat soldiers, ANA and ANP mentors, and vigorous NATO and Afghan leadership to pull this mission from the fire.”

McCaffrey is calling for a $500 billion investment over the next 10 years to build the Afghan army and police force into “capable, dominant” institutions.

The Afghan economy is booming at 12% growth rate a year. $14 billion has been spent on aid since 2001. Six TV channels and a hundred free/uncensored publications are available to the people. Literacy is increasing rapidly. The ring road is now 2/3 complete. The 40,000 soldiers of the ANA are growing rapidly in numbers and capability. There are 45,000 NATO and US troops in-country. There is a functioning democracy with an elected Parliament ---and a serious, dedicated Afghan President in office.

Afghanistan can be a strategic victory in the struggle against terrorism. We are now on the right path.

There’s also good information on Pakistan’s role in the festering conflict, a NATO force hamstrung by constrained rules of engagement, the success of U.S. airpower and an innovative option for creating more “tier one” special operators…

…in my view, the Pakistanis are NOT actively supporting the Taliban -- nor do they have a strategic purpose to de-stabilize Afghanistan…

…the Pakistanis need better US support for COIN operations in South and North Waziristan. We need to sort out a set of strategic tools to help them do better. They immediately require the $395 million they have requested for their Frontier Corps. It will be a disaster for our strategic purpose if we push them to premature military action which destroys them as a unifying and stabilizing force in the region…

…as a general statement, however, the NATO forces are too weak on the ground, lack essential supporting elements (helicopters, engineers, logistics, intelligence), have severely restrictive rules-of-engagement, and may lack the national political will to fight when required. It is possible that the Taliban will try to knock one or more of these NATO nations out of the war. A major blow to the Italians, the Canadians, the Dutch, the Spanish, or the Germans might shatter their weak domestic political support…

…we need to take a revolutionary look at the methods of creating these “Tier One” forces. It will require a separately funded recruiting program similar to WWII OSS programs to identify college graduates, with superb athletic skills, who will volunteer for a 24 month training program (to include total immersion language training in Arabic or Dari) -- followed by a four year employment tour…

(Gouge: NC)

-- Christian


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Posted by: wowpowerleveling at April 15, 2008 03:15 AM

500 billions ... for a land-locked country at world's end inhabited by peasants and goatherds...

A typical example for the fact that people have lost the sense for relations.

500 billions would be enough to reconstruct the finances of whole latin america.

A complete waste on an unimportant country. The past years have proven that Al Qaida DOES NOT NEED Afghanistan as safe heaven.

The presence of foreigners in Afghanistan provokes the ancient national sport of expelling foreigners and rallying under the only force that opposes them consequently ... the Taleban.

Posted by: Sven Ortmann at March 28, 2007 03:16 PM

Luckily Afghanistan is nothing like Iraq. We need more NATO troops from countries committed to allowing their troops to actually fight. Sadly most NATO countries have not allowed there troops to be based in the volatile regions where there needed. Only the UK, the US and Canada have done that, and only the UK and US in any numbers that matter. Sadly both countries are too tied up in Iraq to concentrate enough equipment to the realistically winnable campaign in Afghanistan.
We in the UK are starting to come-around slightly, withdrawing men and equipment from Iraq, and sending more to Afghanistan, let’s hope it’s not too little too late.

Posted by: Wren Mandagorn at March 27, 2007 06:45 AM

> However, I think this war/battle have almost > been saved from the grips of being lost.

Based on what? Women's intuition?

Seriously, judging by everything that's coming out of Afghanistan at the moment this report is pretty much on the money. There's only two things which ring alarm bells for me, one is his unquestioning support for Musharraf. Describing a man who came to power through a military coup carried out against a democratically elected president as "the most democratic leader in Pakistan history" seems more than somewhat grotesque. His hold on power is shaky, I'm in no position to judge but there are those who compare his rule to that of the pre-1979 Shah of Iran. At the very least future turmoil in Pakistan is a distinct possibility, and one which would undo all the good work that has been done up to now in Afghanistan. The other thing that worries me about this report is the emphasis that is placed on the drug eradication program. Many British officers have voiced their disquiet at the thought that the Americans might press for the eradication of opium production before the necessary social and economic measures needed to ensure that former poppy growers can find alternate employment are in place. It would hardly serve our cause if those currently employed in the drugs industry were pushed into terrorism and banditry by the economic hardship that an over zealous and premature eradication of the poppy crop would bring.

Gilman Grundy

Posted by: Gilman at March 27, 2007 04:02 AM

Whoops fore should be for

Wembley -
It's not lost... but George W has lost a lot of political credit with Iraq.

Canada is committed until 2009 (I think) but that doesn't mean a party may come in and change that. Polls say that the Average Canadian approval is at 56% approval. But the approvers are a very silent bunch while the disapprover's are very loud.

Myself, I'd say I approve of the war in Afghanistan as I believe we should continue to stay out of Iraq (The JTF2 is another story). Afghanistan has proven its will not to be thrown into chaos and the people seem to want help, and want more of it. I wish I could tell people that Afghanistan is not Iraq, and there is good work being done.

Posted by: Foreign.Boy at March 26, 2007 05:25 PM

For McCaffrey's predictions on Iraq, see here:

Posted by: Tom at March 26, 2007 03:05 PM

In other words, if we don't come up with $500 billion and a lot of troops and commitment, Afghanistan is lost.

It doesn't look good after Iraq.

Posted by: Wembley at March 26, 2007 02:05 PM

I'm sad to say that The Canadian will to stay in Afghanistan is very weak. The media provides very uplifting stories but people as a whole ignore the positives coming out of Afghanistan.

I see Afghanistan like a Rwanda or another country torn by decades of wars that are owed something fore being 'forgotten'.

The big problem with Afghanistan is the association with the war in Iraq... They are both umbrellaed under the war on terror which immediately became unpopular in many countries when they illegally attacked Iraq.

However, I think this war/battle have almost been saved from the grips of being lost.

Posted by: Foreign.Boy at March 26, 2007 01:51 PM

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