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Is it time to give up in Afghanistan?

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posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 06:06 PM
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Is it time to give up in Afghanistan?


www.thestar.com

Many Westerners, including Canadians, maintain that eight years after the ouster of the Taliban, the ongoing brutality against women – part of a campaign of repression – is a sign that the NATO fight against the extremists has failed.

Their indignation is real: Achakzai's killing was only the latest high-profile attack on women and girls. It follows the murder of top policewoman Malalai Kakar and the head of Kandahar province's women's affairs department, Safia Amajan.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.guardian.co.uk
www.dailytimes.com.pk
www.reuters.com
www.google.com




posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 06:06 PM
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Quick chronological summary of all the secondary links I've posted:

1. First, Pakistani PM Zadari signs a deal legitimising the adoption of Shariah Law in the Swat Valley Autonomous Province, effectively showing his government's utter inability to deal with the Taliban strongholds in any other way than compliance and appeasement.

2. Prominent women in Afghanistan are killed, beaten and forced out of their positions by Taliban forces, continuing further infringement on any democratic reforms under Karzai's government. Not the least of which is Sitara Achakzai, renowned Afghani politician and women's right advocate who was killed yesterday.

3. Taliban forces are continually attacking NATO supply lines through Waziristan and other tribal Pakistani areas, hampering logistics operations for deployed troops. The solution to this may lie in a Russian proposition to allow US supply convoys & aircraft to travel through their territory in Central Asia: Russian Offer

4. An illegal, cross-border US Drone attack killed 14 people last week in the Orakzai Autonomous Province, Pakistan. This now brings the death toll from American Drone Attacks in Afghanistan to 350, since last August: See Here. The majority of which have been civilians. That brings the entire death toll in American drone attacks since the beginning in 2006 to 687: Total Death Toll.


Now pardon me if I sound a tad sensationalist, but this situation is well and truly effed up the A. And not a lot of people are willing to admit it.

There have been widespread predictions from many analysts and political circles that Pakistan is continually teetering closer and closer to total collapse of central government:


"We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we're calling the war on terror now," said David Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer who was a specialist adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House.

"You just can't say that you're not going to worry about al-Qaeda taking control of Pakistan and its nukes," he said.

As the US implements a new strategy in Central Asia so comprehensive that some analysts now dub the cross-border conflict "Obama's war", Dr Kilcullen said time was running out for international efforts to pull both countries back from the brink.

See Here.

I tend to agree with such predictions. Pakistan is being continually squeezed from 3 fronts: India breathing down it's neck about every firecracker that goes off, the Taliban effectively having their own "state within a state" in Pakistan's autonomous areas, and the US violating their sovereignty and then hypocritically asking them to "pull their weight" in the Afghanistan campaign.

What needs to be known here is Pakistan is suffering more than anyone, (both politically and casualty wise, civilian + military) and without their presence and support, the United States has absolutely no chance of tying up Afghanistan in a neat little bow before they evacuate in a few years to come:

24 Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack, April 5

4 wounded in Bomb Blast, April 11

50 Killed in Suicide Bombing on Pakistan-Afghan Border, March 27

Police Captain killed in Islamabad Attack, March 23

Make no mistake, Pakistan is no position to be entirely relied upon by the United States as a competent partner in solving this crisis. They simply have too much on their plate, and lack the stability and power to make a dent in Taliban influence.

It's also quite hypocritical to continue pushing Pakistan for support when the American presence in Afghanistan is precisely the catalyst that's driving the Taliban into the mountainous border regions between the two countries:



The worst and most dangerous regions of Afghanistan are coincidentally the ones that border Pakistan and the ones that produce the most Opium poppies (which is about as profitable as Somalian piracy for the Taliban insurgents).

The main thing spurring on a surge in Taliban rebellion in recent years is mobility and freedom of access simply put. Pakistan's borders are like Swiss Cheese.

Everytime we manage to uproot Taliban forces from a particular Southern territory like Helmand, they simply cross the border, re-arm and regroup in safe and untouchable territory and come back to reclaim their old positions from Coalition forces.

