It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Afghanistan: An Individual Soldier's Perspective Part 4-The Fall of Afghanistan

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in

+27 more 
posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:37 PM

I flew my flag in that land. I deployed to Afghanistan in the summer of 2013. We were told that we would be home by Christmas and that we were going there to shut things down and bring troops home. I didn't do anything of the sort.

From the moment we fell into our birds we were on kinetic mission after kinetic mission. My first mission set was interdiction missions with the Australian special operations group in charge of the Tarin Kowt area at the time.

Flying above the mountains leading into Tarin Kowt:

Not much went on there beyond that. No FOB shutdown, no equipment relocation. Nothing. The only thing that actually happened is being redeployed to another FOB in order to do the same missions elsewhere. We were never going to shut anything down and we certainly weren't coming home for Christmas. Some of us would never come home at all:

Then came Camp Dwyer. I spent one month in Camp Dwyer watching the CIA violate Iranian airspace with a stealth drone once known as "The Beast of Kandahar." From there we flew multiple medevac missions and conducted several missions that had nothing to do with Afghanistan. In fact, I would say that much of what I got up to in Afghanistan was more of a posturing mission against the Iranians than as a nation building exercise on behalf of the Afghans.

The situation was most certainly not well in hand.

When I redeployed again to Kandahar I was greeted by then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:

Chuck told us that although things looked stagnant, that progress was being made and the efforts we were putting forth then would lead to victory and a safer Afghanistan. I don't like being lied to Chucky boy.

You and the military brass have a lot to answer for. You had me fly my flag in anothers land...

And today you burned that all to ash along with the efforts, blood, sweat, and tears of soldiers like me.

I was just a soldier. One among many who were proud of our service and hoped we had made a difference. But it was never up to me or any other soldier whose boots made contact with Afghanistan. We never made a difference. Just a lot of noise as we got put through this meat grinder.

What's left of our mission is ruined lives, marriages, and utter loss. 20 years we had to get this right. 20 years.

Afghanistan: An Individual Soldiers' Perspective-Part 1 Initially written while deployed

Afghanistan: An Individual Soldiers' Perspective Part 2-The Afghan National Army Written just after returning from Afghanistan in 2014

Afghanistan: An Individual Soldier's Perspective Part 3 (9/11 Edition) Written in 2020 on the anniversary of 9/11
edit on 8 15 2021 by projectvxn because: Spelling and grammar and added the other parts.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:39 PM
Respect buddy i enjoyed reading that and those pictures are awsome.

Do you have a link to the other parts

edit on 15-8-2021 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:41 PM
a reply to: projectvxn


posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:46 PM
a reply to: OtherSideOfTheCoin

Parts added to OP.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:48 PM
a reply to: projectvxn

I tip my hat to you for your effort projectvxn and sympathise for the betrayal of that effort and the loss of your brothers , 20 years wasted.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:49 PM
Yes. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Sorry our leaders are coward's and fools.

a reply to: projectvxn

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 12:51 PM
a reply to: projectvxn

My cousin was a sniper in Afghanistan. It messed him up pretty bad. After his tour, he ended up addicted to heroin trapped in Thailand for a couple years. He's been doing better, he's back and married now, but he's definitely not the same as before he served

What happened in Afghanistan it''s hard to find fitting words here honestly...what the government and military did to all those young people that got sent out to Afghanistan, the orders they were given to carry, the things they were made to do, the effect on the population, actual war crimes, being issued depleted uranium bullets that irradiated and poisoned Afghanistan and the US and other soldiers exposed to it.

So many people's lives destroyed over 20 years for literally nothing. Just to occupy a strategic location in the middle east that would allow access to the Khyber pass and block Russia, Pakistan and Iran's access.

Occupying Afghanistan has alwasy been for the same reason, whoever does it, because it's right in the middle of the middle east, basically separating Asia from the rest of everything.

Every time though it goes the same way. The people who live there, they've dealt with would be occupiers for hundreds of years, they pretty much always succeed.

If you want to quickly bring your military and economy to the ground, just go invade Afghanistan, watch your country deteriorate. The last one to try it before America literally collapsed and no longer exists because of their protracted occupation Afghanistan.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 01:10 PM
Interesting read. Interesting to read what we all knew that the invasion was never about what the official reason was.

I think we can all agree the russins know/knew how to fight, so I have no idea why the us didn't learn from the Soviets mistakes.

Invading any country never ends well.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 01:46 PM
Thanks for your service my man. It really sucks that all the corruption in the elected officials at the top took a huge crap all over us for their gain.

Our heroes sign up to go help and make a difference and somehow it gets hijacked for power and money.

