Where do we stand in Afghanistan today?

Anthony Cordesman (with assistance of Bryan Gold and Ashley Hess)  has a very interesting article on the state of Afghanistan (AFG). courtesy of CSIS.

The Afghan War in 2013 – Vol III

Until the US and ISAF honestly and publicly assess areas of insurgent control and influence, the full range of insurgent violence, its political intent, impact, and how this compares with areas of Afghan government and ANSF influence and control, their reporting lacks the scope and integrity to be trustworthy or make effective Transition planning possible.

~page 13 Executive Summary

That doesn’t sound good.

One of the issues I’ve always had is the numbers game used by many to justify the continuation of a failed Afghanistan strategy.  While we can certainly look at the number of ANSF (Afghanistan National Security Forces) and see an increase.  What you can’t see is if they are any good or if they will stand with the Government when we depart.

KABUL, Afghanistan (Oct. 16, 2012) — The following statistics are the latest facts on the status of Afghan National Security Forces.

Afghan National Security Forces:  337,187 of 352,000 (96%) in uniform

Today, three-quarters of the uniformed defenders of this country are Afghans.

· Afghan Surge (Dec 09 to Oct 12):  195,508 to 337,187 (+140,679); more than four times the U.S. surge of 30,000 troops in the same period.

· Afghanistan has recruited all 187,000 Soldiers and all 157,000 Police—new recruits are awaiting call-up to training centers.

· Afghan National Army:  184,676 of 187,000 (99%); 100% inducted by December 2012; trained, equipped, and fielded by December 2013.


4.    Literacy training is required for all illiterate Afghan recruits; up to 85% arrive unable to read and write.  After four weeks, up to 90% of these former illiterates graduate reading at the first-third grade levels.  This “Afghan G.I. Bill” is a huge incentive for recruiting and reenlistment

The number seem to show things are going according to plan.  But are they?  After only four weeks of training literacy rates jump from 85% illiterate to 95% able to read on a first through third grade level. Wonderful.

ISAF reports appear to be mostly feel good marketing.

In April of 2011 I wrote that it was time to leave (It’s time to leave Afghanistan), I haven’t changed my mind.

My only conclusion is that the US doesn’t have the will to fight and win wars today.  I hope that will change before it’s too late.


10 thoughts on “Where do we stand in Afghanistan today?

  1. Pingback: Mission Accomplished? Is This What Winning Looks Like | Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News

  2. The US has to find the will to win at home before it can ever win an overseas major deployment again. Of course Bush’s experiment with Iraq and Afghanistan wasn’t doomed. After all, if the nation could prove that it had the strength and will to change the Middle East for the better, then the same could be said for changing America back home.

    Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that well. Probably because “changing things back home” wasn’t even on the strategic table.

    Either use the military strategies and tactics that worked well in Afghanistan and Iraq back home in Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, etc….. or do it the other way around, fix those cities first, destroy Leftist insurgents here in the US, and transfer the byproducts of that success to other nations.

  3. Ymarsakar, Agree. I also think a declaration of War by congress is necessary in order to remove the politics (as much as possible) from any wars. When both parties sign on to winning we might have a chance. One more thing is somehow the American public has to feel the war.

    I’m not necessarily for a draft but somehow everyone from the rich to the poor much realize the cost. Right now only those that volunteer feel the pain and the politicians and contractors feel the money.

    We much change the attitude of the American public in that if we go to war we go to win, which will entail killing. Lot’s of it and not all are going to be in uniform. Remember, Dresden held civilians, Nagasaki held civilians. To defeat the enemy it must be all out and complete.

    Hearts and minds polices only work when the population already supports your side.

  4. Looking at simulations done with modern technology, I would have to say something like Kickstarter for video games could be integrated in. Instead of having taxpayers pay the money so that politicians and NGOs/Contractors/others handle the distribution, the primary funding goes directly to where the consumers want it.

    It would require the complete shattering of the current tax and bureaucratic codes, but that’s just a necessity.

    One of the problems with large corporations taking easily acquired cash to produce triple A games is that they start making vaporware that is of questionable quality. The side that does the work of making the game is so far away from the consumer that they think of each other as enemies or as ignorant people to sideline. That is not only an unhealthy relationship but also an ineffective one.

    The American people can be brought in directly on future wars, the technology is already there. Either as funding, support, morale boosting, technical translations or research. The people that cannot do, can fund the ones that can, civilian or military.

    This eliminates the middle man taking all the profit, and can help remove corruption on the receiving end as well since more eyes are watching where the money is doing the most good.

    If civilization doesn’t want to use the old methods, then they must adopt new ones and new ways of doing things that serve the same purpose. Else they’ll be back to the carpet bombing path soon enough, as it’ll be easier, cheaper, and more effective.

    It was for good reason that the Army chose specialized groups of small, highly motivated and trained people to do counter insurgency and insurgency type operations. The larger the organization, the less it is capable of reacting correctly to asymmetrical warfare that the org was never built to utilize. As a side effect, that means they lack manpower, sustainable presence, and funding. By supplementing the middle men with internet based organization, individual initiative and feedback can be kept at several levels of flexibility, without sacrificing numbers, funding, or firepower.

    The age old question of who makes the decisions has become a convoluted process where a bunch of individuals between the people, who pay the cost of blood and treasure, and the frontline who takes the orders and the missions, are replete with corrupt, evil people out for their own ulterior purposes. Cut that part out first and everything else will improve. Yet not in a fashion that promotes chaos and anarchy. First, the money and sinews of war, should be repurposed and handed out in a different way.

    The American people will be able to do a better job of that, since it is their money and their people fighting, than politicians, overall. Once before, the politicians were the warriors (Ancient Greece), so they had better decision making than the crowd that didn’t vote and didn’t fight, but society changes with the times.

  5. I agree with (Y) this time. Not much has changed with the American government since I went to Vietnam in 1971. Wars are the same wether it was with the Vietnamese or Al Qaida. The US Government is a big problem for America. The people need to see what is happening and vote out the a corruption. I have always said that the US should take better care of its Veterans since they are the Heart of the Very Freedom that everyone Enjoys. You talk to people on the street any where in the US and they have no clue of the sacrifices the Soldiers take daily to make their lives Safe.


  6. Humans need an evil to fight. It was simple to convince patriots that there is evil or an enemy to fight. It’s not so easy to convince Americans who think “evil” consists of anyone trying to take away their dole, however.

    First Americans must recognize the Left, in their own neighborhoods, before they can ever usher in enough heart and belief to think killing and dying on foreign lands is a good idea.

    In some ways, people can either change the world or change themselves when facing adversity. Often times the former leads directly to totalitarian or “short victorious war adventures”.

    When people cannot see evil in their midst, neither can they see heroism or good in foreign lands.

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