Progress in Afghanistan

  1. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    This situation in Afghanistan deserves it's own thread, since although it is one of two states in which which the US military is involved in direct conflict with entities designated as terrorists in the 'War on Terror', it is quite different from Iraq.

    In an article, Joel Fitzgibbon, Australia's new Minister for Defense, outlines the challenge and the need for a strategic plan to secure democracy and stability in Afghanistan.

  2. jcsd
  3. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

  4. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    The US and Europeans are 'outsiders' in Afghanistan and the region, and they've had a rather poor history of meddling there. The US and NATO are caught between a rock and a hard place.

    One of the biggest challenges in Afghanistan is the border regions with Iran and particularly the 'tribal areas' of Pakistan. The US and NATO cannot effectively cross the border, whereas the Taliban have no contraint.

    The external challenges to the situation in Afghanistan include the US/NATO relationship and the conflicting interests of other parties in the region.
  5. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,809
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Article 6 of the Nato treaty limits the operations of Nato to the Atlantic North of the tropic of Cancer.
    Ironically this was introduced to stop Nato being used by the British and French to pursue colonial wars in Asia for their own political purposes.
  6. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Here is some background on Afghanistan. The situation is complicated because there are competing interests within Afghanistan as well as the surrounding region.

    The main issue for the US was the connection between Taliban and Al Qaida and bin Laden, who had sanctuary in Afghanistan, and now apparently in Pakistan.

    Here is another resource on Afghanistan.

    Non-Governmental and international humanitarian organizations operating in Afghanistan

    The government and people of Afghanistan are caught between the warlords and Taliban.
  7. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The US originally funded and trained Bin Laden and his men to overthrow the Russian occupation, and it backfired on us. So this is another sticky issue with the Russians.

    I remember a documentary years ago, where a famous US news reporter filmed Bin Laden's training camp. This was LONG before 9/11. At the time it was about the noble cause of freeing Afghanistan from the Soviets.

    This link seems fairly accurate in the history, skip over the anti-US sentiments in the first 2 paragraphs.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  8. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,809
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    When I was at school we had a sports day to raise money for athletes at the 1980 moscow olympics. Since we were boycotting it because of Afghanistan they didn't get any official funding.

    Now I'm confused - was I pawn of international communism or was I fighting terrorism?
  9. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. :uhh:
  10. There are allegations of CIA contact with bin Laden, but it is by no means a fact.

    The wiki article has much better citations against the connection than for it, in my opinion.

    Both the US and Zawahiri deny working with each other, but it would be embarrassing for both parties to admit doing so - if the US would be a hypocrite for supporting future anti-US terrorists, then would not bin Laden also be a hypocrite for fighting alongside his future enemy?

    In the end, I thought the Peter Bergen piece the wiki article cites was pretty good.
  11. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    The key fact here is that al Qaida was founded in 1988, after the US support for the mujahedin. The concern in the mid-1980's was 'blowback', which was realized in the 90's.

    Frontline has another piece on the search for bin Laden.
  12. Here is a good article in two parts from the BBC showing the history leading up to the present brand of Islamic extremism
  13. National Security Decision Directive 166 from 1987, which is probably what actually authorized the CIA to train the Mujahideen to build car bombs and give them various other forms of aid, is of course still fully classified unfortunately.

    But at least it's one of the Presidential Directives we actually know the name of... Here's the list of Reagan NSDD's. NSDD 250 is another classified one from later in '87 that also has something to do with Afghanistan.

    Something of interest in the same vein I came across recently is the specifics of how the U.S. exported anthrax to Iraq (along with the various other kinds of support we gave Saddam Hussein during the 80's.)
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  14. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    It certainly appears that some who subscribe to the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam have facilitated extremism, and Saudi petrodollars have enabled that. However, one can look earlier to the writings of Sayyid Qutb.

    The current problems with Islamic militancy may be correlated with the European colonialism of the past 2-3 centuries, which could be seen as a continuation of the past millenium beginning with the First Crusade in 1095. Of course, this was not unique in history, which has involved a plethora of migrations and wars over wealth and territory.
  15. Mujahideen ≠ bin Laden

    Apparently, "Estimates are that there were about a 250,000 Afghans fighting 125,000 Soviet troops, while only 2000 Arab Afghans fought 'at any one time'"

    It is not correct to imply that US support for the Mujahideen meant support for bin Laden's groups. They were described as a "side show" to the Afghan resistance, which I tend to believe if the numbers quoted above are accurate (they are cited). In fact, many sources say Pakistan was the party who distributed the funds and weapons provided by the US, and that Pakistan did not want the US to have a say in the distribution.

    Now, there is no way for one to outright deny that the CIA supported (or even trained) bin Laden and his brethren. There could be any number of secret CIA projects that have yet to see the light of day.

    I can say that the information that is available does not tend to support the connection.

    The best I have found is that the US's support for the local Afghanistan resistance helped to create an environment in which groups like al-Qaeda could thrive, and that the international networks bin Laden helped to establish led to the emergence of al-Qaeda years, or even decades, earlier than would have otherwise been the case. This may be the "blowback" you were referring to, but it doesn't prove the CIA funded and armed bin Laden.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  16. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    True. bin Laden's group was a side show, but he was affiliated with Taliban groups.

    and that was not implied, at least not in my posts.

    Again, there was no such claim that the CIA funded bin Laden, at least not directly. **

    Then there is

    Now going back to Gulbaddin Hikmatyar (Hekmatyar), one finds a relationship with bin Laden.

    So US/CIA -> Pakistan ISI -> Hikmatyar <-> bin Laden
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  17. Talk of a troop surge in Afghanistan

    Where are we supposed to get the troops:confused:

    I can see where this is going just by looking at who does the planning.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  18. We keep creating monsters that we have to go back and kill. In the late 70's the CIA helped establish the Baath party in Iraq.
  19. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,809
    Science Advisor
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    Good job we never medled in Iran then !
  20. Are you serious. :confused: Actually we did a lot of meddling in Iran.
  21. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,809
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Irony - it's like 'goldy' or 'brassy' but made of iron
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