American commander admits failures in Afghan war

Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrives for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in a field camp in Mazar-e-Sharif, north of Kabul, December 18, 2010. Merkel is visiting the German Bundeswehr armed forces troops with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

American troops are focusing on fighting Taliban militants and defending vulnerable towns on Afghan soil, as it has become practically impossible to stop insurgents from slipping across Afghanistan’s vast border with Pakistan, a senior U.S. military commander said.

“To secure the border in the traditional sense” would “take an inordinate amount of resources,” Army Col. Viet Luong acknowledged Tuesday. It also would require far more cooperation from the tribes inside Pakistan who often provide Taliban fighters safe passage, he said.

Other senior U.S. military officials have said they hope the Pakistan military does more to shut down Taliban hideouts. But the U.S. has denied reports that American forces are pushing to expand special operations raids inside Pakistan’s tribal areas to target militants.

Luong said he is choosing to fight insurgents outside Afghan villages, where they are more vulnerable anyway.

“It’s naive to say that we can stop . . . forces coming through the border,” said Luong, who oversees troops in a part of eastern Afghanistan that includes the volatile Khost province and 162 miles of border.

He said troops under his command are still working to control the border. But he recently shut down one platoon-sized checkpoint known as “Combat Outpost Spera,” confident that it would be more useful to protect more populated areas.

Khost province has been the site of frequent enemy attacks, including a high-profile suicide bombing at a remote CIA outpost last year.

The area’s proximity to Pakistan puts it on the front lines of the U.S. fight for control in Afghanistan. Pakistan is host to the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, a militant movement based in its North Waziristan region that carries out operations in Afghanistan.

Luong said he has seen “subtle signs of hope” for Khost after the U.S. and Afghanistan stepped up operations against the Haqqani network. The number of operations and patrols increased fourfold, up to 12,000 in the past year, while the effectiveness of enemy fire has been cut in half, he estimated.

“Local atmospherics are indicating that the people of Khost are beginning to feel that security is much, much better,” he said. “And more importantly, for the first time, they’re feeling that the provincial government is now working for the people.”

Pakistan’s government is believed to give the Haqqani group some degree of freedom as a way of securing Islamist support against archrival India. Islamabad also faces other problems, including massive flooding this year and government instability. In the latest sign of trouble, a key party in Pakistan’s ruling coalition said Tuesday it would quit the cabinet.

This year has been by far the deadliest in the nearly 10 years for coalition troops in Afghanistan, with 700 killed so far, according to an Associated Press count. Last year, 504 were killed.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Responses to "American commander admits failures in Afghan war"

  1. Carl Nemo  December 29, 2010 at 8:11 am

    You’d think Colonel Luong would be somewhat ashamed of being involved in the same style of military ‘dog and pony’ show in which we engaged the war in SE Asia during the Nam era, he being a child at the time.

    Well I guess it’s a job and as usual the apologia being, “I was only following orders”.

    No doubt he’s a good officer, but my interest was instantly piqued when I read his name. He’s quite accomplished etc., but the mission is FUBAR. No doubt he sees ‘stars’ on his collar and epaullets in the future, but at what price for these Afghani villagers, also victims of a transgenerational corrupt leadership who subsist on CIA money, courtesy of U.S. tax slaves…? / : |

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/07/ap_vietnamese_american_commander_072309/

    Carl Nemo **==

    • RAKKASAN  December 29, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Obviosly Carl you didn’t read the article. Yiu totally missed the point. You’d think someone who canmis-use the word ‘apologia’ would have better reading skills….

      1) Did you even understand the point he makes> How can we secure a border with Pakistan when we’re not resources to do it? Call YOUR Congressman and stop YOUR nation’s mission in Afghanistan. Your military is doing the jour YOUR elected officials have asked them to do.

      2) Star and epaullets? What does this have to do with this aritcle? It sounds like a) you’re a former officer who’s jealous or 2) you have a personal bias against him. Either way, this post lumps you in with the millions of Americans who just don’t get it.

      • Carl Nemo  December 30, 2010 at 1:20 am

        Me jealous?

        I’m retired USN, 30 years, four stripes were more than enough for me.

        Once you aspire to ‘stars’ on your lapels and epaullettes you’ve lost your steerage concerning the basic precepts of the “Art of War”. You’ve become a military politician as opposed to a warrior.

        More, evermore troops on the ground will not win this war of pacification over a nation composed of neolithic, fiercely tribal peoples with a religion that supports their Jihad.

        Alexander the Great couldn’t do so, nor the British, the Russians or now us. Genghis Khan succeeded, but he left every city in a pile of corpses; i.e., total and absolute carnage to the peoples of these regions.

        Our leadership has no doubt flunked world history 101 to 401 not only in their university studies, but so too at the National War College.

        Our General Staff have become nothing but military politicians on the make and in some cases on the take.

        I rest my case, “Rakkasan”… : |

        Carl Nemo **==

  2. woody188  December 30, 2010 at 1:34 am

    They can’t secure our borders, why would anyone expect they could secure a border half the world away?

    Have a feeling a “Saigon moment” is coming and soon. All this blood and treasure for a pipeline. It’s obscene.

  3. Carl Nemo  December 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    As afterthought I’m supplying a link to an article by Professor Juan Cole, seemingly a subject matter expert on the Afghani theater of ‘conflict’.

    It exposes ten myths about our involvement in the region. Our leadership is lying to us again, no different than the Nam debacle, both Iraqi incursions; I.E., Gulf War I and II and this Afghani debacle. They are basically thumbing their noses at the American taxpayer saying we can blow your tax dollars anyway we want. We’re your betters and we also know what’s best for you while the MIC and their coterie of Congressional facilitators are laughing all the way to the bank.

    The only purpose of these incursions is to secure oil and gas resources in addition to easements for transporting gas from the Caspian Basin region to the south and East towards Indian markets. So they’ll squander a trillion in U.S. ‘tax dollars’ in order to develop the region for the benefit of the corporations that seemingly own America and its citizens lock, stock and barrel. Public money is being used to plump the corporate bottomline, no different than in our face bank bailouts while we get stuck with the unpayable, astronomical tab.

    The war on terror is simply an canard to put fear into the unwashed, ill-informed masses. There’s supposedly only about 150 Al Qaeda operatives in all of Afghanistan…say what?! We’ve met the enemy folks and he is us; ie., our leadership gone rogue wild…! / : |

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/top-ten-myths-about-afghanistan-2010.html

    Carl Nemo **==

Comments are closed.