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    NATO operations in Afghanistan:

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    Battalion0415
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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  Battalion0415 on Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:32 pm

    Little down of Canada's killed troops how have most killed in USA-NATO alliance.

    Airbornewolf
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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  Airbornewolf on Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:45 pm

    flamming_python wrote:.

    yes, NATO has achieved little in Afghanistan, and its likely that the coming years will see all of its limited successes in the country completely reversed and the Taliban or some other extremists returning to the same seat of power they sat in before.

    Which is a shame - because Afghanistan was definately one place where I thought that the West could do some good.

    me, as an ISAF veteran of Afghanistan could not agree more with your statement. all limited succes will be reversed, the artificially sustained afghan government will be unable to retain control and groups like the Taliban will regain control of the majority of Afghanistan Territory.

    if i would write down all the reasons why i would come down with a few pages of reasons. it was an combination of lots of things. but, a lot of those things did not need to happen if there was not so much dirty political games involved. more than once the political interrests of politicians took priority above the actual ISAF operations. it seriously undermined military security operations and attempts of creating an sustainable infrastructure and security.

    one small example, in Uruzgan "we" as Dutch ISAF troops secured the open co-operation of the towns leadership against any warlords and Taliban from using the town. pretty much meaning we would get all the intell we need and them looking out for any IED planters in and around the town. the leadership proved to had power and its own limited fighting force. but part of the deal was that ISAF was going to secure the town at night with night patrols and keep an permanent occupation in the police building.
    our millitary leadership agreed, and started reinforcing the police station with electronic survaillance, machine-gun posts, sniper positions as well having an permanent platoon of airborne infantry doing random night patrols. i personally participated in those myself and honestly it really felth like doing the right thing. people there could sleep at night and where told by the town's leadership to stay in doors. so for us it was easy too, see someone on the streets....then it was someone that should not be there.
    it worked perfectly for an week, then our political elite gave the order to "retreat" from the town. just like that, no discussion or warning. we got the order 4 hours before sunset while we where doing the shift in the police station. all of us knew what would happen if we would leave the town. the people would get "punished" for their open support to us. in the end, .... with officers protesting the decision eventually the commander of RC south ordered us directly to retreat or otherwise get court-marshalled for disobedience.

    the real reason for the retreat?. "the political ruling party sold it to the dutch parliament as an "reconstruction mission". the possibility of an full-blown night-time close quarter combat that might result in several dead troops was unacceptable". what was the real end result was is that Taliban figured out we where gone and they went in executing key leadership figures, burned and destroyed all we build up like water-wells and schools. and we lost the trust of the towns people forever. and personally, i do not blame them. they where sold out to save some lying weasels ass that wanted to crawl up Obama's ass by supplying dutch troops. but not take any shred of responsibility of the reality on the ground.

    its one small example, but these things happened on a daily basis out there. coupled to a lot more different problems it resulted in what it has ended in today. a failed operation that was doomed to fail since the 2001 invasion. i got out okay, but for those that got maimed and killed, NATO or Afghans. it was all for nothing im afraid. i really regret that fact it could have ended so much better.


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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  flamming_python on Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:39 pm

    Airbornewolf wrote:
    flamming_python wrote:.

    yes, NATO has achieved little in Afghanistan, and its likely that the coming years will see all of its limited successes in the country completely reversed and the Taliban or some other extremists returning to the same seat of power they sat in before.

    Which is a shame - because Afghanistan was definately one place where I thought that the West could do some good.

    me, as an ISAF veteran of Afghanistan could not agree more with your statement. all limited succes will be reversed, the artificially sustained afghan government will be unable to retain control and groups like the Taliban will regain control of the majority of Afghanistan Territory.

    if i would write down all the reasons why i would come down with a few pages of reasons. it was an combination of lots of things. but, a lot of those things did not need to happen if there was not so much dirty political games involved.  more than once the political interrests of politicians took priority above the actual ISAF operations. it seriously undermined military security operations and attempts of creating an sustainable infrastructure and security.

    one small example, in Uruzgan "we" as Dutch ISAF troops secured the open co-operation of the towns leadership against any warlords and Taliban from using the town. pretty much meaning we would get all the intell we need and them looking out for any IED planters in and around the town. the leadership proved to had power and its own limited fighting force. but part of the deal was that ISAF was going to secure the town at night with night patrols and keep an permanent occupation in the police building.
    our millitary leadership agreed, and started reinforcing the police station with electronic survaillance, machine-gun posts, sniper positions as well having an permanent platoon of airborne infantry doing random night patrols. i personally participated in those myself and honestly it really felth like doing the right thing. people there could sleep at night and where told by the town's leadership to stay in doors. so for us it was easy too, see someone on the streets....then it was someone that should not be there.
    it worked perfectly for an week, then our political elite gave the order to "retreat" from the town. just like that, no discussion or warning. we got the order 4 hours before sunset while we where doing the shift in the police station. all of us knew what would happen if we would leave the town. the people would get "punished" for their open support to us. in the end, .... with officers protesting the decision eventually the commander of RC south ordered us directly to retreat or otherwise get court-marshalled for disobedience.

    the real reason for the retreat?. "the political ruling party sold it to the dutch parliament as an "reconstruction mission". the possibility of an full-blown night-time close quarter combat that might result in several dead troops was unacceptable". what was the real end result was is that Taliban figured out we where gone and they went in executing key leadership figures, burned and destroyed all we build up like water-wells and schools. and we lost the trust of the towns people forever. and personally, i do not blame them. they where sold out to save some lying weasels ass that wanted to crawl up Obama's ass by supplying dutch troops. but not take any shred of responsibility of the reality on the ground.

    its one small example, but these things happened on a daily basis out there. coupled to a lot more different problems it resulted in what it has ended in today. a failed operation that was doomed to fail since the 2001 invasion. i got out okay, but for those that got maimed and killed, NATO or Afghans. it was all for nothing im afraid. i really regret that fact it could have ended so much better.


    That's very sad that both NATO soldiers and Afghans who were keen on the new government were betrayed over some political squabbles, things that might affect some European politicians re-election chances or other small-time BS.
    Talk about not seeing the big picture.
    If European or Western policy is never planned ahead for longer than the next election cycle - then no wonder that Afghanistan failed; it was apparent to everyone that it was going to be a long-term undertaking and commitment.
    NATO needs/needed to be there for at least 10 more years for a chance of success.

    Of course, America and co. seem perfectly willing and able to plan ahead when it comes to encircling Russia or China; and no elections nor political changes have any bearing on this whatsoever. Democracy takes a seat right in the back row when it comes to anything important for the ruling elite.

    Airbornewolf
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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  Airbornewolf on Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:24 pm

    agreed, what also is an overlooked matter was the difference between ISAF and OEF ( operation enduring Freedom). ISAF was meanth for the creation of stability and reconstruction, but of course it had an wide array of combat elements at its disposal. but ISAF and its troops where focused on a certain tasked area of operations and attempting to create stability.

    but what ran parallel to ISAF was OEF. and OEF was pure and straight an american war operation operating afghanistan wide. OEF was under full command of the U.S., and...to great friction to non-U.S coalition troops serving primarily in ISAF. OEF had over-ruling authority over ISAF when U.S command saw it fit.

    another small example, 2008. it was an regular day, patrols where out. nothing happening really. then we got reports of one of our FOB's reporting injured civilians and "what sounds like mortar-fire" in the distance. we really didnt knew what was going on. when asked all patrols out reported nothing to report. except for that "artillery fire" in the distance. then medevac requests came in, our FOB to the north reported three dozen injured by IDF. several Priority 1 and two priority 0. Prio 1 being life-threatening and Prio 0 meaning K.I.A. the local army surgeon reporting the fragments he pulled was "western Shrapnell". in the following hour casualty's just kept getting worse.
    it was obvious now something serious was going on but we didnt knew what, as the task force commander got off the horn with RC south it finally made sense. the U.S specops where attacking an market with what we figured afterward was an Reaper Drone during the day to elliminate an High-value target together with his sub-commanders.
    our Task force Commander demanded the firing to stop, but appearantly he got an answer back that was simmilar to: "its none of your business".  

    ISAF was left with mopping up the blood and dead body's of the OEF operation.

    i fully agree with you this could have worked flamming_python. that it was going to take a very long time was a given. but the political people involved and their policy's ultimately killed it.
    the issue is also the Afghan population, like i described before. we gave our word to these people once and you do not get second chances. its their culture, there are no do-overs. you have to be honest, firm and keep to your word if you decide to give it. since 2001 those people had nothing but western promises that turned out to be lies, these things work against you eventually.

    Taliban itself is an bit of an exception, altough its created by the U.S during the soviet war in Afghanistan. most people assume the Taliban are an rag-tag collection of western Jihadi's, afghans and Pakistani's. but that view is like looking at the tip of the iceberg above water.
    during the soviets, the CIA trained the Taliban how to evade and counter the soviets using the exact same strategy as they use today. they come into an area during spring with fresh personnel, employing their own strategy against the enemy. use the civilian people as human shields and always give leadership trough long-range communications. like radio's, sattelite phones or nowadays cellphones. often from hideouts with an good line of sight like mountains so they can observe whats happening. and while in some hollywood series you see fancy real-time tracking of an radio within seconds in real life it takes two ECM vehicles and an rather long sustained transmission from the same position to get an fix of the location. the leaders never stay in one place for longer than an "combat season". witch is in Afghanistan from Spring to Autumn. when it becomes autumn the leader's return back to the mountainous area's of Pakistan where they evaluate together the last year. and at the next year, they do not return back to their last "deployment zone". they just deploy to an new area where they have not been before. it was not uncommon for the millitary intell to discover some commander that was active 2 years ago in Afghanistan was seen active in Iraq the year after. but it always took too much time for intell to figure it out to be of any use. often it was already nearing the end of the combat season for the intell to be of any worth.  same for bomb/ied-builders, you had your "do-it-yourself" roadside bomb with HME (Home Made Explosive). but the next year you just might came across advanced IED's that had an EFP charge with an magnetic trigger, secondary charge underneath and anti-tempering mechanism.
    same for field strategy, it radically changed in every combat zone every year and it was an effective long-term strategy to keep suprising the ISAF/OEF forces in afghanistan every year. some preffered IDF fire on the main camp while others preferred to use ambush positions from buildings or cornfields.

    and agreed, personally im convinced the u.s is pursueing an "all or nothing" strategy with trying to limit their influence in the world. but if the afghanistan/iraq has caused one thing among NATO forces is experiencing what the U.S foreign policy is really after. in that regard Europe's side of NATO has experienced a sharp decline in respect to the U.S in the last 10 years. like myself a lot of guys return home "disillusioned". seeing in real life what they really do to people. an afghan life is not worth than 100 dollars and NATO members are nothing else to just serve them. and god forbid we go against their operations. "we" as EU troops are just to serve as lackey's to the U.S foreign policy. it has nothing to do with terrorism, democracy or humanitarian intervention. they are just after having geopolitical control in the area, and actually fund and instigate terrorism on foreign soil to achieve exactly that in my opinion.

    George1
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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  George1 on Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:21 am

    Pentagon Built Another Multimillion Dollar Afghan Project That Goes Unused

    The United States built a $14.7 million warehouse facility in Afghanistan, where the massive complex now sits empty, because its intended occupants were sent home before the building was ever completed.

    The military warehouse facility in Kandahar was well built, an inspector general investigation concluded. Construction of the four warehouses and an administration building, which were to house the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), wrapped up in February 2014.

    The Army, however, had already sent DLA home in August 2013, six months before the complex was completed.

    Nonetheless, the project "continued uninterrupted," without any attempts to reevaluate or downsize it, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

    Instead, the military added $400,000 of modifications to the buildings – fully knowing DLA would never use it, SIGAR wrote in a report released Tuesday.

    In the end, the facility was built two years past deadline and $1.2 million over budget.

    "Although the $14.7 million DLA warehouse facility was well built, lengthy construction delays led to the facility never being used for its intended purpose," SIGAR said. "Had the facility been completed on schedule, DLA would have been able to use the warehouse facility for more than 2 years before its mission ended in Kandahar."

    Tuesday's report from SIGAR is the latest in a series highlighting how US taxpayer dollars were wasted in Afghanistan. In another case, the military constructed a $36 million building in Helmand province, even though a US general said it was not needed.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150721/1024897698.html#ixzz3gbOwlxl8


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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  George1 on Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:50 pm

    US Airstrike Kills Senior al-Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan

    The killed terrorist was in charge of the suicide and explosive operations for al-Qaeda, the Pentagon said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A top al-Qaeda leader who headed suicide and explosive operations for the terrorist group was killed in a US-airstrike earlier in July, US media reported on Friday.

    “The strike killed Abu Khalil al-Sudani, who was described as a “high-ranking al-Qaeda operational commander,” on July 11 in Paktika province in southeast Afghanistan,” The Washington Post reported the Pentagon as saying on Friday.

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was reported as saying that the Afghan strike “illustrated US forces’ ongoing efforts against al-Qaeda.”

    According to the Pentagon, al-Sudani was in charge of the suicide and explosive operations for al-Qaeda and was “directly linked to external attack planning against the United States,” media outlet said.

    Additionally, the top al-Qaeda leader also attacked other foreign forces in Afghanistan and was close to other leaders in the terrorist groups, the reports said.

    The airstrike comes as the United States is scaling back its military operations in Afghanistan, after US President Barack Obama said in March that all remaining US military bases in the country would be closed by the end of 2016.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/asia/20150724/1025012818.html#ixzz3gu2ObTTw


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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  max steel on Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:59 pm

    US Military Says Helicopter Crash Lands, No Casualties

    The U.S. military says one of its helicopters crashed in southern Afghanistan, adding that the cause was unknown and there were no casualties.In a statement, U.S. Army Col. Michael Lawhorn said Friday the helicopter made a "hard landing" in Helmand, but gave no details on timing or location.

    He says all personnel have been recovered and an investigation is underway.The Taliban claimed they shot down the chopper.Helmand, a Taliban stronghold, has been the focus of intense military activity in recent months as the insurgents fight for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes.

    The U.S.-NATO mission has 12,900 troops in Afghanistan mandated to train and assist their Afghan counterparts.The U.S. also has 3,000 troops engaged in counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban, al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

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    Re: NATO operations in Afghanistan:

    Post  max steel on Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:33 pm

    More Boots Isn’t Enough to Save Afghanistan


    Barack Obama’s decision to leave some 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan—beyond the end of his second term—is hardly surprising given recent advances by the Taliban, especially the assault on Kunduz. The president’s decision can be framed first as a pragmatic and conservative hedge to a fragile and uncertain environment, reflecting ominous (and misplaced) lessons from the 2011 Iraq withdrawal. Second, and more broadly, the decision reflects an ongoing shift to a “partnership” approach of securing U.S. interests abroad with the help of foreign governments, which the President has pursued as a more sustainable model.

    But unless this decision is accompanied by other steps, it is illogical to believe that a few thousand more U.S. troops will significantly alter Afghanistan’s chances of standing against the Taliban challenge. Until there is a viable political strategy for Afghanistan, any modicum of U.S. troops is, at best, playing not to lose.

    Doing better than that will require promoting three dimensions of political change in Afghanistan and between Kabul and Islamabad. Specifically, the White House needs to leverage its renewed engagement—the new troop commitment—by explicitly demanding that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and his government emphasize unity and better governance and overcome petty squabbles of internal power sharing. At this stage, their very survival depends on it. In addition, the United States can use its new commitment to try, once again, to bring the Taliban to the table—not just by targeting militant leadership, but further by making the U.S. troop presence, and its targeting methodology, available for discussion within a political process.
    Finally, and just as important, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Washington gives the White House an opportunity to accomplish more effectively what it has struggled to do until now. The president should use Sharif’s visit to force Pakistan to think twice about its assumption that the United States will eventually abandon Afghanistan, and to put real pressure on Pakistan to reduce their proxy support of the Taliban.

    The decision to keep troops beyond his time in office was the president’s seventh, and potentially last, policy decision on Afghanistan. These perennial strategic “review” processes have typically been almost entirely about specific U.S. troop levels. The most significant of these seven reviews was the second, precipitated by the late 2009 leak of General Stanley McChrystal’s stark “assessment” of the situation in Afghanistan as “serious and deteriorating.” That culminated in a “surge” of approximately 30,000 U.S. troops and a downgrading of the objective against the Taliban from “defeat” to “degrade.” The late-2009 review also stepped back from appearances of “nation-building” to emphasize instead a “transition” strategy of putting the Afghans in the lead, while retaining the original 2001 objective of seeking the “defeat” of al-Qaeda. Every review since 2009 has left those strategic objectives intact and instead tweaked troop level milestones, given that the military’s 2010 projection of completing the transition process in 2014 increasingly appeared optimistic as each year passed.

    This most recent decision entailed the smallest troop adjustment to date, and yet this is a different kind of tweak. Whereas previous decisions adjusted the pace of withdrawing U.S. troops by the end of the president’s second term, this recent decision shelves that fundamental aspiration. The president is no longer specifying a timeline for withdrawal. Rather, the latest decision redefines his new end-state: instead of 1,000 troops co-located with the Embassy in Kabul, there now will be 5,500 troops spread between Kabul and three outlying and enduring bases.

    Obama is thus handing his successor flexibility rather than closure. This is not merely political; it could also be leveraged toward a more effective strategy. This latest decision can be used to send a simultaneous message of U.S. endurance and commitment to Kabul, Islamabad and the Taliban. In terms of operational effect, it also enables the retention of two additional capabilities that would have been phased out next year: a modest counterterrorism platform and institutional advisors to mentor the Afghan security apparatus. In its simplest form, the shift provides enough troops to retain three outlying bases, which provide the next president counterterrorism platforms and some dividend on America’s still-expensive strategic partnership with Afghanistan.

    Though 5,500 troops may be a 500 percent increase over the previous plan, it will not, of its own weight, change the trajectory of Afghanistan. Despite the unprecedented build up of Afghan police and army infrastructure, most reporting suggests that: 1) the security situation is sliding slowly in favor of the Taliban, 2) the Taliban is facing encroachment by Islamic State factions, and 3) the government’s weak grip on Afghanistan is giving way to a gradual devolution toward warlordism. The U.S. counterterrorism capability of a few thousand troops staged at outlying bases may be adequate to address transnational threats to U.S. interests that might otherwise emerge from Afghanistan, but it can’t be expected to make a strategic dent in the trajectory of the now intensifying conflict inside Afghanistan.

    Hence, a ratcheting up of the political strategy is now critical. As misplaced as comparisons to Iraq are, the two countries do share an important common characteristic: Their conflicts are politically driven and can only be solved by political means. This is why the continuing focus on troop numbers—and reliance on the efficacy of U.S. military power—has disappointed. The military can only support, as a secondary and indirect effort, a strategy that places— almost as a prerequisite—political will and governance infrastructure at its core.

    So the real potential in this shift is psychological—a signal to the region that neither the costs nor American fatigue with its presence are so great that the United States is prepared to wash its hands fully. In this light, it very much matters how Pakistan and the Taliban leadership respond to this decision. But what matters most is how the Afghan government, and particularly Ghani, proceeds from this point forward.

    On this front, Afghanistan is hardly an isolated case. Without a focus on the politics of the situation, U.S. training and equipping of foreign armies or militias is ineffective, as seen most dramatically in the failure of the Pentagon’s program in Syria. Unfortunately, this political element is much harder to influence, particularly for a nation reluctant to get mired in “nation-building.”

    So it is that the United States has proceeded from one year to the next, from review to review, repeatedly considering rationale for extensions that the Afghanistan strategy needed a little more resourcing and a little more time, often with a half-promise that further extensions would not be required. Those who participated in back-to-back reviews, most notably the president, often probed this poor track record of strategic forecasting. Typically, the response was that conditions had changed and the strategy simply needed more time, not that the strategy wasn’t working.

    Pakistan was always a known obstacle and risk to the Afghanistan strategy, but the real stumbling block has always been, as with elsewhere, that the political side of the strategy struggled to materialize. So the troops became a means to buy the necessary time and space for a political strategy to take hold. There is a fine line between a failing strategy and a strategy that simply needs more time. But at some point, and without a political strategy, it became clear that the United States was playing not to lose.

    One of the many lessons of these Afghanistan reviews is that it would be naïve to expect 5,500 troops to salvage a sagging strategy. As the president said in announcing his decision, this reflects a shift away from costly, industrial-scale U.S. troop interventions toward a more “sustainable” approach based on partnerships. And yet recent U.S. experience has been that these partnerships offer little more than an operational platform if the partners’ political will does not align with the military side of the partnership. And that means that aggressive implementation of a viable political strategy for Afghanistan remains the lynchpin.

    A second lesson is that the United States should not demand precision, and certainly not optimism, in assessing timelines or conditions. Foreign policy is an exercise in uncertainty, and a wise approach prepares for a range of potential futures, rather than faith in a single approach and a particular future. If nothing else, the U.S. experience in Afghanistan has exposed the historical debate over “time-based” vs. “conditions-based” strategies to be a false choice.

    Third, and relatedly, this decision to sustain troops is less about what the United States expects of its forces and more about its expectations in projecting against an uncertain future. Americans, and particularly America’s military, are conditioned to play to win. Hedging against uncertainty, or playing not to lose, may feel un-American, but it has become the pragmatic alternative to the failed hubris of a world shaped by U.S. conditions, or its timelines.

    With more evolved strategies that bring political and governance factors more prominently into play, the United States might play to win once again.



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