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Wednesday, February 15

Reductio ad absurdum

"Pundita, [Re February 10 Pundita post, Amrullah Saleh on Afghanistan's neglected majority] please explain what majority [Amrullah] refers to, in terms other than a poll. I'm not an A'stan vet, I'm an Iraq vet, but I don't see any government or country worth mentioning. My counsel is GTFO ['Get the fuck out']; if we must return it is as Jackson not Wilson. Do I have it wrong?
B Doran"

B Doran:
I'm not clear on exactly what you mean by your question about Afghanistan's majority. So this might not be the kind of answer you're looking for, but for the record:

You don't have to take the word of pollsters to be assured that the majority of Afghans don't want Taliban to have a say in running the country. All you need do is note that the majority of Afghans insist that Pakistan controls the Afghan Taliban, and stack this against the persistent efforts of NATO and Pakistan's military to discredit the widely held belief. I can't recall offhand whether NATO spokesmen have ever specifically referred to the belief as 'paranoid' but they've consistently and clearly implied that's the case, as has Pakistan's military.

"The Afghans see us behind every rock," said one Pak brass -- or maybe he said "every tree," but the point is that Afghans do see Pakistanis behind every rock and tree. So whether or not these sightings are imaginary, the majority of Afghans believe that Pakistan has been using the Afghan Taliban to wreak mayhem on their country with the aim of controlling it.

Ergo, the majority of Afghans, to include the Afghan Pashtun, don't want the Taliban to have a say, if for no other reason than the belief that Afghan Taliban are Rawalpindi's puppets. NATO and its various member regimes should remember that, the next time they argue that most Pashtuns sympathize with the Taliban.

They should recall the same point whenever they field the argument that NATO can't win the war in Afghanistan because historically Afghans have never stop fighting foreign occupiers in their country. I'm not sure this view of Afghanistan's history is entirely correct. But following the logic of the argument, we're left to conclude that Afghans will never stop fighting Pakistan's occupation of their country, real or imagined as the case may be.

I think I completely understand the second part of your question, which I'll answer in the next post. I'll sign off by posing you a question. If Pakistan does indeed occupy Afghanistan via Taliban proxies, then who are the true insurgents?

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I think the first part of my question was answered...and I'll accept that Afghans don't want Pak proxies running their country, especially those Pak proxies. It doesn't answer what is to be done? I haven't been there, but everything seems to point to the "Mayor of Kabul" as he's referred to on the Mil side as being completely ineffective and having lost the faith of all. MG Fuller comes to mind. The mil opinion of ANA is it falls apart when we leave, and that the Afghan police are worse than useless. The Soviets and the Taliban did a good job of destroying the rural gentry and probably most any potential oppo, so the heir of Rhoxane who wins will be the strongest - that would point to the Taliban. I also don't think there is a country so much as a geographical expression. And I doubt BTW that Saleh would be much different, if he is he won't hold power. Finally the Paks and their proxies are committed, we and our proxies aren't. So here we are. I look forward to the next part of your answer.

We're leaving in any case, hate to break your heart. Our efforts now should be to get our interpreters et al safe refuge.
American Raj: this isn't us.

We can either as you noted impose not only democracy but entire societal change at B-17 and bayonet point, or fail at trying lesser means. Have their been many successes - yes. I can't think of one where we installed a govt and it succeeded without a period of real military occupation and administration first ala Germany or Japan.

We don't do Raj - we run it or we fail.
"American Raj: this isn't us" -- words to print on a T-shirt. Yes indeed, the American Raj was a terrible disappointment to the Pakistanis. [chuckle].
Are you defining the second part of my question as Jackson vs Wilson? That should be entertaining.

I don't believe an effective Afghan Army can be built by our own Army and it has nothing to do with sanctuaries. The sanctuary and proxy war argument is a different one, but building an Army is not the answer, IMO.

My reference for this is the many articles showing poor metrics (if you look behind the spin) and the comments of returning veterans from the region. Building an army was the wrong way to go from the beginning, but again, I may be wrong.
I've seen mixed vet comments on the ANA. On the Afghan police it's devastating. Well that's key in whatever kind of insurgency we're fighting.

I think this is a done deal. That doesn't mean we'll leave the country completely - I doubt that we'd risk a Saigon scenario - not after 911. I also don't think the Taliban could take the country, and there's India to consider.

But we need to break the as is relationship with these bums.
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