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Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?

- DR. Abdul-Qayum Mohmand

Analysis of “CIA World Factbook” (1981-2012): Dimensions of anti-Pashtun Conspirac

Afghan Fury at Planned Pakistan Pact
What Happens When the U.S. Leaves Afghanistan?
Trying to leave Afghanistan proves to be as troublesome as being there: A Closer Look
Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”
Zero Dark Thirty Review-Analysis; Eleven Instances of Disinformation
Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?
US forces in Afghanistan nearly destroyed vital airfield
We Are Those Two Afghan Children, Killed by NATO While Tending Their Cattle
Former Islamist Warlord Vies for Afghan Presidency
Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process
Losing the War in Afghanistan
Obama’s troop increase for Afghan war was misdirected
Afghan security vacuum feared along "gateway to Kabul"
Objections to U.S. Troops Intensify in Afghanistan
The Great Afghan corruption scam
War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt
Was Osama for Real? And Was He Killed in 2001?
Afghanistan withdrawal: The risks of retreat
The Real Reason the US Invaded Afghanistan
The Definition of a Quagmire
Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan
Controversial ID Cards Expose Ethnic Divisions In Afghanistan
Afghanistan: The Final Curtain Call for NATO?
Afghanistan After 9/11: A Mission Unaccomplished
Why Should Taliban and Other Insurgents Refrain from Negotiation With the US & NATO? By: Dr Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, Ph

Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan.

Intrigue in Karzai Family as an Afghan Era Closes
For Afghans, Two Outrages, Two Different Reactions
Double blow to west’s Afghan strategy
Does the Taliban need a diplomatic voice?
Afghanistan: Lessons in War and Peace-building for US
Afghan women opposed by former allies
Q+A - Haqqani: From White House guest to staunch U.S. enemy
Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network -BBC
Afghanistan shelves plans for ambassador accused of fraud
Afghan nominated as ambassador to Britain was accused in US of fraud
U.S. deal with Taliban breaks down
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own

NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

On the Road: Interview with Commander Abdul Haq:- The Tragedy of Abdul Haq
When the Lion Roared: How Abdul Haq Almost Saved Afghanistan
Pakistan’s ISI: Undermining Afghan self-determination since 1948
Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
M. Siddieq Noorzoy
Why Isn’t the UN Investigating and Prosecuting the U.S. and NATO for War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan?
Corruption and Warlordism:
Abdul Basir Stanikzai
In Afghanistan, U.S. contracts aren’t crystal balls, but they come close
The great Afghan carve-up
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices
Q+A-Are Afghan forces ready to take over security?
Guantánamo Bay files rewrite the story of Osama bin Laden's Tora Bora escape
Winning Afghan hearts, minds with explosives
Afghanistan’s Mercenaries
Who is winning Afghanistan war? U.S. officials increasingly disagree
Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition
From the Archives: In Quest of a ‘Greater Tajikistan’
The 1980s mujahideen, the Taliban and the shifting idea of jihad
Afghanistan's Karzai complains about interference
Karzai, US ambassador at odds over private security

Karzai Tells Washington Post U.S. Should Reduce Afghan Operation Intensity

Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
What the Afghans Want
New US approach to Afghanistan insurgency: Vindication for Pakistan?
Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Afghans 'abused at secret prison
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq
Indo-Pakistan proxy war heats up in Afghanistan
Canada’s elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan
U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder
Five myths about the war in Afghanistan
Marine who resigned over ‘conscience’ speaks at MU
The Afghan media may have grown since Taliban rule ended, but not so press freedoms
Mystery holes and angry ants: another Afghan day
Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan
Marjah War
Operation Moshtarak: Which way the war in Afghanistan?
Q&A: Why Marjah, why now?
In Jalalabad, hope is fading
Seeking reconciliation, US units meet remote Afghanistan tribes
Once Again, Get the Hell Out! "Ending the War in Afghanistan"
Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fraudulently Billed American Tax Payers
Wild West Motif Lightens US Mood at Afghan Bas
In southern Afghanistan, even the small gains get noticed
 Afghanistan war: US tries to undercut Taliban at tribal level
 Soviet lessons from Afghanistan
Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point
Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say
Q&A: Who else could help in Afghanistan?
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
Washington's Refusal to Talk about Drone Strikes in Pakistan Meets Growing Opposition
Afghanistan summit: Why is the US backing talks with the Taliban?
Taliban's leadership council runs Afghan war from Pakistan
Why buy the Taliban?
2 Afghanistan conferences: No solutions
An Alternative to Endless War - Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
Afghanistan asks ex-presidential contender to tackle corruption