It sure seems at some point a high ranking military leader would just say “no more” and side with the citizens to rid our country of the traders and scum that are trying to destroy our country.
edit on 15-8-2021 by TexasTruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 01:52 PM
It's become a bit of an overused, almost embarrassing cliche, "Thank you for your service". But for a majority of us insignificant tax cows, the sentiment is real. We appreciate you Projectvxn, as well as your comrades in arms for the sacrifices made, and the commitment to our country you all displayed.

I hope and pray we can get a handle on our out of control leadership so that in the future such needless and pointless sacrifices are a thing of the past.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 02:12 PM
As civilians we thank you for your service. All we can do is trust that our leadership wants what we do - the reality that if we extend the use of military force it's for the right reasons, to make a better place and life for the people of a nation in the end.

The reality is that in order for anything like that to happen in Afghanistan, it would have to get very much uglier than most people, including those same leaders, could stomach before it could ever get better. So they never intended to do anything more than what you describe and they sold most of the country on lies.

I'm not sure where the country lost its way, but I suspect it has something to do with that passage about people not enduring sound doctrine and having itchy ears. The principle is rather the same. The truth always hurts, so no one wants to hear it or believe it when they do.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 02:39 PM
This is just terrible. The US has actually been there more than 40 years, but whatever. The real question now is, how are the junkies going to get their delicious heroine?!

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 02:42 PM

We had the watches but they had the time.

How utterly disappointing. What a waste of time.

edit on 8 15 2021 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 02:44 PM
a reply to: amtracer

Don't worry, China is supplying that.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 02:50 PM

originally posted by: amtracer
This is just terrible. The US has actually been there more than 40 years, but whatever. The real question now is, how are the junkies going to get their delicious heroine?!

Don't worry. Other countries make that, and Biden will be happy to call and beg them to grow more. I'm sure the addicts can just pay for that like the rest of us are expected to.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 03:54 PM
Seth Keshel 4 part to this story.

On that run, I went out a few miles and found myself lost (lieutenant, okay) – a few turns around some jersey barriers and HESCO baskets later, I found myself on the ANA camp. I don’t hide very well, and I saw a bunch of pointing going on - I am guessing at the giant American officer surrounded by miniature Afghans – and I booked it out of there. These are our “allies.” These are the people responsible for guaranteeing the future safety and security of Afghanistan, at least according to the textbook. It was in these months in the transition from 2010 to 2011 that I realized counterinsurgency was hopeless.

(1/4) Many have asked me for my thoughts on the current situation in Afghanistan. Since it figures so critically in my background and analytical qualifications, I will give them here in this space. Be mindful that this will be a long post and may break into multiple sections.

I was assigned to the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Hood, TX, as a second lieutenant fresh out of Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course in 2009. I took up my role as the Assistant S-2 (Intelligence Officer) in one of the brigade’s two Attack battalions (Apaches). The S-2 serves as an advisor to the commander (in this case, a battalion is commanded by a lieutenant colonel). The assistant S-2 is clearly the new guy learning under the more experienced primary S-2, typically a captain or senior first lieutenant.

The brigade was just returning home from a deployment to Iraq when I arrived, but thanks to the troop surge coming in Afghanistan, was quickly spun up for a new deployment under a new brigade commander (one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever known), Col. Dan Williams. Notice of the deployment came in Dec 2009 when the colonel told me “poppy fields in June” at a brigade dining event. I had just been promoted to 1st lieutenant at this time.

By April, our brigade was divided into multiple task forces (with the task forces now holding three types of helicopter – Apache, Chinook, Blackhawk, but not Kiowa). I was shifted to another battalion-sized task force that was going to be missing its S-2 for the first few months of the deployment due to personal reasons. He was a captain, and had experience in the Iraq tour the unit completed in 2009. I was fortunate to have been trained by a brilliant officer, 1LT/CPT Wightman - a great guy with whom I've never agreed with politically. He helped me immensely to develop critical S-2 skills.

I had the same analytical skill then as I do now – but without the combat experience and day-to-day know-how that comes with “soldiering.” That is why God made NCOs (non-commissioned officers). For several months, my intelligence section operated with three people, when we were allotted eight on paper. 1LT Keshel, SSG Head, and SGT Millhouse. SSG Head (now retired SFC) was an infantryman by trade who transitioned to MI (Military Intelligence) MOS. As the NCO in charge, his job was mainly to lead our analysts and perform essential administrative functions, but due lacking manpower and the demand of 24 hour operations, he was pressed into a more analytical role than his position would typically entail. One of his duties was getting me straight. He laughs still when we talk about the first rocket that landed near us on Kandahar, the first full day in Afghanistan. He didn’t move from his bunk. I followed the entire drill, including hitting the deck and then going to a bunker. The next time a rocket hit, I didn’t move either. You never forget that level of embarrassment. Over the course of several months, SSG Head got me set up for success, right around the time our captain came in country.

