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  1. #1
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    Default Afghanistan mission a total failure

    Afghanistan mission a total failure

    THIS year the Australian Defence Force will pull out of Afghanistan's Oruzgan Province without having achieved the objectives for which it was sent. That means Australia's military operation in Afghanistan has failed. It is important to face this uncomfortable fact and learn from it what we can.

    Do not expect this from government, the opposition or the ADF. They will all keep saying our soldiers are coming home because their mission has been successfully achieved. That is simply false and they all know it to be false.
    We can understand why they keep claiming success nonetheless. There is the usual reluctance to pay the political price of admitting that any policy has failed. But admitting that this policy has failed is especially hard because it has cost, so far, the lives of 39 Australians, and terrible injuries to many more.

    Our military failure in Afghanistan is complex because our reasons for sending forces to Oruzgan have been complex. The simplest reason has been to deny Afghanistan to al-Qaeda, but this never made sense. Al-Qaeda was out of Afghanistan and sprouting elsewhere long before we went to Oruzgan. The more sophisticated reason was to make sure al-Qaeda didn't come back by defeating the Taliban insurgency and fostering a government in Kabul that was effective, stable, just and pro-Western.
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    Instead, we leave Afghanistan with a deeply corrupt and incompetent government exercising little authority over most of the country and people it is supposed to govern, and no serious prospect that a better government will emerge. Meanwhile, the Taliban seems as strong as ever, and as we withdraw it could soon take back at least a share of the grip on the government in Kabul that it lost in the last weeks of 2001.

    There was never any reason to expect a better result. It was always a fantasy that Western military intervention could fundamentally transform Afghanistan's political and social fabric, which is what our objective presupposed.
    The fantasy was called Counterinsurgency, or COIN. Its advocates said that our forces could turn Afghanistan into the country we wanted it to be by fanning out among the people, winning their hearts and minds and building support for the regime in Kabul by providing security and aid programs.

    The formula has been tried in many places since the Western empires collapsed, and it has always failed, just as it has failed again now. Even 200,000 Western troops were far too few to make it work in Afghanistan, and even three times that number could do nothing to make the government in Kabul look good to the Afghan people.

    Yet again, COIN has stumbled on the inherent contradiction that lies at its heart. Any government that is too weak to win a counterinsurgency without massive outside help is too weak to be worth supporting.

    After this became clear a few years ago, the Western governments intervening in Afghanistan changed their story again. They stopped saying their aim was to transform the country themselves, and talked instead about training the Afghan army and police so that they could provide the security needed for the Afghans to build their country.

    The government was soon telling us that this was now the key mission for Australia's forces in Oruzgan, and also our exit pass. Once the Afghan forces in our province were trained enough to provide security, they argued, the ADF could leave. And this is the job they now say has been done successfully.

    This is nonsense. Despite years of hard and dangerous work, the Afghan security forces remain what they have always been: undermotivated, undertrained, underequipped and underfunded. Above all they are woefully led - especially at the higher levels.

    And how could it be otherwise? Even if we had succeeded in building strong Afghan forces, what would have been the point when there is no credible government for them to serve and support? The forces we are leaving behind in Oruzgan will do nothing to prevent the province sliding even deeper into the abyss once we are gone.

    Of course none of these failures are Australia's alone, because we have been part of an American-led coalition.

    And as many people understand, this is the real reason the government sent our forces to Afghanistan and have kept them there - to support our ally. And the real reason we are leaving is that they are leaving.

    But they are leaving not just because they are sick of the war and no longer believe it can be ''won''. They are leaving because they have new strategic priorities - especially in Asia. And here is the final source of our failure in Afghanistan. We sent forces there to bolster our alliance with the US, just as we have been sending them to every American conflict in the Middle East for decades. We did that because when Asia was at peace this was what America expected of us.

    But now all that is changing. America no longer cares much what we have done in Afghanistan, because it now sees China as its biggest strategic challenge. Today it judges Australia's worth as an ally by the support we provide it against China - politically as the two giants jockey for influence, and militarily if they come to blows. The depth of our failure in Afghanistan is that our service and sacrifice there has already become irrelevant to the alliance it was supposed to support. Even tougher tests lie ahead.

    Hugh White is professor of strategic studies at ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.


    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/pol...204-2duf0.html

  2. #2
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    Talks with Taliban


    Then


    7th October 2001: United States refused to negotiate with Afghan Taliban's government and launched Operation Enduring Freedom, which was to defeat the Taliban and set up a new Afghan government. Troops from 43 countries supported United States in this mission.


    Now


    June 2013, Doha Qatar - Guess what? The world's most organized army, equipped with most sophisticated weapons and furious war machinery is going to hold negotiations with the dispersed, highly unorganized and inadequately equipped group resisting against troops of 43 countries, The Afghan Taliban.






  3. #3
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    Afghanistan Mineral Wealth May Be Greater Than Estimated: $3 Trillion

    06/17/2010

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is gearing up to award contracts to mine one the world's largest iron ore deposits buried in a peaceful province of the war-torn nation that has at least $3 trillion in untapped minerals, the country's top mining official said Thursday.

    Geologists have known for decades about Afghanistan's vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, but a U.S. Department of Defense briefing earlier this week put a startling, nearly $1 trillion price tag on the reserves.

    Afghanistan's Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani called that a conservative estimate. He said he's seen geological assessments and industry reports estimating the nation's mineral wealth at $3 trillion or more.

