Closing the Afpak Border

bigbuford89

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Hey y'all
This is my first post other than my introduction, so if this is aggressive I apologize.

I am a senior in college writing a paper on closing the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan - why it's so hard and what the US would need to be effective. Essentially I am trying to model troop requirements given two different levels of force, i.e. high and low.

I think the force answer probably lies near medium, but for the sake of the paper, high will involve more mines, artillery, etc. and less people while low will involve more sensors, troops on the ground and a very tight ROE.

I am in the research phase trying to find maps, demographics, troop deployments, and drone capabilities among other things.

If any of you have any good articles, ideas, guidance, whatever it would be much appreciated. Likewise if you think this is the dumbest thing you've ever heard, let me know. Too late to change my topic but perhaps you'll help me shore up my ideas.

Thanks
 

pardus

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Closing that border is a completely unrealistic goal. Good luck with that!

Mines are pretty useless unless they are watched.
 

bigbuford89

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Closing that border is a completely unrealistic goal. Good luck with that!

Mines are pretty useless unless they are watched.
You're right. It's hypothetical really. I don't expect to be able to come up with a satisfactory solution. I am going to include a sensitivity analysis with the hopes of determining what it would take to reduce it to different levels.

I was thinking of using something similar to the McNamara line approach, but with better sensors.

I should have chosen the "invade Pakistan and take their nukes" one but I wanted to come up with my own.
 

Totentanz

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Mines are pretty useless unless they are watched.

Not only that, but persistent mines are a huge legal/international nightmare... for many reasons, they are not advised for the intended effect.
 

AWP

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We can't close our border, what makes you think closing a hostile border is possible?

BAM!

Buford, don't take this the wrong way, but whenever I hear about closing the AfPak border I have seizures of laughter. We can't seal ours with Mexico and the McNamara line was a joke. If anything, our increased efforts to seal it here have, at best. resulted n NO CHANGE whatsoever.

Want to seal the border? You have to take away the desire/ need to cross it in the first place.
 

Marauder06

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Not only that, but persistent mines are a huge legal/international nightmare... for many reasons, they are not advised for the intended effect.

Yes; IIRC the US has not used emplaced mines since... 1991 or so (command-detonated and FASCAM-type self-destructing mines don't count). In fact I think the only place we DO employ them is along the nK/sK border, and I think technically we turned them all over to the Republic of Korea Army. The US is under big pressure for not being a signatory to the land mine ban treaty, and with the risk-aversion to civilian casualties that the mines would inevitably cause, I think any proposal to employ landmines long the AFPAK border will be a non-starter.

I think a better topic for your paper would be, "how we're going to give the Haqqani Network a first-rate ass kicking inside Pakistan before we withdraw from Afghanistan with our tail between our legs in 2014."

edited to add: here's a good starting point for you:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4529882...issiles-kill-militants-pakistan/#.TsKrWMNC_1Q
 

bigbuford89

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We can't close our border, what makes you think closing a hostile border is possible?
BAM!

Buford, don't take this the wrong way, but whenever I hear about closing the AfPak border I have seizures of laughter. We can't SEAL ours with Mexico and the McNamara line was a joke. If anything, our increased efforts to SEAL it here have, at best. resulted n NO CHANGE whatsoever.

Want to SEAL the border? You have to take away the desire/ need to cross it in the first place.
I don't take it the wrong way. I'm sure it's pretty much impossible. I'm not being graded on whether or not my strategies work, but on my methods and the composition of my paper. I think the extreme approach will probably prove that even if we were to nuke the FATA (exaggeration), it would not help close the border. I also think the nicer approach will prove that if you put 5 divisions on the border, it still wouldn't make enough of a difference.

Not only that, but persistent mines are a huge legal/international nightmare... for many reasons, they are not advised for the intended effect.

I agree. Mines would never be approved, but if the analysis shows that even extreme measures wouldn't help, then I'll be able to show that it really is a mission:impossible.

Yes; IIRC the US has not used emplaced mines since... 1991 or so (command-detonated and FASCAM-type self-destructing mines don't count). In fact I think the only place we DO employ them is along the nK/sK border, and I think technically we turned them all over to the Republic of Korea Army. The US is under big pressure for not being a signatory to the land mine ban treaty, and with the risk-aversion to civilian casualties that the mines would inevitably cause, I think any proposal to employ landmines long the AFPAK border will be a non-starter.

I think a better topic for your paper would be, "how we're going to give the Haqqani Network a first-rate ass kicking inside Pakistan before we withdraw from Afghanistan with our tail between our legs in 2014."

edited to add: here's a good starting point for you:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4529882...issiles-kill-militants-pakistan/#.TsKrWMNC_1Q

That would have been a good one! Perhaps I'll get to address that subject in another class or maybe even real life if a whole bunch of other things work out really well.

Thanks for the input. Happy to get to correspond with you folks
 

SpitfireV

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One of the things you could write about is the Pashtun tribal area covering cover sides of the border and how the local tribes don't take any notice because of this. That should get you a few thousand words alone.
 

moobob

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We could close large portions of the border. A lot of the border is only passable through certain mountain passes... Set up there and the border is effectively closed.
 

moobob

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That is, if we, as the U.S. actually took control of the border with sufficient numbers. Won't happen because we recognize the Afghans as a legitimate government, when their security forces are largely a joke. We swallowed the PC pill in Afghanistan long ago, and for no good reason. Most of the American public would be fairly content if we just made this place uninhabitable for thousands of years. The Afghan Border Police are more of a business than a police force.
 

Dame

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Essentially I am trying to model troop requirements given two different levels of force, i.e. high and low.
I think the force answer probably lies near medium, but for the sake of the paper, high will involve more mines, artillery, etc. and less people while low will involve more sensors, troops on the ground and a very tight ROE.

Gurkhas.
 

bigbuford89

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One of the things you could write about is the Pashtun tribal area covering cover sides of the border and how the local tribes don't take any notice because of this. That should get you a few thousand words alone.

I am in fact going to dedicate an entire section to "Pashutinstan." I need to explain why people cross the border so often and one of the reasons is that the border is completely ignored by the Pashtuns.

We could close large portions of the border. A lot of the border is only passable through certain mountain passes... Set up there and the border is effectively closed.

That is, if we, as the U.S. actually took control of the border with sufficient numbers. Won't happen because we recognize the Afghans as a legitimate government, when their security forces are largely a joke. We swallowed the PC pill in Afghanistan long ago, and for no good reason. Most of the American public would be fairly content if we just made this place uninhabitable for thousands of years. The Afghan Border Police are more of a business than a police force.

This goes directly into a paper I read by Major Jim Gant, Special Forces. He talks about his ODA's experiences acting as a Tribal Engagement Team embedded with tribes. One of his main criteria for success is a less restricted ROE, i.e. "If they need to drop bombs or pursue an enemy,
they must be able to do so." It would still be PC because there would "always be an Afghan face on every mission."

In that vein however I read an article that suggested the US should have nuked Tora Bora in 2001 but I can't find it

Paper done.
 
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