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Finally done in Afghanistan?


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The lack of planning for this one is truly astonishing.  Pack up and leave during the height of the fighting season when the enemy is strongest.  Why not wait till winter when they all head to Pakistan?  Oh wait, because someone wants to establish the final day on 11 Sept.  How ironic when that day comes and the Taliban plant that flag atop the US embassy.  The long term negative optics on this will be painful

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2 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

I guess time will tell because now there are a whole lot of bad guys who think they just kicked our ass.  Do you think they just stop right there and call it a day?  A whole lot of violence is about to be exported to other parts of the region and the world.

Entirely possible but concur with @jrizzell that it was inevitable, the end of a non-Taliban dominated Afghanistan, but the implosion and ignominious retreat was preventable.

What I am 10,690% in agreement with you is the utter and total shit show the evac has been.  In July there were assurances that things won't fall apart immediately when we fall back, they knew that was bullshit so why weren't we ready?  Why wasn't the last month(s) just a stream of airlifters and ground convoys getting our people and shit out?

If there is no accountability for this we are even worse off culturally and spiritually than I feared.

Returning to your point on violence exporting from a renewed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, while this is a risk the counter terrorism fight now has to focus mainly on the homeland(s) of the what remains of the West.  We tried making their societies like ours, that has not worked.  We need to affirm and protect ours, that is a feasible strategy.  

Super tight borders, extreme vetting to prevent infiltrators, visa requirements and internal tracking of travelers from suspect regions, heavy exchange of intel with trustworthy nations and no squeamish-ness on profiling of communities that whether we want to admit or not sometimes and some in them harbor, nurture, support or spawn terrorists who attack the nations that took them in.

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39 minutes ago, Clark Griswold said:

 Super tight borders, extreme vetting to prevent infiltrators, visa requirements and internal tracking of travelers from suspect regions, heavy exchange of intel with trustworthy nations and no squeamish-ness on profiling of communities that whether we want to admit or not sometimes and some in them harbor, nurture, support or spawn terrorists who attack the nations that took them in.

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I’ve always enjoyed making jokes about C-17s landing at wrong airports, or not putting their gear down. But the fact that a crew took off with 800 passengers, and I heard others did that same with numbers in the 600’s is truly heroic stuff.

You are all a credit to America, and the USAF, your actions represent the best of us. I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos, and literal life and death decisions you were forced to make. Thank you, and well done! But that doesn’t begin to describe the accolades you deserve.


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1 hour ago, Breckey said:

It'll be interesting to see what intelligence estimates assessed the crumbling of the entire ANA and Afghan government in less than 96 hours.

I'm going to bet that the US and other coalition governments are going to make a deal with the Taliban to secure departure of their personnel. The issue is different than 1975 in that there isn't the threat of armored divisions bearing down on the capital. We tried to make a peace deal in 2020, let's see how much the "new" government is willing to negotiate.

I think plenty of people on this board made that assessment long ago. Working with them was like being the puppeteer and making them think they were doing it.

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1 hour ago, slc said:

The lack of planning for this one is truly astonishing.  Pack up and leave during the height of the fighting season when the enemy is strongest.  Why not wait till winter when they all head to Pakistan?  Oh wait, because someone wants to establish the final day on 11 Sept.  How ironic when that day comes and the Taliban plant that flag atop the US embassy.  The long term negative optics on this will be painful

Previous admin set the deadline of 1 May I believe, so even being there today is an extension of several months on top of that. I’m theory we wanted to keep the embassy open and etc. but if the entire Ghani government and all allied militias just give up the fight well then that obviously changes the plan. 

I’m sure the evac planning for all western nations didn’t include the entire ANA/ANP/Ghani government collapsing in 96 hours and the Taliban conquering territory at the speed of a Hilux. Enemy gets a vote unfortunately.

