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Old 04-02-2007, 09:32 PM   #16
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:36 PM   #17
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Originally posted by STING2
The primary units perfoming missions in Iraq, Armored and Mechanized brigades with heavy tanks and armored personal carriers, would never be deployed to Afghanistan anyway.
Perhaps some of them should've been, so we could've finished the job there. We're the most powerful nation on the planet, and I, like dreadsox, feel that if Osama was a priority he would not still be free/alive today.

But you're right, this is totally a partisan political issue and nothing more.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:43 PM   #18
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Come on, Rainman (this is you, STING), what can you regurgitate in response to that?
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:57 PM   #19
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Come on, Rainman (this is you, STING), what can you regurgitate in response to that?
If we have to read a dissertation on UN Resolutions again, I'm blaming you.
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:45 PM   #20
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:49 PM   #21
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:08 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen


Perhaps some of them should've been, so we could've finished the job there. We're the most powerful nation on the planet, and I, like dreadsox, feel that if Osama was a priority he would not still be free/alive today.

But you're right, this is totally a partisan political issue and nothing more.
Well, 70 Ton Abrams tanks and 35 ton Bradley fighting vehicles are not ideally suited for much of the terrain in Afghanistan where Al Quada use to operate. More importantly, there is no overland route into Afghanistan as US Armored and Mechanized forces would have to go through either Iran or Pakistan in order to get into Afghanistan. Armored and Mechanized divisions each have around 600 heavy vehicles to include Tanks, Armored Personal Carriers, Self-Propelled Artillery, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems that are transported by sea and moved overland because of their weight.

Only the largest air transports like the C-5 Galaxy can carry multiple vehicles for a heavy armored division, and there are only enough of them in the entire fleet to transport at best a single armored brigade, 1/3 of an armored division. Then there are the much greater logistical needs of heavy armor once on the ground which would use up much of the United States air-lift capacity. Given the fact that there was no overland route into Afghanistan, the type of terrain where operations would be occuring there, and the fact that air transporting and supplying even small armored units puts an enormous strain on total US air-lift capacity, use of Armored units in Afghanistan was never considered.

The Coalition in Afghanistan has been very successful in removing most if not all of the Al Quada presense in the country as well keeping the Taliban on the run in the south or in the border area's between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bin Ladin probably got out of Afghanistan in either late 2001 or early 2002, almost a year before ANY US forces were deployed to Kuwait to prepare for operations in Iraq.

Since early 2002, US efforts to get Bin Ladin have been complicated by the fact that he is probably somewhere in Pakistan which does not allow US forces to operate on its territory because of the politically destabilizing effect that would have in the country. Finding a single individual, as the hunt for Al Zarqawi in Iraq has demonstrated, is very difficult. It took years for the coalition forces to finally succeed in capturing Al Zarqawi despite the fact that he was active in operations daily in area with a high concentration of US and coalition troops.

Al Quada has always been a movement that would continue despite the loss of certain individuals. The coalition has successfully removed most of the Al Quada threat in Afghanistan, but the organization has focused its efforts in Iraq where it is easier for them to blend in with the local population, and the consequences of "victory" or "defeat" are far greater than they were in Afghanistan for the Al Quada movement as well as for the United States and the coalition given Iraq's location, development, resources and demographics.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:46 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Come on, Rainman (this is you, STING)
That's funny. I've always thought of STING as a cross between Rainman, the John Goodman character in the Big Lebowski, and that Iraqi PR guy who kept announcing that everything was just fine as US tanks rolled around behind him.

STING, Al Qaeda are so active in Iraq because you fucked it up.
If they are able to rebuild and recruit still in Afghanistan, it's because you fucked it up.

Using one to support or defend the other is ridiculous. I can't believe that you sit there typing that stuff with a serious face. If you can't see the glaring ridiculousness of some of your own posts....

I am not at all in favour of a huge US troop withdrawal any time soon. I reckon everyone will just be back in there within 12 months if that happens. I do however think it's ridiculous to try and palm off all these mistakes as part of the plan all along. Yeah, it's fucking awesome having so much Al Qaeda activity in Iraq. That was the plan right!?!? We're still rolling with the plan! lol...
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:48 AM   #24
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Can we not talk about other posters in the third person as if they weren't reading this, please...

