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NEW US STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND CAMP LEATHERNECK BY A.H AMIN JULY 2009
Camp Leatherneck is the new US imperial outpost in the so called war against terror in Afghanistan. Some experts think that Camp Leathernecks significance is strategic .This article is an analysis of the new US strategy in Afghanistan in the context of establishment of Camp Leatherneck, and its impact on the ongoing operations at the strategic, operational and tactical plane.Camp Leatherneck located near Khanishin in Helmand Province has been described by observers who visited it as following :-concrete blast walls and semi-cylinder sand-colored tents. Would house most of the 8000 marines being flown in to AFGHANISTAN. 443-acre secure facility. If placed end to end in the United States, the sand walls at Leatherneck and eight other sites being built for the troop influx in southern Afghanistan would stretch for a distance of 175 km (110 miles). The marines at Camp Leatherneck are also building a giant parking area for helicopters and airplanes by laying down a mat of metal alloy on the desert floor. With a length of 4,860 feet a width of 318 feet, the mat will be the second largest of its kind in the world and the biggest in a combat zone, said Marine Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, commander of the Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, based in Yuma, Arizona. The camp would house the 2ND Marine Expeditionary Brigade also known as Task Force Leatherneck.This would be a force of some 11 to 13 thousan troops including support
troops.Actual fighting troops keeping in view the US teeth to tail ratio that I have seen in Afghanistan may be as low as 5 thousand to 6 thousand troops. While little information is available about ongoing operations in the area the following is an assessment based on an on ground stay in Afghanistan in the period 2004-2009. ANALYSIS Personal Memories When I arrived in Afghanistan in early 2004 my first assignment was as sub contractor of a very famous US company Louis Burger.RDA whose General Manager I was , was an Afghan American NGO ,which had a contract of constructing some 5 clinics in Helmand,one being in Khanisihin which now houses Camp Leatherneck.I visited Khanishin in August 2004.
At that time it was an open drug market and there was no NATO or US forces in the area.Our movement was at the mercy of Taliban,who happened to be our sub contractors also.No American from Louis Burger visited this project at least till June 2005 when I resigned from RDA to establish my own company. My second exposure to the area came in September 2006 when I received a frantic call from Rock Chlela a Lebanese from Pro Sima Intenational,a favourite sub contractor of US Army.Rock wanted to do an initial survey of the area from Nad I Ali to Camp Bastion and could find no Afghan or foreign sub contractor willing to do the survey.We did this short 22 km survey in two days.There were no NATO or Afghan forces in the area and I was lucky to get support of some old Afghan contacts of mine who I had helped in getting released in a drug trafficking case in Pakistani Balochistan back in 1983.These contacts for survival had now grown long beards and had become what many ,erroneously call Taliban.
Camp Bastion was a British camp established in the area.The Taliban contemptuously referred to them as contractor soldiers because of their being patrolling shy without overwhelming air support.In my survey I saw these Britishers only once and that too on the main Kandahar-Herat Road near Girishk early morning 0600 hours.Another British patrol that I met was relaxing on a ridge just next to their camp comprising of Fiji Gurkhas. (Fiji has an old Gurkha settlement).They were afraid when I approached them but became relaxed when I told them that I am a sub contractor.
The third exposure to the area was when we got a contract for a drug trafficking survey from an international client in October 2006.The fourth exposure came when we were asked by Pro Sima International to make a bid for a border police battalion headquarters at Qala I Afzal in Nimroz in February-March 2007. My last major visit in the area was in 2007 when I had been invited by the US Army Center of Military History to a seminar in Fort Mc Nair dealing with role of non state actors in the ongoing low intensity war in Afghanistan in August 2007.My research at that time helped in understanding many more subtle aspects of the issue.
Camp Leatherneck as an operational screen Located in south Helmand Camp Bastion is an operational screen against Taliban infiltration from Chaghai district in Pakistani Balochistan.The Taliban are strong in this area and used to commute openly during all times from all directions.Establishment of this camp with its heavy air power complement may restrict Taliban movement. Camp Leatherneck as an anti narcotic strategic outpost Located on the main east west drug corridor the force in the camp can effectively interdict east to west flow of narcotics.Here the Pashtun drug mafia comprising the Barakzai and Nurzai tribes generally carries the drugs till Char Burjak from where they are picked by the Baloch drug mafia comprising Rind,Sanjarani,Reki and Notezai tribes.These Baloch carry the drugs to Iranian and Pakistani Balochistan.
Camp Leatherneck as an initiative to capacity building of Afghan National Army and Afghan Border Police in the Shorawak Chaghai and Chaghai Koh I Malik Siah Corridor Presently there is hardly any Afghan presence on the border west of Shorawak right till the Iranian border post on Koh I Malik Siah.Camp Leatherneck is a first step in the capacity building of Afghan forces in this area.However one brigade group will not be enough for a 450 km length border comprising the harshest terrain in the world.If the USA wants to do this it would require at least four similar brigade groups in the Helmand and Nimroz provinces.This is the weak link.The USA has to fight its own war.Pakistanis ,Afghans etc are not US allies but cheap US mercenaries with limited military effectiveness against the well motivated Taliban. Camp Leatherneck as a flanking block to Taliban movement from south to north in Kandahar Province The Taliban generally used to move at leisure from the Shorawak-Chaghai corridor to Kandahar in the north.The forces at Camp Leatherneck can attack these forces now aerially as well as with a ground component.
Camp Leatherneck as a political offensive Camp Leatherneck may be viewed as an offensive posture by Iran vis a vis the Jundullah group that operates from Pakistani Balochistan against Iranian government in Irani Balochistan.The camp is near the dividing line of Baloch and Pashtun population from north to south and east to west.It has great potential to serve as a forward staging section for human intelligence gathering.Seen in this context the camp may be viewed with great apprehension in Iran.
