SF - Can These Commandos Salvage the Afghan War?

tigerstr

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Good embed piece from Wired "Danger Room" about a SF ODA from 10th Group, interacting with an Afghan Provincial Response Company.

Interestingly, the TL is a 37 year old London native, prior enlisted SF and prior Air Force Officer flying C-130s, that got back to the Army and ended up in SF again!

Can These Commandos Salvage the Afghan War?

LAGHMAN, Afghanistan — The American Special Forces officer was having what one colleague says was the worst day of his war tour. And that was before the Soviet-made anti-personnel mine packed with 700 ball bearings exploded at his feet.
A weapon like that can turn a man into “pink mist,” the officer says.
It was late September outside the town of Mehtar Lam, in this hilly province just east of Kabul. The officer from the Germany-based 10th Special Forces Group — let’s call him “Tom” — had been leading his patrol of U.S. commandos and Afghan police trainees on the long walk back to base following a disappointing encounter with Taliban fighters in which half of the trainees failed to fight back.

the rest is here: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/02/special-forces-salvage/all/1

and seems to be part of a series to be continiued.
 

Marauder06

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OK, that article wasn't what I expected.

The answer to the question asked in the headline (which isn't really what the article is about) is "no." I think a lot of people forget that there is a 5th SOF truth, and the higher the echelon you're dealing with, the more important that truth is. IMO, a SOF-only fight merely prolongs the conflict in Afghanistan, it does not change the final result.
 

tigerstr

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OK, that article wasn't what I expected.

The answer to the question asked in the headline (which isn't really what the article is about) is "no." I think a lot of people forget that there is a 5th SOF truth, and the higher the echelon you're dealing with, the more important that truth is. IMO, a SOF-only fight merely prolongs the conflict in Afghanistan, it does not change the final result.

Yeah, I should have chosen another headline for the post, instead of the article headline which is a bit misleading, maybe the other ones in the series will be more to the titles point.

As for your opinion, personally I dont think this war can be salvaged, SOF or not, at this point. IMO the US gov wants out ASAP and plans to use SOF as a covering force for an eventual total withdrawal, even if it is quickly proven that locals cant/wont pull their own weight.

And if there is not sufficient planning and support (firepower-logistics - reaction forces etc), I would not be surprised if this ends up being a mess with US SOF soldiers having to extract themselves from very dangerous situations.

In some respects, it is eery similar to the "Vietnamisation" effort.
 

AWP

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"Salvage?" A better title would be "Can These Commandos Unfuck a War They Already Won but Was Lost by the Conventional Army?"

I'm going to go take my BP meds now.
 

Brill

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Russians tried this shit in Chechnya. They failed.

HN must WANT to change in order for the insurgency to end. Afghans want to fight...and butt sex little boys not not necessarily in that order. SOF only warfare is like placing Quick Clot on a car wreck victim: sure you'll stop the exterior bleeding but you probably going to need more substantial care to ensure saving the life.
 

tigerstr

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HN must WANT to change in order for the insurgency to end.

Thats THE main thing.

Freefalling is right. SOF won the war against the Taliban in 2001. But then, huge mistakes where made. Every godforsaken place in this world has a different state of equilibrioum.

Trying to make Afghanistan a western style democracy is like trying to do the same in the European dark ages.

In such a country as Afghanistan, even if you ignore the tribal/ethnic factors, establishing a working democracy would take decades under the best circumstances. Because first you have to establish a middle class-spanning different tribes and ethnic boundaries-the way we understand the term.

No middle class, no wealth through work, legal trade and industry, no western style Democracy. End of Story.
 

Hitman2/3

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Afghans want change but only in the sence of not having to worry aboutgetting extorted or murdered by the Taliban or other bandits. Most of the villages, that are anti Taliban, are willing to fight. However, they could care less about a central government or even a democracy as we know it. Most of the villages that are way out there don't care about what someone a couple hundred miles away, whom they don't even know, thinks about how they should conduct business in what is rightfully their territory.

All the wonderful folks in Washington with their high priced educations really screwed things up when they decided to push Afghanistan to be a western style government. Democracy? Fine, but not a western style democracy/ government/military. That place might as well be a different planet, because their views and values are so alien to your average American, politicians especially, that they can't even comprehend how their culture functions.
 

CDG

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The tribal conflicts in Afghanistan will preclude there ever being a true democratic government that really runs the country. All the Northern Alliance tribes were not exactly on friendly terms before the Taliban, they merely realized the benefit it provided for each of them to put that fight aside for a bigger fight against the Taliban. People switch sides constantly, depending on who's winning at a particular time, and even guys on the same side end up in fights over ethnic differences. I don't think anyone in Afghanistan wants a democracy. They just say they do in the hopes that it will be their tribe in charge.
 

tigerstr

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Second part of the same story, is relevant with the original title and with some usefull hints about our own little discussion:


U.S. Commandos in Afghanistan Face a New Battlefield: The Courtroom


LAGHMAN, Afghanistan — Coalition forces here have been hit hard in the past year. Bombings and gun battles have killed more than a dozen U.S. troops and wounded around 100 from Task Force Thunderbird, built around the Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade.
But arguably the biggest battle took place not in the hills of this rugged province east of Kabul, but in a courtroom in the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam. The dramatic events leading up to the January trial — and those that followed — are a window into a vitally important but largely unreported facet of the decade-long Afghanistan War... http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/02/commando-courtroom/all/1



Kudos to the SF ODA. You have to be very determined to keep on trying, against such a reality.
 

Salt USMC

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: The guys on the ground will do what they can to advise and influence the Afghans, but ultimately it's the state department getting the GIRoA to act like a real government instead of a crime family that will (or could've) win/won the war. As an extension of that, a better effort should've been made to appoint and advise stronger and less corrupt district governors, which is ultimately where respect for rule of law will come from. Instead, nepotism reigned supreme and Karzai's buddies were appointed and royally messed stuff up. These are things for diplomats to solve, not soldiers.
 

Loki

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No one can at this point in my opinion. They are the rear guard element remaining in place for extract of all others. The convential Army and the coalition threw that one in the wind long ago.
 
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