Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Afghanistan Updates ( October 28 , 2014 ) - As British and US troops leave Afghanistan , forecast is cloudy as to whether Afghan soldiers are up to the task of facing the Taliban and other jihadists ...... Green Berets: Afghan Troops Hide During Fights, Rely on US ....... Taliban Kills Prosecutors, Kidnaps Police in Latest Operations ........ Senate ‘Roadmap’ to Keep Billions Flowing into Afghanistan
The plan, which Senate Dems say was timed for release after President Karzai’s term in office ended and the troop deal extended, and will keep the $5-$8 billion average outflow of US “aid” into Afghanistan more or less intact.
With the vast majority of that aid being flat out squandered on things Afghans didn’t need or want, the committee’s plan seeks to make the future aid “condition-based” with some vague sustainability requirements.
Details of all the conditions are not yet clear, but indications are that they will mostly been centered on the administration signing off on the Afghan government dubious human rights record, something they’ve been only too willing to do in the past, and will undoubtedly do in the future to keep the gravy train flowing.
With US and NATO forces increasingly focused on airstrikes and letting the Afghan military do the ground fighting, the Afghan Taliban doesn’t get the coverage in Western media it used to. That doesn’t mean the group is any less active, however.
Taliban forces were active across the country today, with a major attack on a prosecutors office in Kunduz killing 10 people, including seven prosecutors, and wounding 10 others. The attack was retaliation for recent death penalties given to Taliban prisoners.
They’re also looking to expand their territory, with an offensive in the Uruzgan Province’s Gizab District. Gizab is noteworthy because instead of being ousted by NATO, the locals rose up and chased the Taliban out four years ago. Now, the Taliban are back in force, and have some 80% of the district under their direct control.
The Taliban’s offensives usually start petering out about this time of the year, as there is virtually no infrastructure in the country and both sides tend to just shore up defenses during winter. Whatever the Taliban takes now, they’re likely to keep until spring.
The talk among Pentagon officials that the Afghan military is increasingly able to operate on its own is just that, talk, as a new report includes comments from Green Berets criticizing the incompetence of the Afghan National Army.
The Green Berets complained particularly of an early June battle in the Zabul Province during which Afghan soldiers were refusing to fight and “hiding among trees and behind a rock” while they waited for the US troops to do the fighting.
Such reports aren’t normally the sort of thing that go public, and ended up in the report on a “friendly fire” airstrike that killed five US soldiers during the battle, with the report including all Green Beret comments on the matter.
The captain in the report said that Afghan National Army forces routinely show up with far fewer soldiers than promised, and are virtually unable to operate after dark. When the fighting picked up, the Afghan forces headed for the woods and waited for the fighting to end, “huddled behind a rock.”