Solution to this problem requires the effective clearing out of the Pakistani autonomous provinces via a large campaign to isolate the Taliban into just Afghanistan, pin them down and surround them from two fronts.
The borders would also need to have far stricter security placed on them.

This of course though has about as much chance of happening as hell freezing over.
Pakistan's sovereignty is continually violated by covert US attacks which serve little purpose except to aggravate the Pakistanis and make them less motivated to cooperate with the US in performing operations within their borders.

Pakistan is also not ready military to engage in such an operation with coalition forces. The United States, barring some unforeseen massive troop surge, don't have the numbers to go at it alone.

I notice a lot of people, whenever discussing the Afghanistan situation, seem to delude themselves into thinking it's not that bad.

On paper and from a PURELY American perspective, it's not that bad. The problem is though, American occupation has unleashed the genie out of the bottle onto Pakistan and now it cannot be contained.

To leave Afghanistan now, or anytime soon for that matter means to allow the problems of this conflict to haunt the US once more in the near-future.

We will surely loose a vital Ally in the region if American forces unilaterally withdraw. Pakistan will succumb to the Fundamentalism and Sectarianism that has been brewing within it since Pervez Musharraf took power and tried to quell it via iron-fisted military rule.
Radical elements from the Taliban or Pakistani Fundamentalists themselves (a good majority of which align themselves with the Taliban) if they ever got into power, would create just another former, American Ally turned failed Islamic State (like Iran under the Shah) that would mushroom the Middle East's problems onto the Indian subcontinent and make most of geographic Asia, the most volatile region in the world.

Add into this mix, nuclear weapons, their delivery systems and groups who would only be too happy to share such technology and weaponry with other terrorist groups around the world, perhaps even contemplate their use.

The problems of Pakistan and Afghanistan cannot be ignored, shelved or simply thought of as their problems alone.

To consider Afghanistan a problem that's only going to concern the immediate region once America leaves is stupid.

Look at history: Iran turned from a staunch and viable American Ally into what is perceived as the greatest threat facing the US today by many.

Iraq was once considered one of the most pro-Western Gulf States and an excellent model to try and pawn off onto the surrounding region to keep religious extremism squashed and ethnic separatism down. Now it's the Middle East's poorest, most deprived nation, in which sectarianist violence, unable to be contained anymore has finally erupted in a bloody climax.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are both heading down that same path, with all the same warning signs.

- An unpopular and widely perceived as corrupt/treacherous/overly-Western influenced leader.
- A religious right who inch by inch gain control of, first the rural regions of the nation, and then slowly enshroud the urban areas.
- A powerful and potent military force that could prove very troublesome if it slipped into the wrong hands.
- A supposedly "democratic" leader, who uses a variety of autocratic means to ensure his people's subservience.
- Hostile, neighbouring countries idly waiting for a moment of weakness in their arch-rival to launch a massive military campaign.
- A very poor, majority working-class who have little prospects to look forward to and are easily persuaded to join the Fundamentalists.
- Numerous ethnic and religious denominations all vying for competition and independence.

In all likelihood, history looks set to repeat once more..... It's a shame the powers to be don't wish to admit that or even attempt to stop that.
And I level that charge at both sides of the fence here: the Coalition, Pakistan, Hamid Karzai and pro-American, Northern Alliance forces.

It's unfolding right before all of their eyes as it has many times in history. Time to wake up.

www.thestar.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 14/4/09 by The Godfather of Conspira]



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 06:22 PM
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Could someone explain to me exactly what we're doing in Afghanistan, I've heard things like they control 90% of the worlds opium supply, for our big pharma companies, because its illegal to produce in the states, but they still need it to make pain meds.

That's what I've heard, is that anywhere near the truth? If so, can someone show me a source?



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by djzombie
Could someone explain to me exactly what we're doing in Afghanistan, I've heard things like they control 90% of the worlds opium supply, for our big pharma companies, because its illegal to produce in the states, but they still need it to make pain meds.

