Agony in Afghanistan

Rick Moran is blog editor of The American Thinker, and Chicago editor of PJ Media.His personal blog is Right Wing Nuthouse.


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As an example, when the Fourth Brigade Combat Team handed over its only combat outpost in the Tangi Valley to Afghan security forces in April, the US commander in the area, Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard, promised to continue occasional sweeps to support government security forces. But he also wanted to focus his efforts on areas that had larger populations.

The result was not encouraging. Within days of the handover, the Taliban had raised its flag within sight of the outpost. Although it appears the Afghan forces were willing to fight, they were badly outclassed by the Taliban. Eventually, the Taliban simply moved in and occupied the security post. A coalition spokesman tried to put the best face on the failure, saying, “We deemed it not to be strategic and closed it,” he said, adding, “The Taliban went in and occupied it because it was vacant.”

Be that as it may, questions abound regarding the ability of the Afghan army to pick up the slack when NATO troops pull out. Special Operations warriors can carry out raids and target specific individuals for capture or death. They can also carry out reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines, and call down drone strikes on high value targets. But they are unsuited to the task of playing glorified policemen. Ideally, that’s the job of the Afghan army, with US soldiers acting as consultants or advisers. That sort of mission is too high profile for the secretive special ops soldiers, who prefer working in the shadows.

Beyond the questions regarding the capabilities of the Afghan army and the confusing mission of Special Operations personnel, there is the huge problem of winning the Afghan people to the government’s side. This was one of General David Petraeus’s major goals when he announced his plans for the surge in troops in 2009. By pacifying population centers, freeing them from Taliban control, while the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) move in and improve the lives of ordinary Afghans by building schools, mosques, and infrastructure, it was believed that the people’s loyalty would flow to the government in Kabul rather than the Taliban.

To date, it hasn’t worked that way, and given the fact that troops will be leaving by 2014, it appears probable that the concept will never work.

An article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel profiling local PRT officers points up the daunting challenges faced by the reconstruction teams as they work with local officials to bring water, electricity, roads, and other amenities to the provinces. They also seek to develop economic infrastructure in order to boost local economies. One such effort involves developing an agriculture production system where none existed before. Capt. Gena Selby is working with Afghan officials to figure out ways to improve transportation and storage of crops and boost marketing. She is also working to set up an agricultural resource center so that local farmers can improve their farming methods.

“Farmers have no incentive to change their practices if they can’t get more money for their crops and if there’s not a market,” said Selby. She also listed the almost impossible challenges she faces: “You need transportation to move your crops to market. You need packaging and grading, sorting and milling to preserve it or canning if you want to make jams and jellies,” Selby said.

Very little of that — not even the roads — currently exist in Afghanistan.

Another PRT member hit upon the biggest problem facing these dedicated soldiers and public servants. “Afghanistan is tribal based, and if you had a problem you went to the tribal elders. Now we’re trying to get people to understand they can come to the government.”

This is where our nation-building efforts have landed us in Afghanistan. We are trying to alter a culture that has done things a certain way for a thousand years, attempting to make a nation-state out of a collection of farmers and small artisans who have never contemplated any identity other than that defined by their clan, or tribe, or village. Kabul is so remote to almost all of them that it may as well be on the surface of the moon. They appear angry at the occupation of their villages — not because they believe it violates Afghanistan’s sovereignty, but rather for the much more mundane reason that the fighting disturbs the familiar rhythms of their lives. They don’t like the Taliban much either, but at least they’re local.

The downing of the helicopter carrying 30 brave Americans is a tragedy. But perhaps a bigger tragedy is that we are still in Afghanistan after 10 years of failure — asking our courageous soldiers to do the impossible.

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  • maliban

    no more wars for israeli. no more israeli pentration ops against the usa congress. long live the freedom fighters.

    • UCSPanther

      Stay in Pakistan, Afghanistan or whatever backwards hole you crawled out of to post that laughable comment.

    • SpiritOf1683

      The Israelis are pretty capable of winning their wars against their enemies without us meddling ion the side of their islamic enemies.

    • aspacia

      What has this particular war to do with Israel you Judeophobe.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/CAPTDAX captdax

    Who tipped off the Taliban that the SEALS 6 Teams was onboard? Why were they killed and what did they know?
    A military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops, most of them from the elite Navy SEALs unit that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    This Was a tip off ,, Smells Danm Fishy

    • Fred Dawes

      it was a setup, the bomber was inside with the Team it was not taken down by some RPG.

      • tarleton

        more idiotic conspiracy theories …..anything proposed without evidence , can be dismissed without evidence …stick to reading the national enquirer

    • aspacia

      Probably. Karzai is corrupt and one of his men knew about the strike.