My dad died in September, three months in. I went home for his funeral, and when I got back the captain (CPT Kolano) was back. We are the same age – he graduated college a year ahead of me and therefore was ahead of me in career progression. We had both been 1LTs at the same time, and he made CPT a year before I did, going into this deployment. One drawback of battalion staff sections is that officers often hold the same rank, and become friends, and then have to report one to the other. Of course there is basic professionalism, meaning that no one will undermine the one who outranks them – but it’s not always easy. CPT Kolano and I didn’t really get along personally during our deployment, but fortunately we actually became real friends when we returned and were sent to the Captains Career Course together in Arizona. He is still in, a Major – one of the better intelligence minds I met in the Army – a strategist, workaholic, and fitness nut. We gelled pretty well about halfway through the tour.

(2/4) He would run day operations and briefings, and I would create and disseminate the intelligence summaries that influenced operations in all of RC-West. It was the most widely disseminated intel summary in all of the region, which is the size of Georgia. I would handle deliberate operations missions briefings in the middle of the night and brief pilots in the early morning hours before we traded posts. All in all, I spent about 4 of my 12 months as the primary S-2 in his absence, and 8 as the Assistant S-2, working a cross shift that included the night hours.

It was late in 2010 that I began reading “Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare” by Marston and Malkasian. After shooting out the intel summary and eating midnight chow, I would go to the back office, and when free, would read that book to the hum of our generators. The book assembles a series of historical vignettes outlining failed counterinsurgencies throughout recent history. The bottom line was clear – counterinsurgency doesn’t work – unless it is conducted on an island. Navies can be used to patrol islands and keep enemy fighters, weapons, and supplies out. The forces on the island can then be used to separate insurgent factions from peaceful factions. And once separated, the insurgents can be eradicated. It sank in like the stone on Goliath’s forehead. Immediately, given that I was paid to think strategically, I abandoned all hope that we would ever win the war in Afghanistan. Since I was already in an aviation brigade, I thought at the “30,000’” level just as I see the political landscape today. It was at this time, looking at upcoming deployments going as far out as eight years, that I started to see the hopelessness in making this my career. Now I’m very glad I began to feel that way.

Our unit got to the point to which Apaches were using $70,000 hellfire missiles to destroy $50 repeater towers on mountainsides made of duct tape and PVC pipe. One time, we had to shoot TWICE! Our pilot teams were hamstrung by our own lawyers – having to call for clearance to fire at enemy fighters who were clearly engaging our ground troops and causing needless casualties. A couple of our pilots were permanently grounded and lost their wings because they had to fire in defense of ground troops, and accidentally fragged some with danger close engagements. Coalition “partners” in our region were giving away communications equipment to the Taliban in exchange to not be attacked. Guess who was getting attacked.

Counterinsurgency (COIN) exists in a textbook at Fort Huachuca. They preach it like it is gospel. If you point out that the only successful modern counterinsurgencies

edit on R20212021kQ000000America/ChicagoAmerica/Chicago8 by RookQueen because: left off comment

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 03:58 PM
Seth Keshel pt. 3 cont. & pt 4

On that run, I went out a few miles and found myself lost (lieutenant, okay) – a few turns around some jersey barriers and HESCO baskets later, I found myself on the ANA camp. I don’t hide very well, and I saw a bunch of pointing going on - I am guessing at the giant American officer surrounded by miniature Afghans – and I booked it out of there. These are our “allies.” These are the people responsible for guaranteeing the future safety and security of Afghanistan, at least according to the textbook. It was in these months in the transition from 2010 to 2011 that I realized counterinsurgency was hopeless. My mind began to think about life not in the military, giving my best years and risking myself for something so futile. I’ve told the story before in an article about my future assignment to Alaska when I read “Liberty Defined” by Ron Paul, which cemented in my mind the need to find a new career. I put in my papers to leave just three months after reading the chapter pertaining to endless war.

On the current issue itself – the mission in Afghanistan died of a Stage IV cancer that had first been discovered in 2001. As useless as he is, and with his means of occupying the White House being what they are, this is not the complete fault of Joe Biden. It is the summation of 20 years of useless war in a place called THE GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES. A “graveyard,” for goodness sakes, and we thought we would turn out different? Most veterans before the internet became the all-powerful self-education tool it is believed in the mission to get even after 9/11. That was my inner drumbeat when I was signing up. We didn’t think about the history – we thought about the imagery – all the G.W. Bush phony patriotism and feeling like we needed to have his back when the media did their thing. We didn’t realize the lies of the fake political system and the fake neo-con patriotism – the same patriotism that leads the military bases in Afghanistan to have three contractors for every one soldier standing in the chow line, and occupying the phone tent when you want to use that 15-minute window to call home. It is indeed a military industrial complex.

