Troops Withdrawing in Afghanistan—Afghan Troops

U.S. troops still in the country to "train" and "assist."



So, about those Afghan military forces who the U.S. is keeping troops in Afghanistan to train: They've pulled out of at least two districts in the Helmand province, the site of heavy fighting between Taliban and other forces and U.S. and NATO troops.

Voice of America reports:

Afghanistan's military has downplayed the recent withdrawal of troops from bases in a restive southern province, saying "logistics" and "tactical" reasons prompted the move. This comes as Afghan, Pakistani, Chinese and U.S. officials prepare to meet in Kabul for a new round of four-way discussions to promote Afghan peace talks.

The military retreat over the past few days from Musa Qala and nearby Nawzad districts is said to have enabled the resurgent Taliban to further expand its influence in the largest Afghan province of Helmand.

Deputy Army Chief General Murad Ali Murad, while addressing a news conference in Kabul Monday, dismissed criticism Afghan forces have retreated from the area under pressure from the insurgents.

Afghan officials insist troops have been redeployed so that they could get in touch with their families (since troop levels are not high enough to rotate troops out of combat operations) and for more training.

The U.S. has been training Afghan troops since the war started in 2002. "If you're just waiting to train the Afghans to be policemen and the military," Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told Reason in 2013, "it's taken 11 years already. You can train a monkey to ride a bicycle in less time."

Almost 6,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to remain in Afghanistan through 2017, though the number of troops and the date could be revised upward.

Related: Death of the Anti-War Candidate

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  1. Well, right now we’ve got US-backed forces fighting each other in Syria, so maybe we can redeploy the Afghans there to add to the confusion.

    1. According to Saudi Arabia, the Assad regime has brought in Afghan and Pakistani shia militias to Syria…so why not add some more!

      1. 1. Withdraw all US. troops from Muslim countries.
        2. Stop all Muslim immigration to the West.
        3. Encourage Muslims to kill each other off.
        4. Profit!

    2. I say we issue letters of Marque to all #FloridaMan and let them sort things out with their own weapons…and antics

  2. Enough is enough already.

  3. Let’s just train the Taliban, but leave a few key flaws in their form like the old kung fu stories. That way, when they turn on us again, we’ll be able to handle them.

    1. Plus, if we spend a few billion dollars training the Taliban, maybe THEY’LL retreat.

      1. If it saves just one American life, it will be worth it!

        More seriously, I hope President Trump leaves, takes all our materiel, and bombs all the bases we built on the way out.

        1. Trump will bomb them, establish emminent domain, and build hotels.

          ‘Afghanistan: The Riviera of Desolate Nowhere!’

          1. Hasn’t Atlantic City already trademarked that slogan?

            1. Talk about a tossup between godforsaken wastes.

              In Atlantic City’s favor, there’s a crappy beach.

              In Afghanistan’s favor, buzkashi.

                1. Needs moar close-ups of hypodermics and ‘coney island white-fish’.


    Burn and trauma experts at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center have treated four patients just since October with face and hand injuries that occurred in e-cigarette explosions. It’s part of a worrisome national trend, officials say.

    1. Four people in six months? Wow. Its an epidemic!

    2. They’re doing it wrong. You need to buy the prank cigarettes in Mexico with the firecracker inside, give it to your cousin to smoke, then record it popping in her face. Good, clean, harmless fun.

      (True story)

      1. Ahh, cigarette loads. Nothing provides more lulz than that.

        1. Yep. He blew a load in his cousin’s face.

          1. I’ve read that somewhere recently…

    3. How many e-cigarette users haven fallen asleep while vaping and burned their house down? I assume millions.

      1. When I lived in Boston about a decade ago a child died in a house fire because her grandfather, who was on oxygen, left a cigarette lit and fell asleep. The house went up like a house filled with a couple oxygen tanks would. Fire trucks weren’t able to get there in time due, in part, to the fact it was a house fire aided by a couple tanks of oxygen and streets in Boston tended to have cars parked on them at 2 am.

        Needless to say the lesson the city learned from this was to tow EVERYONE in South Boston.

        I would have linked to the story, but it seems a smoker on oxygen burns their house down annually in Boston.

        1. I had a relative die in an apartment fire in Boston. His fault. He taped a plastic bag over the smoke detector so he could blaze.

          1. I’m really having a hard time wrapping my mind around how so many officials despise vaping. I think there’s three stories from the weekend about a house or apartment burning down because someone left a lit cigarette around. You’d think insurance companies would be compensating people who smoke to switch to vape products; it has to be cheaper than paying out for a destroyed apartment complex and a couple dead people.

