Posts Tagged ‘Af-Pak’

US withdrawal from Afghanistan: the plan for 2012, 2013, and 2014

C.J. Radin. The Long War Journal, 18 March 2012.


In June 2011, President Obama announced that the US would begin withdrawing military forces from Afghanistan and transferring responsibility for security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The US goal is to be substantially out of Afghanistan by 2014, with ANSF responsible for the entire country.

The plan for 2013 is currently being developed. The final version will be presented for approval at the NATO summit in Chicago in May. While still incomplete, portions of the plan have been disclosed or can be deduced. According to The Guardian, Obama described the next phase of the transition as follows: “This includes shifting to a support role next year, in 2013, in advance of Afghans taking full responsibility for security in 2014. We’re going to complete this mission, and we’re going to do it responsibly.”

The most significant element of the plan is that US and ISAF forces will stop conducting combat operations in late 2013. The ANSF will then be responsible for executing all combat operations in Afghanistan.

The Obama Doctrine: How the President’s Drone War is Backfiring

David Rohde. Foreign Policy, March/April 2012.


Obama has embraced the CIA, expanded its powers, and approved more targeted killings than any modern president. Over the last three years, the Obama administration has carried out at least 239 covert drone strikes, more than five times the 44 approved under George W. Bush. And after promising to make counterterrorism operations more transparent and rein in executive power, Obama has arguably done the opposite, maintaining secrecy and expanding presidential authority.

To a far greater extent than the Bush White House, Obama and his top aides relied on the CIA for its analysis of Pakistan, according to current and former senior administration officials. As a result, preserving the agency’s ability to carry out counterterrorism, or “CT,” operations in Pakistan became of paramount importance.

“The most important thing when it came to Pakistan was to be able to carry out drone strikes and nothing else,” said a former official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The so-called strategic focus of the bilateral relationship was there solely to serve the CT approach.”

Additional Source:
New America Foundation: Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2012, Updated 13 March 2012.

Maximizing Chances for Success in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Michael E. O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel. Brookings Institute, 15 February 2012.


The next president will need to move closer to a policy of containing Pakistani aggression, which would mean a more hostile relationship. But, it should be a focused hostility, aimed not at hurting Pakistan’s people but rather at holding its army and intelligence branches accountable.

Editor’s Comment:
I suppose we should give the authors credit for their display of imagination. I, for one, can’t imagine this strategy working. It also raises the question in my mind as to who would be doing the “aggression”, Pakistan or the U.S.?

Truth, lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis. Armed Forces Journal, February 2012.


I first encountered senior-level equivocation during a 1997 division-level “experiment” that turned out to be far more setpiece than experiment. Over dinner at Fort Hood, Texas, Training and Doctrine Command leaders told me that the Advanced Warfighter Experiment (AWE) had shown that a “digital division” with fewer troops and more gear could be far more effective than current divisions. The next day, our congressional staff delegation observed the demonstration firsthand, and it didn’t take long to realize there was little substance to the claims. Virtually no legitimate experimentation was actually conducted. All parameters were carefully scripted. All events had a preordained sequence and outcome. The AWE was simply an expensive show, couched in the language of scientific experimentation and presented in glowing press releases and public statements, intended to persuade Congress to fund the Army’s preference.

…when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.

Vimy Paper 2012: The Strategic Outlook for Canada

Paul Chapin and George Petrolekas. CDA Institute, February 2012.

Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort

Daniel L Davis. Rolling Stone, 27 January, 2012.


In my honest and very frank estimation, American Service Members are dead today – and hundreds more have had limbs blown off – as payment for the perpetuation of this myth, for we built the 2010 surge in Afghanistan on the belief that the same “fundamentals that served us so well in Iraq” could be adjusted to fit the new effort. As has now been made very clear from the foregoing, however, the “protect the population” strategy used in 2007 Iraq was never the primary causal factor leading to success as has been claimed. Instead, it was an event entirely beyond our ability to influence or control: America’s main international terrorist enemy al-Qaeda became such a heinous animal that the brutality they inflicted on our local enemy (the Iraqi national insurgency) caused the latter to turn against what ought to have been their natural ally.

By burying that truth and instead elevating the myth to the status of doctrine, we have set the conditions for our own harm in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Soldiers Step Up Killings of Allied Forces

Matthew Rosenberg. New York Times, 20 January 2012.


American and other coalition forces here are being killed in increasing numbers by the very Afghan soldiers they fight alongside and train, in attacks motivated by deep-seated animosity between the supposedly allied forces, according to American and Afghan officers and a classified coalition report.

Editor’s Comment:

Seems like very strong evidence that U.S. forces have overstayed their welcome!

Opposition Grows To Next Stage Of U.S. Military Presence In Afghanistan

Abubakar Siddique. Radio Free Europe, 25 October 2011.


Experience has shown us that foreign forces cannot bring peace to Afghanistan. We will have peace when we remove the causes of conflict among [Afghan] people,” [protest organizer] Mozhdah said. “One of the key reasons for fighting here is that we don’t trust each other. We need to sit and talk to each other to gain each others trust.