Tehran Sets Conditions For Attending London Conference On Afghanista

Pakistan says reaches out to Afghan Taliban
Taking It to the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders
How significant is Mullah Baradar's arrest?
Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander
What's the Quetta Shura Taliban and why does it matter?
What's behind latest Taliban attack on Kabul? See Images of the Attack By WSJ

Pakistan Version of Islam and Taliban ?????
Lahore fashion week takes on Talibanization in Pakistan

Loyalties of Those Killed in Afghan Raid Remain Unclear

After Attack, Afghans Question Motives or See Conspiracies
Gates: Taliban part of Afghan ‘political fabric’

IG: Afghan power-plant project ill-conceived, mismanaged

Taliban intensifies Afghan PR campaign

Taliban Overhaul Their Image in Bid to Win Allies
Karzai plans to woo Taliban with 'land, work and pensions'
Peace scheme mooted for Taliban
Bombs and baksheesh
But By All Means, Continue the Happy Talk on the Afghanistan War
Karzai Closing in on Taliban Reconciliation Plan
Last Exit Kabul
How To Get Out Without Forsaking Afghanistan's Stability
Afghan Recovery Report: Taleban Buying Guns From Former Warlords

'Jesus Guns': Two More Countries Rethink Using Weapons with Secret Bible References

Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Text of Joint declaration of Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan trilateral meeting
Garmsir Protest Shows Taleban Reach
Rugged North Waziristan harbors US enemies
The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed ( The Untold Story of Afghanistan )
Appointment of Afghan counter narcotics chief dismays British officials
In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant
Rebuilding Afghanistan: Will government take hold in this post-Taliban town?
Rare bird discovered in Afghan mountains
Blackwater, now called Xe, in running for work in Afghanistan despite legal woes
How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace
Afghan children 'die in fighting'
Afghanistan war: Russian vets look back on their experience
U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai 
Learning From the Soviets
U.S. faults Afghan corruption body's independence
Intensify fight against corruption, says Afghan meeting
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
U.S. Air Force Confirms 'Beast of Kandahar' Secret Stealth Drone Plane
Kissinger's fantasy is Obama's realit
Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Talking with the Taliban
20. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart
'Yes, there was torture and people were certainly beaten': Afghan warden
Why we should leave Afghanistan
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
A Plan C for Afghanistan
Finding decent cabinet is Karzai's big challenge
A way to get around Karzai in Afghanistan
Corruption fight boosted by 'Afghan FBI'
US demands Afghan 'bribery court'
Afghanistan plans court for corrupt ministers
The man leading Afghanistan's anti-corruption fight
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Gates blocks abuse photos release
New U.S. Afghan prison unveiled, rights groups wary
War in Afghanistan: Not in our name
How the US Funds the Taliban
Afghan gov't says UN representative out of line
Cabinet of Warlords
Afghanistan and the lessons of history
Clinton says Karzai ‘must do better’
Recognizing the Limits of American Power in Afghanistan
After Afghanistan election, governors seek distance from 'illegal' Karzai
Karzai was hellbent on victory. Afghans will pay the price
Matthew Hoh: Please refute what I'm saying, we are stuck in the Afghan civil war
As US looks for exit in Afghanistan, China digs in
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
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Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
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Ashraf Ghani- Afghanistan's Disputed Election Complicates U.S. Strategy

On Assignment: Into the Maw at Marja

Patrick Witty & Tyler Hicks
The New York Times

Afghanistan Cross Road CNN

The last frontier

Bruce Richardson


CIA: Buying peace in Afghanistan?