  5. You can train a monkey to ride a bicycle in less time.

    What if the monkey was promoted to cyclist based on something other than merit?

    1. What’s the lifespan on a monkey? You may ne training his replacement.

      1. Monkeys can live up to fifty years, depending on species.

        1. 11 years seems like a decent investment to train one to ride a bike, then.

    2. It’s brother-in-law is the Governor of Kapisa Province?!

    3. So they’re finally here, performing for you
      If you know the words, you can join in too
      Put your hands together, if you want to clap
      As we take you through this monkey rap

      DK! Donkey Kong!!

      He’s the leader of the bunch, you know him well
      He’s finally back to kick some tail
      His Coconut Gun can fire in spurts
      If he shoots ya, it’s gonna hurt
      He’s bigger, faster, and stronger too
      He’s the first member of the DK crew

      DK! Donkey Kong!
      DK! Donkey Kong is here!

      This Kong’s got style, so listen up dudes
      She can shrink in size, to suit her mood
      She’s quick and nimble when she needs to be
      She can float through the air and climb up trees
      If you choose her, you’ll not choose wrong
      With a skip and a hop, she’s one cool Kong

      DK! Donkey Kong!

      He has no style, he has no grace
      This Kong has a funny face
      He can handstand when he needs to
      And stretch his arms out, just for you
      Inflate himself just like a balloon
      This crazy Kong just digs this tune

      DK! Donkey Kong!
      DK! Donkey Kong is here!

      He’s back again and about time too
      And this time he’s in the mood
      He can fly real high with his jetpack on
      With his pistols out, he’s one tough Kong
      He’ll make you smile when he plays his tune
      But Kremlings beware ’cause he’s after you

      DK! Donkey Kong!

      1. Finally, he’s here for you
        It’s the last member of the DK crew
        This Kong’s so strong, it isn’t funny
        Can make a Kremling cry out for mummy
        Can pick up a boulder with relative ease
        Makes crushing rocks seem such a breeze
        He may move slow, he can’t jump high
        But this Kong’s one hell of a guy

        C’mon Cranky, take it to the fridge!

        Walnuts, peanuts, pineapple smells
        Grapes, melons, oranges and coconut shells
        Ahh yeah!!

  6. But Obama said this was the good war! (So did Bush)

    Both were wrong. We should have gone home in 2002 or 3 after a successful “raid” and had the Rangers and Paratroopers march in a victory parade. Warned everyone that we would go back and beat the shit out of them again if they supported any more terrorists.

    1. Totally agree. As punishment for supporting Bin Laden, we should have kicked the shit out of the Taliban. Which we did. Then, rather than “nation building” been done and walked away. Let some other fucking warlords take over the place, without losing thousands of American lives (and billions of $US) in the process. Tell them if they support someone like that again, we will fuck them up too.

      Meanwhile, now we are fucking around in Libya and Syria. Doing what? A few raids on ISIS in Libya, but then turn around and support the “non-ISIS rebels” in Syria. Bullshit. There are two sides in Syria: evil and evil. The differences are:
      1) one evil (Assad) doesn’t pose a threat at all to the US, and the other evil might pose somewhat of a threat (ISIS).
      2) If we support Assad and Russia, we might be able to gain leverage with them and get concessions to help the middle east in general. By supporting the “non-ISIS rebels” we are supporting ISIS. Which is exactly the wrong thing to do.

      Either stay the fuck out, or go all in and fuck up ISIS, in return for Syrian concessions.

      1. Does anyone seriously think this is an effective strategy? After all, that’s essentially what we did in Libya. We kicked the shit out of Gaddafi and then let the country pick up its pieces. How did that work out?

        I personally believe that Afghanistan is completely unsalvageable, short of a massive million+-man occupation of the country, with far more US casualties than we can stomach at home.

        But the idea that we could go in there, kick the shit out of the Taliban and al Qaeda and then expect them to grudgingly leave us alone- when they have never ever shown any inclination towards doing that- is absurd. Had we done so, it would have been just another recruiting talking point loudly expressed by Iranian- and Saudi-funded zealots whose sole purpose is to find reasons for Muslims to hate the United States.

        1. To put a finer point on it, prior to the Afghanistan war, the Taliban was moderately Anti-American but gave cover to al Qaeda who was completely anti-american.

