Election 2016

Taliban Controls More Territory in Afghanistan Than At Any Time Since 2001

What is Hillary Clinton thinking now? And what about the other presidential candidates?

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Wash Post

The Wash Post reports:

With control of — or a significant presence in — roughly 30 percent of districts across the nation, according to Western and Afghan officials, the Taliban now holds more territory than in any year since 2001, when the puritanical Islamists were ousted from power after the 9/11 attacks….

As of last month, about 7,000 members of the Afghan security forces had been killed this year, with 12,000 injured, a 26 percent increase over the total number of dead and wounded in all of 2014, said a Western official with access to the most recent NATO statistics. Attrition rates are soaring. Deserters and injured Afghan soldiers say they are fighting a more sophisticated and well-armed insurgency than they have seen in years.

And then there's this worrying sort of line about continued U.S. involvement:

Wikipedia

Afghans, including senior military officials, no longer even pretend that they can fight the Taliban effectively on their own….

As the fighting intensifies, the stakes are growing higher for the United States in its longest war. "I will not allow Helmand to fall," [Gen. John F. Campbell, the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan] told the Afghan officials in the recent meeting with the Afghan National Security Council. "But I can't make you fight. You've got to want it more than we do."

The U.S. action in Afghanistan is officially the nation's longest war. It is also shaping up as one of our least successful ones, too.

Read the full article.

Note also that the Taliban gains are coming even as its factions are engaging in internecine warfare since the movement's founder, Mohammad Omar, died two years ago.

Anyone know the presidential candidates' views on Afghanistan? Are we committed to stay there forever and if so, to what end?  

This much is known: As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was a strong supporter of the 2009 "Afghan surge," which led to an increase of 30,000 troops and utterly failed in its stated goal of stopping Taliban momentum. Indeed, at the end of the surge in 2012, the Taliban was inflicting nearly three times as many casaulties as it had been in 2009.

Even worse, the surge's latent justification—it would allow America to declare victory and withdraw—never materialized either.

Instead, earlier this year, Barack Obama announced plans to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan even when his presidency came to an end. This is something that Clinton also supported, explaining:

"We have invested a lot of blood and a lot of treasure in trying to help that country and we can't afford for it to become an outpost of the Taliban and ISIS one more time, threatening us, threatening the larger world," Clinton said.

It will be interesting to see how such a statement squares first with Democratic primary voters and then folks in the general election. As Robert Golen-Vilella writes at The National Interest,

The 2009 decision to send thousands of additional troops and commit billions more dollars to Afghanistan was one of the most consequential foreign-policy decisions of President Obama's first term in office. It also might have been his biggest foreign-policy mistake. The administration never had a plausible theory for how its eighteen-month surge would realistically lead to a meaningfully better long-term outcome for the country.

Lord knows virtually all of the GOP presidential candidates are godawful on foreign policy. Their basic shtick, which is utterly devoid of reference to reality, is to accuse Obama and the Democrats broadly of being weak and seeking to withdraw from world militarily (as if). It would be immensely useful to see the candidates in both major parties explain not just what they plan to do regarding Afghanistan and what larger aims and goals they expect to achieve by keeping U.S. troops stationed there forever and ever.

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  1. Are we committed to stay there forever and if so, to what end?

    We never left Hawaii and that seemed to work out for everyone.

    1. Or Germany. Or Japan.

      Its a colossal waste of money that I would bring to an end as God-Emperor, but other than that seems to be working out OK.

      1. Behold, the God Emperor Hirohito has been reincarnated !

        http://vvattsupwiththat.blogsp…..ining.html

        No wonder he liked marine biology.

  2. Their basic shtick, which is utterly devoid of reference to reality, is to accuse Obama and the Democrats broadly of being weak and seeking to withdraw from world militarily (as if).

    If only Nick could or would do better. Why is he writing so much today? Can Reason get one of its good writers to put something out?

    1. Tell us, please, why the Taliban and its like would give two fucks about America if we hadn’t been stirring shit up throughout the ME for the past six decades or so? You don’t seriously buy that “they hate us for our freedoms” horseshit, do you?