Musharraf is in a very fragile place at the moment, with the Chaudhry crisis and the violent Jamia Hafsa demonstrations in Islamabad and the attack on the Pakistani Army in Punjab and now the Taliban expanding into new areas of the northwest, despite some recent infighting between Uzbek militants and Taliban Pashtun tribal leaders in South Waziristan. More than 750 Pakistani soldiers died in the army's fruitless post-2001 attempts to gain control of that one small province prior to last September's 'peace' agreement with local maliks, more than 200 pro-government tribal leaders have been executed as the Taliban shored up power in the area, and it's clear to anyone who reads the Pakistani papers that Islamabad is--to put it generously--unclear on the details of the extremely complex, constantly shifting alliances in the region. And there's been one report after another from civilians fleeing the fighting that foreign militants from Iraqis to Chechens are attending training camps scattered throughout the area as cross-border attacks in Afghanistan quadrupled during the last year. The notion that al-Qaeda are not really a threat to the region just because they're not synonymous with the Taliban would be comical were the situation not so dangerous, and the signs that their alliances with Islamist groups in the rest of Pakistan are increasing so alarming. Unfortunately Musharraf's longstanding divide-and-conquer tactics with the political opposition will make it very hard for him to find much of a mandate for notching up operations in the northwest, if indeed the Army is even capable of effectively doing so. It's true that an increased US/NATO presence in Afghanistan wouldn't by itself resolve the situation, but the fact that we remain militarily focused on Iraq (which as everyone pointed out, has had the effect of attracting al-Qaeda there and giving them an unprecedented opportunity to hone their skills in a country they previously had little to no presence in) is indeed encouraging an extremely dangerous situation to fester in long-poorly-controlled regions of Central Asia where al-Qaeda and its allies have a long-established local support base.

ETA: It should be noted however that the US isn't the only country which ought to be focusing more on Afghanistan, and in particular the southern region, where the actual fighting is--a quick glance at NATO's ISAF key stats (.pdf) shows that.

So...what do we do about it?
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:55 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
If we have to read a dissertation on UN Resolutions again, I'm blaming you.
Did I hear someone call my name?
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:04 AM   #26
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Saddam Hussian had to be removed and a new government had to be put in place. The number of troops in Afghanistan actually increased as the invasion of Iraq started. The whole "diversion" of resources is complete rubbish. The primary units perfoming missions in Iraq, Armored and Mechanized brigades with heavy tanks and armored personal carriers, would never be deployed to Afghanistan anyway.

In any event, the issue is what to do now and its ironic that DEMOCRATS support the withdrawal of troops from the area of greatest Al Quada activity and want to either keep troops in Afghanistan or increase them there despite the absence of non-Taliban Al Quada attacks there. If Democrats can make the case for withdrawal from Iraq, they should be even more upfront about withdrawing from Afghanistan.


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Old 04-04-2007, 03:54 AM   #27
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Originally posted by yolland
Can we not talk about other posters in the third person as if they weren't reading this, please...

Musharraf is in a very fragile place at the moment, with the Chaudhry crisis and the violent Jamia Hafsa demonstrations in Islamabad and the attack on the Pakistani Army in Punjab and now the Taliban expanding into new areas of the northwest, despite some recent infighting between Uzbek militants and Taliban Pashtun tribal leaders in South Waziristan. More than 750 Pakistani soldiers died in the army's fruitless post-2001 attempts to gain control of that one small province prior to last September's 'peace' agreement with local maliks, more than 200 pro-government tribal leaders have been executed as the Taliban shored up power in the area, and it's clear to anyone who reads the Pakistani papers that Islamabad is--to put it generously--unclear on the details of the extremely complex, constantly shifting alliances in the region. And there's been one report after another from civilians fleeing the fighting that foreign militants from Iraqis to Chechens are attending training camps scattered throughout the area as cross-border attacks in Afghanistan quadrupled during the last year. The notion that al-Qaeda are not really a threat to the region just because they're not synonymous with the Taliban would be comical were the situation not so dangerous, and the signs that their alliances with Islamist groups in the rest of Pakistan are increasing so alarming. Unfortunately Musharraf's longstanding divide-and-conquer tactics with the political opposition will make it very hard for him to find much of a mandate for notching up operations in the northwest, if indeed the Army is even capable of effectively doing so. It's true that an increased US/NATO presence in Afghanistan wouldn't by itself resolve the situation, but the fact that we remain militarily focused on Iraq (which as everyone pointed out, has had the effect of attracting al-Qaeda there and giving them an unprecedented opportunity to hone their skills in a country they previously had little to no presence in) is indeed encouraging an extremely dangerous situation to fester in long-poorly-controlled regions of Central Asia where al-Qaeda and its allies have a long-established local support base.

ETA: It should be noted however that the US isn't the only country which ought to be focusing more on Afghanistan, and in particular the southern region, where the actual fighting is--a quick glance at NATO's ISAF key stats (.pdf) shows that.

