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Problems for Obama in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by BigRob, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    In December of 2008, the Bush Administration released a report stating, “A modern Afghan democracy -- stable and free of extremists -- may be both unattainable and unaffordable.” President Obama has changed course from this assessment by stating, as a policy of his administration, that Afghanistan is the “central front in the war on terror” and vital to our success combating extremism. The President wants to send an additional 30,000 soldiers into Afghanistan to counter the growing extremist influence. An equal number of NATO soldiers, not from the United States, are hoped to accompany this increase. To sustain this increase protecting supply routes must be made a priority.

    Extremist groups in Pakistan have recently begun a large effort to attack NATO supply convoys going along the critical supply route stretching from the port city of Karachi to Peshawar, and through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. More than 300 NATO vehicles and containers have been destroyed in a series of attacks on shipping terminals in Peshawar as well as attacks on convoys moving through the region. Since roughly 75 percent of NATO and United States supplies move through Pakistan, this trend is particularly worrisome.

    A vital airbase, located in Kyrgyzstan, is also on the brink of being closed. The Manas Air Base has begun closing procedures after negotiations broke down on compensation. It is widely believed that Russian influence is behind the closing, and Russia has offered an aid package worth $2 billion to the impoverished nation.

    The loss of supply routes in Pakistan, as well as the Kyrgyz airbase would be a devastating blow to continuing ground operations. Afghanistan, as a landlocked nation with very few passable roads is very difficult to supply using current routes. In the absence of these routes, new routes would need to be found, and they would most likely be even less developed, more expensive, and much harder to defend. These alternative routes would have to include multiple other nations, and would be almost impossible to keep together. The cost of setting up these routes seems to outweigh the potential benefits.

    So, the point is this. As more soldiers get set to deploy to Afghanistan, what is being done to maintain and protect supply routes into the country? Without these routes, the United States will not be able to maintain any increase in troop strength in country, thus making the current strategy of the Obama Administration unsustainable and unwinnable.

    Protecting the supply routes should be made a vital priority, however it seems little if anything is being done to ensure this. Why?
     
  2. Pandora

    Pandora Well-Known Member

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    What exactly is his plan?

    Why does he want to be there anyway?
     
  3. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit confused by this as well. In Iraq, despite liberal claims to the contrary, I always understood the goal was a self sustaining Iraqi self rule government, capable of holding it's union together.

    Now that this goal is nearly accomplished, it's clear what a benefit this is to both us, in the form of not having an insane dictator with WMDs, and what a benefit it is to the people of Iraq, who have been oppressed for so long.

    Now in Afghanistan, the goal was to vanquish the Taliban, and wipe out most of Al Qaeda strong holds there. Which for the most part we did. So what has the Afghan government been doing since 2002? Why are we facing a regrowth of the Taliban? And what's the goal now? Do we plan to actually go spelunking for terrorist? Is it really possible to eliminate all of them? Do we plan to remain there for ever?

    If we really think we can wipe out all the Taliban to extinction, I'm for it. But I do not see that the current plan will get us to that point.

    One difference I see between Afghanistan and Iraq, is that Iraq was a largely modernized state. Afghan, as near as I can tell, is like a remote desert island.

    A strong civil government can maintain law and order in Iraq. Keep the rule of law. Provide protection, and freedom. I'm not so sure that's even possible in the largely backward, isolated Afghan desert country. Do they have the resources to do it? Do the people have the will to do it? Am I underestimating how advanced the country is? I don't know.

    I'm willing to give Obama the chance on this one. Only because I want it to succeed. However, democrats have the worst of track records with military affairs. Sadly we voted one in. I hope he doesn't screw everything up for a change.
     
  4. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    You are right that Afghanistan is a tough place to do much. The government in Kabul effectively has no reach outside of the city. If you ever watch government ceremonies, all of the soldiers weapons are scanned and unloaded before they can get near Karzai for fear he will get killed.

    I personally think the key to a mostly stable Afghanistan is in Pakistan. Problem there is the Durand Line which really gives the border no defined area. Pakistan is imploding and has all but lost control of the area. This is clearly seen since Pakistan is signing peace deals with these areas all but accepting they cannot control the area.

    The supply routes as well. If we cannot secure those, the rest becomes almost impossible.
     
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