Trump's Afghanistan Strategy Already Backfiring

Trump's mini-surge in Afghanistan is underway. Troop levels are expected to reach 16,000 early next year (from 8,400).
That may sound significant, but it isn't.

Nearly three months after President Trump announced his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, the United States and its international allies are still trying to come up with the troops required to carry it out.
...Though military officials deem that increase necessary, the Pentagon has also stressed that for the American-led mission to succeed, more international forces, chiefly from NATO members, would be required.
For most of this year, General Nicholson said, the mission in Afghanistan has had only 80 percent of the troops it required. He said he had asked NATO members and other countries involved in the conflict to send more soldiers, but, “We’re still waiting for this to all play out.”

IOW, the rest of NATO has decided that 16 years of quagmire in Afghanistan is more than enough.
You might think that Trump would have something to say about this, but you would be wrong.

“I haven’t spoken with him,” Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters Nov. 8 in Brussels.
The lack of contact between the commander-in-chief and the top military official in Afghanistan is unusual. Nicholson said he spoke to President Barack Obama twice in the 10 months they overlapped.
The general’s comments came in response to questions about whether he felt Trump had confidence in him as commander. Reports over the summer indicated the President was considering firing Nicholson over the lack of progress in Afghanistan.

That's not to say that Trump's strategy hasn't had an impact. It's just that the impact has been negative.

Analysts believe the recent rise in attacks in Afghanistan is a Taliban counterstrategy to illustrate the insurgent group’s strength and relevance as the new U.S. strategy is being implemented in the country.
“I see the recent increase in attacks by Taliban a reaction to the Trump administration strategy regarding South Asia. Taliban have increased their attacks in order to show their presence and strength in the country,” Ahmad Shah Katawazai, defense liaison at the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington, told VOA.

In one of those Taliban attacks an entire army base was wiped out.
U.S. intelligence officials expect things to continue to get worse in Afghanistan.

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats observed in May that the performance of Afghan security forces will probably worsen in 2018 due to a combination of Taliban operations, combat casualties, desertions, poor logistics support and weak leadership. He also noted that Afghanistan will remain dependent on external support until it either ends the insurgency or engages in meaningful peace talks with the Taliban.
Trends over the past few years indicate that Afghan forces lack the ability to win the war militarily, evident in the Afghan army’s failure to hold on to territorial gains achieved after the surge in US troops seen in December 2009. The Afghan government led by US ally President Ashraf Ghani is weak and beset by infighting, making it harder to achieve a political settlement with the Taliban. US efforts to restart the official peace process — along with Afghanistan, Pakistan and China — have faltered, as the Taliban has refused to participate in negotiations with what it sees as a US-funded government in Kabul.

In one last interesting, and long overdue development, the U.S. may soon find itself prosecuted for war crimes.

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor has announced she will seek to start an official investigation into possible war crimes during the war in Afghanistan.
"Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that all legal criteria required under the Rome Statute to commence an investigation have been met," Fatou Bensouda said in a statement on Friday.
The prosecutor did not name the specific parties she seeks to investigate. But in a report last year (pdf), ICC prosecutors said the Taliban and its affiliates, Afghan authorities and members of the US armed forces and CIA may have committed war crimes.
...The report by Bensouda last year said that there was a "reasonable basis to believe" US armed forces and the CIA may have subjected more than 60 detainees to "torture".
"Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture," the prosecutors' office said in that report, adding that CIA members also seemed to have tortured 27 detainees in secret detention facilities elsewhere, but not in Afghanistan.
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Comments

But because it is posted on c99p, they must ignore it.

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7 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@gjohnsit Anyone at the GOS that ever had anything meaningful to say about foreign policy is long gone. Now it's just a nursery school full of toddlers screaming "Russia!" and HRing each other. They have lost their intelligentsia as a result, probably permanently and terminally.

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19 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish
OTOH, they love 'anything bad for Trump'.

It would be an interesting experiment if someone wanted to post this whole essay on TOP, with a C99P link.
Do they hate C99P (and/or me) more than Trump?
Does their hatred of Trump extend to his foreign policy?
How far has TOP sunk?

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9 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@gjohnsit people like SteveD were banned just for participating here, and criticizing the GOS. People like you and Feminista aren't hated, it's rather more Stalinesque, you've been erased from the public memory, and as such never existed in the first place.

The GOS represents an excellent case-study on the decline and fall of an influential blog, but nothing more.

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11 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish
but C99P hasn't been.
Anything coming from here is recognized. The question is the reaction.

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dervish's picture

@gjohnsit for no apparent reason beyond the fact that he posts a series entitled "Bernie TV" regularly. The purge continues, and as such the GOS is beginning to resemble what Brock and CtR want in a sycophantic support blog. Free speech is long dead there, as is academic rigor. A lot of good people remain, but they tend to be quieter, and pick their battles, even more have drifted away, and are found all over the internet.

I wouldn't worry about them, they are effectively dead and buried, as they won't hold much sway going forward. How could they?

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8 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish
All of those purges ensures that GOS is under control, but its a calculated bet that the people purged won't be able make a new, better home elsewhere.
If they do then you've voluntarily given up control of them.

It sounds like the strategy from a group that coined, "They have nowhere else to go"

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snoopydawg's picture

@dervish

that joined last decade, some as far back as 2004 who have only a few hundred comments? A lot of them have numbers in their usernames, but no other identifiers like common tags. Check this out.
This is one way to drive up traffic Clapping

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4 users have voted.

I’m betting billionaires taste like chicken. More research required…
Someone should put together a new cookbook with this in mind.

@dervish @dervish where did they go? With the firedoglake closing, and Kos losing the anti PNAC crowd, I'm starved for good takes regarding foreign polity. Not that c99% isn't filled with great convo, it just doesn't have that many readers.

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5 users have voted.

Solidarity forever

Centaurea's picture

@Akze You might check out the "Way of the Bern" reddit group. It was started by people who left DKos, although its readership & user base has expanded to include folks who were never at TOP.

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1 user has voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep." ~Rumi

dervish's picture

@Akze Many are at the reddits, as stated, including WotB, but there are also people at JackpineRadicals, Moon of Alabama, Twitter and elsewhere. I'm hoping that something emerges as the next Great Thing, and I'm certain that it won't be DKos.

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1 user has voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish

Good that they've driven out their intelligentsia! They're nothing more than a propaganda site, irrelevant other than as a disinformation trap for the unwary and must only be taken seriously as a hazard for the uninformed believing them to be a 'left political site' when used as a source to support talking points and destructive actions against the public interest.

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

WoodsDweller's picture

Washington assigns to Afghanistan. The US commander hasn't spoken to the President. At all. In 10 months. Obama spoke to him twice in 10 months.
If it were my war I would be in contact monthly, if not weekly. But that's if you are trying to win. I guess perpetual, pointless war isn't worth skipping a round of golf. Since nothing is going to change, an annual 10 minute chat is fine. We'll check back in another generation to see how things are going, unless I have a fancy dinner to attend.

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18 users have voted.

The lesser evil is still evil. Vote your conscience, not your fear.

@WoodsDweller

I guess perpetual, pointless war isn't worth skipping a round of golf.

What is pointless? Lots of material is being sold/broken/used up/re-purchases. If the war stops, so does the churn:

Come on Wall Street, don't be slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
-- Country Joe and the Fish, Feel like I'm fixing to die rag

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Wink's picture

@WoodsDweller
only interest in the war(s) is to make sure it continues, and keep those MIC kickbacks coming in.

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4 users have voted.

the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

@WoodsDweller

Hey, Trump turned it over the the Generals, didn't he say? Although since Cheney's in there advising the Trump Admin, I'd rather suspect that Ye Olde Bush Admin, et al, are actually running the military, with the Generals answering to someone else they realize is better left unmentioned to the public.

Pence wants to be an active Vice President, just like his mentor Cheney, so perhaps he's having a heyday being guided by the Bush League in that area, torturing and killing 'the infidels' - at least, wherever Pence is 'active' doesn't seem to be reported in the news, so the military might very well be his thing.

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

dervish's picture

by what metric is success measured?

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10 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish
/snark

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9 users have voted.
Wink's picture

@dervish
the dollars coming in. $700 Billion ain't bad! And on top of that cut those S.S. bennies! It's all good if you're a Beltway millionaire! Oh! You mean military success. Ha! That's a good one!

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6 users have voted.

the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

@dervish

success measured by unnecessary misery of the people.

by what metric is success measured?

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6 users have voted.

@dervish

Global Dominance - it's what the military/PTB want for breakfast. Total Everything Control.

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1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

GreyWolf's picture

Depends if they have a mirror.

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11 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Not really surprising, I guess.
Karzai: US colluded with ISIL in Afghanistan - Al Jazeera

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Wink's picture

@Azazello
sides, Az? Didn't read your Link yet, but that's what I'm guessing. Yes, it was revealed a ways back that the MIC was supplying "the enemy" (which is hard to determine without a scorecard) with weapons by which to shoot U.S. GI Joes. Is this a great "war" or what? Reminds me of Catch-22 where most of the war was spent on one money making scheme or another using Government Issued (G.I.) goods. What's not to love? And it's one two three what are we fighting for...

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6 users have voted.

the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

mimi's picture

@Azazello

During the interview, Karzai was also asked to respond to claims by human rights groups that he was warned while in office that human-rights abuses were taking place.

"They are wrong," he said. "They didn't tell me. I told them."

"I told the Western human rights bodies as to what was going on in Afghanistan. They were hiding it. The Western press was hiding it. I told them. I raised it."

German TV media is also complicit in hiding the truth. Very few "stand up" voices, neither among politicians, nor in the media. It's like "America Über Alles" for them under the cover of trying to report unbiased and without human compassion. The "calm and composed" ways of reporting in the evening news I believe do not reflect what average Germans feel around here.

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5 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@Azazello

Thanks so much for the link! Everybody sane everywhere needs to support independent investigations into the US (and other) Psychopaths/Parasites That Be, beginning with the war crimes around the world, (which ought to eliminate enough that their crimes against the American (their own citizens) people can be properly addressed,) and to back away from TPTB's destructive lunacy and I think that this is finally being recognized.

If you lie down with psychopaths, sooner or later, you'll never get up again.

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2 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Disastrous

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4 users have voted.
Strife Delivery's picture

Out of this I'm more interested in the war crime investigations.

I doubt anything will come out of it, but I didn't even think they would ever utter the words "war crimes".

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

I forgot what year it was that it switched to fighting the Taliban instead. I remember the good ole days when the military was bribing the Taliban to let our convoys pass that were full of equipment to fight AQ.
I guess the Taliban took that money to buy weapons to fight the country that invaded theirs. The poppy fields had almost been wiped out and then the CIA got them back up and running so they can import the opium to fuel our opioid epidemic.
Instead of finding money to fight the opioid epidemic, wouldn't it be smarter to stop the CIA from bringing the opium into the country? Nah... where would they get their money to overthrow governments?

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5 users have voted.

I’m betting billionaires taste like chicken. More research required…
Someone should put together a new cookbook with this in mind.

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg Yessssssssssss.

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1 user has voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

mimi's picture

upcoming war crime investigation and possible prosecution by the ICC, was: "How long will she (Fatou Bensouda) survive?

Am I manipulated long enough to not be able anymore to think otherwise? I think I am and all I do is cut my ties to the "news world".

Can't give up, can we?

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2 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

Legitimate concern, unfortunately. But if enough are aware of, and speak of, such hazards, the publicity can likely still forestall their occurrence, at least at this point.

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

lotlizard's picture

https://fabiusmaximus.com/2016/02/29/trumps-words-at-the-cnn-debate-94475/

On the other hand, two years ago Trump was saying some things I’d waited to hear Dem party power players say for years, in vain.

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1 user has voted.

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor has announced she will seek to start an official investigation into possible war crimes during the war in Afghanistan.
"Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that all legal criteria required under the Rome Statute to commence an investigation have been met," Fatou Bensouda said in a statement on Friday. ...

Oh, please! None of these horrors will end until the perpetrators are held accountable and all such criminals realize that they will face consequences!

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1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.