Abandoned in Afghanistan?

The always excellent  US security nightly newsletter,  Nightwatch, put out by KGS, offers the following comments on the Taliban exchange:

Comment: The mainstream media have covered the increased risk of hostage-taking as the direct and foreseeable result of the hostage exchange. This was not a prisoner of war exchange.

 Two points not mentioned in most mainstream commentary are noteworthy. This exchange invests Omar and his Islamic Emirate with stature that neither had when the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan. It negotiated as an equal with the US and got the better deal. That sets a precedent for potential deals with other NATO members. It is a powerful disincentive for Pakistan to rein in Omar and his cohorts.

 The second point is the release of the five Taliban leaders will boost Taliban morale; help improve their organizational and fighting skills and enhance their operations. It might have a ripple effect on the now divided Pakistani Taliban.

 The timing could hardly be worse for Allied forces. As NATO draws down its forces, the Taliban get an influx of experienced leaders, undermining years of effort to degrade the leadership. These were men Mullah Omar trusted in the early days of Taliban rule.  He now has a seasoned core around which to build a reinvigorated administration and movement.”

Nightwatch is John McCreary’s baby and his bio is here.  What I like is often the “comments” are delivered with a touch of humor, but rest assured always carefully researched, with the facts differentiated from the opinion.

Now a subject I haven’t heard any military experts talk about yet and one that I have questions about is:  “What impact does the release of those terrorists, in addition to the troop draw-down have on the day-to-day security situation for those remaining troops left in Afghanistan?  What is the true readiness assessment of the Afghan National security services on whom they will have to rely?   Will a reinvigorated Taliban potentially leave our remaining troops vulnerable?  How does the draw-down affect the resupply and support situation, with an already overstretched supply route?  Has the CINC ever asked about the safety of the troops he is leaving in Afghanistan- vulnerable in such small numbers?  What will their mission be – hunkered down on a base or will they still be out on patrols?

6 Comments

Filed under Food for Thought, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics

6 responses to “Abandoned in Afghanistan?

  1. JK

    Too much “stuff” LB & I’m for damn sure no “military expert” – at least in the way I was certainly a “military husband” and of course a “military parent.”

    Given my record of previous (aside from the USMC to Navy to Army to AF to the CinC to Chuck then, back around to the Navy, “How’s come our colors for the same damn thing don’t match? — You’re a liar”) anyway, previous accomplishments as both a military husband and Dad neither of which as it happens, made it onto any DD-214 – I do feel “somewhat” qualified to separate LB … well I’ve forgotten what I’ve copied. This will be as much a surprise to me as everybody else – except

    Well, I’ll do my best to separate & do as I can:

    [#1]What impact does the release of those terrorists, in addition to the troop draw-down have on the day-to-day security situation for those remaining troops left in Afghanistan? [#2]What is the true readiness assessment of the Afghan National security services on whom they will have to rely? [#3]Will a reinvigorated Taliban potentially leave our remaining troops vulnerable? [#4]How does the draw-down affect the resupply and support situation, with an already overstretched supply route? [#5]Has the CINC ever asked about the safety of the troops he is leaving in Afghanistan- vulnerable in such small numbers? [#6]What will their mission be – hunkered down on a base or will they still be out on patrols?

    Lessee how this worked out shall we?

  2. JK

    [#1]“What impact does the release of those terrorists, in addition to the troop draw-down have on the day-to-day security situation for those remaining troops left in Afghanistan?

    Given Obama’s demonstrated ramped-up by GW standards level drone program coupled with the US Military’s tactics for withdrawal of US combat forces (providing “those terrorists” are the threat) > negligible.

    [#2]What is the true readiness assessment of the Afghan National security services on whom they will have to rely?

    Two’s “they” (as posed) is unclear. If “they” means the Afghanis, left totally with fellow Afghanis well, look back to the past 2000 years. On the other hand there’s a regional strategic overlay none in the neighborhood can ignore. Geography mainly but coupled to Demography Russia (probably) faces the greatest test – easy to see in a way, Russia/India partnering on the PAK-FA T-50, Iran needing “routes” to up GDP, China having made in the neighborhood of a half-trillion dollar investment in Afghani minerals — and Pakistan being “best buddies with North Korea.”

    If [#2] “they” is implying we (the US) will be looking to the Afghans for protection …

    [#3]Will a reinvigorated Taliban potentially leave our remaining troops vulnerable?

    Depends on what “vulnerable” is. How “vulnerable” is defined.

    Is the US “vulnerable to the Taliban”? Maybe but I seem to recall the fellows knocked down our Twin Towers were from Saudi Arabia. The Taliban “wants US out of Afghanistan so the Taliban can have a happy Afghanistan.” Of course the Taliban shoots at everybody but, the only missiles the Taliban shoots are the missiles the US sells to Pakistan which only AQ types can instruct the Taliban on which end to point.

    [#4]How does the draw-down affect the resupply and support situation, with an already overstretched supply route?

    Ukraine’s happened in the interim but:

    http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130620/DEFREG04/306200015/Kyrgyzstan-Votes-Close-US-Base-2014

    [#s 5 & 6]Heck if I know what that answer might be but, I’m pretty sure how you ought address your envelope, thankfully the Congress gave the Post Office seventy billion dollars to keep us from having to lick those icky stamps but included (helpfully) the guys … oops should I’ve typed “the gals in Congress” first?

    Anyway, if you give a rat’s ass whether to throw your money at the government so they can buy (at government prices) a stamp or a cruise missile it’s

    To Your Honorable Gender Non-Specific R or D

    K Street, Washington DC

    With All Due Respect Who’s Out For The Money,

    Would you please direct some bribe money otherwise?

    Sincerely,

    I. Ancontinuingtwobe Screwed

  3. Kinnison

    What no one is talking about is that the Haqqani Network demanded $5 million for Bergdahl’s release. They are affiliated with Al Quaeda but are essentially the local Mafia, and don’t do anything without money up front. If, as I suspect, Obama paid them for Bergdahl’s release, that is knowingly givning aid and comfort to an enemy in time of war and certainly meets the standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment.

  4. Kinnison, I have heard Oliver North and Brad Thor discuss that angle and a few online sites.

  5. JK, my concern was with force protection, considering an escalated civil war could erupt and we have such a small number of troops there, geographically isolated. yeah, I know we have air capabilities and such but, I was wondering how that planning is evolving and what their actual mission will be. I always worry about the plans to protect our troops, recognizing of course that “the mission” always come first. So, I wanted to know what the mission is and how that small force will be protected. Drones aren’t a complete enough plan for me.

  6. I always keep looking little picture/big picture and brainstorm what could go wrong, how to mitigate that and I never lose sight of the boots on the ground – years of sitting at home worrying makes me always think about the possible contingencies. The Mom syndrome and memories of Mogadishu, ya’ know.

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