    For Afghanistan, a violent, landlocked country with virtually no exports, it is a potential windfall, although formidable obstacles remain including lack of investment, infrastructure and adequate security in most of the nation.

    "The ministry has been working closely with the international organizations, including the World Bank, the U.S. Geological Survey and the international mining and finance community for some time to ensure all of the Afghan people benefit from our rich natural resources for decades to come," he said.

    Shahrani plans to travel to Britain next week to present 200 foreign businessmen with information about the estimated 2 billion tons of iron ore at Hajigak in Bamiyan province, where the Taliban and other insurgents have no significant presence. The project is to be bid on this fall with contracts awarded late this year or early next year, he said.

    Critics of the war in Afghanistan have been skeptical that the dollar amount of the country's untapped minerals was being promoted at a time when violence is on the upswing and the international community is hungry for positive developments in the nearly 9-year-old war.

    They argue that if impoverished Afghanistan is seen as having a bright economic future, it could help foreign governments persuade their war-fatigued publics that securing the country is worth the fight and loss of troops.

    But Shahrani insisted that the release of the information, first reported earlier this week by The New York Times, followed months of work to assess the mineral deposits, sometimes with the aid of data compiled by the former Soviet Union when it was fighting in Afghanistan.

    A. Rahman Ashraf, senior adviser to the minister of mines, said that during decades of conflict, an Afghan geologist safeguarded data about the mineral reserves at home. He said the geologist, who has died, gave the information back to the government in 2002 and that since then, it has been used to help make modern assessments of the deposits.

    Shahrani said the Ministry of Mines and the U.S. Geological Survey had been sharing information for months.

    "We were just waiting for the exchange of information from Washington to Kabul," Shahrani said.

    Shahrani added that the ministry recently completed a business plan to restructure, reform and modernize the ministry and improve oversight to international standards. He said those efforts coupled with new minerals and hydrocarbon laws will work to improve the transparency and efficiency of mining in the nation.

    Still, without increased security and massive investment to mine and transport the minerals, it could take years for Afghanistan to bank the rewards. A rail line, for instance, is needed before any iron ore could be transported from Bamiyan. And there's always the potential that such a discovery could bring unintended consequences, such as corruption and competition among nations for access to the resources.

    In November, two U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports alleged that Afghanistan's former minister of mines, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel, accepted $20 million after a $3 billion contract to mine copper was awarded in late 2007 to China Metallurgical Group Corp. The former minister has denied having taken any bribes and said the contract went through all legal channels.

    Aynak, a former al-Qaida stronghold 21 miles (35 kilometers) southeast of Kabul, is thought to hold one of the world's largest unexploited copper reserves. Mining the copper could produce 4,000 to 5,000 Afghan jobs in the next five years and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the government treasury, Shahrani said.

    Craig Andrews, a lead mining specialist for the World Bank, said Aynak was expected to start producing copper within two to three years. Production of iron ore at Hajigak could begin in five to seven years, and possibly sooner, he said.

    Andrews noted that studies show that every mining job creates five to 10 other jobs.

    "Clearly, these mines will have a huge economic stimulus effect on not only the national economy, but the region in which they are located in," Andrews said. "I think when people have jobs and they have an income, they have a stake in the future and the future does not include insecurity. I think once the communities are anchored in an economy that gives them jobs money and income they would be less inclined to support the Taliban or other insurgent groups."

    He said the government, however, must guard against raising the expectations of the Afghan public.

    Otherwise, "people are going to go off and pick up a rock and think that they can go to the bank," he said. "Unfortunately the business doesn't operate that way. It takes a lot longer."


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_615449.html

    Comments:


    This is the REAL reason for wanting to go there and staying there. This and the setting up that oil pipeline through it.

  4. #4
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    Recent US Airstrikes Kill 22 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Women And Children



    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan expressed "grave concern" at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest the airstrikes killed at least 18 civilians, "nearly all women and children."


    By AP | February 13, 2017

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (REPORT) — Afghan officials and local residents said Sunday that 22 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed during a joint operation carried out by U.S. and Afghan forces last week in the southern Helmand province.


    The presidential envoy for security in Helmand, Jabar Qahraman, said the raid against Taliban insurgents in the Sangin district killed 13 people from one family and nine from another.


    “We are saddened to hear the news of civilians being killed,” he said. “When the Taliban use civilians as their shield against security forces, such incidents occur.”


    U.S. Navy Cpt. Bill Salvin, a military spokesman, said “we are working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of U.S. airstrikes” carried out to support Afghan forces in and around Sangin. The investigation is “continuing and has not reached any conclusions,” he added in a written statement.


    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan meanwhile expressed “grave concern” at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest airstrikes by international forces killed at least 18 civilians, “nearly all women and children.”


    Hameed Gul, a local resident, said he lost nine members of his family, including his mother and sister, in Thursday’s raid. “It’s all lie that they were attacking the Taliban,” he told The Associated Press in the Helmand provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, where he was staying at the time of the raid.


    Kareem Atal, the head of the provincial council in Helmand, said a man, two women and two children who were wounded in the raid have been brought to Lashkar Gah for treatment.


    Helmand has seen months of heavy fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban, who have repeatedly attacked Lashkar Gah. A suicide bomber targeting soldiers in the city on Saturday killed at least seven people.


    The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, leaving a smaller contingent of troops behind to focus on training and counterterrorism.





    http://www.mintpressnews.com/recent-us-airstrikes-kill-22-afghan-civilians/224833/


 

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