Below are two maps , entirely my own imagination conceived in December 2005.When I showed them to my friend Doug Scherer ,a spirited young man serving as second secretary in US Embassy,he remarked that the State Department is so shit scared of Iran that they would have a
heart attack if they see this imaginary depiction.Wet pussies he told me ,his seniors in state department were,hiding behind e mails abd taking no decisions !
Strategic Value Helmand is the largest province of Afghanistan with an area of 59,720 square kilometer as per the Afghan Cartographic Instiute in Kabul.The southern half comprises some 30,000 square kilometers.It is doubtful if one US brigade group comprising some 5,000 to 6000 actual fighting troops can make much difference to the outcome of the war in Afghanistan.Seen in this context the camp is a puny pin prick rather a strategic thrust.A thin crow bar rather than a strategic dagger.Logistically it is difficult and expensive to maintain.Fuel supplies and logistic convoys supplying the camp would be ideal Taliban ambush targets.In the final reckoning the major
gainers would be the private contractors who have constructed the camp at very high rates and private contractors who are and will supply it.To my knowledge the huge job of constructing this camp was not advertised in the US Army Corps of Engineers website.
CONCLUSION Camp Leatherneck though pivotal in the new US strategy in Afghanistan is a significant step in the right direction.However at the strategic level its value is limited unless the broader US policy is more effective and far greater military resources are pumped in.It appears that the grand resolve to win is missing in the new US strategy.What is being done is a stop gap arrangement.This is not the way wars are fought to be won.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------WHAT SHOULD BE THE US STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN
MAJOR AGHA H AMIN (RETIRED)
In the last seven years or so the USA at the strategic,operational and tactical level has became a laughing stock for the world.
Starting from the premise that both USA's total failure or total success would not be good for world peace,one may state with confidence that the USA needs to seriously re-consider its strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan and worldwide.
Absurdities surround this war which need to be addressed ? Expensive bombs,munitions, ammunition and logistics are being consumed in killing men who do not deserve so much expense, while some 75 % munitions in any case miss the intended target ? Who is benefitting from all this other than the military defence complex , US and non US military sub contractors and worst of all the vast bulk of logistics sub contractors who are actually Taliban disguised as contractors.
All expenses being paid by the US taxpayer who has nothing to gain and all the profit being made by the military industrial complex and the dirty and greedy defence contractors !
There is a a better way of dealing with Afghanistan and Iraq than spending dollars, every cent of which are a waste and to add insult to injury when the US and NATO forces withdraw one day these guys would chant " Islam has won " or more absurd " Afghanistan is a graveyard of Empires" , pure and unadulterated nonsense ! They would forget the billions of US taxpayersmoney wasted in a country with near zero infra structure and all the profits that Afghan and Iraqi middle men , sub contractors made !
The gist of the problem is that USA is making all the efforts fiscal and material.Russia and China are secretly rejoicong and seeing US resources and morale being drained and soldiers dying for an ungrateful lot .
Oil rich Arab states are relaxing with Saddam eliminated and a reduced Iranian threat.
The present situation is that th USA is making the major effort while its NATO allies less Britain are just pretending that they are also pushing the bogged down vehicle. This is true for both Iraq and Afghanistan. If this continues China and Russia will have the last laugh.
Lets assume that 9/11 was the major historical development done by non US actors,whether a state actor/s or a non state actor/s, taking advantage of which the USA initiated a NEW PLAN BARBAROSSA or a NEW FINAL SOLUTION to deal with the multiple issues of energy resources, Islamic extremism and containing the rise of China and containing Russia's reassertion and regeneration.
The US policy makers did not accurately assess the responses of their stated and non stated opponents. They failed to give due account to the important aspect that the enemy or other parties non state or state actors have an independent will.
When the USA occupied Afghanistan ,Russia brilliantly adapted.Renewing and putting extra investment in their old Parchami and Mujahid allies in Afghanistan.
Note that the Mujahids had been seriously penetrated and converted by 1985 as far as many sizeable groups were concerned. The Russians contained US influence in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and countered it in Kirgizistan with a rival Soviet base.The Iranians did not budge or blink.
US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan presented a golden target for Islamists in getting a really swift short cut to paradise. The USA did not make use of the smaller ethnicities like Baloch or Kurd.
They continued to rely on the multi ethnic larger states and were decieved and robbed of many billion US dollars.Iraq was not pacified and its situation to date is unstable and unpredictable.
Iran was strengthened in the process with a Shia regime in Iraq.Another Shia regime in Syria,unchallenged and dealt with by the USA and the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In short the USA landed into a long term strategic stalemate.
A sitting duck target which can be attacked by guerrila forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Its a matter of time that the anti US forces acquire SAM missiles.And once this happens the USA would have to rely on greater troop levels which would be costly and financially very very draining.
In case of Pakistan the USA again failed to achieve any of its objectives.If there were any.Pakistan was not denuclearised.Its non state actors were not pacified.And above all the team which the USA had handpicked in Pakistan failed to deliver.China remains healthy and growing.
Russia is now riposting the USA in Georgia and Ukraine and covertly at many places.
In short in seven years of war and with heavy expenses the USA achieved little.
Afghanistan was not reconstructed but the seeds of its Balkanistaion firmly planted.All US money went to US contractors or smaller contractors from Turkey,Lebanon,South Korea and Afghanistan.Most of the major sub contractors were war lords or to add insult to injury Taliban linked contractors in the south.
Instead of shifting troops to Afghanistan or enlarge the war to Iran or Pakistan the USA needs to re-think its entire strategy.
Some key features of a new strategy may be :–
1-Withdraw from both Iraq and Afghanistan while retaining bases in the Gulf/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia.
2-Instead of fighting the Al Qaeda or Taliban directly, let them have a chance to once again become state actors and present both Russia and China a serious threat.
3-Retain international goodwill by acting as a power which stands for peace.
4-Make the regional actors do the job of making the world a safer place.These include Russia,China,India,Iran,Saudi Arabia,Iraq,UAE etc.
5-Concentrate on the USA mainland and on intelligence assets rather than actual physical combat.
