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Acknowledgement of Failure in Afghanistan Spreads Throughout US Government

Mostly abandoned $7.3 million Border Police facility in Kunduz Province, Click on photo for a larger view.

After staying out of the headlines while the military carried out its panty-sniffing investigation of his emails, General John Allen is back in today’s Washington Post in the first of what will be many valedictories of his time as commander of US forces in Afghanistan. He is the 11th commander there since 2001, so a year seems to be about all anyone can stomach. But Allen’s reappearance comes at an inauspicious time, as two different documents released yesterday show that despite the continued “we won” attitude from Allen and his minions, many of the rest of the branches of the US government (h/t to Marcy for pointing me toward both these documents) now openly admit that we have failed there.

McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay tweeted Monday afternoon: “State Dept #Afghanistan travel warning: Afghan govt has “limited ability to maintain order and ensure security.” Did White House read this?” Following up on his tweet, the travel warning paints a bleak picture of the security situation in Afghanistan:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. The security threat to all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan remains critical.

/snip/

No region in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at any time. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the al-Qaida terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military operations, remain active.

The next sentence, though, is the most devastating and is what Landay referenced:

Afghan authorities have a limited ability to maintain order and ensure the security of Afghan citizens and foreign visitors.

As Landay asks, has the White House read this? After a long string of no longer operational explanations for why we are still in Afghanistan, the current line is that we must stay long enough to train and support the 352,000-strong Afghan National Security Force so that it can take responsibility for security as we withdraw. Although the Post article does note that the future for Afghanistan does not look good, when Allen is quoted, victory language returns, and it is in stark contrast to the State Department view of conditions:

With 11 days left in his tour, Allen says he’s proud of the growth of the Afghan security forces and the success of NATO’s troop surge in places such as southern Helmand, where four years ago the Taliban operated freely.

The State Department would appear to dispute that claim that the Taliban no longer operates freely in Helmand.

As if the State Department’s travel warning isn’t devastating enough to the Afghan war situation, a report released yesterday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) (pdf) demonstrates that the claim that ANSF force size has achieved the 352,000 goal is a sham. The photos above depict a $7.3 million facility built by the US for Afghan Border Police in Kunduz Province. The findings of the report are devastating: Read more

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.