Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Afghanistan: U.S. Embassy Hit, No Agreement With Karzai And The Last Oz Troops Leave

An interesting Christmas in Afghanistan...

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul was fired on today just before dawn, with two rounds of what was referred to as 'indirect fire' hitting the compound. 'Indirect fire' usually means rocket attacks, RPG's or mortar rounds.

No Americans were reported as casualties, but the fact that our enemies were able to get close enough to target and fire heavy weapons at our heavily fortified embassy in what is supposedly a safe zone says quite a bit.

The Taliban claimed responsibility, but given the attacks on Americans by our supposed 'allies' among the Afghan forces, that's a pretty wide range.

Afghan police were targeted in two bombing incidents, one on a roadside restaurant in Puli Alam, the capital of Logar province some 35 odd miles east of Kabul that killed six and wounded 13 and a second attack in east Kabul that wounded three Afghan policemen.

As we retreat and draw down, they're getting a lot bolder. Winter used to be something of a lull for the most part in Afghanistan because of the weather and topography. Not anymore.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is still refusing to sign a security agreement with the U.S. that would leave some American troops in his country. He is still insisting on a ban of airstrikes,raid and the entry of U.S. forces into Afghan homes, is demanding the U.S. broker a peace with the Taliban and is still insisting that any new treaty should be signed by his successor after the next Afghan elections in the spring. Translation - Karzai, his brother and their families want to make sure they have a secure way out of the country before the Americans leave, and they won't sign on to anything until they get that guarantee.

Karzai reiterated this, interestingly enough, at a three day conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with whom Karzai has signed a security agreement. Afghanistan does share a small border with India, and the Indians have a vested interest in making sure that their border is secure and that a potential flashpoint with either the Taliban or more likely Pakistan is checkmated.

And finally, today is the day the Diggers left.

The Australian forces represented the largest non-NATO contingent in AfPak, and as usual, they came in because they're one of the best allies we have and to them, that's what allies do. Every report I've heard of their performance in AfPak marks them, along with the Canadians, as some of the most useful and resourceful non-U.S. troops in the theater, miles ahead of most of the motley crew supplied by our European allies. They were always willing to mix it up with the jihadis, never shirked the hard jobs, and lost 40 of their mates in AfPak as their share of the sacrifice involved.

They left for Oz today from Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province, Australia's main base in the country and I don't blame them one bit. With President Obama giving the Taliban a set in stone withdrawal date, the Australians realize that there's no reason to hang around. And PM Tony Abbot underlined that today:

"This war is ending, not with victory, not with defeat, but with hope that Afghanistan is a better place and Uruzgan in particular is a better place for our presence," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. "I firmly believe that to be the case." 

 When one of your best allies takes a look at your strategy and at your commander-in-chief and realizes that there's no sense hanging around anymore, that says something.

Around 400 of the Australian military are committed to remain in Afghanistan through 2014 to train the Afghan military in Kabul and Kandahar. Whether that holds good if the U.S. completely bugs out as President Obama is threatening to do if no security arrangement gets signed by Karzai is doubtful.

Fair dinkum.


Indians in Australia said...

there is no end in sight...its one country trying to impose its will on another and giving support to its puppet regime which would not last very long without the military of the USA keeping the partisans and insurgents at bay.

B.Poster said...

It's not really as simple as one country trying to impose its will on another. The reality is that all countries act in ways to try and advance their interest with the possible exception of America who often acts to promote things like "democracy", "freedom", and "human rights" even when those things don't support its interests.

Good for the Aussies that they are getting out. We should follow their lead and get out as well. There's to many pressing problems for the United States at home for the United States to be focusing on Afghanistan. I'm sure the Aussies face problems as well but theirs are nowhere near as severe as those faced by America. Again, we should follow their lead and get out as well.

"Motley crew" of European allies. NATO is a joke and has been for some time. The sooner the US withdraws from it the better.

"Not with victory, not with defeat." On the surface this is a completely ridiculous statement but it is a testament to the flawed strategies employed from the start. Since the goal was to make Afghanistan a "better place" from the start, the mission was challenged from the start. Whether Afghanistan becomes a better place or not will be up to Afghans to decide. Also, they will decide just what constitutes a "better place." Our goal only needs to be to ensure it is never used again as a safe haven for Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups to plan and launch attacks against America,

When we first invaded, the Taliban along with Osama Bin Laden posed a greater threat to America than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did or ever could have. Has this threat been eliminated or neutralized. Time will tell. Based upon available evidence it would seem it has not been and, in fact, it may be even worse now than it was in late 2001.

Eliminating this threat should have been the only goal for Afghanistan. With that in mind different strategies should likely have been used. For instance, as you've pointed out, focus more on the nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran who aided and abetted Al Qaeda as opposed o the contractors for Jihad such as Al Qaeda. Also, maybe it's not a good idea to invade a landlocked country like Afghanistan with no exit routes. I think you've discussed this before as well.

UCSPanther said...

I liked your analysis of the current Afghan republic, especially of Hamid Karzai.

It will be interesting to see what Afghanistan's future will hold.