Hope Dawns in Afghanistan

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The Pakistani government has of course protested, but they ought to know better — Pakistan has its own problems with the Taliban and despite a successful counteroffensive inside their own country, has shown little ability to secure its border with Afghanistan. Sending armed helicopters into Pakistan is certainly an escalation over and above the usual missile strikes by unmanned U.S. drones (which also continue), but is a logical escalation of the war. If Pakistan cannot close down its border with Afghanistan to free movement by the Taliban, NATO must do it for them. There can be no victory in Afghanistan until NATO’s enemies are denied their safe harbor. The missile and gunship attacks should continue, both to deny the Taliban their sense of impunity along the border and to impress upon the Pakistani government, long believed to be in bed with the Taliban, that NATO will no longer tolerate an open border.

This message should be heard loud and clear in the corridors of Pakistani power, especially since it has recently been confirmed by U.S. officials that the CIA has created a secret army of 3,000 Afghans believed to be reliable. They have waged a secret war along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, exploiting the same vulnerabilities and ease of access, that has for too long aided the Taliban, to locate and kill high-value terrorist leaders. Little is known about this outfit, but they are described as well trained, effective and “one of the finest Afghan fighting forces.” If continued drone attacks, conventional airpower and this secret army can help to seal the border with Pakistan, defeating the Taliban around Kandahar City and throughout the entire country will be made a much easier task.

Easier, but by no means easy. Afghanistan is already America’s longest war, and many allies, even traditionally steadfast ones, are tiring of the seemingly endless struggle. Even in the midst of this expanded effort in Pakistan and the current offensive near Kandahar, the U.S. military is warning that any progress towards victory against the Taliban will come slowly. The current efforts, even if completely successful, will not win the war, but will buy time for the Afghan government and military to continue developing its own strength.

How this gradual improvement will play with the frustrated American electorate is still unclear. President Obama made much of his taking ownership of the Afghanistan War. With midterm elections imminent and the presidential vote in 2012 coming up fast, combined with the President’s hopes for a drawdown of American forces starting in 2011, it remains to be seen whether or not successes on the ground will be matched by a firmness of resolve in Washington.

Matt Gurney is an editor at the National Post, a Canadian national newspaper, and writes and speaks on military and geopolitical issues. He can be reached at matt@mattgurney.ca.

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  • Charles

    Meanwhile, Karzai is weeping over the state of his "country" and wants to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban. What will be the terms of this "peace"? No Christians in the country, women to be chattel, etc.?

  • crackerjack

    The war was lost before it began. The Soviets had 200 000 troops on the ground, could supply them with ease over the common border and showed little interest in observing the Geneva Convention.

    • welldoneson

      The Soviets were drunk most of the time and didn't have drones and the A10

      • crackerjack

        The Soviets didn't need drones or A10's, they carpet bombed.

        • coyote3

          Defective equipment, defective troops. The Russians, Soviets included, don't do well, unless they know they fighting for the "motherland", and then they are very brave and willing to absorb horrific casualties. That has been the case, over and over. Their troops, for the most part, are not even well trained by western standards. Their "carpet bombing" was ineffective for the most part, because, although they did a lot of damage, they unable to get to the enemy. That said, I will agree that Afghanistan is a tough nut. It is not Vietnam, it is actually tougher in that there is not an "enemy" even in the sense there was an enemy in Vietnam. That is not to say these guys are invincible. Whoever fights there, however, better be prepared for the long haul, and be prepared to take sustantial casualties. As far as I can see, we have been fighting a half assed war to begin with, under both administrations.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    I hate to sound negative here, but any short-term gains have to be stacked up against the daunting long–term problems.

    1) Central governments historically fare poorly in Afghanistan, as do foreign invaders

    2) The "prolonged popular war" tactics of the Taliban make Obama's timetable for withdrawal next year a joke; either we leave and lose or we stay and the war drags on indefinitely

    When one thinks of choosing one's battleground, the choice of Afghanistan for drawing a line in the sand against Islamic extremism couldn't have been more problematic. The barbaric tribal culture and the wild, mountainous terrain both conspire to make it a military 'Rubic's cube'.