      1. Even if that is true, what difference does it make? It is not like they will forget about us now. It doesn’t matter what started the conflict. It isn’t going to end just by us pretending it will go away.

        1. That’s about what a friend told me regarding Rand Paul’s foreign policy. “I agree with Paul and we should have gotten the hell out right after we punished them for 9/11. Non- interventionism should have been the policy for the ME for decades. But 9/11 and Bush’s response changed everything: we’re the bull who has broken everything in the china shop, and now we have to clean it up and pay for the damages.” Unfortunately, how is that possible??

          1. And who is “we” in this situation? I never did shit to the Middle East.

          2. We don’t pay for shit. We stop worrying about these places and start making them fear us. And we stop letting people from these places in the country.

            Reason is just insane on this issue. On the one hand they claim our involvement in the ME makes the people there terrorists. Then on the other hand they claim there is no risk to opening the border to these people.

            1. And we stop letting people from these places in the country.

              I am open to this idea.

              What I can’t accept is the notion that we can somehow “finish” what we started. It is painfully obvious that we can’t (or won’t). So, the only least-bad solution I can see is getting the hell out. If they attack us, we have the means to find out who it was and retaliate, but the whole “nation-building” exercise we’ve been fantasizing in for the last 15 years is bullshit.

              1. There’s not any intention of finishing anything and there never was. The longer it goes on, the better for those who profit from it. We have a huge military industrial complex that get loads of tax payer dollars. We also have so called ‘leaders’ who are pretty much nothing more than useless parasites who justify their continued power as the ones who can keep the people safe from the scary terrorists. Orwell was a real visionary.

            2. John, that’s completely insane.

              We’ve been blowing shit up in the ME ans Afghanistan for a FUCKING DECADE NOW. And they still don’t ‘fear us’. As a matter of fact all we’ve done is *embolden* the worst of them.

              You really are saying that genocide (or at least decimation) is the only option left to us?

              1. The USG has tied its forces down with ROEs and refuses to actually annihilate its enemies and in particular state sponsors of terror.

                “As a matter of fact all we’ve done is *embolden* the worst of them.”

                That’s a load of shit. They were driven out of power in Mali and Somalia thanks to foreign intervention and thank God for it.

                1. refuses to actually annihilate its enemies and in particular state sponsors of terror

                  OK, you’re finally starting to make sense. If one of their states is actually declaring war on us, we declare war back and annihilate them. Why hasn’t that happened?

                2. And they’re on the *rise* in the very nations *we’ve* been bombing for 10 years.

              2. The fact that we have been glowing up shit for over a decade, and are losing ground, is why they are emboldened, and why our practice of fighting wars half-assed is the worst of both worlds.

                Either go to war, wage it to win damn the cost, and win by ensuring that your enemies are dead/discredited/terrified, or stay home.

                Fewer faux “wars”, more victories, is what we need.

              3. Blowing it up and then rebuilding it has the net effect of not blowing it up. Just sayin’.

            3. “We stop worrying about these places and start making them fear us.”

              Great, John. Let’s make a PLACE fear us.
              Damn, your stupid!

        2. Even if that is true, what difference does it make? It is not like they will forget about us now. It doesn’t matter what started the conflict. It isn’t going to end just by us pretending it will go away.

          So John, you’re basically saying that since we started shooting at them the only way to stop needing to shoot at them now is to kill them all.

          Would seem to me that that is a *damn* good reason to move mountains to avoid getting into another fight.

          1. No what I am saying is a war does not end until your enemy decides it will. You people live in this fantasy world where our enemies will stop if only we would. And that is a fantasy and a really stupid one at that.

            1. So – you’re saying genocide.

              Just come right out and say it, don’t beat around the bush. You don’t think we can ‘win’ until we’ve murdered all the BSPs.

              1. It may come to that. What makes you think it won’t? If they won’t quit, it will be us are them. I am not voting for it to be us. Are you?

          2. bzzt. Cause and effect reversed. We freaked out because of their ascendancy. America took one attack after the next in the ’90s and the inaction of the USG led to thousands of deaths.

