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So I read this the other day: The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. Now it might take decades. and since the forum has been active on Afghanistan related subjects, namely AFPAK Hands, and the basically universal consensus that it is a waste of time, I wanted to start a discussion on whether or not it is time to leave and if so how? Leaving gets misinterpreted with defeat in battle, not so. Leaving means the completion of our military training mission, determination that our rebuilding & stabilization mission has run its course and that it is time to redeploy our forces & people to the northern part of the country, former Northern Alliance territory, stabilize and monitor the situation there on a short term mission to withdraw completely in a maximum of 3 years. So collapse of the Afghan National / Central government is expected on withdrawal but what about an agreement with Provincial governments as Afghanistan and its culture are much more tribally / regionally focused? They're support and use as an intermediary to deal with regional Taliban commanders could allow for a withdrawal without a chaotic collapse of the nation as it is now, basically assist it in reverting to what it usually was, mostly autonomous agrarian based tribally divided regions, at varying degrees of conflict with each other via local warlords feuding. Buy them off individually as provinces with a medium term promise of aid for stability (probably 5 years) and slowly / smoothly leave. Get Pakistan on board with carrots to assist, sanctions partially lifted, financial aid, etc... keep the money flowing to them for a few years. I would rather see a clear cut victory but there is not likely one, they have no assailable COG as we think of it, like a hydra there leadership cadre regrows eventually with every surgical strike, no conventional enemy military to destroy, no critical supporting infrastructure to destroy and they cede territory for the most part to return as we can not occupy large swaths of the country (rural) or LOCs for indefinite periods. In lieu of victory as we usually envision it, I see leaving in a planned manner, publicly stated and executed in clear steps as the least bad COA. I spent a fair bit of time over there a few years ago, it pains me to say it but it is time to call it complete knowing what is likely to happen and let the chips fall where they may. So how do we do this?
Excellent article. Ranges on several points to come down pretty hard on how the modern military has evolved into what it is now. The Tragedy of the American Military The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win. James Fallows JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17110079 Partial quote: The Nato commander in Afghanistan has apologised over reports foreign troops may have burnt copies of the Koran. Announcing an inquiry, US Gen John R Allen said any "improper disposal" of religious materials was inadvertent. Reports suggest the books were taken from prisoners after the US uncovered a secret Taliban message system. Rumours that a Koran had been burnt led to protests outside the US base at Bagram north of Kabul. One man was hurt when Nato troops fired rubber bullets. President Hamid Karzai condemned the reports that the Koran had been burnt, as did the Taliban who said the incident would hurt the feelings "of one billion Muslims around the world". US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta called the incident "inappropriate and deeply unfortunate". "These actions do not represent the views of the United States military," Mr Panetta said in a statement apologising to the Afghan people. He promised to review the results of the investigation.