• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Drawdown in Astan Has Begun

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
2,244
Points
1,060
TTB,

I think you have put your finger on something important- a Western tendency (maybe human nature?) to want to make everyone like us.

If rural Afghan tribes want to keep living a “traditional” life style, is it hubris or arrogance to try to change that? My sense from reading and listening (I never deployed into Afghanistan) is that the very best you can hope for is a sort of detente with the tribes. Don’t try to change their way of life with an understanding that harbouring/encouraging those that would harm us comes with consequences- I think they get that. Give them aid in the form that they want, not what we want to give them. Don’t run around tribal Afghanistan with a big conventional force that rubs their face in it and presents juicy target.

We might not be able to turn them into allies, but we may at least not constantly piss them off.

My guess is that the countries who will be playing in the 'big leagues' over the next decade or so will be following the example of the US SF (Green Berets, specifically) and the UK's new Ranger Regiments.

FWIW, I think we did a great job in AFG on just this type of support through the OMLTs. There's a good model in there somewhere for us to stand up and deploy on a more formal level, using a 'whole of government' approach.

Call it 'proactive peace keeping' ;)
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
877
Points
910
I often wondered if the West dropped the ball by focusing on the Kandahar region at the expense of much of the rest of the country that had tribes and minorities that were far more willing to align with us. along with build better supply routes from the NW earlier on to reduce Pakistan's influence on the campaign?
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
303
Points
880
I often wondered if the West dropped the ball by focusing on the Kandahar region at the expense of much of the rest of the country that had tribes and minorities that were far more willing to align with us. along with build better supply routes from the NW earlier on to reduce Pakistan's influence on the campaign?
Ports are to the south.
 

tomahawk6

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
61
Points
530
Like Vietnam Afghanistan's borders were pretty much open to the enemy including Pakistan. For awhile the IRA used Ireland as a safe haven until the UK and the IDF denied it to the IRA. Hell we can't control our own southern border at our own peril.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
877
Points
910
Ports are to the south.
Controlled by Pakistan and Iran, with friends like Pakistan, who needs enemies. There was an alternative route, besides the Russian one which would be by rail from Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Caspian Sea-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan. This was trialed at one point and found to be doable, did require a rail gauge switch. Had the West pursued this and pushed for extending the rail link to Herat and then out to Iran, it would have strengthened the NW portion of Afghanistan and given those tribes the ability to withstand the Pashtuns and leveled the playing field. Those tribes were begging for more support while we were trying to appease the Pashtuns. Perhaps the Pashtuns and their friend in Pakistan may have been more willing to work with the West. Improving the NW Afghanistan access to other markets, would be good for the region and alter the balance of power in the country to contain the Taliban.
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
303
Points
880
Controlled by Pakistan and Iran, with friends like Pakistan, who needs enemies. There was an alternative route, besides the Russian one which would be by rail from Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Caspian Sea-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan. This was trialed at one point and found to be doable, did require a rail gauge switch. Had the West pursued this and pushed for extending the rail link to Herat and then out to Iran, it would have strengthened the NW portion of Afghanistan and given those tribes the ability to withstand the Pashtuns and leveled the playing field. Those tribes were begging for more support while we were trying to appease the Pashtuns. Perhaps the Pashtuns and their friend in Pakistan may have been more willing to work with the West. Improving the NW Afghanistan access to other markets, would be good for the region and alter the balance of power in the country to contain the Taliban.
Looks like you want to change the landscape.

The LOC through Pakistan was a challenge, but even the Taliban knew better than to mess with the Transportation Mafia. It was our tactical LOCs that were our vulnerability, mitigated as they were by the arrival of CH47s. By then we had taken the losses that led to the decision to leave the war.

If we approached it as a war against the Pashtuns then the counter-insurgency effort would have no hope of success. I just don’t think we considered why they were fighting. I am not referring to troops in contact, but rather with regards to our strategy.
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
2,244
Points
1,060
Like Vietnam Afghanistan's borders were pretty much open to the enemy including Pakistan. For awhile the IRA used Ireland as a safe haven until the UK and the IDF denied it to the IRA. Hell we can't control our own southern border at our own peril.

