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Monday, March 3, 2014

Hamid Karzai says U.S.-Afghan relationship ‘has been at a low point for a long time’

..In an unusually emotional interview, the departing Afghan president sought to explain why he has been such a harsh critic of the 12-year-old U.S. war effort here. He said he’s deeply troubled by all the casualties he has seen, including those in U.S. military operations. He feels betrayed by what he calls an insufficient U.S. focus on targeting Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And he insists that public criticism was the only way to guarantee an American response to his concerns.

1 comment:

Skippy Stalin said...

All things being equal, I sympathize with Karzai more than I should.

Sure, he's deliriously corrupt and a borderline fucking nut, but let's get one thing straight - we screwed both him and his country.

Instead of avenging the deaths of 3,000 Americans themselves, the Bush administration - mostly due to a stupid bureaucratic turf war between Don Rumsfeld and George Tenent - decided to let a different group of drug-dealing war criminals fight their battle for them. Unsurprisingly, this exacerbated Pashtun-Uzbek tensions and made post war governance almost impossible.

Of course, nobody thought too much about cutting off the escape routes of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan, which turned out to be no small thing. Heavy bombing along the Pakistani border between October 2001 and January 2002 probably would have been better for everyone than a decade of drones within Pakistan proper.

Then the United States thought it saw a squirrel in Iraq and left as few as 22,000 troops in Afghanistan. Worse, they redeployed all their intelligence assets, so when the Taliban re-constituted itself in-country in '05, everyone was caught off guard.

There was also never a single strategic goal in Afghanistan. Was it to destroy al-Qaeda? Immobilize the Taliban? Make sure girls could go to school (which no major power had ever invaded another country to do before)?

Because it was all of those things, it was actually none of them because there was no solid metric to measure success.

When the Taliban insurgency was firmly on the move in 2005-'07, the US and NATO decided that we could fight a more gentlemanly war than the Soviets did, with fewer troops, and expect a better result, which was nonsense.

Traditional counter-insurgency doctrine states that - for a country the size of Afghanistan - you would need a minimum of about 350,000 troops to win. At best, we only had slightly less than a third of that there, so we relied on air power.

The problem with air power is that it tends to kill more civilians than it does enemies, especially in an insurgency. And for every civilian you kill that way, you may create as many as ten new insurgents.

We also made the same significant mistake that the Soviets did. We took sides in Afghan domestic politics at the expense of our strategic interests. When Obama decided to undermine Karzai's re-election, it was pretty much done.

In the end, the fact is that we never knew what we wanted in Afghanistan and weren't prepared to commit the resources to accomplish whatever that was.

We fucked both Karzai and the Afghans, and unless he comes to some accommodation with the Taliban, he'll be hanging from the turret of tank with his dick cut off and shoved in his mouth, just like Najibullah was in 1996.

Somehow, we just never got that.