It’s still a god damned mess and I can only imagine the heroism of the airlift crews making runs to Kabul right now as well as the army folks & SOF going in to help secure the exfil. Hopefully we can continue to hold the airport, get military ATC up and running and start a reverse Berlin airlift out for anyone who wants to go.

Plenty of blame to go around, starting in about 2003, and I’m very hesitant to cast the first stone after spending significant time there myself and buying in to what we were trying to accomplish. I said it before and I’ll say it again: the best time to leave was 15 years ago and the second best time is right now.

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2 minutes ago, nsplayr said:

Previous admin set the deadline of 1 May I believe, so even being there today is an extension of several months on top of that. I’m theory we wanted to keep the embassy open and etc. but if the entire Ghani government and all allied militias just give up the fight well then that obviously changes the plan. 

So Biden kept the plan in place because he couldn’t change what the previous administration did?

Cough cough—the border/wall, immigration policy, Paris Peace Accords, climate change/regulations, the pipeline, transgenders in the military, on and on—cough cough.

Biden agreed with what Trump was wanting to do with Afghanistan and I don’t blame either one for deciding it was time to leave—but trying to put this current shit show on Trump is laughable.  Biden and his administration royally F’d up the plan/execution.  Perhaps Trump would have F’d it up too…but I can only go off what’s happening, not would could or couldn’t have happened.

 

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3 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

I guess time will tell because now there are a whole lot of bad guys who think they just kicked our ass.  Do you think they just stop right there and call it a day?  A whole lot of violence is about to be exported to other parts of the region and the world.

This is the sad part. I agree with you 100%. It’s just a question of how much money, time, and national effort is it worth it to stop it? Where is it on the priority list? It’s easy to argue that it hasn’t been worth the opportunity cost.

I bet America will be attacked again in the next decade. Probably smaller scale attacks within the next year or two even. But we need to keep our wits about us and not have overly emotional responses. That, from a grand strategy perspective, is how we manage this. 

Easier said than done, especially when 90% of America has been relatively unaware of and uninvested in what we have been doing in the Middle East. They have been conditioned to think that we can throw only a few resources - almost imperceptible to them - at the problem and make it go away. But we can no longer make these problems just “out of sight out of mind” for the average American by just spending our treasure.

Time for America to do some soul searching and figure out what they want - and they is not just the Joint Chiefs, the Combatant Commanders, the SecDEF - it’s the average American taxpayer. No one wants to pay more taxes. No one wants to reduce domestic freedoms. No one wants terrorist attacks in America. No one wants to go to war. No one wants soldiers to die. Until we actually embrace the options as a nation and come to a common sight picture, we aren’t accomplishing anything other than option 1:

1) A gradual decline internationally, but one in which the average person doesn’t think about terrorism very much as we ignore the Russia/China competition (what we have been doing the last 20 years)

2) A situation where we as Americans basically double the military budget and manpower so we can stay in the Middle East while still fighting China/Russia (which actually isn’t as unrealistic as some people may initially think - our military spending to GDP ratio is actually pretty low compared to history, e.g. a third of what it was in Korea), at the cost of significantly increase taxes and reduced standard of living

image.thumb.jpeg.2b761917d3601c22818aee283a4f72d3.jpeg

3) One where we prioritize grand strategic competition at the cost of increased domestic terror attacks. Taxes don’t increase much, but explosions on and nearby America probably do. This or #2 are my vote.

4) Some combination, potentially including reduction of domestic freedoms to deal with the inability to increase spending - this is the least likely in my opinion

The average American has to be invested in this or it has to stop, is the blunt truth. My pragmatic worldview is that the mil and Civ sectors have been so disjointed that we have made bad policy with no one really at the wheel to check whether we are giving the nation what it actually wants. I would offer that we are not, especially in regards to China/Russia. This is a step towards righting that. If we really want, we can go take Kabul again next year. But we really have to want it among all of our priorities.