6-Create new client states dependent wholly on US support in the region.
7-Cease wasting a cent in states like Afghanistan,Pakistan and Iraq. Afghanistan should be managed by Russia,China,India,Iran and Pakistan who will countercheck each other and the area would have a permanent stalemate with no victors.Simlarly India and Pakistan will balance each other.Indians fear Pakistani nuclear devices more than USA and its quixotic to think that Pakistani nuclear devices would ever be used against USA.
The most important feature of the new strategy would be withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan. This would immediately lead to a new power struggle with Iraq and Afghanistans neighbour also involved deeply rather than being silent spectators as now.
Any Taliban victory in Afghanistan and any Al Qaeda victory or a Shia victory in Iraq would restart the old Arab Iran struggle in Iraq.Fat oil rich Arab states would be spending all the money instead of the USA.
In Afghanistan also any Taliban resurgence would force Russia ,China,India and Iran to step in and the Taliban would still be contained without a single US cent wasted.
This is a pointless war with no tangible centre of gravity which what to talk of USA , no one can win.So the USA must make the dragons fight the dragons.Regardless of the fact that the dragons are Islamists,Russians,Iranians,Arabs,Indians or Pakistanis. The USA needs to adopt a strategy which makes the Russians , Iranians,Pakistanis,Arabs and Indians stand on their toes. The best strategy is to make others fight and if you do fight , fight with minimal expense ! Do the American decision makers have grey matter?! Thats the billion dollar question ? ---------------------------------------------------------------
2010 ASSESSMENTS SUBSEQUENT TO THIS ARTICLE FOR ALEXANDRIAN DEFENSE GROUP -WASHINGTON DC
In order to have any strategy in war first it is necessary to examine what are the future possibilities :---
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE USA WITHDRAWS FROM AFGHANISTAN A HYPOTHETICAL STUDY By Major Agha H Amin (Retired) 06 November 2010 POSSIBILITY ALPHA 1. The US/NATO/CIS/International Community
retain a buffer peace keeping zone in Kabul Torkham Corridor. 2. This would act as a damper for Taliban and enable US/NATO/International forces to act as a strategic fire brigade in case of any major upset in Afghanistan. 3. A Russian/CIS force acts as peace keeping force in North Afghanistan in cooperation with Northern Alliance which enjoys support of majority of North Afghanistan population. 4. An Iranian peace keeping force in west Afghanistan. 5. A most balanced and rational solution 6.The only weak link is will the Taliban respect the arrangement ? No because they only fear Allah and have some respect for the B 52 !
POSIBILITY BRAVO 1. US Withdrawal while retaining the Kabul Torkham Corridor and a free for all international intervention. 2. The US/NATO lets the events take their own course with no formal agreement with regional parties. 3. India escalates against Pakistan to reduce pressure on Northern Alliance.
POSSIBILITY CHARLIE 1. THE US/NATO WITHDRAW TOTALLY NOT RETAINING ANY PRESENCE WHILE RUSSIA/CIS/IRAN/INDIA INTERVENE. 2. TALIBAN WILL OCCUPY GREATER PART OF AFGHANISTAN THAN POSSIBILITY ALPHA OR CHARLIE BUT CIVIL WAR CONTINUES. 3. INDIA ESCALATES AGAINST PAKISTAN TO SUPPORT NORTHERN ALLIANCE .
POSSIBILITY DELTA 1. THE US/NATO TOTALLY WITHDRAWS WHILE ONLY RUSSIA/CIS/INDIA INTERVENE. 2. TALIBAN OCCUPY GREATER AREA THAN POSSIBILITY ALPHA BRAVO AND CHARLIE BUT THE CIVIL WAR CONTINUES. 3. INDIA PAKISTAN CONFLICT WILL ESCALATE AS AN INDIAN RESPONSE TO REDRESS THE BALANCE IN AFGHANISTAN BY ESCALATING AGAINST PAKISTAN.
4. A CONVENTIONAL INDO PAK WAR STARTS INVOLVING NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
A BROAD VIEW OF STRATEGIC OPERATIONAL AND TACTICAL POSSIBILITIES
Major Agha H Amin (Retired)
24/10/10 This brief paper is a hypothetical visualization of various strategic,operational and tactical possibilities in the Af Pak Region .
Broad Strategic Scenario
BROAD ORIENTATION OF TALIBAN GROUPS
A MORE DETAILED DIVISION OF TALIBAN AND US POSSIBLE STRATEGY
US Strategy appears to be neutralization and
annihilation of the more radical Haqqani Company for strategic operational and face saving and a possible compromise with the less radical Mulla Omar and Hikmatyar Companies. Another major objective is to drive a wedge in between Pakistani state and Haqqani and Company by focing Pakistan to take military action against Haqqani. General Hameed Gul in various interviews recently has presented a twin power failure theory spread over 2 to five years :--1. Failure and withdrawal of US from Afghanistan. 2. Islamists concentrate on Kashmir together with Chinese assistance and Indian withdrawal from Kashmir. 3. Maoists start a grand offensive with Chinese and Pakistani support and India is weakened and destabilized. 4. Islamists expand into Central Asia and Middle East.
5. General Gul also warned Islamists against any confrontation with China. 6. On the other hand US covert policy seems to be to provoke a major Islamist Insurrection in China which Gul says should be avoided at all costs. US Options 1. Withdraw from Afghanistan without any major strategic denuclearizing of Pakistan and avoid a nuclear conflict which is likely if an attempt is made to denuclearize Pakistan with Indian assistance.Will straight lead to realization of Hameed Gul Theory. 2. There is a possibility that US unilateral withdrawal can lead to another war of interventions in Afghanistan with Russia and Iran in the lead:--
3. Retain partial presence in Afghanistan and partition it .A least risk and pragmatic
approach strategically balanced and entirely feasible.
