Thursday, February 07, 2008

Konfusion in Kabul?

General Petreaus has left me confused about Iraq, and now Secretary Gates has me stumped about Afghanistan...

In a congressional hearing yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates implied that the U.S. military had routed the Taliban from Afghanistan. Gates blathered out a rosy assessment that the Taliban has “lost” in Afghanistan and that they had been “thrown out” of the country:
The Taliban no longer occupy any territory in Afghanistan. They were thrown out of Musa Qala a few weeks ago before over Christmas. And the Taliban have had some real setbacks. Probably 50 of their leaders have been killed or captured over the past year, and we know that that’s had an impact on their capability and also on their morale.
I may be in need of some assistance here, in squaring what Rumsfeld Gates's testimony with what I read in the world press and media:
  • Bloomberg: Gates called on Germany to move troops from the comparatively placid north of Afghanistan to the Taliban-infested south -- and was rebuffed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

  • AFP: Rice, Miliband travel to heart of Taliban insurgency in Kandahar province address soldiers who are on the frontline of efforts to tackle the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgent movement.

  • The Times: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband went to Kandahar the heart of the Taliban insurgency ...

  • BBC: The Taleban now control swathes of land across south-west Afghanistan and mounted about 140 suicide attacks last year, including some in the capital Kabul.

  • Mirror: More than six years after U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban, the Islamist militia's resurgence and spiralling violence has led Washington to call on its allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, a country bigger in size and population than Iraq, but with only a third the number of foreign soldiers.

  • Turkish Weekly: NATO forces in Afghanistan are in a “strategic stalemate,” as Taliban insurgents expand their control of sparsely populated areas and as the central government fails to carry out vital reforms and reconstruction, according to an independent assessment released on January 30 by NATO’s former commander.

  • NPR: More than six years after they were toppled in Afghanistan, Taliban forces are resurgent. An average of 400 attacks occurred each month in 2006. ...
I might Google-on, if I had time.

I could not believe my bloodshot, reading eyes, so I had to hear it with my ears as well. The cacophony leaves me completely stunned.

9 Moderated Comments:

Blogger LTE said...

Time for the USA to redeploy from Iraqistan!

2/07/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

WTF does he need more troops for then? Gates has gone ga ga. Has he learned to think and speak from his backside just like Bush?

A couple of weeks ago, Gates was making a lot of noise, accusing Britain and US NATO allies of inexperience in counter insurgency warfare and all but saying that Afghanistan has become a "failed state" -- so what does he mean that Taleban have been routed?

Gobsmacking incompetence in the very least!

2/07/2008 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Condi Rice and Robert Gates have just contradicted each other!

2/07/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Btw, this was quite a scoop so I linked your story to my Euroepan Tribune diary. Hope you don't mind.

2/07/2008 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf said...

We defeated them yesterday. God willing, I will provide you with more information. I swear by God, I swear by God, those Talibans who were staying in Kandahar have been thrown into a crematorium.

Just look carefully, I only want you to look carefully. Do not repeat the lies of liars. Do not become like them.

We will slaughter them, Mullah Omar and his international gang of bastards!

2/08/2008 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, in his sleep, stumbles upon the dead elephant in the lobby of NATO headquarters. Gates said Friday that many Europeans were confused about NATO’s security mission in Afghanistan, and that they did not support the alliance effort because they opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq.

I worry that for many Europeans the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are confused. . . . I think that they combine the two. . . Many of them, I think, have a problem with our involvement in Iraq and project that to Afghanistan, and do not understand the very different — for them — the very different kind of threat.

The comments were the first in which Mr. Gates had explicitly linked European antipathy to American policy in Iraq with the reason large segments of the public here do not support the NATO operation in Afghanistan.

NYT

Finally, goddammit, it's out in the open.

2/08/2008 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Here's the scenario to which Gates alludes:

1) A, B, C, D, & E have an alliance: an attack upon one is considered an attack upon all.
2) A is attacked by Z
3) A retaliates and B, C, D, & E fulfill the terms of their alliance by responding in full support.
4) A attacks X out of the blue.

QUESTION: What are B, C, D, & E to think? More to the point, what are the publics of B, C, D, & E to think?

Gates is opening Pandora's box with this statement. Must be because he's desperate for reinforcements.

2/09/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

There's no Pandora box of any kind -- the box containing the doctrine of the Alliance is OPEN.

NATO Alliance doctrine re A B C D E is simple and clear, defensive doctrine: An attack on A is an attack ON all, i.e., ABCDE.

But if A takes it upon itself TO attack X or Y, that doctrine does not hold because the agressor is A, i.e., there's NO attack ON A, hence there's no question that BCDE should attack X or Y with A.

I agree though that "Must be because he's (Gates) desperate for reinforcements."

2/09/2008 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

If I'm not mistaken, the whole point to this scenario is the question as to whether B, C, D, and E will feel as motivated to continue their attack on Z, as long as A is frittering away its assets on X.

2/09/2008 06:04:00 PM  

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