            The Islamists are ascendant because the USG has allowed its state sponsors to exist and because pan-Arab nationalism is in decline.

            1. Oops wrong place.

      2. why the Taliban and its like would give two fucks about America if we hadn’t been stirring shit up throughout the ME for the past six decades or so?

        Idarat at-Tawahhush

        Jus’ sayin’

        1. Blocked at work.

          1. Then read it from home so you actually have a clue what you’re talking about regarding the ME.

            1. I’m reading the wikipedia summary.

              Management of Savagery argues that carrying out a campaign of constant violent attacks in Muslim states will eventually exhaust their ability and will to enforce their authority, and that as the writ of the state withers away, chaos?or “savagery”?will ensue.

              OK, so it’s a blueprint for “caliphate”. So what? Do you seriously believe that even if they were to succeed – a big if – that they would be any threat to the US?

              1. The point isn’t to be a “threat” to the US, but to incite potential superpowers, like the US and Russia to get involved in a quagmire so they exhaust resources and willingness to fight. Afterwards, they’d be left to build their caliphate in peace.

                1. So don’t take the bait. I think we have ample proof of where that leads.

                  1. I agree. But let’s also acknowledge that baiting us is exactly what they are trying to do, as opposed to blaming the Jews, or self-flagellation over blowback, or just chalking it up to random violence committed by sub-human apemen.

              2. Of course it would duh.

                1. How? The combined West could wipe them out militarily if it came to that. If by “threat” you mean random terrorist attacks, we can still retaliate as I said above.

                  1. Those terror attacks are inevitable and that is the threat. Thanks, I’d rather be proactive. I’m not dumb enough to believe the Islamic State would ever be peaceful.

                  2. The combined West could wipe them out militarily if it came to that.

                    It didn’t come to that in Vietnam, and I doubt it will come to that in either Afghanistan or Syria-Iraq.

          2. I’m not surprised a place that redirects to “jihadology.net” is blocked; unfortunately, I know of no other place that has an English translation of the book, which is a fascinating read, btw.

        2. Yeah, except they’ve been saying that for 900 years now. And for 900 years the best they’ve accomplished was some small scale atrocities.

          Until we freaked the fuck out.

          Now they’ve got an actual in-your-face enemy and its managed to pull the extremist elements together enough that ISIS is starting a state, random MF are shooting/blowing things up in Europe, and apparently the Taliban is nearly back in power in Afghanistan.

          1. Yeah, except they’ve been saying that for 900 years now.

            In this case, “they” only been say it since 2004.

            Until we freaked the fuck out.

            That is exactly the strategy advocated by Abu Bakr Naji. Seriously, read the book.

            1. Just because your enemy advocates a strategy, doesn’t mean its a winning strategy for them.

              1. Do you think we’re winning?

                1. No, we’re losing. Mostly because we’re beating ourselves, and not because we are falling into some diabolical trap.

                  Mr. Naji’s strategy is actually well-calculated for the current class of Western leaders.

                  Provoking the Western leaders of a few generations ago into war would not have been such a well-calculated strategy, though.

                  My point really was that half the strategies (more or less) in any given war turn out to be the losing strategies. Just because your enemies (or your own generals) advocate a strategy doesn’t mean its good or bad.

          2. bzzt. Cause and effect reversed. We freaked out because of their ascendancy. America took one attack after the next in the ’90s and the inaction of the USG led to thousands of deaths.

            The Islamists are ascendant because the USG has allowed its state sponsors to exist and because pan-Arab nationalism is in decline.

            1. Because we have this nasty habit of killing any of the guys who were pro Pan-Arab as we thought *that* threatened us.

              A united ME under lip-service-Muslims scared the shit out of us so we did everything we could to disrupt that.

              Now we’re fighting to prevent a united ME under pro-Almaric-Muslims.

              1. I seem to recall the “Pan-Arab” guys were useful idiots for the Soviets. Could be wrong about that, but I think our oppo to them was just incidental to the Cold War.

                1. ME oil money is the reason for the rise of Islam.

      3. They hate us for our freedoms and make that clear in their propaganda and actions. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t want to deal with reality.