4. Launch an attack in Iran and expand the war . May be beyond US potential if not materially then at least in terms of resolution.A US state department official Doug Scherer termed US leadership as irresolute in case of Iran. 5. Denuclearise Pakistan , Balkanise the region , keep a permanent force in Af Pak .A dangerous possibility which can lead to a major conflict possibly nuclear with China stepping in.
THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN AGHA.H.AMIN The dynamics of history are variable and cannot be quantified or reduced or subjected to absolute judgements ! States are created to ensure basic political as well as human needs of the populace ! Thus the welfare and security of the populace is the first and most solid basis of a state ! Seen in this light while human needs are constant , borders can be changed , re-drawn and modified ! In our Indo Pak Afghan context states were created , destroyed and re created and modified when the forces of history made this transformation necessary . Thus the Mughal Empire began to lose its political legitimacy from 1650s , was challenged by Hindu Marathas and Sikhs and attacked externally by Persia and Afghans.The Mughal state was replaced by successor short term intermediary states like the Maratha confederacy ,Sikh state , Nizam Hyderabad ,Oudh ,Rajput states and finally after 1849 by British India ! British India in turn was transformed into India and Pakistan in 1947 while Pakistan was subdivided into Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971 . Afghanistan in its present form was created only after 1747 after undergoing a state of instability from 1719 to 1747 ! Before 1719 Afghanistan was partly a province of Saffavid Persia,Mughal India and Central Asian Uzbek state of Khiva and Bukhara .
Afghanistan preserved its neutrality from 1919 to 1978 but became a frontline state for proxy wars from 1978 till to date. From 1978 till to date thanks to its neighbouring states Afghanistan has not known a day of total peace. It suits Pakistan ,Iran and the Central Asian Republics that Afghanistan remains united in its present form ! This is so because this is how Afghanistans neigbour states can manipulate Afghan politics from the outside ! Afghanistan is a unique state ethnically in the sense that its neighbours have more Pashtuns than Afghanistan (Pakistan ) , more Uzbeks than Afghanistan (Uzbekistan) , more Tajiks than Afghanistan (Tajikistan) ,more Persian speaking than Afghanistan (Iran). With such a unique ethnic equation all of Afghyanistans neighbours can seriously manipulate Afghanistans internal politics while ensuring that Afghanistan remains unstable ! Ironically the Pakistani state has gained maximum from an unstable Afghanistan ! This indeed has been the cornerstone of Pakistani strategy of getting aid from USA,Saudi Arabia etc first as a frontline state against USSR (1978 to 1989) and the second time against Al Qaeda/Islamists from 2001 till 2011. Iran sees Afghanistans Pashtuns as an existential threat and has a deep interest in supporting Afghanistans non Pashtuns who are under threat of political extinction in case a Taliban government returns to Afghanistan. Russia ,Central Asian States and India also see the Taliban as a political threat . The US and NATO have been unable to prevail militarily and are clueless about Afghanistans political future. The idea of partitioning Afghanistan has political merit and should not be dismissed as an imperialist tool to divide and rule. There is no denying of the fact that the Taliban regard Afghanistan as an Islamic Emirate where they will enforce their particular brand of Sunni Deobandi law .They did it in 1994-2001 and will do it again !
This particular brand of Islam has no room for moderatae Pashtuns , Uzbeks,Tajiks ,Hazaras,Turkmens,Aimaqs ,Baloch,Nuristanis and Pashais. This in essence sums up the rationale for division of Afghanistan. While we have made the rationale clear ,the second and more important question is ; " What will happen if Afghanistan is not partitioned" ? The answer to this question again proves the utmost necessity of partitioning Afghanistan ! The following would happen if Afghanistan is not partitioned :-1-Civil war and unrest will continue and Afghanistans neighbours will aid their proxies which may be rougly divided into Pakistani favourites ,Iranian favourites ,Russian/Central Asian favourites and Indian favourites ! 2-As long as US/NATO stays this civil war will remain low intensity and when the NATO/US withdraws this civil war will assume a high intensity.No clear victor will emerge and Afghanistan will remain unofficially partitioned and fragmented and unstable. 3-Afghanistan will retain its position as citadel of all types of extremists and drug mafia. It is no secret that Pakistani establishment regards the Afghan Taliban who constitute 90 % of Taliban as good Taliban . It is again no secret that some 1500 of Afghanistans 2400 km border with Pakistan has no regular Pakistani forces and Taliban freely move to and fro across this border . It is no secret that a segment in US establishment regard Taliban as a good future proxy against Iran ,Russia and China and it is no secret that the US forces have not made any strategic effort to eradicate drug trade , the main source of Taliban military economy and have carried out no major military offensive against Taliban. It appears that the Pakistani establishment has convinced the US that Pakistan can broker a peace in Afghanistan and cover US withdrawal. The major hurdle in this scheme of things is that this unilateral solution will not be acceptable to Iran ,Russia,Central Asian Republics and India.
Boundaries cannot be re-drawn without a major effort on part of a state actor ! Bangladesh in 1971 could not have been created without Indian military support ! South Sudan was created with international effort . Kosovo was created with international state actors in the lead . In case of Afghanistan a major state actor , or rather all major state actors must decide and go on with a new political arrangement thus creating a predominantly Pashtun state in the south and a non Pashtun confederal state in the north. A US NATO peace keeping force with a strategic damper at Kabul-Bagram and another at Shindand can econonomicall deter any adventurist Taliban move north of Hindu Kush . Afghanistans Pashtuns and non Pashtuns both need peace and the international community should understand that Afghanistans neighbours view Afghanistan as a simulation practice live firing range where they can play their power games with live bullets ! The NATO needs to create a 100 percent ethnic Pashtun state in Afghanistan , a 100 percent Baloch state in Afghanistan and a 60 % Tajik Uzbek state in Afghanistan ! If not then third rate pakistani analysts would acclaim after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan .....Oh Islam has won .......which actually is pure and unadulterated BULL SHIT ! Which Islam ........an opportunist Pakistani brand of Islam !!!!!! This is how the NATO can encounter the Pakistani and Iranian game ! If not the scene is set for diasaster for NATO and US in Afghanistan ! Posterity will not forgive NATO and the US for failing in Afghanistan ! Afghanistan in its present unstable state remains a threat to world peace ! It is in interest of the region that Afghanistan is partitioned !