I’m telling you one thing. I don’t want to go back ever again and hear an O-6, O-8, or O-9 tell me “We aren’t sure what victory looks like, just keep doing what you’re doing.” I heard that half a dozen times at the CAOC, and it’s sickening.

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As a total REMF who could recite the AUAB DFAC menu back in the day, I've always felt a little unworthy speaking up about AFG.  I've barely set foot there, and never outside Bagram.  So I respectfully defer to all those who genuinely expended their blood, sweat and tears for years in that God-forsaken landscape trying to train the locals and make something out of nothing.

I have a hard time believing, however, that somewhere, somehow, there wasn't a better COA than this.  I want to believe that with approx 10K troops and a few fighter squadrons, we could have held Kabul/Bagram and a few cities in perpetuity as a sanctuary for those who didn't want to live under these lunatics, especially the women.  Yeah, being there forever sucks, and it's expensive, but there's a lot to be said for having a huge spec ops footprint right there in the belly of the beast.

I guess if the Taliban realized we didn't intend to leave, however, the last few years would have looked a lot different.

 

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43 minutes ago, jrizzell said:

I’ve always enjoyed making jokes about C-17s landing at wrong airports, or not putting their gear down. But the fact that a crew took off with 800 passengers, and I heard others did that same with numbers in the 600’s is truly heroic stuff.

You are all a credit to America, and the USAF, your actions represent the best of us. I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos, and literal life and death decisions you were forced to make. Thank you, and well done! But that doesn’t begin to describe the accolades you deserve.


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So agree.

What's that even like, taking off with people hanging on to your UHF antennas, knowing they will not make it much past rotation?  <<rhetorical question

Edited by GrndPndr
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nice of the president to take the time from his vacation to comment on this

You know I’d Trump had been in Maralago during something like this the media wouldn’t have shut up about it.


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1 hour ago, ClearedHot said:

you-serious-clark.jpg

I am Eddie - I'm not for exclusion or expulsion from our country or any other Western country but a realistic and honest approach to the threats and problems interacting and integrating individuals from other cultures that have or do express values anti-thetical to ours.  That can include native communities in our country also, it is not exclusive to foreigners or immigrants.

Profiling is sometimes a necessary evil, if you carry a the black flag of Isis or a Nazi swastika flag, you need to be watched.

The Bataclan Attack of 2015 and the subsequent capture of some of its perpetrators is an example, those terrorists that escaped the attack and were later captured in another country weeks later had help in their community enclaves or at least willful ignorance / neutrality to assisting them as they escaped.

We can integrate others into our societies only slowly, in measured amounts and with the resolve that they will assimilate to us not us to them, anything less and we are proving ourselves unworthy of what was fought for and created by others.

39 minutes ago, Negatory said:

2) A situation where we as Americans basically double the military budget and manpower so we can stay in the Middle East while still fighting China/Russia (which actually isn’t as unrealistic as some people may initially think - our military spending to GDP ratio is actually pretty low compared to history, e.g. a third of what it was in Korea), at the cost of significantly increase taxes and reduced standard of living

As to option 2, methinks even if we doubled the budget (military) to both deter Russia/China and continue operations in the ME the Law of Diminishing Returns would kick in and we would get more military capability than now but not really enough or double to actually do all of those missions in the manner and with the expected low risk of failure that we think a 1.5+ trillion dollar DoD appropriation  would get.

Without STRONG military legal and policy reform / modernization, MILPERS growth and parochial interests in antiquated, obsolete or irrelevant MDSs / capabilities would drag down the effort.

If we want long term humanitarian, stabilization missions it's time for an American Foreign Legion military force.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-need-an-american-foreign-legion/2016/05/19/9a04d24e-176e-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html

Reports directly to the President, separate funding vehicle / appropriation, separate UCMJ but coordinates with the DoD.  Winning wars are the responsibility of the DoD, winning the peace (if that's possible) is their responsibility.

