Military Review

The fatal feature of the Afghan crisis

The sharp destabilization of the situation in Afghanistan, which was predicted over the past few years, has become a reality. The outbreak of the Taliban revealed the weakness of the government army, fighting covered most of the country's provinces. Under these conditions, peace negotiations are at an impasse, which fully corresponds to the interests of external players - to prevent the fires of war from going out.

Fights are not local

В stories modern Afghanistan 12 April 2016 of the year will surely remain a landmark date. At dawn of this day, Taliban troops launched an offensive across the country. The operation was named after Mullah Omar, who founded the Taliban movement and led it until his death in the 2013 year. This decision looks symbolic: exactly twenty years ago, the Taliban, led by Mullah Omar, captured Kabul and proclaimed the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The current offensive, the Islamists promise, will also lead to the fall of the ruling regime.

There are good reasons for such bold statements. As of early April, the Taliban fully controlled one-fifth of the country’s territory, but their influence somehow affected almost 70 percent of the counties. This is the highest figure since 2001, when the Taliban’s power was overthrown as a result of the US-led intervention. An alarming symptom was the fact that the fighting of Islamists acquired a year-round character. If before, there was a lull in Afghanistan from mid-autumn to mid-spring, when the movement along mountain passes closes, then last winter did not bring rest to security forces. They had to confront militants in Helmand, Zabul and a number of other provinces.

Having prepared bridgeheads and making sure from last year’s experience that the government forces, even with a numerical advantage, are not able to successfully withstand the attacks, the Taliban launched a large-scale offensive. It covered almost the entire territory of Afghanistan, including areas considered to be a stronghold of anti-Taliban forces. Fierce clashes go 40 kilometers from the capital, which the militants intend to ring.

The current tactics of the Islamists have several distinctive features. First, the Taliban have finally gone beyond rural areas and are trying to establish control over cities, including provincial centers. 15 April Islamists made a massive attack on 300-thousandth Kunduz, repulsed with great difficulty. The cities of Lashkargah, Puli-Khumri and Meimene, the capital of Helmand, Baghlan and Faryab provinces, are under siege.

Secondly, the militants cut the most important transport arteries in order to finally paralyze the already weak link between the capital and the regions. The Kabul – Mazar-i-Sharif road, the only route connecting the central and northern regions of the country, is under constant attack.

Destructive feuds

Against this background, the security forces of Afghanistan demonstrate their inability to cope with the increased threat. If we proceed from the quantitative indicators, they have an overwhelming advantage over the militants. The total number of army and police units, not counting the local militia, is about 350 thousand people. At the same time, according to the Russian General Staff, there are about 50 thousands of militants in the ranks of extremist groups in Afghanistan, of which 40 thousands are in the Taliban.

However, the combat capability of government troops remains low. NATO's secret report, the excerpt from which was published by the German magazine Spiegel, paints an extremely gloomy picture. Of the 101 Infantry Division, fully operational is ... only one. Taking the 205 Army Corps as an example, stationed in one of the most difficult areas - in the provinces of Kandahar and Zabul - the report’s authors point out that only 12 of its 17 battalions are “suitable for limited participation in battles”.

Not surprisingly, the irretrievable loss of security forces in the 2015 year, according to the same document, increased by more than 40 percent and exceeded 8 thousands of people. Desertion remains a mass phenomenon. On April 14, the Taliban managed to seize a military base in the province of Baghlan, and this happened after dozens of servicemen took over.

The successes of the Taliban are facilitated by their overcoming of the internal split. After the Taliban recognized the death of their permanent leader Mullah Omar last year, Akhtar Mansur became the new leader of the movement. Part of the detachments, however, refused to recognize his power, and elected their own leader, Abdul Rasul. Bloody clashes broke out between the factions, even the death of Mansur was reported. But at the end of March of this year, Abdul Rasul was arrested by the Pakistani authorities. At the same time, Akhtar Mansur drew to his side many disgruntled people, including the brother and son of the late Mullah Omar, who received important posts.

The official government can not boast of such unity. Just the opposite: even in the face of mortal danger, the government camp is torn apart by contradictions. The agreement between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who fought for the presidency, but eventually under pressure from the United States agreed to divide power, bursting at the seams. Both forces accuse each other of failures, which paralyzes the activity of the government. Two key figures of the power bloc - the Minister of Defense and the head of the National Security Directorate - have not yet been approved by parliament.

The very legitimacy of the government of national unity is under threat. Initially, it was created for a period of two years, and the obligatory condition was the convening of the Loya Jirga - the All-Afghan Council of Elders. This body - the only one that can make changes to the constitution - is intended to legitimize the position of the chief executive of Abdullah Abdullah, which is not provided for in the current wording of the basic law. But the convening of the Loya Jirga is possible only after parliamentary elections. They are scheduled for October and must pass under the new legislation. Which, in turn, is still not accepted because of the conflict between the president and the chief executive.

This tangle of contradictions splashes out onto the streets. In recent weeks, clashes have occurred in the north of Afghanistan between supporters of Abdul-Rashid Dostum and Muhammad Nour. The first is the vice-president of the country and the leader of the Uzbek community, the second is the governor of Balkh province and one of the leaders of the Tajik community. Having different “patrons” (Dostum is in the team of President Ashraf Ghani, and Nur supports Abdullah), they, nevertheless, last year agreed to join forces to repulse militants. And now the union has collapsed, which plays into the hands of the Islamists.

Who needs war?

Political squabbles, coupled with total corruption and a difficult economic situation, only increase the social base of the Taliban. A significant part of the country's population, especially among the Pashtuns, pin their hopes on a more equitable life arrangement with the Taliban. For this reason, a military victory over the Taliban is not possible. The only way out is the process of national reconciliation. However, negotiations break down again and again, which suggests the idea of ​​their purposeful braking.

This happened with the peaceful dialogue brokered by China and Pakistan last summer. The new initiative, launched by the regional conference "Heart of Asia" in Islamabad, is also at a deadlock. The so-called four-sided coordination group composed of representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States held several meetings in January-February to work out a peace road map. In March, the Taliban were to join the negotiations, but this did not happen.

One of the most important reasons for disrupting the dialogue was the provocative position of the United States. The fact is that the Taliban makes the beginning of the peace process an end to foreign occupation. In Washington, they promised to complete the withdrawal of troops in the 2016 year, leaving only the forces to protect the embassy. Then the term was moved to a year. And now the United States declares not only that the current 10-thousandth contingent will be saved for an indefinite period, but also its possible increase. The new commander of the US and NATO forces, John Nicholson, complained that the Afghan security forces are not in a position to independently control the situation, and therefore American troops must remain in the country. In response, the Taliban declared a refusal to negotiate and intensify hostilities.

In other words, the Americans, on the one hand, blocked the peace settlement, and on the other, did everything possible to prevent the central authorities from strengthening. For 15 years in Afghanistan there were no capable power structures, a more or less developed economy was not created, the country is completely dependent on foreign injections. At the same time, Washington not only closes its eyes to corruption that has entangled the Kabul regime, but also condones it. As stated recently by Senator Mohammed Alam Isidyar, aid entering the country is spent at the request of foreign advisers, without taking into account the real needs of the country. At the April hearing in the House of Representatives, the US Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, John Sopko, described in detail where 800 millions of dollars went to the development of the Afghan economy. The money was spent on building luxury villas for US officials, ordering the most expensive dishes, as well as on adventurous projects like buying a herd of Italian goats, which were supposed to give impetus to cashmere production, but died from an unknown infection immediately upon arrival in the country.

Miscalculations are hard to call. Rather, it is a deliberate policy designed to justify the indefinite stay of US troops. Artificially supporting instability and keeping the unofficial title of the center of Islamic extremism behind Afghanistan, Washington is tackling geopolitical tasks. Control of the country allows the United States to keep under the gun the Chinese strategy of the Silk Road Economic Belt. The trans-Eurasian economic corridors envisaged by it pass either through Afghanistan itself or through the neighboring regions - Central Asia and Pakistan. By fueling a fire of war and contributing to its spread beyond the borders of Afghan territory, the United States will greatly complicate the implementation of Beijing’s ambitious strategy.

Events make Americans rush. In February, a direct rail link between China and Iran opened, and on April 20 – 21, PRC President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan. The result was the signing of the 51 memorandum totaling 46 billions of dollars. The main agreement is the project of the Sino-Pakistani economic corridor, providing for the construction of transport and energy infrastructure connecting the two states. Subsequently, the “corridor” is planned to be extended to Iran, which will mean the actual beginning of the functioning of the “Silk Road Economic Belt”.

In order to prevent this, Washington is taking urgent measures. First, the negotiations that were brokered through the mediation of China and Pakistan were thwarted. Secondly, attempts are being made to radicalize the Islamist movement, preventing it from entering the political framework. For this, external forces have serious levers. The Taliban itself is not a clearly structured, single entity. Some of his units have significant autonomy, including in matters of financing. That is why in Afghanistan there are, for example, “Qatari”, “Turkish” or “Saudi” Taliban. Receiving assistance from these countries, the militants became an instrument of their politics.

From this point of view, the activity of the “Islamic State” should also be considered. The first reports on the activities of the Islamic State in Afghanistan appeared last year, but even now the units under its flag are a serious force operating in several provinces (Nangarhar, Khost, Kunar). According to a recent interview with the Deputy Chief Executive, Haji Mohammad Mohakik, the training and supply of IS militants is carried out by external forces. The politician did not openly call these forces, but made a more than transparent hint. According to Mohakik, funding comes from oil trading, which clearly indicates the monarchy of the Persian Gulf.

Thus, the “Islamic State” in Afghanistan is an external project to create new hotbeds of tension. Moreover, they are aimed both inside and outside - towards Pakistan, Iran, China and the republics of Central Asia. It is clear that neither the US nor its allies want to lose such a convenient foothold. They will hold on to Afghanistan to the last, constantly throwing firewood into the fire of a bloody conflict.
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  1. The black
    The black 23 May 2016 06: 58
    In my opinion, no one doubted that Afghanistan would "explode." Practically all Oriental political scientists spoke about this. The White House is too interested in this.
    1. Kostyar
      Kostyar 23 May 2016 07: 33
      They will hold on to Afghanistan until the last, constantly tossing firewood into the fire of a bloody conflict.

      These jackals from Afghanistan can not be expelled with pissed rags now ...., these are them, demons, elements - terrorism + drugs, they are like fish in water !!!
      1. Krieg_XIII
        Krieg_XIII 23 May 2016 07: 53
        China has not reckoned with the Russian Federation for a long time and such "undermining" the situation is partly beneficial for Russia.
        1. alicante11
          alicante11 23 May 2016 09: 28
          China has not reckoned with the Russian Federation for a long time and such "undermining" the situation is partly beneficial for Russia.

          China has never reckoned with anyone. But objectively now we are allies. And it is all the more strange that the destabilization of the situation on the borders of the CSTO is "beneficial" for Russia, which, in fact, is pulling the "structure" alone.
  2. Same lech
    Same lech 23 May 2016 06: 59
    Afghanistan has been a warring state for many decades ... and all for one reason ... external intervention ... and until it ends with the expulsion of the invaders, there will be no end and edge.
    1. SSR
      SSR 23 May 2016 07: 15
      And the top of the occupants would not even think of leaving there, because it was this top that increased the "harvest" of drugs, where Colombian drug lords nervously smoke on the sidelines.
      1. Nsk 54
        Nsk 54 23 May 2016 07: 35
        Quote: SSR
        And the top of the occupants would not even think of leaving there, because it was this top that increased the "harvest" of drugs, where Colombian drug lords nervously smoke on the sidelines.

        They are doing everything right: weaken Russia (about 100 thousand per year who died from drug addiction), and with the money received from incomes, color revolutions can be arranged in Central Asian countries.
  3. cobalt
    cobalt 23 May 2016 07: 02
    I won’t be surprised if Kabul is also taken, the situation is akin to the one that arose after our departure from Afghanistan, no matter how you prepare the government forces, all the senseless things will run away anyway, only a waste of money and resources.
  4. Flinky
    Flinky 23 May 2016 07: 04
    There is only one solution - to smuggle Mattress to hell. FSA must be destroyed.
    1. Thunderbolt
      Thunderbolt 23 May 2016 09: 47
      Carpet nuclear bombing?
  5. VP
    VP 23 May 2016 07: 06
    fully corresponds to the interests of external players - not to let the war go out

    Bullshit, actually.
    States with a joyful screech would have dumped from there.
    But they got involved. And they can’t leave. The boys are stuck.
    To leave now - to surrender everything and sign the incapacity and stupidity, all the victims were in vain, all the loot was wasted.
    And, most importantly, this is a great loss of reputation. And, therefore, influence. For in Asia, only the strong are respected. And if you're not strong then why reckon with you.
    Leave the Shtatovites now, having achieved nothing, and their authority in the region is not just falling and collapsing.
    And they simply do not have good moves. We don’t really want to fight by ourselves, but there is no one to hope for.
    In general, they are great bogged down in a situation from which there is no decent solution.
    1. alicante11
      alicante11 23 May 2016 09: 33
      Leave now - surrender everything and sign the incapacity and dullness

      Well, they left Iraq. And nothing, don't feel "stupid".

      all the victims were in vain

      Blacks in the USA breed like flies, give birth to new ones.

      all the loot was wasted.