CRISIS IN COMMAND-US ARMY
There are no bad armies but only bad generals Major Agha H Amin (Retired) 'It was observed by two outstanding US military historians and social psychologists Gabriel and Savage the authors of "Crisis in Command" both former Army officers assessed the U.S. Army as an army in deep moral crisis.
We did bring out the ambiguous US role in Afghan war in our book published by Edwin Mellen Press New York.
They found the US Army career officers plagued with civilian "managerial" values and devoid of traditional military virtues .
From what I saw of US Army in Afghanistan as a sub contractor of USAID in Helmand ,Ghazni and Kunduz provinces the assessment of Gabriel and Savage still seems valid.I refer to the mid level and higher commanders.
With Colonel David Osinski , in front of NATO/ISAF Headquarters Kabul , mid 2010.Osinksi is one of the few honest officers that I met in Afghanistan .But he is no hole puncher , but an honest God fearing man earning his living as a retired colonel working with USAID
As one Canadian military analyst Dr Geoff Shaw put it "But any great power so enamored with false-hood can not stand for long ".
Here we have the same hole punching , the same tail heavy and teeth weak , whiz kid army that Gabriel and Savage found Vietnam. The US Army has no strategy to fight the war ! The question is that having no strategy actually a part
of a strategy to remain in Afghanistan and to dominate the region on pretext of fighting so called terrorists ! A costly strategy and all at cost of US tax payer ! A strategy tailor made to satisfy the military industrial complex and defence contractors.
Hole punchers dominate the US military ! The US Army has no strategic plan although it sells its military effectiveness with flashy publicity campaigns.
Drug trafficking continues right in the area hemmed with three largest US military bases in Afghanistan i.e Camps Leatherneck ,Dwyer and Bastion (British-US) . Now is is a part of a deliberate strategy or is it sheer complacency ! Or is it capacity building by the US for the major Afghan export to Europe ? Drugs !
The Talibans move with liberty back and forth through most of the 1900 Km of the total 2400 Km Afghan Pakistan Border. All this hints at the fact that US position is
ambiguous and it sees Taliban as a good future asset against Iran ,Russia and even China as far as Chinese Singkiang which US thinkers like to call Chinese Turkestan !
The entire US strategy is a classic collection of contradictions !
They are droning some groups in Pakistans FATA but doing little against Afghan Taliban ! The differences between pakistani military and US are not over war on terror but on protecting each others proxies ! It is no secret that the Afghan Taliban are Pakistani strategic assets while some groups in Pakistan fighting the Pakistan Army are US/NATO strategic assets . The only difference between USA and Pakistan is as to who is the target ! The Pakistani military sees their Taliban assets as proxies against India while the US wants the Taliban to be future US assets against Iran ,Russia,Russian Central Asian sattellite states and above all China ! Nothing in the last ten years hints that the USA came to defeat the Taliban or Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda has significantly consolidated its bases in North East Afghanistan .But General Petraeus who claims he can run five miles with journalists in the safety of Kabul or Bagram thinks other wise ! Is allowing Al Qaeda to consolidate an innocent
strategic lapse or part of Petraeus grand strategy ! And is the Petraeus strategy to defeat Al Qaeda or to become the CIA boss !
This is the classic Gabriel and Savage US Army general flying high in his command plane ! Miles away from danger while Gabriel and Savage sadly compared US Army with German Army where both
noted that 33 % general officers died in battle leading from the front ! Here we have this great captain of war who is all set to lead the CIA ! Certainly one is inclined to agree with Weiners book on CIA " The Ashes" . It is certain that US politics as most politics is about self serving characters who see international events and war as pegs to climb up the winding road to power !
Can Petraeus take a walk with a normal US Army patrol in Pech Valley or Kamdesh for five miles ! Generalship is not running Five Miles General Petraeus
What are his tangible strategic or even operational achievements as US military commander in Afghanistan rather than a zig zag hop step and jump to be the next DCI ! I have immense respect for the US soldier and juniour leaders but not the hole punching generals !
Yet Petraeus claims that all is well ! What could be an inch away from what Gabriel and Savage pointed out in Crisis in Command. The great danger in US strategic ambiguity is that
it can trigger a major global conflict at best with China and Russia stepping in with a nuclear exchange or keeping the whole region unstable at best ! Confusion of principle , strategic ambiguity , mixing of friend and foes at the strategic level is a dangerous modus operandi ! A dangerous game which can go out of hand at any time and which even Petraeus whose main qualification seems to be running five miles at 6000 feet may not be able to control at all !
This is not just the military only . A spirited and highly motivated US State Department officer Doug Scherer described his superiors in State Department in May 2006 as "W___t P__u____s___s hiding behinde mails and taking no decisions".He then symbolically decided that we should watch Gettysburg (Doug regarded Lee as his hero ,as most Americans would) ! God Save mankind and USA and US Army ! The USA needs men like Petraeus certainly !