    • crackerjack

      The drawing of lines against Islamic extremism was missed during the 80's, when the Soviets first tried to tackle radikal Islam, while the West choose to arm and support it. The lesson for the peoples of Afghanistan is that the West has no interrest in their welfare or security, nor in their freedom or womans rights, but only in its own agenda. The father recieved advanced weaponry as a freedomfighter, the son is hunted as a terrorist. The Afghans remained the same, the West changed its rules.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        Ahhh, but you, hoping so wistfully that we fail in Afghanistan and that the Taliban triumph, you obviously care deeply about the "freedom and women's rights" of the Afghan people, don't you?

        As for the Soviets, had they not violently installed the Khalqis/Parchamites into power in April '78 – thus galvanizing into opposition what had until then been a placid populace, the necessity for the Dec '79 decision to invade would never have existed. And no doubt, you had no problem with the methods of Khad, operating under the tutelage of the KGB, as their torture chambers operated 24/7 for the duration of the Karmel/Najibullah regime.

        • crackerjack

          You will not fail in Afghanistan, you already have. The monster you together with the House of saud created against the Soviets is long well out of your control. Religious extremism is not a force to be tamperd with without consequence.

          • Chezwick_Mac

            There is no denying that the US government aided the Afghan Mujaheddin in its war against the Soviets in the 80s, and the wisdom of this is certainly debatable. But who REALLY "created the monster"?

            Answer:

            1) The Soviets for brutally invading their homeland without provocation

            2) The tenets of Islam itself, which turned what would have been a legitimate national liberation movement in any other culture into a fanatically-inspired religious movement

            But to you lefties, it validates your world-view and sates your emotions to see things through an anti-American prism….so indeed, blame America for every unpleasant global phenomenon.

      • welldoneson

        I agree, the one glaring error made by the U.S. in the last 30 years has proven to be not supporting the Soviets in Afghanistan. I'm not sure the U.S. even knew why the Russkies were there; did they ever think to ask? I don't suppose they could have known at the time what a menace those cave-dwelling moslems would be, but as I say, with hindsight the U. S. fokked up royally.

    • Jim C.

      Look on the bright side. Afghanistan provides a sort of live-fire training ground for the type of military activity we're likely to engage in for the next generation.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        Actually Jim, I happen to think our recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan will make our policy-makers wary of future nation-building adventures. But by emphasizing counter-insurgency as the pinnacle of our modern military doctrine and – in the process – canceling important weapons systems, we're neglecting the necessary preparation for a possible major conventional war with a country like China.

  • badaboo

    Not much of a choice ,,,is it ? For ANY president . "Hearts and minds " will not be won in Afghanistan .Nobody "gets it " …it's ok for muslims to kill muslims , but not for non-muslims to kill muslims , no matter what the alternative . The 7th century mentality will always prevail in Afghanistan , for both genuine and disingenuos reasons .
    We have sent the best and most courageous of our young men and women , and put them in an impossible situation .
    "Cautiously optimistic " has become a euphemistic term for no progress . I say get out , wait for Bin Laden and his ilk to start slithering back in , and wack them one by one with drones .

  • imnokuffar

    Drop a few Atom bombs on the bloody place and wipe out Pakistan and Iran. Should sort the problem toot sweet.

  • jacob

    Funny that we subsidize PAKISTAN but Pakistan repays us by protecting the Taliban and al Queida…

    Why doesn't our political supergeniuses, starting with the present Foggy Bottom's head knocker, the very one that gave $65,000 taxpayers money to GROUND ZERO's supermosque promoter, play the same stick and carrot game it plays with ISRAEL ???

    Is it per chance because PAKISTAN is Muslim ????

  • jbtrevor

    Not to mention a new General that fights a war & allows troops to engage the enemy…

    • Jim C

      This silly canard again. Fight to what end? And for how long?

      It's conventional wisdom that we could possibly succeed in Afghanistan in 20-30 years. Do you really imagine the American people want to fund and sacrifice so that we can eventually have a slightly less crazy dictator there?

      We need to leave yesterday. Afghanistan is pure politics at this point.

