Today, Robert Kaplan wrote a piece in the New York Times saying we need to get out of Afghanistan.
The decision by President Trump to withdraw 7,000 of the roughly 14,000 American troops left in Afghanistan, possibly by summer, has raised new concerns about his impulsive behavior, especially given his nearly simultaneous decision to pull out all American forces from Syria against the advice of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. But the downsizing of the Afghan mission was probably inevitable. Indeed, it may soon be time for the United States to get out of the country altogether.
Naturally, the anti-Trump lines are obligatory in the NY Times. He has the right decision and, of course, it is the one Trump announced but Trump hatred is a necessary ingredient in anything an author expects the Times to publish.
I have been saying this since 2009.
During Afghanistan’s golden age which consisted of the last king’s rule, the country consisted of a small civilized center in Kabul while the rest of the country existed much as it did in the time of Alexander the Great. I have reviewed Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerilla, which explains much of the Afghan war. He is not optimistic about it and neither am I. Aside from the fact that Obama is a reluctant, very reluctant, warrior here, Pakistan is a serious obstacle to success.
Today, Andy McCarthy calls our attention to an explosive editorial in Investors’ Business Daily on the links between the Taliban and Pakistan’s army and intelligence services.
it’s an open secret the Taliban are headquartered across the border in the city of Quetta, Pakistan, where they operate openly under the aegis of Pakistani intelligence — and the financial sponsorship of the Saudis.
Of course, Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan and sheltered by them. Kaplan does have a few crazy ideas.
It did not have to be like this. Had the United States not become diverted from rebuilding the country by its invasion of Iraq in 2003 (which I mistakenly supported), or had different military and development policies been tried, these forces of division might have been overcome. According to the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, there was simply too much emphasis on the electoral process in Kabul and not nearly enough on bread-and-butter nation building — in particular, bringing basic infrastructure and agriculture up to the standards that Afghans enjoyed from the 1950s until the Soviet invasion of 1979.
This is insanity. There is no “nation” to build. Afghanistan was never a nation. The King was called “The Mayor of Kabul” and had no rule outside its limits.
The movie “Zero Dark Thirty” described the maneuvers of the CIA and the incident of the suicide attack.
Michael Yon: The disembed from McChrytal’s top staff (meaning from McChrystal himself) is a very bad sign. Sends chills that McChrystal himself thinks we are losing the war. McChrystal has a history of covering up. This causes concern that McChrystal might be misleading SecDef and President. Are they getting the facts?
McChrystal has recently been criticizing Trump. I wonder if he has political ambitions ? He is a Democrat.
The United States’ special adviser to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, is trying to broker a diplomatic solution that allows the United States to draw down its forces without the political foundation in Kabul disintegrating immediately.
That may be the real reason the United States keeps spending so heavily in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is terrified of a repeat of 1975, when panicked South Vietnamese fled Saigon as Americans pulled out and North Vietnamese forces advanced on the city. The United States military did not truly begin to recover from that humiliation until its victory in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. An abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan could conceivably provide a new symbol of the decline in American hard power.
I think Kaplan has a good point here. Evacuation from Afghanistan will have to be by air and may be chaotic, especially as the last troops leave. Pakistan is no friend. It is going to be a mess but the sooner ewe get at it, the better