THE FUTURE OF WAR ON TERROR IN THE POST BIN LADEN PHASE
Saif al-Adel-An Unorthodox and Unconventional Leader By Agha.H.Amin
Saif al-Adel is an experienced low intensity conflict man who has seen his apprenticeship in the Soviet Afghan War. He had a stint with the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. He is known to be a master of the unorthodox and appears to have read Sun Tzu as well as Sun Pin and Ho Chi Minh.His favourite method of attack are explosives. He left Egypt shortly after the assasination of Sadaat a man most despised by Egyptians in 1981 . After 9/11 he fled to Iran also .And after eating iranian caviar and palao al qaeda and many other sunni extremist groups have discovered that the shias are not as bad as brought out in the much paid by Saudi Arabian propaganda.The way Iran as a state received many Al Qaeda and Afghan commanders after 9/11 has improved
the Iranian perception,while prevalent propaganda mostly saudi sponsored and financed was deadly anti shia.similarly the way in which the pakistani state abandoned them for US dollars significantly diminished the respect for pakistani state in al qaeda eyes (although non state actors wholeheartedly supported and sheltered al qaeda after 9/11 in Pakistan).The post 9/11 Al Qaeda is thus more anti Pakistan and anti Saudi and both states are their logical targets.Any one of these go down (as is the aimed AQ strategy) and all US efforts and money wasted in GWOT can be straight multiplied by zero. He is regarded as close to Iranians as he was in Iran for a long time after 9/11 enjoying official Iranian patronage , a good safe house with ample stocks of Iranian caviar and tuna fish.this makes him more anti saudi and more any anti state.he may bring an ovopen change in al qaeda strategy and intensify the attacks on saudi installations as well as pakistani installations.a younger man who is more into technology and known to have some most unorthodox and unconventional ideas about the ongoing great low intensity war.he will give the corporation a new technical dmension. Demise of Bin Laden has actually given Al Qaeda a new life with a new leader who has no qualms or reservations about attacking Saudi Arabia as well as the Pakistani states.With both states now on the sharp path to decline and both viewed as most despicable and dubious by their own masses , Al Qaeda may now resurge as never before. They have already redeployed in force in Nuristan,Laghman,Kunnar and Kapisa provinces. So we are all set for grand strategic anarchy ! HA HA HA All this was not inevitable but has many links with US faux pas and the most inefficient Saudi and Pakistani states both of which are deeply divided in the war against Al Qaeda. I have had nothing to do with conventional religion all my life but I can say with conviction that both Pakistani and Saudi states are not just equipped or have the capability to fight Al Qaeda ! The question is not whether it will happen or not but only how many more years they will take in collapsing ! My fear is that Pakistan will not be able to turn around and the same is Saudi Arabias fate ! Pakistan is actually almost a suicide
bombers factory with ten thousand potential suicide bombers being produced every day , just because of sheer disgust with exorbitant official corruption ,unemployment , inflation and hunger ! The key stone in any war against extremists has to be good governance in countries which are the major areas of operations.This is seriously missing in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where some 2 % own 80 percent of the wealth and pay just 15 to 20 % of all taxes ! The issue why extremism is growing is not Islam but poverty and lack of equal opportunity ! The reason thus is simply mega corruption and total moral breakdown in both states ! This includes the Pakistani and Saudi armies , intelligence , politicians ,police,para military forces as well as the civil services.
US Strategy in Afghanistan Revisited-Why the USA Loves Haqqani by Agha.H.Amin
With friend and co author Colonel David Osinski (Retired) at Kabul
It is common to hear in the news that the USA wants Pakistan to eliminate the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. Highest level US officials from CIA ,JCS,State Department and US House of representatives claim that the Haqqani network is the principal threat to peace in Afghanistan and to US forces in Afghanistan. Two hard facts disprove the above assertions
widely held as the Gospel truths by US administration . First a map of Afghanistan which will enable a man to do a quick logistic appreciation and second and most important US casualties being suffered in Afghanistan. The US is attacking by drone North and South Waziristan Agencies of Pakistans FATA region since 2005 or may be earlier. Both the areas have no connection with the areas of Afghanistan where the maximum fighting has taken place in Afghanistan since 2001 and where maximum number of US as well as NATO fatal casualties have occurred. Click on these maps to enlarge
These above maps are self explanatory.
The table above shows that just 7 US personnel died in Khost and Paktika provinces opposite North Waziristan in 2011 . Even if we calculate all US and NATO casualties suffered in Afghanistan since 2001 just 138 US
personnel died out of a total of 1533 in Afghanistan. Maximum US/NATO fatal casualties were in Helmand and Kandahar which have no connection with Haqqani .Helmand being 722 and Kandahar 369. Why this US misconception or misjudgement or paradoxical policy ? There are three main reasons for this Haqqani obessed Haqqania mindset of the US ! Reason Number One I discovered the talent of Haqqani networks in explosive when a loud bang on the evening of 30th August 2004 shook the house where I lived in sometimes in the evening !
I had just taken two small singles of scotch and was preparing to have more with my dear friend Professor Abdul Rasul Amin who had sometimes before been sacked by Karzai from the post of education minister. On the way we discovered that Dyncorps a supposed security company had been attacked in Shahr e Nau with a truck bomb which had killed
three or more Americans and three or more Nepali Gurkha guards. Dyncorps we discovered was largely manned by ex CIA staff and was regarded as a threat by not only the Haqqani network but by some state intelligence agencies also. Dyncorps it was alleged was one of the US DOD contractors dealing with Human Intellience (Humint) in Pakistans tribal areas and possibly against Pakistan as a whole.This was a Pakistani perception.It was hypothesised by Pakistani analysts that Dyncorps had Israeli Americans in large numbers and was a threat to Pakistan. While I did not subscribe to all these views this was the general Pakistani perception . This is when the US war with Haqqani started in the real sense.Since the US decision making set up was CIA dominated Haqqani was blown out of proportion ,while in reality he was the third largest Taliban group commander , the largest being Mullah Omar and the second largest being Hikmatyars Hizbe e Islami an its allies.
The CIA picked Waziristan as its main drone target in Pakistan and some 90 to 95 % of all drone attacks were carried out in South and North Waziristan.
In retaliation of these CIA drone strikes the Haqqani linked Taliban carried out the December 2009 Khost suicide attack which was the single highest fatal casualties suffered by the CIA in its officer cadre since its creation. Second A part of the US strategy is to force the Pakistani military to conduct operations against Pakistani tribals of North and South Waziristan. These are the toughest fighters in Pakistan since they have traditionally been so ! In addition the most trained and hardline extremists from all parts of the world are settled in this area. The US view is that forcing the Pakistani military to fight here would reduce its credibility in the eyes of the Taliban and would weaken the Taliban rear in Pakistan as far as North Afghanistan is concerned.The US is more concerned about North Afghanistan because this includes Kabul the area where Haqqani can most easily carry out an attack.Not many US personnel have died in Kabul since 2001 but Kabul being the capital stands out when attacked while who bothers about Kandahar or Helmand !