      • jbtrevor

        Jim, On the issue of knowing 'when we're done' I couldn't agree with you more. The POTUS can't use the word victory because he never defined it to begin with, nor did he really name the enemy. My comment refers only to the kick ass attitude of Gen Petraeus that allows our troops to shoot the enemy as opposed to McChrystal who insisted they knock on doors first to see if the enemy is home before they open fire…

      • Rifleman

        How is killing the enemy a silly canard? We fight to the end of killing taliban and aq in their backyard, to deny Afghanistan as a safe haven, and to keep their resources and personnel tied up over there. It beats the alternative hands down in treasure and sacrifice. Leaving the battlefield to the terrorists is the dumbest thing we could do and only encourages them to keep killing us.

  • Triple_AAA

    Meanwhile, while we are occupied winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, islam is spreading, like a cancer, throughout the rest of the world without any resistance.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    …enabling the Afghan government to begin to assert control and win the hearts and minds of the locals.

    Again, this strategy is all based on the silly idiotic assumption that Islam is a Religion of Peace™ and only a tiny minority of Muhammadans are radical, and if you believe that, you believe in fairy tales. The reality is it is impossible to win the hearts and minds of Muhammadans because they are obligated per the texts and tenets of Islam to hate our kafir infidel guts. Want to know why we have been stuck in Afghanistan for 9 years spinning our wheels? It’s because the entire fantasy based nation-building mission is based on ludicrous and asinine assumptions like Islam is a Religion of Peace™ and only a tiny minority of Muhammadans are radical.

    Let’s get the hell out of Afghanistan ASAP because there is nothing to win over there. Nothing. Look I’m not advocating surrendering to the global jihad and becoming subjugated dhimmis. No, I’m suggesting that we regroup, put political correctness aside, study our adversary’s ideology, and develop strategies to counter it.

    Spending hundreds of billions of dollars for years on end in Islamic countries doing fantasy based nation-building missions on the false premise that if we democratize Muhammadans and lift them up out of poverty they will all of a sudden become civilized is as ludicrous as can be, since according to Islam democracy is an abomination that must be destroyed, and we wouldn’t make these kinds of major strategic blunders if we refused to study our adversary’s ideology.

    …even an official as high as Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently expressed his belief that the surge of an additional 30,000 American soldiers into Afghanistan was helping to bring down violence and increase the effectiveness of the Allies’ efforts to rebuild Afghanistan and deny the Taliban an opportunity to return to power.

    This is totally absurd, Afghanistan has always been a medieval backwater and besides the fact that a medieval backwater can hardly represent an existential threat to a superpower like the United States, there never has been anything to rebuild over there because there was never anything over there in the first place. One would think that after pursuing this insane PC multicultural strategy for nine years that the delusional leftwing planners that masterminded this travesty would begin to question their own absurd PC assumptions, but they never will unless we force them to.

    The NATO helicopters flew into Pakistani airspace and engaged the Taliban troops, killing at least 30, and perhaps as many as 60.

    Now that’s where our undivided focus should be. We should take all the troops out of Afghanistan and put them in Pakistan. In a matter of a few short months we could wipe out the Taliban and AQ. In addition, we should not leave Pakistan until after we confiscate and destroy their nuclear arsenal and nuclear weapons program. Then we should exit Pakistan and give our undivided support to India.

    • tanstaafl

      I have to agree, the Qur'an is quite clear that Muslims and kuffars are completely different and that it is halal to kill unbelievers. Some ayas from the Qur'an –

      Quran 9:5 "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."

      9:112 "The Believers fight in Allah's cause; they slay and are slain, kill and are killed."

      8:39 "So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world)."

    • logdon

      Well put, YoMoma. I agree with every word.

      We won the war against the Axis by using every sinew and fibre of our being. We demonstrated lethal power on a scale never previously imagined. They killed our citizens, we killed their's. The final blows at Nagasaki and Hiroshima put the cherry on the cake, ending any hope of a Japanese militaristic revival. It was in it's fullest sense, Total War.

      Now we are facing yet another face of totalitarianism with precisely the same aims and end. That of World domination.

      We are not at war with Afghanistan, we are at war with militant Islam which extends it's tentacles right into the hearts of our society. From Dearborn, Michigan to Bradford, Yorkshire they are establishing communities inimical to the democratic flow and impetus which had existed before their arrival.

