Recently, the Pentagon "threw" in the US media a belated service report "On the progress in achieving security and stability in Afghanistan", which is intended for Congress. The document was supposed to get to the congressmen before the November elections. The reason for the delay is not explained.
The report draws a pessimistic picture of the Afghan future after the departure of the American contingent. However, the Pentagon boss - he could not have been unaware of the report - suddenly surprised the journalists with some optimism. US Secretary of Defense saidthat the Afghan authorities ensure the safety of 75 percent of the population of Afghanistan, and in 2013, this figure will be one hundred percent. Leon Panetta noted that the international coalition in Afghanistan is clearly fulfilling the plan adopted by the NATO countries at the Chicago summit. He added: “Although we are withdrawing troops by the end of 2014, our mission in Afghanistan will continue. We are transferring control, but not leaving. ” According to him, the United States intends to continue to help Afghans and train them - so that "so that al-Qaeda will never again conquer Afghanistan."
In the report, the state of the Afghan army is assessed in negative colors. Experts from the Pentagon argue that of the twenty-three brigades that are part of the Armed Forces of Afghanistan, only one (!) Is capable of conducting operations independently. What does it mean? And the fact that it is estimated to be able to conduct military operations without support from the ISAF. The number of Afghan brigades is 3-5 thousand people.
If America constantly scares the world with an invasion of stronger people, not by the day, but by the hours of the Taliban, who, after the withdrawal of the ISAF contingent, can even take power in Kabul, then Panetta’s joyful statement does not climb at any gate against the background of the gloomy text of the report. The Pentagon boss who recently visited Afghanistan surpassed Soviet propaganda: his thesis about “one hundred percent” sounds a much more powerful chord than any report from the field or holiday news about the orders of the next party congress or plenum of the Central Committee, which finally paved the way to a bright communist the future.
In addition to poorly prepared troops, Afghanistan is defensively confronted with a host of attendant problems. The main one is a bad organization.
The Pentagon estimates that Hamid Karzai and his government collide with systemic problems, which, according to the text of the report, include “the widest prevalence of corruption; lack of trained personnel and coordination between different branches of government; weak or no existing links between the center and the provinces. ”
“Thanks to” this alignment, the Taliban’s positions are not only durable, but also strengthened. The report says: "Anti-government forces managed to adapt to changing conditions, while retaining the ability to mobilize a significant number of fighters and conduct both individual and massive attacks."
In Kandahar, the Afghan warriors faced organized Taliban resistance, which they cannot suppress at all. Experts admit that Karzai - with the departure of the Americans - will repeat the sad ending of Najibullah. Moreover, experts believe that if Najibullah lasted for three years, then Karzai would not last long.
According to the recommendations of experts, the White House should make adjustments to the withdrawal plan and keep the entire 68-thousandth contingent in Afghanistan - until the end of 2014. After this date, no less than 20 of thousands of US troops should remain in the country.
But the United States, it seems, has recently been surrendering its geopolitical positions. The wars they fought over the past ten years have not brought them victories. And the defeat in the elections of militant Mitt Romney also says a lot. Obama is unlikely to support the ideas of Pentagon experts. Rather, he hears the sweet speeches of Leon Panetta.
As for the Taliban, it is believed that American and Western passions around the Taliban in general are a myth, probably launched and supported with the most common goal: to turn the US Middle East defeat into something like a victory, or at least success maintaining order in Afghanistan.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Institute for Demography, Migration and Regional Development, the leader of the Development Movement, Yuri Krupnov believesthat the United States and NATO are not at all interested in creating a strong national army of Afghanistan.
To prove this, he names a figure of three trillion dollars spent on Afghanistan and Iraq, taken together, over 11 years. For such and such money it was quite possible to create a national army. But for Americans, Afghanistan is nothing more than a territory for strategic deployment of forces.
According to Comrade Krupnov, the United States will not only leave the 20000 man of the contingent in Afghanistan, but also try to stretch its military-strategic bridgehead toward Central Asia, at the same time squeezing Russia out of it.
One of the goals of the Pentagon report is to demonize the Taliban. According to Krupnov, they have long ceased to exist in an organized form in Afghanistan, but this terrible myth must be maintained.
