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A Look at How Tough the Afghan Fight will be

by Ward Carroll on June 26, 2009

I really respect Getty Images’ John Moore and one of his packages from his last trip to Afghanistan struck me as we are considering Gen. McChrystal’s decision to avoid fighting in populated areas.

From John’s images and commentary, we can see that on the ground, this attempt at sterilization will be very difficult and throw ambiguity into the fight for coalition troops.

There may just be some areas where the hearts and minds approach just won’t work ever.

– Christian

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Drake1 June 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Old footage, but if you like that, you can also check out this.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warbriefing/
Bunch of tribes with no unified voice, who prefer to live the way they want w/o foreign interference, no matter how many gifts(with strings)we bring.
Young men by nature also lend themselves towards being easy prey for any cause that involves fighting-especially when it involves another foreign invader.
In that “War Breifing” I link I posted, a soldier said it don’t matter if you from Kabul…if you ain’t Korenghali like them, you ain’t one of them.

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Crusader June 27, 2009 at 9:47 pm

My brother recently came back from Afghan. He spent a lot of time in the middle of nowhere on a base. A lot of the “locals” that worked on the base were Taliban infiltrators. The base’s liberal wingnut commander tried the “we are your friends” thing with them. To make a long story short, she ended up getting several American GI’s killed because she valued the Taliban’s lives over our GI’s.
I have to agree with what Sonny Puzika said on “Deadliest Warrior” when a rifle shot hit a target between the eyes, “That’s winning their hearts and minds…”

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CWK February 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

There's a big difference between "we are your friend" and the approach of giving the elders a choice – you can either work with us and prosper – or work against us and wind up on the losing side in the shooting war. Many of these folks don't want us there – or for that matter, the Kabul government's representatives. Expecting non-Taliban tribal elders to embrace us, unless they are thoroughly disgusted with the Taliban because of problems caused by the Taliban, is unrealistic – at least until the ANA and ISAF secure the areas so the Taliban cannot carry out reprisal killings with impunity and we provide worthwhile services the local people want (not what we think they want or should have).

In pro-Taliban areas, the process is going to be slow and will involve gradually convincing the local people that our quarrel is with al-Qai'da, and that if they will agree (and do) keep their areas free of al-Q fighters and offer at least nominal allegiance to Kabul, then we'll have done what needs to be done. Making the entire Taliban movement our enemy means that we are choosing to fight an indigenous movement that has a strong ideological component. Generally a bad idea, but an especially bad idea in Afghanistan where blood feuds run for generations. We don't have nearly enough forces to cover the whole country with a security blanket to smother the Taliban, and the likelihood of that happening is zero. Working with the limited resources we have means focusing on what is achievable, not what would be an ideal outcome.

Reply

CWK February 16, 2010 at 4:03 am

There's a big difference between "we are your friend" and the approach of giving the elders a choice – you can either work with us and prosper – or work against us and wind up on the losing side in the shooting war. Many of these folks don't want us there – or for that matter, the Kabul government's representatives. Expecting non-Taliban tribal elders to embrace us, unless they are thoroughly disgusted with the Taliban because of problems caused by the Taliban, is unrealistic – at least until the ANA and ISAF secure the areas so the Taliban cannot carry out reprisal killings with impunity and we provide worthwhile services the local people want (not what we think they want or should have).

In pro-Taliban areas, the process is going to be slow and will involve gradually convincing the local people that our quarrel is with al-Qai'da, and that if they will agree (and do) keep their areas free of al-Q fighters and offer at least nominal allegiance to Kabul, then we'll have done what needs to be done. Making the entire Taliban movement our enemy means that we are choosing to fight an indigenous movement that has a strong ideological component. Generally a bad idea, but an especially bad idea in Afghanistan where blood feuds run for generations. We don't have nearly enough forces to cover the whole country with a security blanket to smother the Taliban, and the likelihood of that happening is zero. Working with the limited resources we have means focusing on what is achievable, not what would be an ideal outcome.

Reply

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