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What is ''the mission'' in Afghanistan?

by wasteofo2
Tags: afghanistan, mission
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russ_watters
#55
Mar21-12, 10:38 PM
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Quote Quote by jim hardy View Post
and the universe replied,
Oy, thanks for pointing that out! I had a credit card # stolen a few weeks ago and haven't updated the website in a year since getting a new email address, so they couldn't notify me I hadn't paid my bill! Hope i don't lose my domain name!
BobG
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Mar22-12, 06:20 AM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Well I guess our reputation is improving: usta be assumed that the Evil Americans were invading to steal the resources. Now the Evil Americans are invading for the priveledge to buy the resources!
This is "heads I win, tails you lose" strategy.

Tapping into and selling those resources are Afghanistan's only real chance to achieve some economic stability - an economic stability that would make political stability more desirable to the different groups in Afghanistan. Without some economic stability (based on something more substantial than opium production), there's no reason, nor any hope for the different Aghani factions to participate in a government run by a rival.

But, if Western countries help Afghanistan tap into those resources and buy those resources, then those resources must have been the real reason for invading.

Helping Afghanistan become economically self-sufficient is about the only good thing Western countries could do for Afghanistan. (Not that Afghanistan's economy should the primary reason for the US military to throw out the Taliban - the military should be used to further US strategic objectives; not some other country's economic objectives.)
russ_watters
#57
Mar22-12, 11:53 AM
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Quote Quote by BobG View Post
Helping Afghanistan become economically self-sufficient is about the only good thing Western countries could do for Afghanistan. (Not that Afghanistan's economy should the primary reason for the US military to throw out the Taliban - the military should be used to further US strategic objectives; not some other country's economic objectives.)
One need not attach any altruistic motive to the US's actions in Afghanistan*. While the potential outcome of the US's actions (if successful, of course) for ordinary Afghans is awesomely awesome, it isn't any reason - much less the primary one - for the US to still be there. It is nothing more than a recognition that it is in our long-term national security interest to see our conquered enemies become stable and prosperous. A stable, prosperous Afghanistan means no Taliban, no al Qaeda and a populace that has a good enough standard of living that they are too busy enjoying life to be hateful and look for people to blame for their poor quality of life. This isn't a new or unique idea:

When nationalism ruled the conduct of nations, the losers in war were typically punished, with the inevitable result being hatred and the desire for revenge. Wilson tried to change that way of thinking, and his limited success helped pave the way for Hitler's rise and WWII. But things did change after WWII and that change, IMO, had a lot to do with why there was no WWIII. Instead of punishing Germany, we rebuilt her and installed a friendly, democratic government and the world is a much better place because of it. But again, this was not done out of altruism: we did it for peace with Germany and through that, defense against the USSR in Europe. Still, the outcome for ordinary West Germans was unequivocably positive, as compared to what their Eastern counterparts got from the USSR. That's the difference between a true puppet (East Germany->USSR) and an ally (West Germany->USA).

*I am not one who believes that there are many actions that are fully altruistic: most actions contain benefit for the person doing them, even if that benefit is just to feel good about what they are doing. Still, some actions have limited benefit for those doing them and those actions are somewhat altruistic. That can even include war: I did once forward an idea I had for the West or just the US to pick a different roque government somewhere in the world every five years to be transformed into a democracy. IMO, that's just an assertive twist on the of the passive position we currently hold that has resulted in us entering perhaps a half dozen mostly altruistic wars over the past 20 years.
jim hardy
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Mar22-12, 02:49 PM
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Gosh, i wish i'd said that.

If you heard Truman's speech where he said to effect "We're not going to punish and humiliate Germany and Japan. We're going to help them climb back to a respectable position in the world." it makes more sense.

He remembered why WW2 followed out of WW1 .
Astronuc
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Mar22-12, 07:56 PM
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Something to think about -

Ahmed Rashid - Pakistan on the Brink (Pakistan and Afghanistan are inextricably linked)
http://wamc.drupal.publicbroadcastin...kistan-brink-0

Ahmed Rashid: Pakistan Lurches From Crisis To Crisis
http://www.npr.org/2012/03/20/148605...isis-to-crisis
russ_watters
#60
Mar22-12, 10:02 PM
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Quote Quote by jim hardy View Post
and the universe replied,
Fixed!
Gokul43201
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Mar23-12, 06:11 PM
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I think the one real and significant shift on the ground in Afghanistan is that Karzai is now quite strongly demanding a big change in NATO's operating parameters (requiring that troops be removed from all rural areas and be stationed only in a few large urban bases, etc.). Or at least that's what I recall hearing in the news during the immediate aftermath of the shootings. Wonder how that's been developing since. Such a significant gulf between the expectations of the local governing body and the occupying military force can be quite problematic.
alt
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Mar28-12, 08:55 AM
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http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/

As US soldier Robert Bales is charged with murdering 17 Afghan civilians, Dateline gets unprecedented access to the survivors and the investigation.


This is fascinating - and quite perculiar. Reporter Yalda Hakim got into the village and spoke to villagers. Several said they were certain Bales did not act alone, and that they saw other soldiers acting with him.

It really fires up the imagination !

Edit - more specific link ..
http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story...-of-a-Massacre
mheslep
#63
Mar28-12, 03:16 PM
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Brief anecdote: good friend of mine was on the special forces detail assigned to Karsai back in ~2002 or so. According to him, Karsai was working as a maître d' in a Baltimore, Md restaurant before becoming Mr President. Wiki says that Karsai's siblings emigrated to the US in during the Soviet invasion, and that, after his father was assassinated, in "2000 and 2001, he traveled to Europe and the United States to help gather support for the anti-Taliban movement." but provides no more detail.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Karzai#Early_career
ThomasT
#64
Mar31-12, 12:45 AM
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Quote Quote by BobG View Post
Opium production is one of the means insurgent groups raise money for their insurrections (and not just in Afghanistan).

The Taliban made it a point to crack down heavily on opium production to starve its rival groups of money and was surprisingly successful. But their success would be the exception; not the country's rate of production during the US occupation.

And, of course, now that the Taliban is one of the insurgent groups, it relies on the same drug trade it had managed to suppress.

Long term, there has to be an economic alternative to opium production for rurual Afghanistan residents. The lack of that economic alternative is a reason that country is in the state its in.

Major crackdowns (such as the Taliban's) only work temporarily and wouldn't work well at all for an outside force (such as the US or NATO). A major crackdown by an outside force would just be invaders oppressing the residents and driving them into poverty.

Opium production is a sign of how effective or ineffective the US occupation has been. But, suggesting a US departure would lower opium production is a gross overstatement.
Your points are taken. Whether US departure would lower opium production is an empirical question, which, it seems, we'll learn the answer to within 3 to 4 years.
ThomasT
#65
Mar31-12, 01:32 AM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
How would the removal of US/NATO troops make the heroin/poppy problem better?
Don't know. Just wondering. There seems to be a positive correlation between US occupation of Afghanistan and that country's opium production.

Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
If the Taliban takes over again, they *might* return to banning Poppy and chopping off the hands/legs/heads of the growers. Is that better?
Better than what?
ThomasT
#66
Mar31-12, 01:48 AM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
IMO, that's just an assertive twist on the of the passive position we currently hold that has resulted in us entering perhaps a half dozen mostly altruistic wars over the past 20 years.
I do think that individuals sometimes exhibit what might be called altruistic behavior. But I don't think that countries, wrt national policies and actions, ever do this.
ThomasT
#67
Mar31-12, 04:05 AM
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Anyway, whatever the military missiion is, or was, in Afghanistan, it's apparently going to be over in a couple of years. But I would guess that there's still going to be a significant private US economic influence in Afghanistan. Deals will be made with the Taliban. US companies, and the Taliban, will profit.
BobG
#68
May3-12, 10:31 PM
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Quote Quote by ascension777 View Post
We need to defeat Al-Qaeda and the Talibans of course! They have done enough evil in this world. They have themselves to blame, they should never have flewn those planes into the twin towers to start with!
Two separate groups. Al-qaeda flew planes into the WTC. The Taliban stood in between the US and al-qaeda.

That said, the Taliban, Pakistani forces, and al-qaeda fought together against other Aghani groups during Afghanistan's virtually never ending civil war. And the Taliban is a very oppressive group, especially towards women in Afghanistan. There's little to like about their group.

But, technically, they were not part of the terrorist acts against the US.
mheslep
#69
May4-12, 01:05 PM
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I have difficulty gauging Taliban strength from news reports. The recent Taliban bombings are tragic, though I don't know that they indicate any military change. That is, sending round the odd random suicide bomber is one thing, taking and holding a city which was previously targeted indiscriminately by your suicide bombers is another.
ThomasT
#70
May9-12, 08:00 AM
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http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defa...signedtext.pdf
influx
#71
May9-12, 04:17 PM
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I think its to stop the spread of Shariah law across Muslim countries and the reestablishment of the Islamic Caliphate which would be disastrous for the West.
edward
#72
May9-12, 05:48 PM
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The dynamics in Afghanistan took a strange turn last Summer. There are large deposits of rare earths in Afghanistan.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...d-beat-taliban


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