          After operation Afghani Curb Stomp, you would either have a bunch of pissed off Taliban and al Qaeda operatives or yet another power vacuum for Iranian, Pakistani and assorted funder’s proxy-zealots to set up shop.

          There is zero evidence from that region to suggest that our display of force would cower them and lead to any sort of lasting safety. Zero. These people have never gotten a bloody nose and gone back to their holes. They have always used the attacks as yet another recruiting call and furtherance of their grudge against the West.

          1. So I guess I am at a loss. We did go in, and stayed for now, for over 14 years. For what? Nothing. So had we overthrown the Taliban and then left, how would we be worse off than we are now?

            Or should we do nothing at all when a government provides financial support for a terrorist organization responsible for the largest attack on US civilians ever (and harbors the leader of that organization)?

      2. What concessions? We can’t even get Puerto Rico to deal with their own shit, what are we gonna do to control Syria?

        1. I am not saying “control”. But for starters:
          1) Allow US inspections for chemical weapons. Whenever and wherever we want.
          2) End support for Hezbollah (I know Iran is the real source of funding, but most of it goes through Syria.)
          3) Give up their ridiculous claim to the Golan Heights.

          1 and 3 can be agreed upon before doing anything. The details of 2 would have to be worked out, but that would be the requirement.

          I am not even saying we should be in there. But if are involved, then these are the things we should be trying to get.

  7. “””If you’re just waiting to train the Afghans to be policemen and the military,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told Reason in 2013, “it’s taken 11 years already. You can train a monkey to ride a bicycle in less time.”””

    I envision this story appearing on some Pentagon staffer’s desk and him grabbing, “The Red Phone” and saying, “General!… apparently we have a leak in Biker-Monkey program…”

  8. if you watch Restrepo and still think we should still be there, I don’t know what to tell you. And they made that movie SIX YEARS ago.

    1. The events featured in the film Restrepo actually took place in 2007

      1. I know but the movie didn’t come out until 2010. That it’s been almost ten years since the events took place only makes it worse.

    2. Oh man, that movie. I told my wife about it and she said, “You know I hate war movies” to which I replied, “Which is why you’ll love this one.”

  9. If American and Afghan commanders had consulted Cytotoxic this would all be a different story. We’d have the Taliban living peacefully at a refugee camp in upstate New York generating unfathomable amounts of wealth to contribute to American prosperity, meanwhile Afghanistan would be bombed until it magically became a western democracy.

    1. I’ve never understood this. The same guy who, when he was sitting in Somalia, was only worthy of eating a Hellfire from a Reaper, is now going to turn into a perfect Rotarian the second he steps off the charity flight onto the ground in Minneapolis.

      And how is a dirt-poor former resident of MENA, with little education and often possessing a culture actively hostile to the majority culture in the States, a better candidate for immigration than, say, a Russian doctor, or Danish tool and die maker, or Japanese financier? If bound and determined to let in the former, then dammit, repeal the 1965 Immigration Act and let in folks who might actually raise the median income and education level in this country.

      1. “The same guy who, when he was sitting in Somalia, was only worthy of eating a Hellfire from a Reaper, is now going to turn into a perfect Rotarian the second he steps off the charity flight onto the ground in Minneapolis.”

        The reasoning is based on the Magic Dirt Theory, which postulates that American soil contains chemical factors which calm and civilize any foreigner whose feet come in contact with it.

  10. “We’ve got some brand new A.N.S.F. rifles, never been fired, only dropped once!”

    1. “We captured some of their armored vehicles as well; they have seven reverse gears.”

      1. It’s pretty amazing how they can swap the tranny on a Hummer to do that.

        1. The trick is to install the final drive upside down.

  11. Seriously, what the fuck are we still doing there? We are accomplishing nothing. There is the argument that we can’t completely leave without looking like we are retreating. Perhaps, but someone needs to teach the administration about the concept of “sunk costs”. In addition, staying there ineffectually just makes us look weak. Get it over with.

  12. We should have put Dostum in charge.

    At least he was enthusiastic. Supposedly after Afghanistan was liberated he asked the US “so where are we going next?”

    What a throw back to a simpler time.

      1. +1 machine-gunned shipping container full of prisoners.

        1. A simpler time. Back when you had thrones of skulls, etc.

        2. meh. i’ve read a bit about that incident and it was never clear to me that Dostum personally influenced that in any significant way

          1. That guy is a stone cold killer – he, Hekmatyar Gulbuddin, all of ’em. I wouldn’t piss on one of them if they were on fire.