That's what I've heard, is that anywhere near the truth? If so, can someone show me a source?



wiki/Opium_production_in_Afghanistan

Basically there is too much money in black marketsto bother fighting wars without eliminating the market also. War without ending the market means ongoing war, endlessly.

The article above contains a comment from an expert who points out that even when opium production was drastically reduced for a time in Afghanistan, the world supply did not even blink. This means there is a surplus and the obvious truth is that any product like opium or codeine is actually better than cash and as a currency, will never depreciate.

Well, the only way to make it depreciate or to change the power of the region is for the US to start growing their own poppies and producing their own pain meds or smack. Okay ,aybe we'd have a new generation of junkies but isn't that better than dead soldiers? Those soldiers may come back with heroin problems as has happened anyway so maybe Americans should end the drug war and come to terms with this issue?

But the German and American PharmaCo's won't allow the noose to be loosened. Drugs as currency combined with arms sales is a nice comfortable world for the people in power. They are getting rich in ways the average person can't really imagine. I can only guess what a briefcase of heroin or coca will buy.



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 06:58 PM
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reply to post by smallpeeps
 


Guess who's involved in that business too?

Our main man in Kabul, Mr. Hamid "Bribe Me" Karzai and his dope-slangin' brother:

Many chastise Karzai for being too docile in his dealings with corrupt governors and police chiefs and for maintaining ties for the country's former warlords. But Karzai's latest troubles are closer to home in nature: They center around allegations that one of his brothers is involved in drug trafficking. His younger brother Ahmed Wali Karzai is influential among the Popalzai, a Pashtun clan, in Karzai's home province of Kandahar and is the chairman of the provincial council. It is believed the Ahmed Wali is also the head of a group involved in opium and heroin trafficking that smuggles drugs to the West through Iran and Turkey. Sources in security circles claim that he provides protection for drug transports in southern Afghanistan.

www.spiegel.de...
afp.google.com...

Both of them have extensive ties to Taliban poppy farmers and the larger 'Golden Crescent' drug smuggling ring from Burma to Iran, which is Europe's main drug supply route:



Basically Karzai accepts bribes from the Taliban in order to look the other way on Opium production, ironically the same production his masters, the US military is trying to stamp out.

He also secretly gives them concessions to further Opium crops as long as the Taliban promise not to impede on the Afghan National Army presence within those regions.
Which they break regular as clockwork.

Another problem underpinning this riddle, wrapped inside an enigma, that nobody is going to be able to solve in my honest opinion.

[edit on 14/4/09 by The Godfather of Conspira]



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 07:11 PM
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Taliban poppy fiels?
www1.american.edu...

Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and the subsequent ousting of the Taliban, crop production resumed with full-force


another fact:
www.slate.com...

and in the press claims that the bombing of the Taliban has nothing to do with a "war on terrorism" but everything to do with the oil pipeline the West wants to build through Afghanistan.


We will not leave Afghanistan

Mod Edit: Big Quote – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 4/15/2009 by semperfortis]



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 07:29 PM
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Does someone think we can actually affect this situation? I think it's obvious that we are being pressed into action by those in power who have too much to lose. Afghans can produce all the poppies they want, but the real problem is the US drug policy.

I don't think anybody is delighted at the prospect of a whole generation poking needles into themselves and each other, but, there is no way out when you are buried in up to your chest as we are in this heroin trade. The idea is that the US loves their drugs, and hopelessly disillusioned, demoralized youth make good potential junkies so I think this gravy train will keep rolling along for as long as the customer keeps buying. America has never given a damn about their junkies really. At least other countries try and give them parks to flop down in. Also free smack keeps them from breaking into cars and stealing stereos (sometimes).

It seems like Pill Pharmer has a veneer of legitamacy which the Afghan heroin labs do not have? I guess lawyers and well dressed execs will lend a bit of class to one's operation. But pill pharmer gets his opiates from wherever he can get them. Why doesn't America use its great land to produce medicinal plants? Well, that wouldn't make the rich richer now would it?

The US admins we've got would rather grow DU bullets than medicinal plants. Something about happiness being found in a warm gun?



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 07:36 PM
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Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira


First of all, the portion of Pakistan which you claim that we are "Violating" in terms of their sovereignty, was in fact officially ceded to Al-Qaeda just a few months ago. Therefore, we have every right to attack enemy elements within that region (The Frontier Province).

Second, Iraq was never Wealthy before we launched a War into that Nation. Many of the people were oppressed, abuses took place on a daily basis, and they lacked even the most basic infrastructures which many of the other Middle Eastern Nations possessed.

Third, I COMPLETELY agree with you about the naive assumption that many have, which has deluded some into believing that by leaving Afghanistan, we will in fact be leaving our problems behind. This is the SAME attitude which prevailed during the Clinton years, and it allowed for the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda cohorts to flourish and prosper, which in turn lead towards 9-11.

We can win the fight in Afghanistan, and we are on a completely different playing field already as compared to the Soviets in the 1980's, the only issue we have however involves political restrictions. Politics have NO place in Combat Ops whatsoever, and much as we have witnessed throughout history, when these two opposing elements coincide and collide with eachother, very little headway is made in terms of Victorious accomplishments.



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 08:00 PM
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Afghanistan will prove to be 1) Obama's undoing if he does not restrain politicians from continuing to dictate what the military can and should do or be doing, and 2) Obama's Vietnam.



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 09:11 PM
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reply to post by TheAgentNineteen
 



the portion of Pakistan which you claim that we are "Violating" in terms of their sovereignty, was in fact officially ceded to Al-Qaeda just a few months ago.


Wrong.

You're referring to the Swat Valley. In which Pakistan has installed as the head tribal Chieftain, Maulana Fazlullah and granted him a specific level of autonomy to impose the Taliban's Shariah Law.

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are not interchangeable. Please don't assert such generalising. Al-Qaeda has almost ceased to exist as a functional entity in Pakistan anymore, save for OBL and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who are in all likelihood, long dead.

The Swat Valley is still a sovereign part of Pakistan, even though it may not appear that way in reality, the Pakistani military still holds that area.

Also, the recent drone attack I referenced happened in the Orakzai Autonomous Province, not Swat.


Therefore, we have every right to attack enemy elements within that region (The Frontier Province).


You have absolutely no concessions from Pakistan to do any of that, nor do you have any rights under International Law to violate another country's sovereignity.

Sorry, you can twist and muddle the facts any way you like but Pakistan has never approved such action.

This is part of the problem here, this attitude that America can just waltz in and out of Pakistan as it pleases without their permission. Which is ridiculous and defeats the entire purpose of asserting all this "right to self determination" & "spreading democracy" nonsense were supposed to doing in Afghanistan.

The same way Pakistan couldn't just bomb Washington D.C. arbitrarily if they discovered a Taliban cell there.


Second, Iraq was never Wealthy before we launched a War into that Nation. Many of the people were oppressed, abuses took place on a daily basis, and they lacked even the most basic infrastructures which many of the other Middle Eastern Nations possessed.


Iraq was indeed oppressed but don't go so far as to say they didn't have personal freedoms.

Saddam was a staunch secularist and detested religion, he kept down Sunni and Shi'ite sectarianism alike because it threatened his unbridled control over his people.

Religion played no significant factor in Iraqi life prior to 2003. Girls never had to wear head coverings, alcohol was easily available, Iraq actually had some of the Middle East's only night clubs and business and commerce never halted 5 times a day for prayer. Saddam is well known for demolishing numerous religious and historical buildings during his reign. He cared nothing for religion.

Iraq was in a far better position financially and infrastructure wise, than after 2003. See Here and Here.
Most of Iraq had stable functioning power, clean water access and a good, highway and transportation system (by Middle Eastern standards).

Iraq ranked in terms of GDP 5th in the Middle East prior to 1991, behind the rich, small Gulf States. Remember, Iraq sits atop 80% of the world's oil reserves, which were entirely privatised under Saddam's rule.
Iraq was making far, far more money than it is now.


Third, I COMPLETELY agree with you about the naive assumption that many have, which has deluded some into believing that by leaving Afghanistan, we will in fact be leaving our problems behind.


Glad we agree


America steps out of Afghanistan and this problem will come back to bite it in the ass at some point in the near-future. Simple as that.


We can win the fight in Afghanistan, and we are on a completely different playing field already as compared to the Soviets in the 1980's,


Well that's because the Soviets were facing not only the Mujahideen, but also the combined might of the CIA and the Pakistani ISI who throwing cash and weaponry at the Afghans like there was no tomorrow.

Also remember, Russia deployed some 150,000 men in total to Afghanistan, far more than we have there now and they played far, far dirtier than the United States ever will.
Carpet bombing cities, executing any civilians suspected of collaboration, extensive mining, war crimes, the lot.

It should give you an indication of the resilience and determination of the Afghan people and how this battle can in the end, not be won by military means alone.



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 09:45 PM
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Was there ever any hope at "winning" in Afghanistan?

Our military leaders were coerced into a bad plan from the start by our ignorant political leaders, who blatantly disregarded the previous military activities in that region by the Soviets, and even ignored or never bothered to compile intelligence on the actual loyalties or intentions of the Afghan or Pakistan peoples.

Now we have Karzai wheeling and dealing with the Taliban to save his political future - he clearly sees how quickly a resurgent Taliban can escalate hostilities beyond the Swat valley, further destabilizing Pakistan. It's a very precarious situation now, it's right on the tipping point.

The US and its allies had one golden opportunity to destroy OBL and Al-Queda, immediately following 9/11, but that opportunity is forever gone. It was squandered when the Bush administration pulled an about face and instead went after Iraq and its fictitious WMD's. If the coalition had poured all the resources diverted to Iraq into Afghanistan and Pakistan, we wouldn't be facing a renewed Taliban or still wondering if OBL and his terrorist network were still out there plotting the next 9/11. Invading Iraq has to be the biggest political blunder since Hitler opened a second front during WWII.

Most westerners think you have to destroy the Taliban because they abuse their own people, but you can't force a people to revolt or liberate them at gun point. Revolution HAS to come from within.

Karzai has struck his peace with the Taliban. The US, misled by Bush & Cheney, has already lost in Afghanistan. When we invaded Iraq, we gave OBL the gift of life. At this point, what could Obama do? Push Karzai or Pakistan too hard, and they'll start treating the US like an enemy not an ally. That would only be good news to OBL or the Taliban.



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by Blackmarketeer
 


With Obama in charge, it's already gone. We'll make a half-hearted effort and begin talking with the "nice" Taliban.

Same goes for our former strong ally, Pakistan. Their days are numbered as well.

jw



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 10:03 PM
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Canada is, I'm sure.

I respect Harper now..
He looked right at Obama and said "If you don't have a plan, were not going back after a year."



Good.



posted on Apr, 14 2009 @ 10:08 PM
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Well if Obama strikes a conciliatory tone with the Taliban he'll only embolden them, it's a sign of weakness and precisely what OBL is waiting for. OBL said from the very beginning that the US would fail economically to sustain the military for a lengthy war just as the soviets failed.



posted on Apr, 15 2009 @ 07:38 PM
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Just to add to the myriad of proposed reasons of why the US government is determined to maintain a presence in Afghanistan, a very insightful quote from a Russian analyst:


The Western military presence in Afghanistan has unsettled some regional powers, such as Russia.

"Is it all to fight a number of Taliban — 10,000, 12,000 Taliban?" says Zamir Kabulov, Russia's ambassador to Kabul. "Maybe this infrastructure, military infrastructure, [is] not only for internal purposes but for regional also."

Russia views this as a potential threat "because Afghanistan's geographical location is a very strategic one," Kabulov said. "It's very close to three main world basins of hydrocarbons: Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea, Central Asia."

NATO Bases expanded in Afghanistan

And considering America already has the Persian Gulf by the balls, that's 1 down, 2 to go.

Very thought-provoking indeed.



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