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
CIA Ghost Money: Karzai Confirms U.S. Gives Funds To Afghan National Security Team
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Getting Out of Afghanistan: Part 2
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Afghan brain drain fears as Karzai urges education reforms

US considers launching joint US-Afghan raids in Pakistan to hunt down militant groups

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Leaked NATO Report Shows Pakistan Support For Taliban
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Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Daoud Sultanzoy, Tolo Television
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A comment on the recent events of student poisoning in Afghanistan
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Afghanistan’s Peace Talks Hit Brick Wall
King Karzai
A Federal System of Government is Not Suitable for Afghanistan
Analysis: Where Afghan humanitarianism ends and development begins
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For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
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Troops 'fighting for UK's future'
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Afghan presidential candidate withdraws in Karzai's favor
America and international law
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For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
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Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Karzai’s gimmick
Well-known traffickers set free ahead of election
US president sets Afghan target
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Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
The Irresistible Illusion
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit
We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
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Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Echoes of Vietnam
A Response To General Dostum
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US president sets Afghan target
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Afghanistan's Election Challenges
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We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan

The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
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$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse
Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
Fierce Battles and High Casualties on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
End the Illegal, Immoral and Wasted War in Afghanistan, says BNP Defence Spokesman
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Pakistan's Plans for New Fight Stir Concern
France: liberty, equality, and fraternity – but no burqas





Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
Will history repeat itself in Afghanistan?

British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again



Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
The Human Toll

A look at the impact of the war on terror in Afghanistan

Source: Newsweek - By: John Barry, Ron Moreau, And Sami Yousafzai
Afghanistan is now Obama's War. He promoted it in his election campaign as the good war (in contrast to Iraq, the bad war). He sealed his ownership of it by ratifying his predecessor's decision to send more troops. His incoming staff dismissed prophecies that Afghanistan risked becoming a quagmire like Vietnam—consuming ever-larger numbers of troops for a steadily receding political goal—as unwarranted gloom. But as a make-or-break offensive gets underway in Afghanistan designed to neutralize the Taliban ahead of next month's presidential elections, similarities to Vietnam already loom.

The epicenter is Helmand province. Helmand has strategic value: it guards the southern approaches to the capital, Kabul; it produces nine tenths of the opium crop that funds the Taliban; and the Taliban have held sway there for years. Tactically, the problem is that Helmand, sharing a border with Pakistan, offers the Taliban (and their allies) access or withdrawal at will.

Operation Khanjar, as the U.S. offensive in Helmand is called, is already showing the hallmarks of failure. The 4,000 Marines there are finding it all but impossible to engage Taliban fighters in significant numbers; British troops, meanwhile, are getting picked off.

These are, of course, early days, and painful years in Iraq have left the U.S. military vastly smarter in counterinsurgency than the "search and destroy" tactics of Vietnam. But what's taking shape in Helmand province looks like an old story—two old stories, actually. As in much of Iraq through 2006, the U.S. has enough troops in Helmand to clear visible adversaries but not to hold the captured territory. In a Pentagon briefing of striking candor, the Helmand commander, Marine Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, acknowledged last week, "You can't be everywhere."

As in Vietnam a generation ago, the Marines are mounting dramatic helicopter-borne sweeps to get behind and cut off Taliban forces, but the Taliban are largely avoiding battle and melting away in classic insurgent fashion. "I can't tell you where they went," Nicholson said.

Some Taliban fighters will have sunk back into the local population, but others will have retreated across the open border. Pakistan has no forces there to deny them that sanctuary. CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus had hoped for a "hammer and anvil" strategy with Pakistan (U.S. forces in Afghanistan as the hammer; Pakistani forces as the anvil). But Pakistan's regular Army is tied down in a grinding struggle to drive insurgents from its tribal areas, while its frontier force is either unable or unwilling (probably both) to take on the retreating Taliban. Victory, in any useful sense, will likely prove elusive in Helmand.

Unlike Iraq before the surge, there are probably enough American troops in Helmand, at least to clear the territory. What Nicholson lacks, however, are the Afghan troops crucial to the next phase: occupying it. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it," he said. "The fact of the matter is, I—we—don't have enough Afghan forces, and I'd like more," ideally as many Afghans as U.S. troops. Instead, he has not quite 650 to parcel out among his 4,000 Marines. But, Nicholson said, more "are just not available right now."

That shouldn't be the case: Americans have supposedly trained 82,000 Afghan troops. Of these, according to a Pentagon report in January, 43,000 were thought to be capable of operating either independently or with support. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai committed only a fraction of these to the biggest anti-Taliban offensive since 2002. American commanders in Afghanistan have pleaded for more, Nicholson indicated. "We've made, frankly, as good a case as possible," he said. But "the decisions about where these Afghan forces will go are not made by any U.S. commander. They are made by the Afghans. This is a sovereign government."

This should sound familiar. A sovereign government less willing to fight insurgents than the U.S. forces trying to support it summons, of course, uneasy memories of Vietnam. What it means in Helmand is that the Marines are largely blind. Nicholson knows he needs native help to find the Taliban who are hiding among the population: "Another reason you want Afghan troops is because they can see guys on the street and tell you that this guy's not a local. … We're never going to be able to do that. But they can identify that [guy] right away. So it takes away the enemy's ability to hide."

NEWSWEEK's Sami Yousafzai, who has been in contact with Taliban leaders in Helmand, reports, "They claim that so far they don't see the Marines' offensive as anything that seriously threatens them. One commander is continuing to build a new house in Helmand while he commands his fighters. Others say their men are hiding their weapons, pretending to be simple villagers and at night planting what they call 'flowers'—IEDs hidden along the roads that allied forces will travel." (A spike in the number of IEDs is causing most allied casualties in Helmand.)

U.S. commanders hope that the Taliban will eventually have to show themselves to harvest opium, which Nicholson calls "the engine that drives the Taliban." But the opium is harvested by hundreds of small farmers. "The Taliban leaders think that once the Marines and the Afghan security forces start confiscating caches of opium in people's houses—their livelihoods and the only security that they will be able to feed their children—villagers will be more than happy to help the Taliban," Yousafzai reports. Plus, the locals know that, whatever the U.S. promises now, the Marines will eventually move on, whereas the Taliban won't.

As in Vietnam, the question of how many troops the U.S. must commit to Afghanistan is already shaping up as a political quandary for President Obama. In March, he agreed to send 17,000 additional combat troops, plus another 4,000 to train the Afghans, bringing the total to 68,000. The White House has made it clear that Obama will not welcome calls for more. Yet the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, already believes he needs several thousand more. He reportedly wants to double the size of the Afghan Army from the planned 134,000. That would cost billions of dollars and require thousands more Americans to train them. Inevitably, the question after that will be how many U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan until those Afghan forces can take over.

In the meantime, the Brits are in trouble. British forces went into Helmand in early 2006 under orders from Prime Minister Gordon Brown to minimize casualties. So those 5,000 hunkered down in three firebases in northern Helmand, and accomplished little. Now they've been ordered to support the U.S. offensive. But the Taliban, apparently realizing that the Brits are the weaker link, have targeted them: 15 dead in 10 days—eight in one day—with three times that number in disabling injuries, according to one British source. Their commander, too, now wants more troops—to say nothing of more and better equipment. (Budget cuts have left them with so few helicopters that they have to beg for rides from Americans, and their vehicles are poorly armored against the IEDs.)

The latest poll suggests that two of three Britons support pulling out of Afghanistan. As casualties mount, so will the pressure on Brown to set a withdrawal date. The White House is sufficiently alarmed by this prospect that President Obama has been trying to give Brown both public and private support. But General McChrystal's report on the situation, due in August, is likely to present Obama with his own set of political challenges. Obama's War isn't going well.


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