Thursday, October 8, 2009


Even a passing nod to good ol' Uncle Joe's Counter Terrorism Only policy -- more drones gone wild!, decapping strikes and hits -- seems an awful lot like the old "Air raiding villagers and killing civilians" meme.

Current and future combat ops in Afghanistan will have to consider, counter, marginalize and ultimately cripple beyond repair or kill al Qaeda and their Talibani affiliates.

And that means putting the PAK in AFPAK.

The Durand Line is a magical fakebelieve border between Land of the Pure and Afghanistan - courtesy of Great Britain sowing the seeds of Albion centuries past.

In the wild frontiers - any thing that happens on one side of Durand Line - effects the other side.

Vulcan (v2.0) brainiac and Surge thinker uppers Dr Frederick and Dr Kimberly Kagan point out getting all wobbly about AFPAK is just asking for trouble.:

"Now, however, some of the most vocal supporters of the regional approach are considering--or even advocating--a return to its antithesis, a purely counterterrorism (CT) strategy in Afghanistan. Such a reversion, based on the erroneous assumption that a collapsing Afghanistan would not derail efforts to dismantle terrorist groups in Pakistan, is bound to fail.

"Recent discussions of the "CT option" have tended to be sterile, clinical, and removed from the complexity of the region--the opposite of the coherence with which the administration had previously sought to address the problem.

"In reality, any "CT option" will likely have to be executed against the backdrop of state collapse and civil war in Afghanistan, spiraling extremism and loss of will in Pakistan, and floods of refugees.

"These conditions would benefit al Qaeda greatly by creating an expanding area of chaos, an environment in which al Qaeda thrives. They would also make the collection of intelligence and the accurate targeting of terrorists extremely difficult."

If Great Satan decided the heck with it and tried the old school tiny tiny little feet print -- look out!

"Afghanistan would descend again into civil war. The Taliban group headed by Mullah Omar and operating in southern Afghanistan (including especially Helmand, Kandahar, and Oruzgan Provinces) is well positioned to take control of that area upon the withdrawal of American and allied combat forces.

"The remaining Afghan security forces would be unable to resist a Taliban offensive. They would be defeated and would disintegrate.

"The fear of renewed Taliban assaults would mobilize the Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras in northern and central Afghanistan. The Taliban itself would certainly drive on Herat and Kabul, leading to war with northern militias.

"This conflict would collapse the Afghan state, mobilize the Afghan population, and cause many Afghans to flee into Pakistan and Iran.

It gets worse...

"Within Pakistan, the U.S. reversion to a counterterrorism strategy (from the counterinsurgency strategy for which Obama reaffirmed his support as recently as August) would disrupt the delicate balance that has made possible recent Pakistani progress against internal foes and al Qaeda.

"Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani, and others who have supported Pakistani operations against the Taliban are facing an entrenched resistance within the military and among retired officers. This resistance stems from the decades-long relationships nurtured between the Taliban and Pakistan, which started during the war to expel the Soviet Army.

"Advocates within Pakistan of continuing to support the Taliban argue that the United States will abandon Afghanistan as it did in 1989, creating chaos that only the Taliban will be able to fill in a manner that suits Pakistan.

"Zardari and Kayani have been able to overcome this internal resistance sufficiently to mount major operations against Pakistani Taliban groups, in part because the rhetoric and actions of the Obama administration to date have seemed to prove the Taliban advocates wrong.

"The announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces would prove them right.

"The announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces would prove them right. Pakistani operations against their own insurgents--as well as against al Qaeda, which lives among those insurgents--would probably grind to a halt as Pakistan worked to reposition itself in support of a revived Taliban government in Afghanistan.

"And a renewed stream of Afghan refugees would likely overwhelm the Pakistani government and military, rendering coherent operations against insurgents and terrorists difficult or impossible.

"The collapse of Pakistan, or even the revival of an aggressive and successful Islamist movement there, would be a calamity for the region and for the United States.

"It would significantly increase the risk that al Qaeda might obtain nuclear weapons from Pakistan's stockpile, as well as the risk that an Indo-Pakistani war might break out involving the use of nuclear weapons.

"That is a policy that will indeed have regional effects--extremely dangerous ones.

Pic - "Our difficulties and our dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them"


mauryk2 said...

Best defense of the war in Afghanistan I've seen. Concise and to the point.

Peter said...

I'm actually pretty sure that the collapse of Afghanistan and Pakistan would mainly be a tragedy only for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I'm pretty sure Inda would fling some nukes into the Paki's nuclear arsenal and other military and political centers.

Then the rest of the Afghanis and Pakistanis would die from radiation poisoning or starvation leaving Obama to shine his Nobel Prize.