  • Fred Dawes

    My sister kid was in that place it made other wars look polite it is nuts, and he bag 5 fighters in one day, it made iraq look like a walk in the park. this nation is nuts.

    • 2maxpower

      what is nuts is that the the Americans and allies are still there drink cups of tea and getting killed by the people they came to help.

      obama doesn't care how many soldiers get killed ..obama hates the military.

  • DLeeM

    This smells like a set-up by the Obama-Regime. These 31 Dead US Navy Seals knew something. Probably another Drugs and Guns – Fast and Furious Operation.

    • tarleton

      shut up with your moronic conspiracy theories…you lunatic

    • aspacia

      Obama is not that bright. Hell, he doesn't even know the Constitution and taught Constitutional Law.

  • rayban

    America will leave Afghanistan humiliated, embarassed and destitute insha'Allah

    sometimes it's better to just get out before the sh** really hits the fan

    • aspacia

      We incorrectly prosecuted the war. We have been making the same mistake since the end of WWII. Fight to win, win and declare marshal law. Outlaw what we don't like and enforce the law.

      The natives of this nasty piece of real estate aided and abetted those who hit us on 9/11 and deserved anything we dish out.

      • SAM000

        You make a huge mistake.

        Below is the success code for USA in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        USA has the best army, your soldiers are professional.

        USA has the worst politics and worst appreciations of the situation.

        The defeat of USA in Iraq and Afghanistan is due to a corrupt politics of DC.

        The politics in Iraq and Afghanistan should be conducted by the US Military field officers.

        The politics in the battle field should never be done by the US state dept.

        The US State dept. is polluted by the Islamist's lobbies.

    • UCSPanther

      I think you Afghan fanboys don't realize that the only reason Afghanistan didn't get dominated by the Soviets was because they were on their last legs when they tried to conquer Afghanistan.

      Now if were the Stalin era, things would have very likely different…

      way different….

      • D

        Any way you look at it Panther, you can’t fight an unconventional war with a conventional army. Finish sucking Stalin off and pick up a history book.

        • UCSPanther

          I am not praising Stalin. I'm merely pointing out that those Jihadis who yell they defeated the Soviets got off lucky.

          • D

            Got off lucky because our central intelligence agency created a helicopter no fly zone. Catch 22.

  • D

    It’s too easy to say it was a setup. Why would the double agent wait till after team 6 got the rangers out of trouble before he blew up the chopper? Team 6 was on their way out. It seems as of now it was a very lucky shot. I don’t know if the American people understand how much we really lost with this incident. I am beside myself with grief and frustration.

    • SpiritOf1683

      Whether it was a lucky shot or a Taliban sleeper homicide bomber on board wearing Afghan army uniform is irrelevant. The bottom line is the US lost 31 of its finest for some of the most ungrateful, backward and barbaric people on the planet.

      • D

        It is totally relevant to understand how this happened and dispel any and all mistruths about the operation. Not only for the men, but for their families. This wasn’t their first rodeo working with the afganis, I’m more than sure they had a very tight leash on their counterparts.

        • SpiritOf1683

          Even the tightest leashes can be slipped when you're fighting against Jihadis. Remember how Winston Churchill described the properties of their type in the Malakand Field Force – the ferocity of the Zulu, the craft of the Redskin, and the marksmanship of the Boer. We are sadly lacking in guile and common sense thanks to political correctness.

          • D

            In the grand sense, absolutely. In this case, not so much. These men have the operational freedom and say so to not let the afganis bring so much as a bb gun to the fight if suspicions of a traitor were aroused. You have to remember that these men geared up together while on standby for this mission. I can only assume that like most situations in this war that the seals knew and worked with this same group of afganis for an extended time period. You just don’t get on a bird and go to war with 6.

          • SAM000

            They are targeted by an Grenade-head Klashinkoff.

            This kind of hitting covers a radias of hundreds of meters.

    • aspacia

      I still am betting on a tip off from inside Afghanistan's military. Many of their troops have attacked NATO forces. It probably took time for them to get off a clean shot at the bird.

      • D

        Why? Because your having a hard time accepting that such elite soldiers got hit when they were vulnerable by a man hideing behind a rock with a RPG. This is war, no amount of training can stop something like that. These men are the best at what they do, but they are still flesh and bone. Until you truly understand how volatile and unforgiving a combat zone is I guess a bunch tall tales and lies would be something you would want to believe in.

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    Regretful loss of great fighters.
    As to injecting Israel into anything the islamics turn into their standard ghastly forms of murder and mayhem. The islamic death cult will soon catch it hot, very hot.
    And judging by what one observes all over their habitats, no one will need to deliver the heat. They manage to murder each other quite nicely.
    The time is by far not in their favor, in or out of the so called "un".