What is old is new. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The British tried for many years to pacify Afghanistan, centuries ago. Abject failure. The Russians wasted a decade there and were sent running like scalded apes. We spent two decades there. You could potentially make the case for “justified warfare” for a year after 9/11, with valid intelligence on targets. But once the targets became hunted, the ones with strategic value left. Why do you think it is that we killed Bin Laden in Pakistan? The Pakistanis acted surprised that he was there. But they knew. Blood is thicker than water. That is why Karzai said a decade ago that he would side with the Pakistanis over America in a war. I remember commenting at that time that if I were President, I would have every single American soldier home by December, and let them figure it out.

Why all the issues? The nation is and has always been run by warlords. Vacuums continue to open and be occupied by the one with the most guns. These are savages. These are people who stone women for learning how to read – yet our idiot leftists and their media lapdogs have the audacity to liken traditional Americans to the Taliban. What a disgusting insult.

The warlords do not share Western beliefs and values. They, thanks to their fundamentalist belief systems, do not recognize the dignity of the individual. We have rights in this country because we were founded on the simple belief that man is made in the image of God, and therefore deserves dignity. With dignity comes rights. We enshrined them in our founding documents. The people of Afghanistan are viewed as serfs to be ruled.
The convenient excuse of extending rights.

(4/4) and liberty to Afghanistan was a lie. It is the military industrial complex speaking. We have domestic problems here that could have been addressed for the entirety of the Afghan war, without the loss of life, limbs, eyesight, blood, and treasure in a second Vietnam. This is why neo-con warlords like John McCain, Jeff Flake, Dan Crenshaw, Adam Kinzinger, G.W. Bush, and others, must be roundly ridiculed, mocked, despised, and rejected.

The military is a great place for a boy to become a man. I am glad that I served because I have the foundation of resiliency, determination, and realism that I otherwise would never have developed. Veterans are great employees because they can be in the right place, at the right time, and the right uniform. Discipline, personal pride, and fitness (physical and ideally, mental) are hallmarks modern veterans have.

Those veterans will attest to what I’m saying. None of what I wrote is to detract from the bravery of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. One of my best friends was a Marine combat engineer (Captain) who has had his life ruined by that stupid war. He is brave, led his men with valor, at the cost of concussing himself permanently and undergoing the emotional trauma that has caused great personal hardship. He reminds me of my Dad – who dealt with his issues from Vietnam in ways that often caused great pain to others, against his own desires.

In summary – though I have wandered – there was never a way to win a war in Afgh if we view “victory” as the locals being able to govern their own country. That was a lie used by the military industrial complex to engage in a war that is two decades long. We were astonished that we were serving there ten years after 9/11. Now that number is twenty years. I was new in my career when I showed up there, with just 2 years of service. If I were still in today, I’d be a Major, a couple years from Lieutenant Colonel, with 13 years of service. No results.

The only way to win it was to destroy everything that breathes and start over. I do not endorse that method because there are many innocents in Afghanistan, and there is no public will to do that, fortunately. That is how things were done in the days of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. But since Afghanistan is the size of Texas, bordering 6 nations, there are few strategic targets worth eliminating now. We are eliminating pawns, 19 year olds paid a hundred bucks and given an AK-47 and a couple Chinese rockets to fight for their own country. The knights, rooks, and bishops are hiding out in Pakistan or Iran, funneling money, explosives, and other weaponry into country to maim and kill coalition forces. Our leaders knew this all along but continued. Trump knew this, but knew that if he pulled the plug immediately, he would be blamed for exactly what you see going on right now – the same scenes from “Blackhawk Down” with our equipment and unit regalia being paraded down dusty roads, to our humiliation as a nation. Trump did what he could to empower our Generals to make the kinetic decisions to get as much done as possible, and he dwindled troop levels down enough to pave the way for a withdrawal – but two decades of horrific decision making has its consequences.

I hope this sheds light on the true picture in Afghanistan. It was doomed to fail, and now you see it all coming to fruition

edit on R20212021kQ000000America/ChicagoAmerica/Chicago8 by RookQueen because: added content

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 04:00 PM
a reply to: projectvxn

I was always aa REMF just took care of the medical gear that went downrange.

And it pisses ME off that all my work is now in the hands of the Taliban.

Mad respect for you, boss.

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 04:11 PM
Thank you for your service. Now we can spend our adult lives (soldiers and civilians alike) continuing to claim victory and how this is/was NOTHING like Vietnam.

Maybe we all should’ve looked at the centuries of not conquering Afghanistan and it’s hostile terrain as something of note.

This is a travesty and we shouldn’t have ever been there.

Strange. I thought SA was responsible for 9/11.

Instead we went to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Must’ve been those pretty poppies….

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 05:37 PM
After the blood sweat and tears you are probably going through what many went through after Vietnam fell. It is something that never leaves you no matter how old you are. The nation building planners should all be thrown in jail as far as I am concerned as they are to stupid to walk freely.

new topics

top topics

<<   2 >>

log in