However the real fighting is in South Afghanistan in Helmand and Kandahar which have no organisational or logistical link with Haqqani. Third Forcing Pakistan to attack North Waziristan is a US arm twisting tactic to continuously embarass the Pakistani state and to divert the US public attention to North Waziristan as the source of all troubles thereby hiding US military failure in South Afghanistan. Militarily Haqqani is smaller than Mullah Omar and Hekmatyar Group and thus a relatively easier target. Since he is mostly in Pakistan only the Pakistani military regarded as cheaper in value will suffer casualties while the US peacefully engages the much larger Mulla Omar Group which in any case the USA has failed to militarily defeat or even contain. In a larger strategic context the US wants that Pakistan should remain unstable so that the Chinese plan for using Gwadar as its main sea outlet as well as oil import inlet is not successful.
This includes Pakistani Balochistan which is being destabilised just to ensure that the Chinese sponsored Gwadar port fails . Since South Afghanistan Taliban are in Afghanistan the US cannot ask the Pakistanis to deal with them. SOME HARD INTELLIGENCE FACTS
In 2006 while doing a survey on IEDs and suicide bombings an Afghan intelligence colonel became my friend based on my old contacts with dissidents who had migrated to Kabul in 1973-80.The colonel who was on duty in Wazeer Akbar Khan stated that US Intelligence was constantly in touch with Haqqanis brother and nephew living in the house behind Indira Gandhi Hospital and near the office of Turkish company Cukurova. He stated that he had a personal enmity with Haqqani as he was from Khost and had offered US intelligence 8 figure coordinates of Haqqani for a certain sum but US Intelligence showed no interest in eliminating Haqqani.
LONDON: The Afghan and US governments have recently made contact with insurgent group the Haqqani network, one of the most feared foes of Nato forces in
Afghanistan, a British paper reported Thursday. The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai took part in direct talks with senior members of the Haqqani group over the summer, said the Guardian daily, citing Pakistani and Arab sources. The United States, through a Western intermediary, has made indirect contacts over the past year, said the paper. Talks between the Haqqanis and both countries were extremely tentative, it added. The Haqqani network’s leadership is based in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal northwest, an area which has been targeted by a wave of US drone strikes in recent weeks. The group is loyal to the Taliban and has been blamed for some of the most deadly strikes in Afghanistan. It has close ties with foreign militant groups including Al-Qaeda. Asked whether talks involving Haqqani, Karzai and the US were taking place, a senior Pakistani official cited in the paper said ―you wouldn’t be wrong‖ but refused to comment further. Western, Arab and Pakistani official sources cited in the paper said the Haqqanis believe a negotiated settlement is the most likely outcome of the Afghan conflict and do not want to be left out of any deal. Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has taken over military leadership of the Haqqani group from his father Jalaluddin, ―realises he could be a nobody if he doesn’t enter the process,‖ said a diplomat involved in the discussions. —AFP REFERENCE: Afghanistan, US in contact with Haqqani insurgents Thursday, 07 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-contentlibrary/dawn/news/world/14-afghanistan-us-in-contact-with-haqqani-insurgents-zj01White House supporting Kabul contacts with Mullah Omar’s men By Our Correspondent Thursday, 07 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/thenewspaper/front-page/white-house-supporting-kabul-contacts-with-mullah-omarsmen-700 Haqqanis in direct talks with Kabul, indirect contact with US By Julian Borger and Declan Walsh Friday, 08 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/thenewspaper/front-page/haqqanis-in-direct-talks-with-kabul,-indirect-contact-with-us800
Response on the writeup below from an American military professor who has been my friend and mentor since many years
Valued Friend, I think your analysis is very correct in this essay. Unfortunately here in the US we are dealing with the second half of the equation. It is said that an empire in decline is at its most dangerous. Yours, xxxxxxxx
PS - Several times you made reference to "hole punching" with regard to careerist officers. I believe what you meant was "ticket punching" - a term that gained currency during Vietnam, meaning that officers would cycle through various command & staff jobs (thus "getting their tickets punched") for the purpose of gaining promotion.
THE SUM OF US STRATEGIC FAILURES HOW NOT TO FIGHT A WAR- MISSILE DEFENSE, IEDS, LOSING AFGHANISTAN WAR IN WASHINGTON DC Agha H Amin
Agha.H.Amin In the Iraq War contrary to US claims none of the 80 primitive and bulky Iraqi Scud Missiles fired by Iraq on Saudi Occupied Arabia or Israel were stopped by the much propagated PATRIOT missiles. A missile is something much higher in level than an IED ? Even in combating IEDs conventional armies have failed in Afghanistan and Pakistan ?
The bottom line is that one small nuclear missile launched on Japan , a US base anywhere in Afghanistan,Iraq or South Korea can destabilise the whole world. Anti missile defense is an area with few probabilities and imnnumerable enigmas and improbables. In 2006 I was asked by a state client to do an IED study in Afghanistan.The picture that emerged was that the NATO was like a sitting duck when confronted with IEDs. IEDs or fear of IEDs severely limited NATOs ability to patrol and dominate ground and the trend became marked after 2006.Despite tall claims and much bravado IEDs were the weakest link in NATO operations in Afghanistan and the same happened in Pakistans FATA region between 2004 and 2013. In Afghanistan as a contractor I personally saw the mincemeat that insurgent IEDs made of US troops who rarely left their bases ? In Pakistans FATA region again I personally witnessed how Pakistan Army was turned into mincemeat by the TTP insurgents ? Technology came to grief in Helmand and Waziristan and the IEDs have made so called big and powerful armies act and behave like mice at the tactical level. Mind you the only wars that are really being fought are Low Intensity Conflicts , which we know as terrorism and guerrilla warfare.