        1. Did you just quote Dubyah?

        2. Yeah, that’s why their terrorists in America and Europe spend their free time getting drunk in strip clubs. You got one word right, at least: “propaganda”. As in “bald-faced lie”.

          1. Yes, that is why they target cartoonists. What them spending time in strip clubs has to do with anything is a mystery.

            1. Um… it’s proof that “they hate us for our freedoms” is a lie? I know you’re always this dense but sheesh.

          2. Why would the radical followers of a religion which does not allow any of those freedoms hate us for things that they don’t want? That’s retarded to say the least.

            1. Why do you think they don’t want those freedoms? Because they are evil and the people who have them decadent and evil as well. They view purr culture as an existential threat to theirs.

              You don’t want any part of socialism do you? That doesn’t stop you from hating socialists.

        3. theu hate us because we are infidels and in their minds a not much higher life form than a dog.

          Supposedly we can pay a tax and they won’t kill us like they would a dog. I guess if the dog could pay them money they would like the dog just as well.

        4. theu hate us because we are infidels and in their minds a not much higher life form than a dog.

          Supposedly we can pay a tax and they won’t kill us like they would a dog. I guess if the dog could pay them money they would like the dog just as well.

    2. accuse Obama and the Democrats broadly of being weak and seeking to withdraw from world militarily

      Its really hard to look at our antics in the Mideast, Eastern Europe, and now the South China Sea and not characterize them as “weak” (compared to our past antics, anyway).

      The criticism is not so much that we are withdrawing from the world militarily, as we are refusing to engage in effective military action, preferring instead ineffective activities that will reap the worst of both worlds (as the map handily illustrates): our enemies win, and we get tagged with the blame.

  3. “It is also shaping up as one of our least successful ones, too.”

    It was pretty successful in wrecking the AQ and Taliban aggressors back in 2001. Then it turned into nation-building…

    1. They really were not. Rumsfeld screwed the pooch in 2001 and allowed the entire Taliban leadership and most of the rank and file to escape to Pakistan. And then he tried to make up for it by allowing our northern alliance allies to go on a killing spree against majority Pashtuns and finally by putting the worst sort of corrupt asshole ex pat he could find in as President.

      I actually don’t blame Obama for this. I blame Bush Rumsfeld and the Afghans themselves.

  4. Obama’s quagmire.

    1. It was a quagmire well before Obama took office, and it will continue to be so long after he leaves.

      1. “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

        1. + Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

  5. Are they planning to turn Afganistan into a base for international terrorism? If so, then it is a problem. If not, then I really don’t care. Afghanistan can be whatever the people there are willing to make it

    1. You know – just a couple posts above this you were saying that we have no choice now but to fight them because they’ll never leave us alone.

      1. That is assuming they are going to sponsor terrorism. That is the entire issue not if the Taliban are a bunch of meanies. Do they mean us harm? If yes, then kill them. If not, it is the Afghans’ business.

  6. “We have invested a lot of blood and a lot of treasure in trying to help that country and we can’t afford for it to become an outpost of the Taliban and ISIS one more time, threatening us, threatening the larger world,” Clinton said.

    To be fair, Clinton’s plan of throwing good money after bad isn’t restricted just to foreign policy.

    1. Consistent, if consistently wrong.

  7. Garrison the passes. Let them have the worthless interior. Get rich charging them huge fees through said passes. Retire to Europe. aka the Paolo Avitabile Method.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paolo_Avitabile

  8. Taliban Controls More Territory in Afghanistan Than At Any Time Since 2001

    So what? That is what final victory is supposed to look like. One has to look no further than the end of World War Two when the Communists controlled MORE territory in 1945 than at any time before 1939!

    I mean… Wasn’t that the point of that war after all?

    1. You know who else thought World War II was about fighting Communists?

    2. WW2 was *not* a war against communism.

      1. Well, not for the US.

        The Eastern Europeans and Germans might have a different perspective.

      2. It was when the American socialist teamed up with the British socialist and the Russian socialist to fight the German socialist and the Italian socialist.