“Moreover, in addition to shaping an appropriate public opinion, an important goal of fomenting this fear is the influence on the elites of the Russian Federation, which even at the end of 2012 of the year, through 11 years after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom and the occupation of Afghanistan, continue to repeat this media horror story about“ Taliban Which destabilizes the whole situation. Say, if NATO and the United States leave the region, tomorrow the Taliban will almost never leave the Volga and capture Moscow. And the US’s task is to continue cultivating this bugbear, scaring the Russian elites ... In fact, we see that the United States is further strengthening its military and other geostrategic, geo-economic, geopolitical and geo-cultural presence in the center of Eurasia. ”
Panetta’s recent visit, along with praising the generals for the success of the Afghan army, is a kind of excuse for accelerated withdrawal. It can even be assumed that the “fiscal cliff” (fiscal cliff), which threatens the US 2013, is the main reason for accelerated withdrawal: after all, there are no funds in the country either to fulfill pension obligations in full, neither medical insurance nor military social programs (including special medical), and many others. In the Pentagon there are opponents of budget cuts and cuts, which were noted in the gloomy report, and there are supporters - like the old Panetta and the generals close to him, who do not want to go into conflict with the president. Panetta is going to retire in January, and does not want problems. There was a problem with General Allen, especially Petraeus. Others of the military took the side of the Congress, where many Republicans sit, opposing reductions and cuts, including defense ones.
John Allen will not argue with Obama: in January, if everything goes smoothly, and the love scandal is forgotten, he will be given the post of Supreme Commander of the combined armed forces of NATO in Europe. Moreover, John Allen will not say that the American troops in Afghanistan, with whom he commands, did not cope with the task.
Currently, General Allen, commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, trains recommendations on how many troops should remain in the country at the end of the international mission in 2014. The final decision will be made by Barack Obama. A possible decision on an accelerated withdrawal will also have to be made by Obama. As you can see, there is a clean economy. According to analysts, the final figures will be announced by the US president soon: at the scheduled meeting with Karzai at the beginning of 2013 in Washington.
And Panetta is full of optimism, like no one else: "It is clear to me that today we are doing much better than four years ago, despite some real difficulties that remain in the region." According to him, the Taliban is not able to conquer any significant territory, and the number of internal attacks (that is, attacks on coalition forces by the Afghan military) decreased to two in November, although there were twelve in August. In addition, the level of violence is falling, especially in cities.
That is, while Panetta “belittles” the Taliban, rapporteurs from the Pentagon, friends of Congress and the press, the Taliban “elevate”, at the same time speaking ill of the Afghan forces.
According to the Pentagon report, in the Afghan army flourishing theft weapons: it is then sold to the Taliban. When conducting joint operations, American officers seconded to Afghan units take cell phones away from the "allies": this prevents information leakage.
Often, Afghan soldiers do not want to shoot at the Taliban: imitate firing, releasing ammunition into the air.
The ISAF command failed to defeat the disease of the Afghan army - desertion. Every year, the army leaves 35% of fighters.
Concerned about the grim prophecies of the report, analyst Alexandra Zavis from the influential Los Angeles Times drew your vision of the Afghan future. It turned out to be rather vague, although it managed to find its sprouts.
The Taliban are already taking diplomatic steps towards power. During unofficial talks last week in France with Afghan government officials and members of the political opposition, an unnamed representative of the Taliban said that their movement was not at all going to monopolize power and was ready to rule the country together with other factions. The Taliban even promised to give rights to women and members of ethnic minorities - those whom they so violently repressed before.
An interesting move, but rather predictable and aimed at the end of 2014. That is why, let us add, the number of Taliban attacks has decreased in recent months. The Taliban do not want to provoke the United States and NATO. His task is to take power in a relatively “democratic” way. If you believe Krupnov, the Taliban are not as strong as before, and therefore they cannot do without “diplomacy”. And, by the way, not the fact that Washington then does not recognize the new democratic power in Afghanistan. The State Department has done a lot to ensure that Islamist Mursi from the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood and push Al Qaeda to power in Syria, so why not close another link in the global Shari'ah - the Taliban in Afghanistan ? In the end, al-Qaida was also created in Afghanistan with the sponsorship of the CIA.
