web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

US in Afghanistan: Of Course We Negotiate with Terrorists

The announcement of talks with the Taliban coincided with a rocket attack by the Taliban on the U.S. air base at Bagram, in which four of our servicemen were killed.
Of Course We Negotiate with Terrorists

Unfortunately, as the U.S. Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, pointed out in May, our personnel goal for Afghan security-force training has never been met, and the Pentagon’s own latest figures indicate the number is down about 4,700 this year from what it was last year.  The standard of readiness has been lowered over time as well:

A Government Accountability Office report released in February said … that a claimed improvement in the effectiveness of Afghan security forces has been partly due to the lowering of standards by U.S.-led forces.  In August 2011, U.S. military officials changed the highest possible rating for Afghan units from “independent,” meaning they could operate without help from U.S. or coalition troops, to “independent with advisors,” the GAO said.

But conditions are already getting worse in Afghanistan, as the Red Cross warned in April.  Following a late-May attack on its office in Jalalabad, the Red Cross pulled some of its personnel out of the country.

Britain’s Lt. Gen. Nick Carter, commanding the UK troops in Afghanistan, warns that an increase in Taliban attacks should be expected:

“There’s definitely a sense that the Taliban would like to appear to compel the international community’s withdrawal, and certainly ISAF’s withdrawal,” said Carter, who leaves Afghanistan next month to become head of the British Army.

During a trip to Afghanistan this month, the UK Defense Minister, Philip Hammond, helpfully compared Britain’s experience in Afghanistan with that of the United States in Vietnam.

The U.S. force level is to drop from 66,000 to about 32,000 by early 2014.  We should be clear that with this reduction in the force level, it will not be possible for U.S. forces to mount an offensive while also holding territory elsewhere, when the Taliban retake strongholds in southern Afghanistan.  The full extent of the drawdown is still being negotiated with the Afghans; the talks Karzai suspended this week had that point on the agenda.

A key vulnerability for NATO forces will continue to be their lines of supply, and we can expect increased attacks there as well.  Supply lines are a vexed issue for NATO in Afghanistan; in the last five years, Pakistan has frequently closed the Khyber Pass to NATO supplies (see here, here, and here as well).  Islamabad uses supply-line closures to make points with the U.S. when we launch drone strikes into Pakistan.

ndn-iiss-graphic-at-bbc

Since late 2008, the logistics alternative to convoys from Pakistan has been the “Northern Distribution Network,” or NDN, which relies on transit through the former-Soviet “Stans” of Central Asia.  But a big hole will open up in the NDN in mid-2014.  Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted overwhelmingly today (20 June) to terminate its lease of Manas Air Base to the United States when it expires on 11 July 2014.  Although Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, is closer to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan has been much more reliable in terms of customs practices and ease of logistic movement (see here as well).  The base at Manas, a two-hour flight from Kabul, has been the key hub into Afghanistan for the NDN; there is no location that can replace it in this role.

Manas is also used routinely to refuel support aircraft – intelligence and surveillance, airborne control, tankers – operating over Afghanistan.  Its loss will be felt keenly in that regard.

It is not too early to predict that the situation for our troops in Afghanistan will be substantially worse a year from now, if we remain on our current policy course.  There will not be enough of them in country for anything but defensive operations, and their combat support resources will be available only through a set of very vulnerable pipelines.

Everyone else can foresee that.   If the Taliban don’t have us over a barrel now, they have every prospect of it by mid-2014, and they know it.  In light of this, it is breathtakingly stupid to seek talks with them today.  The Taliban have never acted in a conciliatory manner; there is no basis for a hope that they can be talked into a meaningful power-sharing arrangement under today’s conditions.  It doesn’t really even matter why Team Obama is doing this.  What matters is that it’s being done.  The signal has been sent: the Obama administration not only plans to leave a vulnerable troop contingent in Afghanistan in a worsening situation, but it is foolish enough – vainglorious enough? – to think it can negotiate with the Taliban.

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “US in Afghanistan: Of Course We Negotiate with Terrorists”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Iran’s aggressively expanding posture across the region. (Google map; author annotation.)

Making this deal with Iran would, in fact, guarantee an explosion of countermoves in the region.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Remnants of Assad’s nuclear program are alive and well, under the control of Hezbollah and Iran

Under Obama, US foreign policy is losing sanity & common sense in diplomatic representation abroad

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

We would be fools to take seriously assurances from Joe Biden.

The White House wanted to defame Netanyahu, undermine his reputation, impugn him & his policies

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/us-in-afghanistan-of-course-we-negotiate-with-terrorists/2013/06/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: