MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

The U.S. Government Doesn’t Care About Afghan Women

Posted by M. C. on August 15, 2019

Make no mistake: The well-being of Afghan women hardly motivated the architects of the American invasion and occupation. Need proof? Here’s an ever-so-brief history lesson. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-89), the CIA not-so-secretly backed some of the worst Islamist theocrat “freedom fighters” against the Soviet-backed secular communist government then in power.

You gotta break a few eggs to build an empire.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-u-s-government-doesnt-care-about-afghan-women/

Maj. Danny Sjursen
The U.S. Government Doesn’t Care About Afghan Women
Afghan women stand outside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2006, awaiting an appearance by then-U.S. President George W. Bush. (Eric Draper / White House)

In once, and to some extent still, relatively cosmopolitan Baghdad, Iraq, I once saw three young female college students from Mustansiriyah University walking home from class. They couldn’t have been more differently clothed. One wore a full burqa that exposed only her eyes; another a hijab, a more modest head scarf without a facial veil, and a pair of jeans; the third sported a pink miniskirt and a revealing tank top with her long hair fully exposed. Still, they chatted like old friends.

By early 2007, this range of women’s clothing was already highly rare in all but the safest Baghdad neighborhoods, yet it did still happen. I remember woefully realizing that I, a 23-year-old American lieutenant, had been treated to a rare glimpse of Saddam’s largely secular (if brutal) regime that had preceded the U.S. military’s ill-fated invasion. Before Uncle Sam fractured Iraq and empowered Islamist zealots, I was often told by locals that men and women could go on dates and drink alcohol publicly in cafes along the Tigris River. But those days were gone.

Four years later, and even further east in the proverbial Greater Mideast, while patrolling rural Kandahar, Afghanistan—birthplace of the Taliban movement—I hardly even saw a solitary grown woman. There, in the backwater of a country full of backwaters, adult women were rarely seen outdoors and never without a male family member as an escort.

It was all rather archaic and made Baghdad seem as liberal as Boston. I remember one young girl with shocking blue eyes, maybe twelve, playing close to my patrol base in the nearby village of Pashmul. Watching her skip a strange, improvised jump rope gave me rare moments of innocent joy in an altogether dangerous place I shouldn’t have been in in the first place.

Then one day, she disappeared, this (to me) nameless, joyful girl, never to be seen again. Eventually I asked a village elder, who probably played both sides—Taliban and America—against the other, what had happened to the blue-eyed Afghan girl. His answer was simple: puberty. She had had her first period, was immediately deemed a “woman,” and cloistered away behind the mud walls of her family home until her father decided to marry her off—likely to a much, much older man. Such was life in rural southern Afghanistan. It seemed most of the ethnic Pashtun villagers wanted it that way.

I think about that striking young girl occasionally as I repeatedly argue for the full and rapid withdrawal of the U.S. military from Afghanistan—which is, after all, the gold standard of hopeless wars. As I’ve predicted, it seems likely the Taliban will either conquer much of the country outright in the near future or at least maintain de facto control of Afghanistan’s Pashtun-dominated south and east indefinitely. That means Afghan women in those regions, and potentially many others, will suffer.

Yet, here’s the nasty truth: When I (and some 100,000 other U.S. troops) occupied much of Afghanistan, rural women still suffered. We could scarcely alter the longstanding cultural traditions of these regions. If, at the height of Obama’s Afghan surge, the status of most (largely pastoral) women didn’t change, what hope do the remaining 14,500 or so American soldiers still there have to protect these women? And after 18 years of stalemate, if—as now seems obvious—the U.S. can’t meaningfully win this war, what point is there in pining over the fate of human rights in this landlocked Central Asian time warp?

Sure, it’s disturbing, but it’s also a solid fact of life. What’s more, militarist, interventionist mainstream foreign policy wonks’ sudden feigned concern for the fate of Afghan women is cynical bunk meant only to prolong America’s longest ever war. It was never about women’s rights or humanitarianism in general. The U.S. military and CIA invaded Afghanistan out of vengeance for the 9/11 attacks, out of a degree of uncertainty about what else to do. Someone had to pay, someone had to be bombed, and bin Laden was, well, in Afghanistan.

Treating the terror attacks as an act of war rather than an international crime was then the original sin of these forever wars. The rapid decision to shift strategy in Afghanistan from limited counter-terror operations to nation-building, counterinsurgency and prolonged military occupation ought to be considered the second sin…

Be seeing you

U.N.: Despite law, Afghan women still suffer abuse

 

 

Advertisements

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tomgram: William Astore, Military Strength Is Our National Religion | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on August 14, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176596/tomgram%3A_william_astore%2C_military_strength_is_our_national_religion/#more

Posted by William Astore

After almost 18 years of the war (or rather wars) on (or perhaps of) terror, there’s some good news! The Washington Post reports that American troops are finally coming home from Afghanistan! Actually, let me amend that slightly. They will only come home if Taliban and U.S. negotiators complete a deal by September that leads to a countrywide ceasefire (and if the Taliban agrees to certain other conditions as well). In fact, let me amend that one more time: “they” turns out to refer to the withdrawal of just about 5,000 U.S. military personnel, leaving 8,000-9,000 U.S. troops still in place after “peace” breaks out.

For Donald Trump who, years ago, repeatedly demanded that the Afghan War be ended and all American troops brought home, only to agree in mid-2017 to dispatch another 4,000 of them to that land, such a peace pact would just return U.S. troop levels to more or less what they were at that moment two years ago. In the age of Trump, that, I suppose, is the definition of “progress” in America’s never-ending wars. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to also learn that, according to the Post, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Austin Miller, is “open” to such a peace proposal precisely “because he believes it would protect U.S. interests by maintaining a counterterrorism force that can strike the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.” If one were to turn this into a riddle, it might go something like: When is a Trumpian withdrawal hardly a withdrawal at all?

On the other hand, don’t let any of this worry you. The troops may not be coming home, but the wars have been on their way here for a long time. That should have been obvious at least since, in 2014, local police, using equipment off America’s distant battlefields, made such a public splash in responding to protests in Ferguson, Missouri. From thousands of troops sent to the U.S.-Mexican border to the Pentagon spy drones that have long flown over parts of the U.S., further examples of the growing militarization of this country abound. Perhaps the most recent, as reported by the Guardian, is the news that the military is now “conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six Midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons… Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet, the balloons are intended to ‘provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats,’ according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defense company. The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather.”

As it happens, almost unnoticed, America’s twenty-first-century wars have been coming home in another way as well: in the increasingly worshipful attitudes of so many Americans (especially those in the seats of power in Washington, D.C.) toward the Pentagon and the U.S. military, as vividly described today by retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, historian, and TomDispatch regular William Astore. Tom

In Wars and Weapons We Trust
America’s Militarized Profession of Faith
By William J. Astore

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the U.S. military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over the godless Communists.

With all its scandals, especially when it came to priestly sexual abuse, I lost my faith in the Catholic Church. Indeed, I would later learn that there had been a predatory priest in my own parish when I was young, a grim man who made me uneasy at the time, though back then I couldn’t have told you why. As for those warbirds, like so many Americans, I thrilled to their roar at air shows, but never gave any real thought to the bombs they were dropping in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the lives they were ending, to the destruction they were causing. Nor, at that age, did I ever consider their enormous cost in dollars or just how much Americans collectively sacrificed to have “top cover,” whether of the warplane or godly kind.

There were good and devoted priests in my Catholic diocese. There were good and devoted public servants in the U.S. military. Admittedly, I never seriously considered the priesthood, but I did sign up for the Air Force, surprising myself by serving in it for 20 years. Still, both institutions were then, and remain, deeply flawed. Both seek, in a phrase the Air Force has long used, “global reach, global power.” Both remain hierarchies that regularly promote true believers to positions of authority. Both demand ultimate obedience. Both sweep their sins under the rug. Neither can pass an audit. Both are characterized by secrecy. Both seem remarkably immune to serious efforts at reform. And both, above all, know how to preserve their own power, even as they posture and proselytize about serving a higher one…

“Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value” is a telling phrase linked to Joe Biden. And in those same terms, there’s no question what the American government values most: its military, to the tune of almost $1.5 trillion over the next two years (although the real number may well exceed $2 trillion). Republicans and Democrats agree on little these days, except support for spending on that military, its weaponry, its wars to come, and related national security state outlays…

In that context, I’ve been wondering what kind of “profession of faith” we might have to recite, if there were the equivalent of Mass for what has increasingly become our military church…

* We believe in wars…

* We believe in weaponry, the more expensive the better…

* We believe in weapons of mass destruction. We believe in them so strongly that we’re jealous of anyone nibbling at our near monopoly…

* We believe with missionary zeal in our military and seek to establish our “faith” everywhere. Hence, our global network of perhaps 800 overseas military bases…

* We believe in our college of cardinals, otherwise known as America’s generals and admirals…

* We believe that freedom comes through obedience…

* We believe military spending brings wealth and jobs galore, even when it measurably doesn’t…

* We believe, and our most senior leaders profess to believe, that our military represents the very best of us, that we have the “finest” one in human history.

* We believe in planning for a future marked by endless wars, whether against terrorism or “godless” states like China and Russia, which means our military church must be forever strengthened in the cause of winning ultimate victory.

* Finally, we believe our religion is the one true faith…

Be seeing you

Vietnam-Era Zippos Engraved With Soldier's Personalities

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

UN Report: Afghan, NATO Forces Killing More Civilians Than Taliban – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on July 31, 2019

I Am From The Government And Am Here To Help.

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/07/30/un-report-afghan-nato-forces-killing-more-civilians-than-taliban/

The United Nations has issued its latest report on the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, showing a major increase in civilians being killed in 2019. At least 3,812 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019.

Civilian casualties have been on the rise substantially over the course of the war, and this is just another troubling metric. The general increase may not even be as disturbing, however, as the fact that the Afghan government and US-led NATO forces are killing more civilians than the Taliban now.

The UN report showed the US and its allies killed 717 people, more than half of them in airstrikes. The Taliban killed 531. This showed a continued trend from the April report that covered the first quarter of the year.

Interestingly enough, the Pentagon issued a statement denying the report, saying that they work hard not to kill civilians, and their own data is more accurate than the UN report. The Pentagon, however, does not offer public reports on civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

Be seeing you

napalm

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tomgram: Michael Klare, It’s Always the Oil | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176584/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_it%27s_always_the_oil/#more

Michael Klare

What more did you need to know once Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed by the Taliban, was Iranian-inspired or plotted, one “in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests”? In other words, behind the Sunni extremist insurgents the U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001 lurks the regime of the Shiite fundamentalists in Tehran that many in Washington have been eager to fight since at least the spring of 2003 (when, coincidentally enough, the Bush administration was insisting that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime had significant ties to al-Qaeda).

It couldn’t have made more sense once you thought about it. I don’t mean Pompeo’s claim itself, which was little short of idiotic, but what lurked behind it.  I mean the knowledge that, only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress had passed an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that allowed the president (and any future president, as it turned out) “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

In other words, almost 18 years later, as Pompeo knows, if you can link any country or group you’re eager to go to war with to al-Qaeda, no matter how confected the connection, you can promptly claim authorization to do your damnedest to them. How convenient, then, should you be in the mood to make war on Iran, if that country just happens to be responsible for terror attacks linked to the Taliban (which once did harbor al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden). Why, you wouldn’t even need to ask Congress for permission to pursue your war of choice. And keep in mind that, recently, Congress — or a crew of corrupted, degraded Republican senators — simply couldn’t muster the votes or the will to deny President Trump the power to make war on Iran without its approval.

Let me hasten to add that the supposed link to al-Qaeda isn’t the only thing the Trump administration has conjured up to ensure that it will be free to do whatever it pleases when it comes to Iran. It’s found various other inventive ways to justify future military actions there without congressional approval. Pompeo and crew have, in that sense, been clever indeed. As TomDispatch regular Michael Klare, author of the upcoming book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, points out today, there’s only one word largely missing from their discussions of the increasingly edgy situation in the Persian Gulf, the most obvious word of all. But read him yourself if you want to understand just how, when it comes to Iran and that missing word — to steal a phrase from the late, great Jonathan Schell — the fate of the Earth is at stake. Tom

The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis
Oil’s Enduring Sway in U.S. Policy in the Middle East
By Michael T. Klare

It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II)….

Be seeing you

Sold: Oil Rack - Ampol with six bottles, reproduction sign ...

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US military stops releasing Afghanistan war information

Posted by M. C. on May 1, 2019

Overall, the U.S. has spent $737 billion on the war and lost more than 2,400 military lives, according to the Pentagon.

Code for the real numbers are higher.

https://www.apnews.com/253f6e2504ad4c72aed8a2d0499a673e

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid a battlefield stalemate in Afghanistan , the U.S. military has stopped releasing information often cited to measure progress in America’s longest war, calling it of little value in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

The move fits a trend of less information being released about the war in recent years, often at the insistence of the Afghan government, which had previously stopped the U.S. military from disclosing the number of Afghans killed in battle as well as overall attrition within the Afghan army.

The latest clampdown also aligns with President Donald Trump’s complaint that the U.S. gives away too much war information, although there is no evidence that this had any influence on the latest decision.

A government watchdog agency that monitors the U.S. war effort, now in its 18th year, said in a report to Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. military command in Kabul is no longer producing “district control data,” which shows the number of Afghan districts — and the percentage of their population — controlled by the government compared to the Taliban.

The last time the command released this information, in January, it showed that Afghan government control was stagnant or slipping. It said the share of the population under Afghan government control or influence — a figure that was largely unchanged from May 2017 to July 2018 at about 65 percent — had dropped in October 2018 to 63.5 percent. The government’s control or influence of districts fell nearly 2 percentage points, to 53.8 percent…

The war in Afghanistan is largely forgotten in much of America, as is the enormous, continuing financial cost. This year the Pentagon budget includes $4.9 billion to provide the Afghan army and police with everything from equipment and supplies to salaries and food. That is one piece of a wider array of “reconstruction” assistance the U.S. government has provided since the war began in 2001, totaling $132 billion.

Overall, the U.S. has spent $737 billion on the war and lost more than 2,400 military lives, according to the Pentagon.

Be seeing you

graveyard

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bin Laden Won – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2019

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/bin-laden-won/

by

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan by Scott Horton (Chicago: The Libertarian Institute, 2017); 317 pages.

According to official U.S. government accounts, the body of Osama bin Laden slid off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson into his watery grave in the Indian Ocean sometime on the morning of May 2, 2011. Nearly 10 years after 9/11, the terrorist leader of al-Qaeda responsible for nearly 3,000 murdered Americans was no more, and the rationale for the Afghan War gone with him.

Fast-forward another seven years. On September 2, 2018, Gen. Austin S. Miller assumed control of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the 17th commander to inherit the longest military quagmire in the nation’s history. Miller replaced Gen. John W. Nicholson, who led the coalition war effort for 17 months. Upon his departure, Nicholson said, “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end.”

The opposite, however, is happening.

What’s clear from Miller’s promotion from commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, the military’s most elite killing machines, is that Washington cannot leave well enough alone in this graveyard of empires. Seventeen years of unnecessary bloodshed and atrocity and wasted treasure and corruption in Afghanistan isn’t enough. In June, General Miller told lawmakers that there was no timeline for the end to the war, while the situation on the ground only worsens as the Taliban continues to gain territory at the expense of the U.S.-supported puppet government in Kabul.

As journalist Scott Horton documents in his exhaustive history of the Afghan War, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was always a mistake. Upon close scrutiny, Horton shows, every rationale for the war — from destroying al-Qaeda or defeating the Taliban or denying a terrorist safe haven or, even more unbelievable, creating a stable and democratic nation ruled from the capital city of Kabul — falls apart…

In the end, it didn’t matter that the United States finally got its man in neighboring Pakistan. The chants of “USA, USA” outside the White House on May 1, 2011, represented a pyrrhic victory. Bin Laden laid a trap on 9/11, and the U.S. government fell into it. Almost two decades after the towers fell, American soldiers continue to kill and die in vain in Afghanistan while propping up a corrupt regime in Kabul, a toxic combination that only ensures the insurgency never quits. Yet the powers that be continue to fight on, telling the American people that they can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

But this is a lie. Bin Laden, as Scott Horton masterfully documents, has already won. And nothing will change that fact, no matter how hard Washington spins various counter-narratives or promotes another commander to finally win the unwinnable in Afghanistan’s graveyard of empires.

Be seeing you

graveyard

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Officer’s Path to Dissent – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2019

On a day in Afghanistan in 2011, I realized everything I was doing, and the only thing I still cared about was damage control, protecting our troops from needless death. I basically was phoning it in and should have known it was time to quit, lest I lose more of my soul.

Seventeen years, thousands of Americans still there, and the Taliban control more of the country than at any time since Uncle Sam’s invasion. We may never leave.

https://original.antiwar.com/danny_sjursen/2019/03/06/an-officers-path-to-dissent/

For a while there, I was a real star. High up in my class at West Point, tough combat deployments in two wars, a slew of glowing evaluations, even a teaching assignment back at the military academy. I inhabited a universe most only dream of: praised, patted and highly respected by everyone in my life system and viewed as a brave American soldier. It’s a safe, sensible spot. For most, that’s enough. Too bad it was all bunk. Absurdity incarnate.

The truth is, I fought for next to nothing, for a country that, in recent conflicts, has made the world a deadlier, more chaotic place. Even back in 2011—or even 2006, for that matter—I was just smart and just sensitive enough to know that, to feel it viscerally.

Still, the decision to publicly dissent is a tough one. It’s by no means easy. Easy would be to go on playing hero and accepting adulation while staying between the lines. Play it safe, stick to your own, make everyone proud. That’s easy, intellectually immature—the new American way. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Washington’s Backfiring Bombing

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/01/08/washington-backfiring-bombing.html

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

Wikipedia tells us that “The Times Square Ball is a… prominent part of a New Year’s Eve celebration commonly referred to as the ball drop, where the ball descends 43 metres in 60 seconds… to signal the start of the new year.” It’s one of these silly things that is quite appealing in the spirit of the Christmas-New Year season, and most of us have a chuckle and consider ourselves slightly foolish for enjoying it.

But there was another and less amusing ball-drop on New Year’s Day, involving a tweet from US Strategic Forces Command or Stratcom, which declares it “deters strategic attack and employs forces, as directed, to guarantee the security of our nation and our allies” In the gobbledegook language of the military it, amongst other things “deters catastrophic actions from adversaries and poses an immediate threat to any actor who questions US resolve by demonstrating our capabilities.”

According to Stars and Stripes, the Stratcom tweet read “Times Square tradition rings in the New Year by dropping the big ball… if ever needed, we are ready to drop something much, much bigger.” As greetings go, you couldn’t get much more crass, confrontational and puerile than that. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Notorious CIA-Backed Units Will Remain in Afghanistan

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2019

Mashal reports that the abuses by the CIA “are actively pushing people toward the Taliban” and when few US military troops remain, “the [CIA-led] strike forces are increasingly the way that a large number of rural Afghans experience the American presence.”

War crimes or not, I wouldn’t release anyone into the grimy claws of the ICC. They are drunk with UN sanctioned power and are anti-US. US citizens should not be subject to One World Government courts.

https://truthout.org/articles/as-trump-orders-us-out-of-afghanistan-notorious-cia-backed-units-will-remain/

BYMarjorie CohnTruthout

Politicians and pundits alike have roundly criticized Donald Trump for stating he will pull our troops out of Syria and cut US forces in Afghanistan by half. James Mattis immediately resigned as secretary of defense, writing in a letter to Trump, “you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”

As the US military kills civilians in Syria and CIA-led Afghan forces continue to commit war crimes, it appears Trump is doing the right thing in pulling out military troops. But the CIA will remain and grow stronger after the US troops leave. “[A]s American military forces are set to draw down, the role of the Central Intelligence Agency is only likely to grow in importance,” according to The New York Times.

On December 31, The Times described a CIA-sponsored Afghan strike force that operates “unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity.” In the article, journalist Mujib Mashal cites an October 2018 United Nations report that raised concern about “consistent, credible accounts of intentional destruction of civilian property, illegal detention and other abuses.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘Will never rejoin’: Record casualties take toll on Afghan forces | Afghanistan News | Al Jazeera

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2018

Salman, 27, a police officer in the northwestern province of Faryab, said he had not been paid in three months and air support during attacks by the Taliban “were not effective”.

US foreign policy: When in a hole, dig some more.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/rejoin-record-casualties-toll-afghan-forces-181123115957675.html

As the Taliban maintain an upper hand in the 17-year Afghanistan conflict, casualties in the country’s beleaguered security forces are reaching what experts warn are unsustainable levels.

Since the beginning of 2015, nearly 30,000 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed, President Ashraf Ghani revealed this month – a figure far higher than anything previously acknowledged…

Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces have long seen high rates of attrition.

But the shocking mortality rate has sent the already shaky morale to new lows, with many soldiers questioning how much further they should push their luck.

In the third quarter of 2018, the number of soldiers and police deployed across Afghanistan fell to 312,328 – nearly 9,000 fewer than only a year ago, and the lowest level for any comparable period since 2012, a US watchdog said in October.

Reasons for attrition included fatalities, and soldiers going AWOL or declining to re-enlist, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said, citing the US defence department… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »