Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 05, 2012

General Allen - Lost In Afghanistan

As the U.S. and its allies slowly retreat from Afghanistan their newest hope for the white men's cause are some local gangs that they believe are fighting the Taliban.

From an interview with Gen. John Allen, ISAF commander in Afghanistan:

Foreign Policy: I am particularly interested in these uprisings in the east and how you view them. They are in their nascency, but I am told they may be a significant trend down the line. Are we talking "Andar Awakening"?

Gen. John Allen: They're actually calling it the Andar Awakening ... to plagiarize our Anbar Awakening.
FP: You just returned from the east. Tell me about these uprisings against the Taliban and how you see them.

Allen: They're really an important moment, actually. And I had the conversation with [President Hamid Karzai] this morning. Each, each one is an organic movement. And they're popping up in a lot of different places. We're going to start to plot them on a map -- we've actually done it already -- but we're going to do some analysis as to, is it tribal? Is it ethnic? What was the particular cause? What is the potential solution?

[Andar district in Ghazni province] is the most conspicuous right now, but there's another really substantial one that's growing in Kamdesh in southern Nuristan. There's one growing in Wardak. There's one growing in Ghor. We've heard of one in Faryab.

And so what we have to do is, as I said to [Karzai] this morning, it's not just about supporting Andar in Ghazni. This is a really important moment for this campaign because the brutality of the Taliban and the desire for local communities to have security has become so, so prominent -- as it was in Anbar -- that they're willing to take the situation into their own hands to do this.

Isn't that great? Locals standing up to the "brutality" of the Taliban?

But here is the real story from people who are not several command layers away from the ground:

Since the end of Ramadan, it has been Taleban who have dramatically stepped up their campaign and not only in Andar, but also against government and US military targets across Ghazni province. Two notables were targeted in the outskirts of Ghazni city in different attacks within a week in late August. The first, on 24 August, on the Andar uprising’s self-proclaimed leader and a former Ghazni provincial governor, Faizanullah Faizan, failed. He suffered a wound in his leg as a suicide bomber tried to detonate his explosive-laden belt in Pashtunabad in the outskirts of Ghazni city. In the second attack, the chairman of the elected provincial council of Ghazni, Qazi Sahib Shah, an ethnic Hazara from Hezb-e Wahdat, was killed, along with his bodyguard, on the evening of 29 August, also in the outskirts of Ghazni. On the night of 30 August, using insiders in the arbakai, the Taleban raided Saheb Khan village, one of the best known Hezb strongholds during the mujahedin era and one of the first villages which had accommodated the arbakai.
It is a longer story which you can read here and here, but the short version is simply that some groups splintered away from the Taliban, made friend with the government and, after a short while, were either beaten or again changed the sides. In conclusion:
The Taleban’s thwarting of the Gero, Deh Yak and Muqur ‘revolts’ before they had even properly started (as well as the failed attempts to spread the ‘uprising’ inside Andar) suggest that the prospects for spreading Andar-style rebellions, at least in Ghazni province look difficult. The Taleban now understand the plan and are striking back quickly and decisively against any such move.
That General Allen is peddling this "model" as successful when it has already failed tells about all one needs to know about the real state of the Afghanistan campaign.

Like at the height of the war on Iraq the U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have lost it. They do not know what they are up to. They do not understand the country and its people. They do not even know how many bases they have in Afghanistan (500 or 1000 or 1500?) and are despite the pledge that "combat troops" are leaving in 2014 still building more.

It seems that the war on Afghanistan will end like the one on Iraq. Karzai, or whoever is next to bribe himself to the top, will tell the foreigners to leave in the same way the Iraqis have done so. There will be no status of force agreement and without that and without public support for the war within the U.S. electorate the U.S. will leave.

What will follow that ugly part of their history will be up to the Afghans.

Posted by b on September 5, 2012 at 17:56 UTC | Permalink


Great work b. An fyi though. I think you might have meant "peddling" as in to try to sell. "Paddling" means to spank someone's backside with a flat stick.

Although that could make sense too.

Posted by: lysander | Sep 5 2012 18:48 utc | 1

No, Karzai knows what happens to the puppet leaders in Afghanistan when the foreign forces leave. So he won't be running for president in 2014, leaving that 'hot potato' (and the privilege of being executed) to another useful idiot.

I guess he won't spend any second in Afghanistan after officially ending his term. With all the money 'collected' by him and his family he can live whenever he wants without endangering his life.

Posted by: ThePaper | Sep 5 2012 19:02 utc | 2

Poor General Allen. Spent his whole career working to attain the highest position in the Afghan War and his fate is to be the commander that withdraws from that failed war. No battlefield glory for him. I guess he can be excused for trying to spin it as victory.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 5 2012 20:50 utc | 3

Karzai will move to Baltimore most likely. His family owns a few restaurants there.

Posted by: dh | Sep 5 2012 21:00 utc | 4

@dh: there's also an excellent Afghan restaurant in Cambridge, MA called The Helmand, which I heard was owned by family of Karzai

Posted by: ran | Sep 5 2012 21:21 utc | 5

The US national debt just hit $16 TRILLION...Somehow, they still haven't managed to connect the dots that fighting endless unwinnable wars with no clear aim.

The Roman empire was heavily involved in many wars abroad while Rome was slowly burning..The people were being entertained at the Colosseum to distract them from real issues facing the empire..Kinda like what's happening in the US today.

It's already too late and reality will be knocking on the door soon..

Posted by: Zico | Sep 5 2012 22:07 utc | 6

Well, the PR of the US exit was flawless. Ask a random person and don't be surprised if they think the US won the Iraq war.

So I expect a repeat of that too. The president winning the Afghanistan war and bringing the troops home just in time for the 2014 midterm election.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Sep 5 2012 22:07 utc | 7

Ask a random person and don't be surprised if they think the US won the Iraq war

Probably true. Ask that question about the War of 1812 or Vietnam and it is likely the average person would say the US won. Doesn't make any difference -- military victory is not gained at the ballot box.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 6 2012 0:05 utc | 8

The real story here is the fact that life has never been worse for the ordinary Afghan. Quite apart from the inconveniences of living under the rule of heavily armed thugs, famine stalks the land. The prospect of millions dying of malnutrition while the US jets in surf and turf rations from Boston to its troops is very real.
Billions directed to Afghanistan in aid are gobbled up by corrupt NGOs, quislings and criminal gangs, such as that referred to by General Allen, while rates of malnutrition among children are deliberately raised in order to intimidate their parents.
Every day the numbers in this rolling holocaust presided over by imperialism increase. And every death of every child is attributable to those who acting in our name, have been toying with Afghan lives for more than forty years.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 6 2012 0:46 utc | 9

President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly stated that he will not seek another term in office. It would require a change to the constitution, which states that no one can be elected as president for more than two terms. Changing the constitution to allow Karzai would be very controversial, since Karzai has has been so corrupt. Karzai has to leave office in 2014 -- which is promising to be an interesting year.

Regarding General Allen, describing almost any general as stupid is like calling crows black. Harry Truman: -- "I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."

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