  • G Dub

    A simple question: Why in the hell if forever we said nothing about Seal Team 6 to protect their identities and missions – do we now report to the world, and to the scum of alqueda, that men of the very team that searched out and eliminated the head scum were killed.
    What lunacy provokes these useful idiots to give alqueda an organism.

  • G Dub

    . . . sorry, I am so pissed that I cannot spell: Orgasim
    and alqueda does not deserve proper spelling so don't bother correcting me.

    • aspacia

      You had is right the first time. The second is also misspelled.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    It would appear that not only is the Taliban getting stronger militarily, but that the battle for the hearts and minds of the Afghan people is being lost.

    Whatever happened to the first rule of war: To know your enemies as well as you know yourself? Oh…I forgot, all that went by the wayside when our military establishment got hijacked and co-opted by the left.

    Okay….the Afghan people are Muslims and the last time I checked all Muslims are obligated per the dictates of Islam to maintain nothing but enmity in their hearts for non-Muslims.

    Hence, the sixty-four thousand dollar question no one is asking is why after almost ten years are we still stuck over there trying to win the hearts and minds of Muslims when winning the hearts and minds of Muslims is absolutely impossible? Obviously, it is because of an institutional blindness not only prevalent in our military establishment but also prevailing throughout our federal government as well.

    The truth is both nation-building missions in Afghanistan and in Iraq were premised off of fantasy-based political correct myths. Hence, both of them were destined to fail no matter what from the very get go.

    Indeed, today we are in essence propping up two Sharia states that our illustrious state department helped to create. Yet, Sharia obligates all Muslims to fight jihad against unbeliever for the spread of Islam to make Islam supreme. Hence, if anyone is dumb and gullible enough to believe that Afghanistan and Iraq will ever be anything other than our eternal enemies; then I have a bridge I need to sell them.

    The state department, the department of homeland security, the national intelligence directorate, the CIA, the defense department, etc., etc., etc. all of them are broken and those in charge currently should be fired and disgraced, and their predecessor’s that served before them should also be publicly disgraced as well. Indeed, if they are receiving any federal benefits or are due any federal benefits in the future, they should be made to forfeit those benefits because of gross incompetence and dereliction of duty.

    This was one of General David Petraeus’s major goals when he announced his plans for the surge in troops in 2009. […] To date, it hasn’t worked that way, and given the fact that troops will be leaving by 2014, it appears probable that the concept will never work.

    It will never work because again it was premised off of fantasy based political correct myths. Yet, the loon who devised that brilliant plan based off of those fantasy based political correct myths nonetheless just got rewarded for his gross incompetence by being promoted to head the CIA, and we wonder why our government is so rotten today.

    Finally, the last thing the USA should be doing in Afghanistan or anywhere else for that matter is lifting up Muslims, as that is incredibly counterproductive since Muslims are the eternal enemies of all non-Muslims, and if our entire federal government weren’t so completely blind it would know it too.

    I know, I know, I must be a kook, a hater, a bigot, and an Islamophobe all rolled into one.

    Finally, my condolences go out to the families of those heroic troops. They deserve far better than what they got from their government.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Actually, the sole purpose the US is still stuck over there in Afghanistan and Iraq after all these many years and trillions of dollars wasted is to try to lift up Muslims. It’s all based on a sense of leftwing guilt arising from “abandoning” Afghanistan "prematurely" after the Soviets were finally ousted in the 1980s. Delusional leftists in the US government had been promising that when the Soviets were eventually ousted the USA would go into Afghanistan to modernize the country at US taxpayer expense. Yeah right.

      However, when the Soviets were finally ousted the USA promptly packed up its bags and returned back home, as it should. Then fast-forward to 9/11/2001 and the 9/11 jihadists attacks, delusional career leftists and wannabe social engineers in our federal government out of leftwing guilt blamed the 9/11 jihadist attacks on the USA "abandoning" Afghanistan “prematurely” post war after the Soviets had finally been ousted. To them the 9/11 jihadist attacks were the inevitable result.

      Hence, the sole purpose we are still stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq today after all these many years pissing in the wind while at the same time pursuing silly fantasy based nation building missions that couldn’t be anymore counterproductive based off of political correct myths is because of those same delusional leftwing loons, which unfortunately in the interim were able to hijack and co-opt the US federal government, that are incredibly unhinged.

      I know that a lot of self-hating leftists throughout the world have been inculcated to believe that GWB was a right wing knuckle dragging Neanderthal exercising Cowboy gunship diplomacy. However, the truth is GWB didn’t have a conservative bone in his incredibly leftwing body.