So...what do we do about it?
In addition to ISAF there is also "Operation Enduring Freedom" which has the following countries and troop levels:

United States 11,300
Canada 35
Czech Republic 120
Denmark 1
France 220
Italy 8
South Korea 208
Netherlands 6
New Zealand 133
Poland 87
Romania 112

Combining ISAF and "Operation Enduring Freedom", there are 48,980 coalition troops in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, Al Quada is active on the ground and engaged in operations against coalition forces, the Iraqi government and Iraqi's. While Taliban attacks increased in Afghanistan in 2006 with a total of 4,000 people being killed in violence, Taliban insurgents account for more than half of the figure. Not exactly the sign of a successful insurgency. The United States has suffered 191 deaths from hostile fire since October 2001 in Afghanistan, a relatively small number compared to the 12,900 Soviet troops killed in the 1980s in Afghanistan as well as current US casualties in Iraq. Combined coalition deaths from hostile fire in Afghanistan so far in 2007 is, 12. Lets also remember that Afghanistan is two to three times the size of Iraq and has a population equal in size.

While the Taliban insurgency is a threat, it is no where near as serious a threat to stability in Afghanistan as Al Quada, Sunni insurgents and other anti-Iraqi government forces are in Iraq. Iraq's location, resources, development, demographics as well as being the main area of Al Quada operations make the development of a stable non-hostile government in Iraq a much higher priority than the same process being undertaken in Afghanistan. Iraq trumps Afghanistan in its importance to longterm US security interest, fighting Al Quada, as well as the seriousness of the threat from anti-coalition forces.

Since Iraq is the more important and more difficult task, forces devoted there should not be withdrawn in order to increase the effort in Afghanistan. The only way the United States could get extra US troops for Afghanistan would be to reverse the current policy on the use of National Guard Brigades which limit them to one deployment in any 5 year period. This is being pushed by number of US Generals but its unknown when or if the current policy will be reversed.

Another option is of course to get NATO countries to increase their troop levels in Afghanistan, especially NATO countries that will not deploy their troops to Iraq under any conditions like France and Germany. Its amazing that the Netherlands has deployed nearly twice as many troops to Afghanistan than the French given that the Netherlands military is only 1/5 the size of France. France by the way has the third largest military in NATO with 255,000. Their total troop commitment to Afghanistan is 1,220. France is one of the few NATO countries that can deploy its total military force anywhere in the world without the aid of the United States.

Real Change in Pakistan will only come when the Pakistan/India stand off cools and Pakistan changes its policy on dealing with Islamic militants who claim they do not support Al Quada. The cooling of the competition and conflicts between India and Pakistan could free up limited resources to fight the Islamic militants as well as potentially bring much needed investment in education( I believe 65% of the country is illiterate) and other area's that would benefit the economy. Of course there is the complications of Pakistan's current military dicatorship and the possibility of a return to democracy.
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:05 AM   #28
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Oh, Pakistan's got plenty of troops available for operations in the northwest right now; they had more than 80,000 of them stationed there until the accords were signed with local maliks last fall. It's just that it wasn't working; that region has never really recognized Islamabad's authority, and for their part the army often didn't understand the complex local alliances and rivalries well enough to know who to fire on and when and with what, not to mention there are suspicions that some elements within their intelligence community (and possibly the army) themselves remain strongly pro-Taliban. And that operation wasn't playing well in much of the rest of the country either, a fact Musharraf could hardly ignore. I agree that in principle the insurgency in Afghanistan still seems controllable enough (though the attention and resources it's diverted from reconstruction efforts are a major morale issue at a time when NATO really can't afford one); what I find more worrisome is the apparently increasing possibility of a 'creeping coup' within Pakistan itself, as an editorial in their leading English daily put it a few days ago. The Chaudhry scandal especially has severely weakened him, and the army's inability to manage the Jamia Hafsa activity right there in Islamabad only seems to underline that. For the moment he still seems to have a majority of support, if only because he still seems to have the trust of (most of) the army and they remain the most trusted institution in Pakistan...but the political tightrope he's been walking the last several years appears to be fraying rapidly, and his ability to subvert the system when 'needed' without stoking explosive resentment looks to be nearing its end. Which could work out for the better--depending on who replaces him if the next round of elections actually pans out...and assuming the everpresent threat of another assassination attempt from within (the army) doesn't do the job first. If that doesn't work out...well, consider the consequences for the region and the world of a volatile and unstable Pakistan, nuclear weapons and all.

If the current suspicions of Pakistani, US and British intelligence experts, as cited in the NYT article, about the rebound in international militant training camps and planning of international terrorist operations in Taliban-controlled areas of the northwest are correct, then that is very bad news and not something allied forces stationed in Afghanistan can do much about, other than exert damage control to the extent that some of it spills across the border. At this point the threat is more of these elements expanding their influence eastward rather than westward, and there are worrisome signs that that's threatening to happen in a big way if Musharraf doesn't take the risk, and granted it is a risk, of opening up the political system soon. The threat in Iraq is of a different sort although that too could conceivably become (remain?) a hub for international terrorist activity now that al-Qaeda et al. have been attracted there.

Thanks for the OEF stats, I agree completely that several of those countries should be contributing much more.
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:08 PM   #29
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This photo sums things up quite nicely:

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Old 04-04-2007, 10:45 PM   #30
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The thread or the topic?
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