        … Hobbit

  9. Taliban resurgent? = Women Hardest Hit

    Hillary will solve this problem with a “Virtual” Army

    ” Clinton said, a coalition can work “in order to keep that hope and promise alive to women and girls in Afghanistan: That they will not go back, they will not be forced back into their homes, denied education and health care, stripped away their rights to participate in the economic and political systems of their country.”

    The subject is a favorite of Clinton’s. Her family’s organization, the Clinton Foundation, recently launched a new initiative aimed at empowering women around the world.

    She also told the auditorium, packed with students, that a tech-savvy approach can help make the case, in America and beyond, for why the U.S. remains committed to Afghanistan.

    We need a virtual army now that the real army is leaving,” she said. “We need a virtual army to help us make the case and to build that awareness here in the United States and around the world

    1. Proof of my below point = We definitely didn’t spend enough on Women in Afghanistan because they don’t even know how much they spent, i mean what that’s how you know it wasn’t a lot

      ” …after 13 years of war, a federal auditor has concluded it is unclear how much Afghan women have benefited from the U.S. efforts or even how much has been spent on them.

      A report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found that the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development failed to properly track what was spent for women’s advancement in hundreds of programs.”

      1. yes, i know = ‘feature, not bug’

      2. “failed to properly track what was spent for women’s advancement in hundreds of programs.

        With hundreds of different programs that should make it easier to keep account of how much $ was spent ?

        No ?

        Maybe that’s why there are hundreds of different and probably overlapping programs.

        How much better off would this counttry be if after 9/11 we had went full scale warrior a la Iwo Jima on the Taliban’s ass and then came home. It would have never happened of course but the same amount of money that was handed out over there in cash (which isn’t a direct benefit to the Mil Ind Complex so politically possible ) could have been left with the productive taxpayers
        ( or not borrowed )?

    2. “We need a virtual army now that the real army is leaving,” she said. “We need a virtual army to help us make the case and to build that awareness here in the United States and around the world”

      4chan to the rescue!

      TITSORGTFO!

  10. I think the problem with Afghanistan is that we didn’t spend enough money.

    1. We should have nuked Tora Bora and gone home.

      1. While i also harbor strong animosity towards French Polynesia, I think that would have done little to help Afghan Women.

  11. The USA does not want the Taliban, Al Queda or ISIS going away. If they all just suddenly disappeared today, the USA’s top fucking priority would be to create and arm another radical jihadist organization. Fighting radical jihad in a never ending war is the numero uno method of keeping the sheeples frightened and under control and slowly stripping them of civil rights. Global warming isn’t working, a large majority of the sheeple aren’t frightened by it, so the threat of radical jihad has to stay. Polls show that the sheeple are frightened of radical jihad, so our fearless leaders will make sure it remains.

    1. Seriously, why is just no longer allowing Muslims to immigrate or get Visas so much worse than endlessly fighting wars in places like Afghanistan? They can’t terrorize us if they can’t get into the country.

      1. Those are both evil options.

        “They can’t terrorize us if they can’t get into the country.”

        DERP. Might want to look up what ‘tourism’ and ’embassies’ are.

        1. Yeah because killing some tourists and blowing up an embassy is totally the same level of harm as something like 911.

          And bombing and killing people by the thousands is a lot more evil than closing the border you fucking retard.

          You really do boggle the mind sometimes. You actually think burning people alive is preferable to not giving them Visas

          1. “And bombing and killing people by the thousands is a lot more evil than closing the border you fucking retard.”

            Way false dichotomy.

            “Yeah because killing some tourists and blowing up an embassy is totally the same level of harm as something like 911.”

            They’re both pretty awful.

    2. Cool story bro.

  12. “But I can’t make you fight. You’ve got to want it more than we do.”

    The cluelessness of these people has no limit.

    They *don’t* want it more than we do. They never did. If they did the Taliban would never have gained any significant power in Afghanistan in the first place.

  13. The U.S. action in Afghanistan is officially the nation’s longest war. It is also shaping up as one of our least successful ones, too.

    You mean bombing villages and wedding parties have failed to endear the population to our way of life? How could that ever happen? Who could’ve foreseen it?