At the strategic and at the operational level down to the tactical level stability hangs only by the skin of its teeth. It appears that NATO and the US forces in Afghanistan were all along there on a catwalk and did not give serious thought to real tactical and operational issues . The prime stress was to avoid casualties and NATO and US troops , thanks to over cautious , hole punching,take no risks, careerist commanders looking for the next strike, lacked that burning desire to destroy the enemy ! Serious tactical discussion seemed to be lacking and there was empty and irrelevant talk of winning hearts and minds and friendly militias.Both were nonsensical concepts in a land of professional and cold blooded assasins , who enjoyed sniping and acted with full initiative propelled by that killer blood lust to kill and maim , which was sadly lacking in the sitting duicks that the NATO commanders had turned their troops into ? The result ? Billions of US tax payers and NATO states tax payers money was spent on Afghanistan and nothing was achieved in the tactical realm ? At the strategic level the whole NATO and US Quixotic exercise called Operation Enduring Freedom and its other Quixotic continuations were an undoubted failure as the Talibans strategic centre of gravity in Pakistan and secondary centres of gravity in Iran and CARs were not destroyed at all ? THE PAKISTAN FACTOR IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND PAKISTAN THE HISTORY OF THE RACES THAT INHABIT PAKISTAN
HAVE TO BE UNDERSTOOD ! BARRING TRIBAL PASHTUNS THE PAKISTANIS HAVE BEEN HISTORICALLY A HOPELESS LOT. EVEN PAKISTANS FOUNDER MR JINNAH HAD STATED ABOUT PAKISTANS CORE PROVINCE PUNJAB . " I WILL NEVER GO TO THE PUNJAB AGAIN , ITS A HOPELESS PLACE ! WITH A LITTLE MORE KICKING THE HOPELESS PAKISTANI GENERALS AND POLITICIANS WOULD HAVE BEEN SQUEALING AND SQUEAKING AND MUCH COULD HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED . AS MACHIAVELLI SAYS ITS THE BOLD AND AUDACIOUS YOUNG MAN WHO WITH HIS RUTHLESS VIOLENCE SEDUCES DAME VICTORY ? OR WORDS TO THAT AFFECT ? WITH A LITTLE MORE KICKING PAKISTANI GENERALS WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER HANDLED ? BUT THE QUESTION IS THAT DID MR BUSH OR OBAMA HAVE THAT UNDERSTANDING OF HISTORY ? But who cares ? What is statesmanship ? That a social mobiliser must win the next elections or that his party or henchmen must win the next elections by wooing as many illegal Hispanic immigrants that they can ?
What is the idea of stability and security ? To rob a once prowd race of the second ammendment right to bear weapons ? To Sum up strategic stability merely exists because so called rogue states like North Korea are incompetent and stability has nothing to do with US competence ! As a soldier I have great sympathy with the could have been devastating US troops in Afghanistan whose greatest enemies were their hole punching military commanders and their myopic political leaders whose only aim was to win the next elections ? As in Vietnam the US Army lost the war in Afghanistan because of ineptitude in Washington and not in Vietnam ! Similarly in case of IEDs also NATO lost the tactical battle in Afghanistan after 2009 and Pakistan Army does not seem to be winning the tactical battle in FATA ! TAILPIECE HOW NATO DEALS WITH CRITICISM OR ANYTHING THAT CAUSES DISSONANCE WITH ITS OPERATIONAL AND TACTICALLY SPINSTER COMMANDERS WHO HAVE NEVER SET A SQUADRON IN THE FIELD NOR KNOW THE DIVISION OF BATTLE MORE THAN A SPINSTER ? http://natural-beautypavocavalry.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-pashtuns-in-
historyaghahamin.html?goback=%2Egmp_3141510%2Egde_314 1510_member_255189123 pavocavalry.blogspot.com Let the pictures speak as the first part of this summing up of a sad chapter of history ! When I started preparing for my first major bid in Afghanistan " Naghlu-Kabul" Electric transmission line I went for pre bid survey on Kabul Lataband... 4 days ago
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Follow Geoff Geoff Shaw • Great to see this one up and happening! The faith and fighting power of the Pashtuns has made them a thorn in the side of every foreign interloper who has attempted to bully them. There has to be a reason the British wanted them in their armies and, given their profound ability to actually enjoy a gunbattle, I think modern Western armies should be considering the same. I knew they would outlast
NATO (and I told a high-level NATO meeting that back in 2006 and was subsequently declared persona non grata at all meetings since) but I had no idea that their out-lasting power/victory would be as substantial as it appears to be (i.e., NATO will be abandoning massive amounts of heavy equipment in Afghanistan as they fear a turkey-shoot if they have to transport too much gear down to Karachi). 1 day ago• Like • Reply privately • Delete
THE SUM OF US STRATEGIC FAILURES
FAILURE TO DEAL WITH PAKISTAN AND NEUTRALISE TALIBAN CENTRE OF GRAVITY IN PAKISTAN. FAILURE TO DIVIDE AFGHANISTAN INTO THREE STATES INCLUDING A BALOCH STATE IN THE WEST. FAILURE TO EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT WAR OF LIBERATION IN IRANIAN BALOCHISTAN. FAILURE TO FENCE THE PAKISTAN AFGHANISTAN BORDER.
CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE
Click on photo to enlarge
THE NEXT MORNING
A second roadblock established to pre-empt possible attack on NATO pil tankers-Morning 30 January 2011
OLD RUSSIAN LARGE SCALE MAP OF THE GREAT BEND ON KABUL ROAD THAT WE USED IN CASA 1000 TAJIKISTAN AFGHANISTAN PAKISTAN ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINE SURVEY IN MAY 2008
US and NATO military vehicles rarely patrol dirt roads where planting/deploying an IED is easy and most effective
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