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43 minutes ago, DUNBAR said:

I have a hard time believing, however, that somewhere, somehow, there wasn't a better COA than this.  I want to believe that with approx 10K troops and a few fighter squadrons, we could have held Kabul/Bagram and a few cities in perpetuity as a sanctuary for those who didn't want to live under these lunatics, especially the women.  Yeah, being there forever sucks, and it's expensive, but there's a lot to be said for having a huge spec ops footprint right there in the belly of the beast.

This. 100% this.

The alternative is a peer competitor filling the vacuum in our absence, influencing the region with their geopolitical values.

Edited by Pancake
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7 minutes ago, Clark Griswold said:

I am Eddie - I'm not for exclusion or expulsion from our country or any other Western country but a realistic and honest approach to the threats and problems interacting and integrating individuals from other cultures that have or do express values anti-thetical to ours.  That can include native communities in our country also, it is not exclusive to foreigners or immigrants.

Profiling is sometimes a necessary evil, if you carry a the black flag of Isis or a Nazi swastika flag, you need to be watched.

The Bataclan Attack of 2015 and the subsequent capture of some of its perpetrators is an example, those terrorists that escaped the attack and were later captured in another country weeks later had help in their community enclaves or at least willful ignorance / neutrality to assisting them as they escaped.

We can integrate others into our societies only slowly, in measured amounts and with the resolve that they will assimilate to us not us to them, anything less and we are proving ourselves unworthy of what was fought for and created by others.

As to option 2, methinks even if we doubled the budget (military) to both deter Russia/China and continue operations in the ME the Law of Diminishing Returns would kick in and we would get more military capability than now but not really enough or double to actually do all of those missions in the manner and with the expected low risk of failure that we think a 1.5+ trillion dollar DoD appropriation  would get.

Without STRONG military legal and policy reform / modernization, MILPERS growth and parochial interests in antiquated, obsolete or irrelevant MDSs / capabilities would drag down the effort.

If we want long term humanitarian, stabilization missions it's time for an American Foreign Legion military force.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-need-an-american-foreign-legion/2016/05/19/9a04d24e-176e-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html

Reports directly to the President, separate funding vehicle / appropriation, separate UCMJ but coordinates with the DoD.  Winning wars are the responsibility of the DoD, winning the peace (if that's possible) is their responsibility.

I understood your drift, I just don't think secure borders align with any part of our current administration's thought process.

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Of all these videos of the chaos at the airport, I dont blame them for desperately trying to flee for their lives.  However, I dont think I see any women or kids in these images.  I hope I am wrong and they made it out but the pure optics are they were left behind for the Taliban which is terrible.

For those that are in their late 30's-mid 40's many of us joined to fight after 9/11.  Early on we all knew it was a shit show with no real plan but we all wanted to take the fight to them.  Now 20 years later, the Taliban is back, possibly stronger with Chinese support.  Looking back I think many would have made different life decisions.

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53 minutes ago, BashiChuni said:

nice of the president to take the time from his vacation to comment on this

Can’t wait for the value-added comments he’ll provide.
 

I get hard thinking about the heroism and “get it done” shit that’s occurred in past couple of days. Bravo Zulu to everybody actually getting it done. 

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I mean, he’s not wrong. It only took from Friday to Sunday.


Secretary of State Blinken (July 7th):“We are not withdrawing, we are staying, the embassy is staying, our programs are staying … If there is a significant deterioration in security … I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday.”


https://twitter.com/alexsalvinews/status/1426882826088165377






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Who made the decision to close Bagram before we had every "soft target" out of the country?
THAT PERSON is responsible for ALL of this. THAT PERSON needs to be named.
I am actually ashamed at this point.

The Bobs thought the Afghans were going to defend our retreat. A task it appears they were not very interested in (can’t blame them when we broadcast that they were just fighting to lose, in 3 months or less). That would have allowed us to continue to slowly draw down to where only 1-2 plane loads of people would need to be flown out before Kabul falls (~87 days from now by best estimates)


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