      Let them have Afghanistan. Let them do as they will in Pakistan. In return we must ban all immigration from those two hotbeds of radicalism.

      We stay out of their lands, they stay out of ours.

      Like oil and water it is proving to be a physical impossibility to get them to integrate so what possible benefit do we gain by allowing the import of hordes more?

      As proved by the desecration of 9/11 by a Mosque at Ground Zero to the rampaging cartoon riots on the streets of London our governance is not up to task.

      We need backbone and grit. We need Wilders and Hirsi Ali and Robert Spencer and Pamela Gellar. They know the score. It smashes us in the face. Time after time. Yet our so called leaders castigate these people who live under death threat, day in day out.

      Is this the place we want to live in, where every critisism is met by violence or promise of slaughter?

      Believe me, it'll get worse unless halted now. Pretty soon if Obama and co had their way our children will be wearing white crocheted caps, swaying to and fro and banging heads on the floor as they praise Allah.

      That's the Islamist's intent.

      Is it ours?

    • logdon

      I agreed with every word but after thought, not this

      'We should take all the troops out of Afghanistan and put them in Pakistan.'

      Unless we adopt a policy of total war when invading it would be a killing field, a guerilla fighters paradise in which US soldiers would be mere pawns in a huge game.

      Better, stop all aid and step up military assistance to India. After all they bear the brunt of Pakistani barbarism. Let's take sides for once and recognise the truth. Have Hindu's or Sikh's presented any problems to global peace?

      They of all people have reason to despise their northern neighbours. The very reason for partition of the sub continent and creation of an Islamic republic was that Muslims could not abide to even exist amongst these people who in the Koran are described as lowest of the low.

      Mumbai was a spectacular horror show but smaller replication is happening time after time in the cities and villages where Muslims clash with the majority. Surely there comes a point when India declares enough is enough?

      And unrestrained by the asymetric niceties we offer, Indians will fight on equal terms.

      Our hand of peace internationalism is coming back to to bite us in the ass as we dither.

      Time is running out. Time to take stock. Time to act.

    • Triple_AAA

      I agree with everything except the last point. There is a certain dubious legitimacy in Washington right now, considering we have an islamic compliant government bent on erasing our traditions, forcing socialism down our throats and transforming seemingly every minor detail of our lives. I doubt very much Obama and his liberal cohorts want hundreds of thousands (of mostly conservative) patriotic volunteers to be at the home-front right now! I'm sure it would make him more than a little nervous. Things are in such disarray here in the US, that if a terrorist attack were to occur, we might need to call upon these soldiers to save our republic, otherwise we might have a civil war.

  • C.R.

    THE TIDE WILL NEVER BE TURNED IN AFGHANISTAN–MUCH LIKE VIETNAM–THE AFGHAN PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE PROPER WILL TO FIGHT. AS LONG AS THE AFGHAN PEOPLE ARE ADHERENTS TO GODLESS REPRESSIVE ISLAM THEY WILL NEVER STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES. IT WAS A BIG MISTAKE TO PLACE A MUSLIM IN THE LEAD POLITICAL POSITION. THE PROPER MILITARY MOVE WOULD HAVE BEEN TO INVADE KILL EVERY TALIBAN AND THEN LEAVE.

  • Wesley69

    Our troops will win most battles, but this country can not be subjugated unless we are willing to convince these people that war, even for love of Allahn, is hell. We are not willing to desend to that level. We need to clear out the Taliban in Pakistan and Iran to stop their return. But trying to get these backward people to accept the concept of a human being with rights is nuts. Once we leave, they will impose the harsh penalties of Sharia law and return to tribalism. Is it worth the treasure in American lives & national debt.. I doubt it. Declare military victory, then impose the settlement. Divide the country into regions. Put a chieftain in charge of each. Allow the Taliban to return. Let the chieftain determine laws, religion. Put a bounty of the head of every Al-Queda terrorist paid to the Chieftain. The central government at Kabal needs to have weak powers, but it represents Afghanistan before the world. Then we are out of the "good" war. This country, unlike Iraq and Pakistan, is not worth the effort.