      If he had, instead of repeatedly proclaiming to the American people and the world post 9/11 that "Islam is a so-called Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists," he would have instead told the truth about Islam.

      Instead of avoiding like the plague and hiding from the American people the fact that without millions of Muslim stealth jihadists with thousands of mosques and madrassas already living in America as a fifth column, the 9/11 jihadist attacks would have been completely impossible, he would have used that fact instead to justify banning and reversing Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage and sealing off the borders at the same time.

      Instead of exploiting the 9/11 jihadists attacks as an excuse to double the size, scope, and power of the federal government like a leftists on steroids, ostensibly to protect the homeland from further jihadist attacks but really to create a false sense of security to continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage, he would have banned and reversed Muslim immigration ASAP and sealed off the borders, as zero Muslim stealth jihadists living in America as a fifth column equals zero jihadists attacks.

      Instead of deploying US troops to pursue silly fantasy based nation-building missions to lift up Muslims, he would have kicked ass, took no names, and got the hell of Dodge ASAP, leaving behind our death and destruction to fester and to serve as a deterrence and a constant reminder of what happens when you attack or cross America.

      Again, it couldn’t be more obvious; GWB was an unhinged delusional leftist!

  • Chezwick_mac

    Heart-breaking. These young are not just the cream of the military, they are the cream of American society.

  • tagalog

    This awful killing highlights the need to get our troops out of a fight that the president has decided we are not going to try to win. We need to get our troops out right now, not piecemeal, but en masse.

  • http://www.puretimesale.com Rolex

    IT IS a tragedy

  • tagalog

    How large is Seal Team Six? Surely the death of half a platoon of them is a major impact on that unit.

    Wikipedia (for what it's worth, who knows?) says there 12 troops in the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (aka SEAL Team Six). Estimating each troop at platoon-size yields a result of about 500 men.

    • D

      Some say 300, like the first Spartains to face the Persains on Greek soil, but only those who are in it truly know. The rosters are being filled or are filled as we speak.

  • sam000

    A helicopter of the troop transport is extremely vulnerable in the mountain, a troop transporter Helico. or any other movement in the Mountain should always be preceded and accompanied by the drones equipped with infrared and cameras.

    I have seen the Apache Helicos and Scorpions Helicos be kept on respect with a Doushka, a troop transporter is more vulnerable.

  • kissfreedom

    F*ck the taliban. These seals were the best of the best. Retaliate hard and furious. Screw picking off leaders in the village,we need to drop the bombs on the entire village and level it to dust. This is war not a pansy dance.

  • Fred Dawes

    Total madness and total pointless BS, But this is what you get in a foreign controlled government.

  • Buddyroe

    What idiot would send a Chinook into or out of any hot LZ without air cover and perimeter security on the ground. Wrong helicopter to use for that kind of mission. Some heads should roll over this, because they got a lot of people killed by not employing basic combat doctrine.

    • SAM000

      Your soldiers do not have the right and correct details of the operation site and the way the Afghan operate.
      The Afghans can stay in a hole in the top of the mountain for several days with a handful of dry grapes or a date per day even in the winter which makes very very cold.

      at 2001 US Army used the 50,000 pound Bunker B. Uranium Bombs on the TORA-BORA mountains to dislodge the Al-Qaida fighter.

  • BLJ

    We should get the hell out of that Godforsaken place. The British learned the hard way back in the day. The people of that place (along with Pakistan) are not worth the cost in blood and money.

    They have nothing in common with us and have zero honor to boot. Screw them and I hope they kill each other off.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Are we doing any good in Afghanistan outside of bumping off Taliban when the
    opportunity presents itself. I do not see this nation doing anything but going back
    to it's former self when we leave. If we are not going to stay and demand reform
    and have a life style to impose for the futue then we are wasting lives and treasure.
    Our troops do not fail, it is the political crowd that creates the game and forces
    the outcome, hence we need to elect only leaders that love our troops…….William

    • tarleton

      this is the 4th afghan war that britain has fought ….all of them have been a disaster
      Sooner or later Nato will leave and it will return back to it's medieval ways

    • SAM000

      What USA and coalition do in Afghanistan is great, you have brought the hope and light and live to the Afghan houses, but there are too many problems, the base of all the problems is the economy, and economy in a poor country generates the corruption.

      The huge money that USA gives to Karzai without any control generates the worms, at the same time the Mullahs of Iran are spending too much money in the Afghan government,
      USA backs a corrupted and traitor AFGHAN GOVERNMENT,
      in-spite of all these corruptions, USA had presented another way of life to the Afghans.
      You have learned to Afghans that this shame of Taliban should be removed, and it can be removed.
      This is great, this is more powerful than ATOMIC BOMB.

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