withdrawal

Karzai, Taliban Begin Angling for Afghanistan Dominance, Confirming Failure of US Mission

The Ides of March has not been kind to the US mission in Afghanistan. Despite Barack Obama and David Cameron putting their best spin on the situation yesterday and claiming that NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will not be accelerated by the recent atrocities perpetrated by US forces, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban both took moves today indicating that they are now angling for dominance in an Afghanistan that is soon to be rid of occupation by western troops. These moves by Karzai and the Taliban appear to me to be signalling that they independently have come to the conclusion that the COIN strategy of “training” Afghan security forces to take over by 2014 as NATO forces are drawn down is no longer viable.

Karzai’s move is to call for western troops to withdraw from their smaller operating outposts in villages back onto large bases. From the Washington Post:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded Thursday that the United States pull back from combat outposts and confine its troops to military bases, an apparent response to Sunday’s shooting rampage by a U.S. staff sergeant.

/snip/

Foreign troops in Afghanistan must withdraw from village outposts and return to large NATO bases, the president’s statement said. Karzai also said he wants Afghan troops to assume primary responsibility for security nationwide by the end of next year, ahead of the time frame U.S. commanders have endorsed.

The Post then goes on to play into the hands of the Taliban (see below) by painting Karzai as powerless to affect US actions in Afghanistan:

Karzai does not have the authority to enforce a pullback of foreign troops, however. And the United States has rebuffed previous demands that it halt night raids, ban private security companies and immediately transfer control of prisons to the Afghan government.

Virtually simultaneously with Karzai’s demand for withdrawal from villages, the Taliban announced that they have ended their preliminary talks with the US that many hoped would lead to a negotiated end to hostilities in Afghanistan. From Reuters:

U.S. and Taliban negotiators were believed to have had preliminary contacts aimed at establishing an office for the Taliban in the Gulf state of Qatar to launch peace negotiations.

“The Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend all talks with Americans taking place in Qatar from (Thursday) onwards until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time,” the group said in a statement.

In a clear signal that the Taliban believe US influence in Afghanistan is about to end and that they are in a struggle with Karzai’s government for future control of the country, they attacked Karzai as a US puppet. Returning to the Post article: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @ryanlcooper @zunguzungu Not to take anything away from Lewis, who is a personal to me, and national, hero, but think his statement dubious.
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bmaz @ryanlcooper @zunguzungu Think Aaron is right about that. Lewis did conflate truly different times.
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JimWhiteGNV Hmmm. Maybe folks in Pakistan who got misguided Hellfires can send some back... https://t.co/w9ni8Ow6E7
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bmaz @BlanksSlate + @DLind March 1 is opening day of spring training here in Cactus League. Just noting. For calendar purposes only, of course.
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JimWhiteGNV Latest from @NBCNews: Beard scat found all over Syria.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @cmagill: Bears respond to #Daesh shaving https://t.co/9mGoN1hzqA
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JimWhiteGNV Does a beard shit in the woods?
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JimWhiteGNV Does a bear shave in the woods?
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bmaz @YeaYouRite @ryanlcooper Which, frankly, would have been totally acceptable. But Lewis instead flavored his comment into intra party attack.
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bmaz @YeaYouRite @ryanlcooper Well, or even "I never met him personally, but there were so many and I am not going to attack his bonafides here".
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bmaz @ryanlcooper Yeah, maybe fair. Thing is, this is a different climate. Don't tell me Lewis didn't know after SC in 2008.
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bmaz This is great, and why, relative party politics aside, I have and do follow @tomwatson https://t.co/dYKgWNNhRm
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