    1. That has really nothing to do with the lack of success.

      1. It certainly is a decently sized factor in failure though.

        1. Nope. Military campaigns don’t fail because they weren’t nice enough. Sherman WON the war.

      2. Re: Cytotoxic,

        That has really nothing to do with the lack of success.

        Oh, wait, don’t tell me….

        Was it because of… a lack of resolve?

        Sherman WON the war

        Actually it was the blockade that won the war in the end. Same thing happened to the Germans in WWI. No supplies, no war.

        Leaving aside that, you are arguing that the lack of resolve is what lost the war for the US in Afghanistan. Again, what would have been a show of resolve? Bombing more villages? More wedding parties? Or salting the fields, raping the women and killing all the cattle, a la Sherman?

        1. Same thing happened to the Germans in WWI.

          The blockade hurt, sure. But both sides were utterly exhausted by the last year, morally at least as much as physically.

          The Germans came within a whisker of winning that war. They won it on the Eastern Front, and they came very, very close to taking Paris. I’m a little foggy, but I seem to recall that the failure of their final offensive and the winning Allied counter-offensive both relied pretty strongly on fresh troops and supplies from the US.

    2. It really is hard to fathom, is it not?

      1. Yes it is hard to fathom why anyone would think bombing villages and wedding parties is the reason the Afghan War is flopping.

        1. Well? Why is it flopping?

          Because we aren’t going after the terrorists? Who do you think is supposed to be in those wedding parties?

          Because we aren’t making the Afghanis fear screwing with us? Why do you think we’ve been bombing wedding parties if not to make them afraid of associating with anyone who may potentially be classified as a ‘militant’ by our government.

          Because our classification of ‘militant’ is any BSP male between 13 and 70? Which is sufficient justification for the collateral damage we do?

          Please, enlighten us as to how *you* would conduct this war.

          1. 1) Nation-building there would never have worked, regardless of how nice America was about it.

            2) The War on Drugs fucked up a lot of America’s work there. Insanity on wheels.

            3) ROEs that tie the US military’s hands behind its back.

            4) As John explained Rumsfeld botched the initial invasion.

            Should have sent in 100,000 army rangers, levelled entire villages if necessary to kill the enemies hiding there, and nuked Tora Bora. Then left.

            1. Where are these 100k Army Rangers?

              1. (forget it, he’s rolling)

                never mind that there weren’t any villages to level, either. Tora Bora is a mountain redoubt. Cyto runs with whatever his imagination provides.

                1. Tora Bora is a mountain redoubt

                  Which would seem to safisfy the moral objections to nuking it, no?

            2. So – you’re saying genocide then.

              That’s your answer. Remove the ROE and just kill people indiscriminately.

              IOW – TO BECOME EXACTLY THE SORT OF NATION WE USED TO FIGHT AGAINST.

              1. I would be satisfied if we just fought wars using WWII ROE’s.* Were we the sort of nation in WWII that we used to fight against?

                The current ROEs, for example, led us to wave ISIS oil convoys right on by because they had “civilian” drivers. Its insanity, in the upside down world of warfighting.

                *With the exception of carpet bombing cities, which I wouldn’t do mostly because its ineffective. Maybe a little wronger than most warfighting, too.

          2. One more:

            Why do you think we’ve been bombing wedding parties

            Wedding parties, according to who? I find it a little suspicious that seemingly every gathering in that part of the world is a wedding party, at least after its been bombed.

  14. Another insane reason this failed: War on Drugs at war with the War on AQ. Rage so hard.

  15. I remember a study several years ago like this that listed an area under Taliban ‘control’ if the TB had the most meager or transitory of presence in that area. Is this study like that? How many of these ‘Taliban’ are real Taliban and not just drug lords or other warlords who like the brand?

    1. This is the one point I actually agree with you on. The reality is the Taliban isn’t some united super structure, and a lot of the violence is local in nature. It’s nothing more than a loose alliance. So is the government we installed. It’s about local strongmen warlords.

  16. There were some real badasses in Badakshan eenebefore the Talibs showed up– at this rate they’ll end up in Kashmir by way of K2

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