The Other War: Afghanistan
"Remember Afghanistan? That’s the country that the British and the Russians were never able to subdue. It’s the place where the U.S. war on al Qaeda started, following 9/11. It’s the place where the United States fought the rebel Taliban but never defeated it. It’s the place where, each year since the U.S.-led coalition initiated operations, the Taliban has carefully rebuilt its forces, its political and religious influence, and, in particular, its opium trade, the source of so much of its funding," Ron Fraser wrote June 30, 2006, in The Trumpet.
Illustrative of this is the fact that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the end of Afghan combat on May 2, 2003, but on December 9, 2003, the U.S. military announced that it had "launched a major ground operation in Afghanistan in an effort to eliminate the remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban regime overthrown in 2001."
June 2006: Operation Mountain Thrust
"The United States military is quietly carrying out the largest military offensive in Afghanistan since U.S. troops invaded the country in 2001," Brian Ross reported June 20, 2006, for ABC News.
"The Taliban has re-emerged as the Afghan government 'has created vacuums of power'," said one official. "Proceeds from the growing opium trade in the region has helped the Taliban obtain new weapons and pay local officials." Additionally, Taliban leader Mullah Omar "remains at large despite a $10 million reward offered by the United States. U.S. military officials believe he has established a safe haven in Pakistan, where U.S. soldiers cannot operate," Ross wrote.
2004: Re-emergence of Warlords and Opium Production
Retired Army Colonel Hy Rothstein, "who served in the Army Special Forces for more than 20 years, ... commissioned by the Pentagon to examine the war in Afghanistan concluded the conflict created conditions that have given 'warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life'," Agence France Presse reported April 3, 2004, based on a news story in The New Yorker.
Rothstein "wrote in a military analysis he gave to the Pentagon in January that the US failed to adapt to new conditions created by the Taliban's collapse, the weekly magazine reported. ... 'The failure to adjust US operations in line with the post-Taliban change in theater conditions cost the United States some of the fruits of victory and imposed additional, avoidable humanitarian and stability costs on Afghanistan,' Rothstein wrote in the report. ... 'Indeed,'" he wrote, "'the war's inadvertent effects may be more significant than we think.'"
Rothstein said that the "'military should have used Special Forces to adapt to new conditions' and that the war 'effectively destroyed the Taliban but has been significantly less successful at being able to achieve the primary policy goal of ensuring that al Qaeda could no longer operate in Afghanistan.'"
The New Yorker reported that the "Pentagon returned the report to Rothstein with a request he cut it drastically and soften his conclusions ... 'There may be a kernel of truth in there, but our experts found the study rambling and not terribly informative,' Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Collins told The New Yorker."
December 2003: Fighting the Insurgency
The U.S. military has launched a major ground operation in Afghanistan in an effort to eliminate the remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban regime overthrown in 2001," CNN reported December 9, 2003.
"The United States military is now engaged in its largest operation against insurgents in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, involving the deployment of 2,000 of the 11,500 US-led troops in the country to violence-plagued sections of the east and south," Syed Saleem reported December 11, 2003, in Asia Times. "The offensive is codenamed Operation Avalanche, which carries with it the unfortunate connotation that the country is heading for a precipitous slide into complete chaos. And all the indicators point that way."
"General David Barno said US bases would be set up in the south-east, where the violence has forced international aid agencies to pull out," the UK's BBC reported December 21, 2003. "General Barno said that by March next year there would be at least 12 civilian-military units - Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRT) - operating in Afghanistan, including deployments in the troubled regions of Zabul and Oruzgan."
"The announcement by the commander, Lt. Gen. David Barno, amounted to an admission by the Americans that the 11,500 troops in Afghanistan have been unable to stop a constant stream of insurgent attacks that have undermined or slowed international aid efforts," Carlotta Gall reported December 22, 2003, in the New York Times. "The announcement also signaled a major shift in emphasis for the so-called provincial reconstruction teams run by the military, which have been helping mainly to provide emergency relief to Afghans and win the trust of the population. Now those teams will focus primarily on providing security in the southern and eastern areas of Afghanistan that have been most vulnerable to insurgent attacks this year."
- The Osama Clock, Buzzflash: "It's been xyz days since Bush said he'd catch Osama bin Laden."
- Operation Enduring Freedom at U.S. Central Command web site.
General Articles & Commentary
- Defend America, U.S. Department of Defense web site for daily news items.
- Ramtanu Maitra, "Bush just wants to get the boys home," Asia Times, November 22, 2003.
- Todd W. John, "Tales and travails from Afghanistan," Asia Times, December 4, 2003.
- "NATO Melts in Afghanistan", Christian Science Monitor Commentary, December 5, 2003.
- Jim Hoagland, "Legacy of a Bloody November," Washington Post, December 7, 2003.
- Yousuf Azimi, "U.S. in Biggest Afghan Push, Regrets Deaths," Reuters, December 8, 2003.
- Stephen Graham, "Mistaken U.S. Attack Upsets Afghans," Associated Press, December 8, 2003.
- Carlotta Gall, "Afghan Villagers Torn by Grief After U.S. Raid Kills 9 Children," New York Times, December 8, 2003.
- "DNA tests hold key to Afghan raid. US forces in Afghanistan are still trying to identify whether they killed their target in a bungled raid on Saturday that claimed nine children", BBC (UK), December 8, 2003.
- "Major Afghan offensive launched", CNN, December 9, 2003.
- Syed Saleem, "On the precipice in Afghanistan," Asia Times, December 11, 2003.
- "Afghanistan: The Forgotten War", Independent (UK), December 14, 2003.
- Sami Yousafzai, Ron Moreau and Michael Hirsh, "Bin Laden's Iraq Plans," Newsweek, December 15, 2003 (issue).
- "US-Afghan Road", Voice of America, December 16, 2003: The "reopening of the newly-renovated Kabul-to-Kandahar [nearly 500 kilometer] highway in Afghanistan ...[was] funded by the United States and Japan ... The highway project, begun more than a year ago, was slowed by supply and logistical problems and by attacks on road workers and mine-clearing teams attributed to supporters of the ousted Taliban regime. ... But the 200-million dollar paving operation was completed, as US aid officials had promised, before the end of the year, and marked by a formal ceremony south of Kabul."
- Ann Scott Tyron, "Desertions deplete Afghan Army. At the current pace, it will take until 2010 for the force to reach full strength - prolonging US Army stay," Christian Science Monitor, December 17, 2003.
- Phil Long, "Unit trains for new duties. National Guard members who are expecting deployment in Afghanistan are training for military police and security duties," Miami Herald, December 18, 2003.
- "US military shifts Afghan policy. The new US commander in Afghanistan has outlined a major change of strategy to improve security in areas where Taleban guerrillas continue to operate," BBC (UK), December 21, 2003.
- Carlotta Gall, "More G.I.'s to Go to Insecure Afghan Areas to Permit Aid Work," New York Times, December 22, 2003.
- "Three U.S. Troops Hurt in Afghan Battle," Associated Press, January 1, 2004.
- "The other soldiers. New Mexico troops are facing tribulation daily in Afghanistan, but they worry they've been forgotten in their own country," The Albuquerque Tribune, January 2, 2004.
- Stephen Graham, "GI in vehicle crash becomes 100th fatality," Chicago Sun-Times, January 13, 2004.
- Tim McGirk, "Remember Afghanistan?" Time Online, February 29, 2004.
- Stephen Graham, "U.S. Launches New Afghanistan Offensive," Associated Press, March 13, 2004.
- "Afghanistan: Devolution Into Chaos," Center for American Progress, March 23, 2004.
- Seymour M. Hersh, "The Other War," The New Yorker, April 5, 2004: "Why Bush's Afghanistan problem won't go away."
- Greg Zoroya, "Afghanistan insurgents 'extremely resolute and fought to the last man'," USA Today, November 16, 2005.
- Chris Sands, "Afghanistan: Countdown to Civil War?" The Palestine Chronicle, June 6, 2006.
- "Large Afghan Offensive Begins," Associated Press (military.com), June 14, 2006.
- "10K+ troops in Operation Mountain Thrust," Canadian Press, June 14, 2006.
- "Bus Bombing Kills Afghans; Operation Mountain Thrust Continues," American Forces Press Service, June 15, 2006.
- Tini Tran, "Operation Mountain Thrust steps up," Associated Press (The Globe and Mail (Canada)), June 18, 2006.
- Angus Howarth, "British forces' Afghanistan push exceeds expectations," The Scotsman, June 19, 2006.
- Brian Ross, "U.S. Back at Full War Footing in Afghanistan," ABC News The Blotter, June 20, 2006.
- Ron Fraser, "The Other War," The Trumpet, June 30, 2006.
- Comment: "Blundering into another nightmare," Daily Mail (UK), July 3, 2006.
- Eric S. Margolis, "Revenge of the Pashtuns," Gulf Times (Qatar), July 3, 2006.
- Vikram Dodd, "We're in a war now, says Hague," Guardian Unlimited (UK), July 3, 2006.
- Tini Tran, "U.S. Troops Kill 20 Aghanistan Militants," Associated Press (Forbes), July 3, 2006.
- Bob Graham, Opinion: "Finishing the war on terrorism," Boston Globe, July 3, 2006.
- Ahmed Rashid, "How to Help Afghanistan. A Global Response to the Crisis," Washington Post, July 3, 2006.
- Paul Reynolds, "Beware Afghanistan: First basic rule" and "'No Request' for Afghan Back-up," BBC, July 3, 2006.
- Anna Tomforde, "Britain fears 'mission creep' in Afghanistan," Monsters and Critics (UK), July 3, 2006.
- "Clashes kill 6 Taliban, injure 7 U.S.-led troops. Coalition forces engage in 'numerous fights' in deadly phase in Afghanistan," Reuters (MSNBC), July 8, 2006.
- Christina Lamb, "Death trap," Times Online (UK), July 9, 2006.
- Jason Burke, "Hunt for the Taliban trio intent on destruction. Behind the rising death toll of British soldiers in Afghanistan is a shadowy group known as 'the junta'. Now the coalition has them in its sights," The Observer (UK), July 9, 2006.
- "Winning in Afghanistan means telling home truths," The Observer (UK), July 9, 2006.
- "Britain sending more troops to fight Taliban resistance," Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), July 10, 2006.
- Martin Sieff, "Analysis: Losing the forgotten war," UPI (Monsters and Critics (UK)), July 10, 2006.
- Robert Burns, "Rumsfeld Wary of Taliban Afghan Resurgence," Associated Press (ABC News), July 11, 2006.
- Kristin Roberts, "Rumsfeld arrives in Afghanistan; 30 Taliban killed," Reuters (Washington Post), July 11, 2006.
- "Coalition forces begin major offensive in Afghanistan," CBC News (Canada), July 15, 2006.
- Jeremy Laurence, "U.S.-led forces say kill al Qaeda fighters in Afghan," Reuters UK, July 17, 2006.
- Ian Bruce, "Afghanistan helicopter use 'rationed'," The Herald (UK), July 17, 2006.
- Tom Coghlan, "Fury as Karzai plans return of Taliban's religious police," The Independent (UK), July 17, 2006.
- "Afghanistan five years later: charting the reconstruction. A statistical examination of the progress in the rebuilding of Afghanistan since the Taliban's fall," Christian Science Monitor, October 11, 2006.
- Christian Parenti, "Rising Taliban, Sinking Afghanistan," The Nation (PEJ.org), October 12, 2006.
- "Oil, gas reserves in Afghanistan 10 times more than predicted: survey," Xinhua (People's Daily Online), October 12, 2006.
- Anne E. Brodsky, "Return to Afghanistan. Where the Rhetoric Doesn't Match the Reality," CounterPunch, October 13, 2006.
- Ken Sanders, "The Sorrows of Regime Change," OpEdNews, October 13, 2006.
- "Canadian death toll in Afghanistan: 42 soldiers, one diplomat," Canadian Press, October 14, 2006.
- "A Look at U.S. Deaths in Afghan Fighting," Associated Press (Guardian Unlimited (UK)), October 14, 2006.
- Phillip O'Connor, "Five years after the U.S. invasion, we revisit Afghanistan," St. Louis Dispatch/STLTODAY.com, October 14, 2006.
- Francis Elliott and Raymond Whitaker, "MoD forced to hire civilian helicopters in Afghanistan," The Independent (UK), October 15, 2006.
- "Pro-Con: Is Situation in Afghanistan Getting Worse? Yes," The Kansas City Star/KansasCity.com, October 15, 2006.
- "France to withdraw special forces from Afghanistan," KUNA/Kuwait News Agency, October 15, 2006.
- James Janega, "Wars strain military gear. Budget dwindles; demand rises for parts, equipment," Chicago Tribune (Detroit Free Press), October 15, 2006.
- Gretchen Peters, "Pakistani Truce Already Falling Apart," The Blotter Blog/ABC News, October 24, 2006: "U.S. military officials tell ABC News cross-border attacks by the Taliban are up '300 percent' since President Musharraf declared a 'truce' with tribal leaders in the troubled Northern Waziristan region that borders Afghanistan." re Pakistan
- Kim Sengupta, "Nato runs critically short of combat troops to keep Taliban at bay," The Independent (UK), November 26, 2006.
- James Glanz and David Rohde, "Panel Faults U.S.-Trained Afghan Police," New York Times, December 4, 2006.
- Josh Meyer, "Pentagon resists pleas for help in Afghan opium fight. The DEA wants the military to take a larger role in stopping the drug trade, which experts say finances the insurgency," Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2006.
- "2006: year of bloodshed in Afghanistan," Asian Times International / Hindustan Times, December 26, 2006.
- Simon Tisdall, "The big Afghanistan push comes to shove," The Guardian (UK), January 30, 2007. Also see McCain doctrine re "surge" in Iraq.
- Tom Engelhart, "Forgotten Afghanistan," TomDispatch (ZNet), February 5, 2007.
- "US presidential hopeful McCain warns Europeans on Afghanistan," Agence France Press (France24.com), February 11, 2007.