President Karzai’s isolation was preventable, and now enters a period of increased tension and uncertainty as to his ability to lead and work with “power brokers.” The list includes: losing parliamentary candidates who he has “deserted”; new Parliament members who were delayed more than 5 months from “governing”; and most importantly, further alienated “western backers” who have lost faith in his abilities.
While US/NATO continues heavy-handed military operations, efforts at good governance ... Continue Reading →
While US/NATO continue to apply OIF lessons learned to OEF (well at least COIN-centric surge “successes”, whatever that means). This latest gambit, to create Afghan local defense groups, in a country steeped with a history of warlordism, while Karzai increasingly appears that he will refuse to seat a legitimate Parliament, can and will lead to arming the populace just when racial/ethnic tensions are about to spill out into the street.
US/NATO views the ... Continue Reading →
The initial U.S. end strength goal of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by October 2011 is approximately 300,000. A new plan entails hiring an additional 73,000. The bill to Uncle Sam is an additional $6 billion with unknown future budget outlays. But before another shekel is spent, don’t you think we should gauge the quality of the current force and assess capabilities. You know, take the training ... Continue Reading →
Since 2001, the Commanders Emergency Relief Program (CERP) in Afghanistan has provided commanders quick and readily available resources to fund projects – to build schools, to build local government facilities, purchase generators, pave roads, etc. And because Afghanistan is a target rich environment for CERP related projects given the effects of over 30 years of war and the lack of government capacity to provide services, CERP is sometimes the only ... Continue Reading →
Clearly the US military, and especially our infantry-centric units, are on the “margins” when only one brigade combat team has been able to break away from COIN focused training this past decade and conduct full-spectrum operations type training necessary to maintain current and future US strategic interests. Further, the capability to conduct forcible entry operations has atrophied and “takes practice, and we don’t get a ... Continue Reading →
In regards to the highly touted release of the administrations review of Afghanistan, one-step up and two-steps back.
One-step up, “strategy is showing progress”; two-steps back, no new information on how soon Afghan Security Forces will be able to assume responsibility for security and when the “rat-lines” coming out of Pakistan can be severed.
One-step up, “we are on track to achieve our goals”; two-steps back, gains are still “fragile and reversible” and ... Continue Reading →
Six American soldiers were killed and more than a dozen American and Afghan troops were wounded on Sunday morning when a van packed with explosives was detonated at a new jointly operated outpost in southern Afghanistan.
The soldiers were inside a small mud-walled building near the village of Sangsar, north of the Arghandab River, when the bomber drove up to one of the walls and exploded his charge around 9 ... Continue Reading →
Proposed 1.4% pay raise for military draws fire
Sergeant Ellis is spot on, it is “absolute garbage” that troops in 2011 will earn the lowest pay raise in almost 50 years. True, we are entering an era of austerity and deficit-reduction economic policies, but streamlining pay for the troops at historic lows, is another example of “taking care of the troops” lip-service. The House of Representative authorized increasing pay 1.9%, a meaningful effort above the average private-sector-wage growth level (i.e. recognizing ... Continue Reading →
Secretary Gates has approved a COIN skills list (COIN Qualification Standards) for troops in Afghanistan. It is rather extraordinary for top civilian officials to approve pre-deployment tactical and operational training tasks. Perhaps this is an effort for General Petreaus to dictate that a certain level of COIN proficiency is required prior to deployment. Sounds reasonable, right? But, why does this kind of guidance have to be rubber-stamped by Secretary Gates? Can’t the uniformed service ... Continue Reading →
NATO official: Afghan leader affirms NATO mission
Not sure how much arm-twisting went on to get Afghan President Karzai to change his mind, but yesterday NATO reported that he was actually on board with NATO’s military campaign and “reluctantly” in support of nighttime SOF raids. President Karzai nor his staff could be reached for comment, but if the old adage of “the first report is a false report” holds true, we can expect some additional clarifying statements over the next ... Continue Reading →