      Salvage is already mastered and prisovit. And it's time to cut government spending.
    2. sharp-lad
      sharp-lad 23 May 2016 13: 02
      Americans in the last wars unleashed by them did not spend their loot! To think otherwise, see the size of the public debt STGA! Or does someone hope that the arrogant Saxons will return everything?
  6. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 23 May 2016 07: 20
    Our political scientist, journalist, columnist Valentin Zorin described 3 years ago a scenario of the development of events in the Middle East. So far, everything is going on, as he calculated (he did not predict by pointing a finger at the sky) based on the geopolitical and economic condition of the region and the role of the West in this mess. He died on April 27 2016, but his memory is still alive ....

    15: 44 12.10.2015

    Valentin Zorin, a political analyst for the Russia Today news agency, reflects on why the West is not ready to answer for what it has done in the Middle East.

    For many days now, one phrase from the speech of the President of the Russian Federation at the anniversary session of the UN General Assembly has not left the pages of the world press. It is quoted by politicians, observers, television commentators, again and again referring to the question asked by Vladimir Putin to the organizers of the current chaos in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, "do you even understand what you have done?"
    In response, a friendly silence. Neither in Washington, nor in European capitals, those to whom this question is addressed, not only do not answer it, but even do not comment on it. To admit the fatal mistake is not decided by any of those on whom historical responsibility lies for it.
    Russia in Syria teaches the US an important lesson -
    To acknowledge this is to sign in one's own political insolvency, inability to calculate the consequences of one's decisions and one's actions.
    Once I asked my old friend, the great chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, how many moves he calculates when playing his games. "Sometimes for two or three, and sometimes for six or seven," Karpov said. Life has shown that the would-be grandmasters of Washington failed to calculate the consequences of even their first move when bringing troops into Iraq. Libya and the organization of what has been called the "Arab spring" are out of the question.
    But, I believe that it is not only a matter of political mediocrity and limitation of certain statesmen. The reason is deeper. The ruling elite in the United States has long been living and acting not in reality, but in reality invented by it. She is deeply convinced of American exclusivity and of her right to impose on the rest of the world what she considers ideal American democracy.
    Messianism - the belief in the special role of America - determines a lot in the thinking and practical actions of the inhabitants of the Washington Olympus. Generations of American politicians are changing, the number of temporary owners of the White House is already close to fifty, but the belief in American exclusivity and the right to act in accordance with such exclusivity remains unchanged.
    This political and ideological credo was formulated at the beginning of the last century by President Woodrow Wilson, who declared that "America's national interests are to spread, and, if necessary, implant democracy in the world by force."
    All of Washington’s policies, at least in the past seven decades, have been carried out with the sauce of spreading, and often forcefully imposing, what is considered the only acceptable model of democracy on the banks of the Potomac.
    The imposition of the idea of ​​spreading democracy, especially in recent decades, has proven stronger than common sense and the ability for politicians to be able to correlate their actions with their consequences. This was the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, in what was conceived in the Washington offices of what became known as the "Arab Spring," in the coup d'état in Ukraine.
    I do not think that the inhabitants of the Washington "corridors of power" are aware of the reasons for the tragic consequences of their fatal miscalculations. Their silence testifies to this. And this is a fatal danger for the future.
    1. sharp-lad
      sharp-lad 23 May 2016 13: 07
      If in Washington Olympus with the spurs in Brussels, then Tartarus is no longer necessary!
  7. Leto
    Leto 23 May 2016 07: 21
    Afghanistan is a vivid example of how viable a corrupt state is. The Taliban is the very "fifth column" about which they like to repeat in Russia, implying citizens who do not agree with this situation, only united by the idea of ​​establishing order by Islamizing the entire country. The democratic path to Afghanistan has been forbidden, it is simply impossible, and therefore the Americans are hooking up with corrupt officials, plus doing dark deals.
    What for do they need it? Because after the Americans, the Chinese will come to Afghanistan and with them the endless war may end, and this will be a resounding slap in the face to "Uncle Sam".
  8. nivander
    nivander 23 May 2016 09: 18
    instability in Afghanistan is an important component of the American model of the unipolar world