            1. would never argue that he wasn’t.

              nor would i put it past Dostum and any of his peers to do something like that if they were so inclined. Its just that its not clear that anybody actually ordered it, or that it was even coordinated, and that anyone above the footsoldier-level was aware of it until the bodies fell out of containers in piles and someone went ‘whoops’.

      2. That Wikipedia article shows just how fucked up that region is. Dostum fought for and against numerous warlords constantly. He regularly handed supposed “allies” over to supposed “enemies” and once handed his region over to the Taliban.

        There are no ideals on which to build a nation in Afghanistan. The only ideals are militant Jihad and a mushy network of self-interested strongmen looking to create their own nation state.

  13. FACT: President Obama has a plan to get us out of Afghanistan by 2014. Romney does not.

  14. Well, you know, if we don’t fight the terrorists over there, we’ll have to fight them here at home…

    1. Good thing we’re fighting them over there, then. With all this workplace violence here, I don’t know if we could handle terrorism too.

      1. Then again, it might be more convenient to have all the fighting in one place…

  15. Afghanistan used to be a prosperous country.

    Back in antiquity when their lapuz lazulli and other minerals were in high demand, and then later when the Silk Road ran through Bactria.

    I think we could have done a better job there simply buying all the opium they could grow.

    1. Yes. My five year plan would have been: Sell us all the opium you can grow in uears one and two. Grow whatver you want in years 3-5, but we’ll give you the best year’s opium money no matter what. If you grow opium, you have to give it to us to get your subsidy. If you choose to grow something else, sell it on the open market and keep all the money. If you try to cheat us, we’ll burn your crops and seize your land.

      1. Just as our aping of British Empire’s “Great Game” in Central Asia turned out to be disastrous, what makes you think aping the Opium Wars would have been any different?

        1. I’m sure there would be crazy unintended consequences, but the idea is that you want the villagers to have a major incentive to help the US and not the Taliban.

          “Those Americans buy all of our cash crop – turn in the people who harm them” vs. “They come and burn our crops and we have no idea why they are here.”

          I’m still not sure this would work.

        2. Because we don’t have British accents

            1. Americans are better pirates. We wouldn’t have just built Hong Kong and destroyed the Pirate Fleets of Formosa. We’d need a grand and stupid gesture like letting an aircraft carrier be captured and then setting off on a daring raid to scurtle it Decatur style.

            2. Aaaaaaaand we have:

              1. Better porn
              2. Unlimited cartons of Maralboro Reds
              3. Better teeth

              Should I go on?

              1. More lizards?

        3. I don’t. It was better than “burn their livlihood and tell them to suck it up without any positive incentive.” Also, I’m not sure their alternate suppliers could have made it five years.

          It also assumes that being God-Emperor, I would have gone there in the first place. Of course there would be unforseen problems with it. I just think a lot of people would have been happy to be paid for opium while grazing goats and selling them dor profit as well. I could be wrong and probably am.

  16. You know else had to pull troops out of a region that was previously conquered…

    1. Daenerys Targaryen?

    2. Emperor Augustus?

      1. +1 Lost Eagles

        1. “Quintili Vare, legiones redde!”

    3. Napoleon?

      1. Dynamite or Bonaparte?

        1. +1 delicious bass

    4. John Holmes?

      1. Those regions were previously unconquered.

        1. I don’t know – i rather suspect that most of the regions he conquered had been conquered many, many times before.

          1. Not the last two inches.

    5. JEB!?

    6. Emporer Xerxes?

    7. Santa Anna?

  17. Palm Coast is just south of me. Anyone seen Florida Man lately?……pizza-shop

    A disagreement over cheesy garlic knots sparked a melee inside a Palm Coast pizzeria and led to four arrests late Friday night, according to deputy reports.

    1. Also known as Friday.

  18. Plenty of crazy here. A 17 year old gets into a confrontation at his own house with his girlfriend’s other lover, shoots the other guy dead, and then kills himself at the Sheriff’s office where his mother brought him to turn himself in. And now the idiot who got shot is going to be made a murdered hero because he served in the Army.

    1. The deputy who witnessed the shooting has been placed on administrative leave so he can “clear his head and make sure he’s OK” before returning to work, Collier added. The deputy did not fire his weapon during the incident.

      Disappointed he couldn’t cap the dude himself.

      1. Yes. The cops were not the bad guys here. In fact, they appear to be acting like human beings towards the poor mother as well.

  19. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Click This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ?

  20. Well they don’t want to get trained. They want to show up to the US sponsored and US led training class and collect their check. Who wouldn’t?

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