Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Ridiculous ... a white-wash of historical facts.

The Taliban was beaten in November 2001 ... the bombing campaign was devastating ... AQ remnants dispersed into the mountainous AfPak districts and blended in. Rumsfeld urged the Bush administration not to stop now, but to destroy all Taliban strongholds. Most importantly, the US went after OBL and left no stone unturned. Civilians were killed indiscriminately  ... the young generation did not want this fight of the elder leadership because of a single person responsible for the terror attacks on America. After Bush, the Obama administration increased the firepower and added massive number of boots on the ground. The US was rapidly losing the hearts and minds of large swaths of the Afghan population.

As the atrocities and war crimes mounted in number and across all of Afghanistan, a slow return of the Taliban was inevitable. Similarly to the invasion of Iraq and the brutality by US forces to subdue the people, it produced AQI which evolved into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This decision marks the end of a military settlement of this war ...

Obama's Surge: A Bureaucratic Politics Analysis of the Decision to Order a Troop Surge in the Afghanistan War

Advisor Holbrooke warned the Afghan campaign could go the path of the Vietnam War and all similar mistakes made ...

U.S. Policy in Afghanistan: A Conversation with Richard C. Holbrooke | CFR - Dec. 15, 2009 |

You all know that Afghanistan is entering its ninth year of the war.  And the question that I'm asked most often, particularly by people I just run into, is why are we in Afghanistan.  I think most of you know the answer, but to back into Michael's question, I just need to state clearly at the outset that we're in Afghanistan for the simple reason that it was from Afghanistan that we were attacked on September 11, 2001.  

It is obviously true that the people who did the attack were driven east into Pakistan, and that's why we now talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan as an interrelated situation.  And I will state right up front that success in one country requires success in both.  We will not be able to succeed in Afghanistan unless our Pakistan policy is equally successful.  While the troops are in Afghanistan, the hard core of our core enemy is next door.

The consensus of this discussion over and over again was that you could not, at this point, separate the Taliban from al Qaeda.  I need to underscore that.  If the Taliban were just another awful odious social movement with terrible values, with certain points of view we don't agree with, it would be a serious problem, but it would not justify the commitment of what will ultimately be 100,000 American troops after this build-up is completed and a good number of our allied troops numbering in the 35 (thousand) to 45,000 range at least, including build-up and commitments still to come.  

But the separation of the Taliban from al Qaeda is not currently on the horizon.  The leaders of the Taliban and the al Qaeda are deeply intermeshed as are certain other groups like the Haqqani Network, which are critically important in this story.  

So it is our judgment that, if the Taliban succeed in Afghanistan, they will bring back with them to Afghanistan al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda will then have a larger terrain from which to operate, and they will have the most enormous international psychological, political victory imaginable to inspire more of the kinds of people who threaten our homeland.  That is the core rationale, and from that was derived the core goal to destroy al Qaeda, to defeat al Qaeda.  

That's going to take a while, and everybody in this room and everyone in the United States needs to recognize that, while our troop commitment is not open-ended, our -- we have not -- we're not going to abandon Afghanistan as happened in 1989 and it started to happen in 2004, 2005 with disastrous results.  This is a critical component of what the president announced at West Point on December 1.

Death by Drone: America's Vicious Legacy in Afghanistan

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Aug 19th, 2021 at 10:27:18 PM EST
Who Lost Afghanistan?

Twenty years of lying and confusion by U.S. leaders ends in a predictable and bloody farce.

Journalist Craig Whitlock's new book, "The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War," will help ensure that no one forgets the harm America's civilian and military leaders did, the lies they told, and the war they lost.

Synthesizing more than 1,000 interviews and 10,000 pages of documents, Whitlock provides a stunning study of failure and mendacity, an irrefutable account of the U.S.'s ignoble defeat in the words of those who -- from the battlefield to NATO headquarters in Kabul and from the Pentagon to the White House -- got it so wrong for so long, papered their failures over with falsehoods, and sought to avoid even an ounce of accountability.

"People often ask me, `How long will this last?'" President George W. Bush said on October 11, 2001, a few days after the United States started bombing Afghanistan. "This particular battlefront will last as long as it takes to bring Al Qaeda to justice. It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two. But we will prevail."

More than a decade later, the U.S. still hadn't won the war, and an obscure government agency, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, sought to figure out why. The result was more than 400 "Lessons Learned" interviews conducted with mostly American (but also Afghan and NATO) officials as well as other experts, aid workers, and consultants. Their assessments were candid, often damning, and the government sought to keep them under wraps.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Aug 19th, 2021 at 10:54:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's new.
by Cat on Fri Aug 20th, 2021 at 12:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Taliban's Winning Strategy in Afghanistan

The Taliban are a revolutionary movement, deeply opposed to the Afghan tribal system and focused on the rebuilding of the Islamic Emirate. Their propaganda and intelligence are efficient, and the local autonomy of their commanders in the field allow them both flexibility and cohesion. They have made clever use of ethnic tensions, the rejection of foreign forces by the Afghan people, and the lack of local administration to gain support in the population.  In so doing the Taliban have achieved their objectives in the South and East of the country, isolating the Coalition, marginalizing the local Afghan administration, and establishing a parallel administration (mainly to dispense Sharia justice and collect taxes). In recent months, a more professional Taliban have succeeded in making significant inroads by recruiting from non-Pashtun communities.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Aug 19th, 2021 at 10:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Top Diaries

Occasional Series