Dude, I was one of the guys trying to 'deny' access to and from the IRA's safe haven in the South. The only thing we could do was encourage the bad guys to go around us, thus hopefully setting patterns that could be identified and exploited by other agencies.

Cheesecloth would have been more effective.

If you really want to close a border you have to invade and then set up a buffer zone like, you know, how Russia does things.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
877
Points
910
Looks like you want to change the landscape.

The LOC through Pakistan was a challenge, but even the Taliban knew better than to mess with the Transportation Mafia. It was our tactical LOCs that were our vulnerability, mitigated as they were by the arrival of CH47s. By then we had taken the losses that led to the decision to leave the war.

If we approached it as a war against the Pashtuns then the counter-insurgency effort would have no hope of success. I just don’t think we considered why they were fighting. I am not referring to troops in contact, but rather with regards to our strategy.
From my reading, the Taliban started out as a creature of the ISI, created on the bequest of the Transportation Mafia to break the Afghan Warlords grips on the road network. No one including the Taliban and ISI thought they would succeed as much as they did, very much the predecessor of the ISIS initial success.
My goal is not so much wage war on the Pashtun, but to level the playing field a bit and make both the Pashtun and Pakistan realize they aren't the only game in town.
 

dangerboy

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
213
Points
710

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
941
Points
940
Luckily, we made life better for all Afghans and not just the wealthy, ruling elite.

Young Afghans have grown up to enjoy things like "music, art, expression, moderate equality." Something tells me they won't be flocking to an ideology that effectively removes those experiences and replaces them with strict adherence to militant Islam.

It might well end up being like "Footloose" with Kalashnikovs....

This was Afghanistan in the 1960s/70s before the Russians' war and the Taliban.

60ac8e49a547dd45b2c7cc67dea094a3.jpg


da_qayoumi1-d469bd7380684274dbc46e6fbc29f76aaaa65364.jpg

1.1-02_Youth-and-Sport-Center-Boro-Ramizi.jpg

Young urban Afghans had already grown up once to enjoy things like "music, art, expression, moderate equality." That doesn't help much when there is a large mass steeped in medieval religious extremism prepared to impose violence on the rest of the population to make them conform to their views. Only a strong security force can do that and the one initially left in Iraq didn't do too well when faced down by Daesh.

I'd like to be a Pollyanna too but I'm realistically pessimistic.

🍻
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
303
Points
880
This was Afghanistan in the 1960s/70s before the Russians war and the Taliban.

60ac8e49a547dd45b2c7cc67dea094a3.jpg


da_qayoumi1-d469bd7380684274dbc46e6fbc29f76aaaa65364.jpg

1.1-02_Youth-and-Sport-Center-Boro-Ramizi.jpg

Young urban Afghans had already grown up once to enjoy things like "music, art, expression, moderate equality." That doesn't help much when there is a large mass steeped in medieval religious extremism prepared to impose violence on the rest of the population to make them conform to their views. Only a strong security force can do that and the one initially left in Iraq didn't do too well when faced down by Daesh.

I'd like to be a Pollyanna too but I'm realistically pessimistic.

🍻
This is the urban modernity that pushed the traditional rural power structures over the edge when fueled by Moscow-educated elites taking it past Kabul and into the countryside.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
941
Points
940
This is the urban modernity that pushed the traditional rural power structures over the edge when fueled by Moscow-educated elites taking it past Kabul and into the countryside.
Yup. That and hanging warlord rapists from the barrels of T-54s.

🍻
 

Halifax Tar

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
306
Points
880
This is the urban modernity that pushed the traditional rural power structures over the edge when fueled by Moscow-educated elites taking it past Kabul and into the countryside.
So basically a rural/urban divide. Hmm hope that doesn't happen in the west.
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
303
Points
880
So basically a rural/urban divide. Hmm hope that doesn't happen in the west.
I suppose every nation has differences between urban and rural, but we wouldn't see something like Afghanistan in the West. The issue in Afghanistan is that ethnicity, tribe, religion and power were/are in the mix. The Moscow-educated Kabul elites sought to enact communist land redistribution. The traditional rural power structures, perhaps understandably, were not happy with that. Add to that the issues when conservative viewpoints on Islam come up against what goes on in modern cities. Throw in the ethnic splits in Afghanistan with tribal factions within the ethnicity and you have a problem.
 
Top