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Trump's Afghanistan policy needs a reboot

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MateenK View Drop Down
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Joined: 31-Dec-2010
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    Posted: 25-Oct-2017 at 2:05pm

Since President Trump announced his new Afghan policy in August, foreign policy watchers have regularly debated whether or not it’ll be successful. Trump authorized an increased military presence in Afghanistan by sending an additional 4,000 troops. As a result, has Afghanistan fared any better? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so. 

The security apparatus in Afghanistan appears to be staring down the barrel. For there to be hope, they need a combination of shrewd political moves, and tactical military maneuvers. 

Last week, authorities in Afghanistan had to grapple with one of the bloodiest weeks in the country this year. On Saturday, the Taliban attacked the bus carrying Afghan army cadets. Fifteen cadets died as a result of the suicide attack outside the training center in Kabul. In other attacks conducted last week, Taliban killed at least 55 soldiers, 36 policemen, and 20 civilians. 

None of the carnage, apparently, satisfied the insurgents and terrorists. The Islamic State decided to enter the foray as well. ISIS engineered two suicide attacks last Friday that killed more than 70 people in Afghanistan. 

Whenever you analyze an organized terrorist activity, the attack patterns and the timing, somehow, provide a clue about the motive. The latest attacks in Afghanistan were no different. Representatives from the United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan met on October 16 to discuss the prospects of Afghan peace under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG). The gathering in Oman was the sixth such meeting, but it was the first time the Taliban wasn’t part of the discussions. The insurgent group didn’t want to be part of the discussions on the peace process. 

Then, on October 18, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson formally announced his South Asia trip. Tillerson visited Afghanistan Monday, and the events from the past week were part a “warm welcome” the insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan had planned for him. 

Here’s the thing: More U.S. troops in Afghanistan isn’t the most appropriate answer to the current stalemate. United States maintained 100,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2010. Did it help? There were 34,000 troops in the country in 2014. Did it prevent Afghan Taliban from executing large-scale attacks? In the meantime, the Islamic State also emerged in Afghanistan. The current number of the NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan, 13,500, isn’t going to significantly alter the dynamics, either. A massive boots on ground policy isn’t likely to serve America’s counter terror and security goals, but it will expose the U.S. servicemen to the increased dangers of insider attacks. 

On Sunday, President Trump gave the C.I.A. the go-ahead to conduct covert operations in Afghanistan. Director Mike Pompeo stated earlier this month: “we can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive.” But, it’s not always about flexing your wartime muscles. The latest plan as authorized by Trump calls for hit-and-run operations. But, in order for these actions not to attract disdain from local Afghan residents, there are some important points for the Trump administration to consider. 

In territories like Afghanistan, multinational intelligence sharing serves the key. Local forces are required to share intel reports with foreign military officers. But, are the local Afghan authorities capable enough to gather meaningful information? Even if they’re able to do so, can the Afghan officials maintain unity of effort, a concept integral to effective intelligence-based operations? For the covert operations to succeed, the U.S. authorities need to build a credible support system in Afghanistan. Until then, hit-and-run covert operations aren’t likely to succeed. 

Covert operations in areas like Afghanistan require integrated intelligence and subsequent operations based on intel reports, reconnaissance and surveillance. Again, Afghan authorities aren’t competent enough to provide the U.S. forces with “assets” and information dissemination systems. 

In such a case, hit, annihilate and run type of operations aren’t likely to produce the goods in the longer run. America needs to dent the insurgents from within. You’ve got to infiltrate their apparatus, and ward off the support system. The CIA is more than capable to do this but it’s just the wrong choice of operations that’s pegging them back. 

NATO’s Resolute Support stated on Saturday that “the insurgents are desperate and cannot win.” Wrong. The Taliban have been winning for a long time now. Remember, you’re fighting the insurgents, and you can’t easily defeat them. 

Here’s why: A guerrilla and an insurgent always win by avoiding losing. A counter insurgent, on the other hand, needs to win every time to ensure his power remains intact. 

The Taliban have been winning by avoiding losing. It’s a trend prudent military and intelligence decisions can reverse. Is Trump listening? 



Afghanistan welcomes CIA’s decision to increase targeted attacks on Taliban leaders

The Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan (MoD) welcomed reports regarding the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) decision to increase targeted attacks on Taliban leaders.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Gen. Dawlat Waziri said Monday that the Afghan security forces will also increase operations against the Taliban militants.

Gen. Waziri further addded that the Afghan security forces are currently conducting scores of operations, including airstrikes, special operations and night raids on militants hideouts

This comes as reports emerged earlier suggesting thatthe US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo earlier also said that the United States wants to beat the Taliban in the battlefield first to force them to negotiate peace with the government in Kabul. This is also a key component of the policy US President Donald Trump announced in his address to the American nation on Aug 21.

“President (Trump) has made it very clear. We are going to do everything we can … to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in Afghanistan with the Taliban having zero hope that they can win this thing on the battlefield,” the CIA chief said during his speech at a US think tank last week.

http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-welcomes-cias-decision-to-increase-targeted-attacks-on-taliban-leaders-03705



Edited by MateenK - 25-Oct-2017 at 2:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MateenK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Oct-2017 at 2:21pm
If killing was the answer we would not call this place Afghanistan we would call it Heaven. To end the war in Afghanistan, Leaders of the Taliban are residing in Pakistan not in Afghanistan thus they should be snatched and brought to Afghanistan to join the political process not killed. The Afghan Taliban are held as prisoners in Pakistan to leash havoc in Afghanistan so they can control Afghanistan as a terrorist State by Pakistan.

Edited by MateenK - 25-Oct-2017 at 2:46pm
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