  • NOSHARIAH

    The best way to protect America is to find other sources for our energy needs. We have tons of coal, tons of oil ( that is not being drilled by us) and we have ways to keep nuclear power safe. The Saudis supply oil to the world, we sent them our money, they build madrassas, the madrassas supply the bodies for the war against us. Also the opium keeps them supplied with cash for arms.

    We must develop our own energy program without letting the greenies run the program but we must keep the environment in mind. After all, we have to live here. Self-sufficiency is what will put an end to the Afghan war.

    We need to pass laws in this country that insure that nothing we do supplies the terrorists with money. No Shariah compliant financing! We also need to make sure that no Shariah laws are passed in this country and that business in the U.S. doesn't bow down to demands from Islamists for every little SPECIAL thing they must have from us for "religious" purposes. If we need to import people from the middle east, there are plenty of Christians whose lives are in mortal peril as we sit here. There are many more who would be grateful for the opportunity to live here and they have talents we could use in the fight against our current enemy.

    JOIN ACTFORAMERICA.ORG

  • logdon

    Unfortunately after leaving Algeria the French also left the port du Francaise wide open.

    Much as we did with our former colonies.

    Now the price of that colonisation is an invasion of Algerians and Morrocans into France and an onslaught of Pakistanis here.

  • Jewdog

    So what? Afghanistan is a still an officially Muslim country with all of the strictures of Sharia. That's not a government I would fight for.

  • 911Infidel

    Sounds like the SOS that we heard during VN. While we trained up the SVN military we maintained a elite corps of tribesman that took on the bad guys on their own ground. Then we abandoned them at the end of the war. So while we kicked A in our tactics, the enemy rat lines were never closed down. And so we repeat our mistake in A-Stan.
    Like VN, in this war, the only advice that anyone should have listened to comes from the great warrior himself – Sun Tzu. "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
    Hint to the west: Islam is problem. Dancing around that issue is a waste of time, resources and treasure. Leave A-Stan, regroup and rethink the problem.

  • suprkufrB

    Psychiatrists refer to it as repetition compulsion – mindlessly reapplying an oft-failed strategy to the same problem.
    There is now, and never has been any hope of "success" for our democratic forces in Afghanistan. Whether we remain for one year or a hundred years, whether we squander the precious young lives of a thousand or a million of our brave soldiers, at the end of the day we'll be withdrawing from an islamic country, the denizens of which hate democracy, freedom, tolerance and everything else that is good and decent in our society. They want to kill us all. They are our enemies. There are 56 other islamic theocracies – where are their freedom fighters? Why must we suppose that Afghanistan would be any different?
    In my view, by far the greatest threat to democracy is the myopic mantra that there are two classes of moslems, jihadists and "moderates." Jihad – the iron fist; "moderation" – the velvet glove encasing it.
    Sleepers awake!!!!!

  • George

    An international alliance of democratic and secular countries needs to be formed, which may be called Human Rights Alliance (HRA). HRA should give 2 options to all Islamic countries:

    1.Abandon Islam and secularize/democratize your polity under international supervision; or
    2.Face invasion/extinction

    Unless we take such drastic steps, terrorism cannot be eliminated. Fighting terrorists in a particular Islamic country, whether Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan cannot eliminate the threat posed by Islam. Of course, this should continue till HRA comes in operation.

  • Guest

    First off, it's not a WAR it's "Nation Building" or, as I call it, social work in bad neighborhoods. Those "neighborhoods" have little or no allegiance to any government but are scattered tribalistic enclaves who follow some local "alpha male" sheikh. There is nothing to stabilze or build on – no roads, no sewers, no infrastructue locally or nationally.
    The Taliban have infinite resources from Iran through Pakistan and can fight a hit-and-run harassing strategy indefinitely and love every minute of it. We need to level the place militarily. Then get out and let them either join the 21st century or lapse back to their nomadic tribal backward world. Or are we really fighting for the opium?

    • Franz von Fear

      How about making up your mind??? Social work and nation buildingby leveling the place militarily and getting out??? No wonder afghans and iraqis are fighting against you for their freedom from idiotic people like you. God bless them.