The weakness of the Taliban today is that their groups are torn apart by the struggle for power. Alexandra Zavis points out, referring to some Western experts, that the “rebels” are well aware of the growing problems and political challenges facing the United States, and the accelerated withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is taken for granted. Some of them believe that it makes sense to wait until such time as the international troops leave the country, and then negotiate.
The current Taliban are not the ones that will thoughtlessly break contacts with the United States. An example is the recent secret meeting of their representatives in Qatar with the Americans. Although their contacts with Washington cannot be called ideal. However, Karzai’s contacts with the Taliban are far from positive: for many members of the Taliban consider the president to be an American puppet. If so, what to talk to him about? It is better right with America.
Meanwhile, Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a former representative of the Taliban, who now represented the government’s Supreme Peace Council in negotiations with the French think tank in a secluded castle near Paris, described the meeting as “a very successful step ... towards peace and reconciliation.”
“For the first time in 10 years, the people of Afghanistan from different tribes, from different political lines, including the government and the opposition, gathered at the same table and discussed the problems of their country,” he said, adding about “significant progress” in the matter of “protecting the rights of women” .
US officials said the Taliban were forced to sit down at the negotiating table for military setbacks, especially in southern Afghanistan. A very strange, by the way, statement that came clearly from the camp of supporters of Panetta and Obama. Because just in the south, the Taliban are winning over the weak Afghan army (about this - just below).
The US State Department did not comment on the speeches of the Taliban. But they said from there: “We support such meetings and discussions among Afghans about the future of Afghanistan, and we will do everything we can to support a peaceful political settlement.”
Afghan analysts also claim that the Taliban are far from the movement that existed before. Moreover, they are unpopular. True, there is another opinion, according to which the "French" line of the Taliban is by no means a genuine shift in their policies. We can talk only about propaganda. The Taliban want to gain time.
Thus, with the weakness, heterogeneity and low popularity of the Taliban, the latter have to make various compromises and tricks. How weak they are will show the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan. And even before that, the April presidential election of 2014 will show it.
В Washington Post They write that the basis for the decision of Obama regarding the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will be an assessment of how successfully the American troops prepared Afghans to defend their country. It is likely that the “acceleration” will be implemented before the end of the summer of 2013, although President Karzai doubts that the Afghan forces will be fully prepared, and believes that an accelerated withdrawal could undermine the struggle of the Afghan forces against the Taliban.
Karzai does not seem to be afraid for the “struggle,” but he is afraid for himself.
Local farmers say that if the government claims to control most of a particular area, it will wishful thinking. The Taliban are pretty strong, especially in Kandahar.
As for Panetta, he will soon be replaced as US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a former senator from Nebraska. At least, American analysts tipped the position for him. This man supports just the accelerated withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan - quite consistent with the policies of Obama, who seems to be aware of the damage that the country's economy is funding the war in the Middle East during the financial crisis.
Britain will withdraw 3800 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. The remaining 5000 will last until 2014.
In the Afghan army, there are now about 350000 military personnel. She assumed the responsibility of providing security in areas where 76% of the population of Afghanistan lives (30 million people). And this is despite the fact that, according to the Pentagon report, only one of the 23 brigades across the country is able to work independently, without the help of a coalition!
According to the Afghan spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, more than 300 Afghan soldiers and policemen are killed in the country every month.
“We still have a lot of problems in southern Afghanistan,” American Major General Robert Abrams admitted at his headquarters in Kandahar.
Thus, it is hardly possible to deny the threat of the Taliban, as Comrade Kruppov easily did. Exaggerate the strategic opportunities of the White House crisis on the capitalization of Central Asia and the infringement of Russia - too. If Panetta and his successor are on the path of agreement with Barack Obama, then some representatives of the Pentagon (the authors of the sensational report, who deliberately made leaks out of it to the press) are trying to make friends with Congress and prevent an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. The military lobby also has its own interests.
As for Karzai, he is now somewhere between the Republicans and Democrats arguing about the budget. His fate directly depends on what the Congress decides and what Obama decides. But in any case, after the withdrawal of most of the ISAF forces in 2013, the Afghan president will find himself between his only capable brigade and the Taliban. And there will be no one to take away the mobile phones from the soldiers ...
Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru