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.


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
emptywheel Mike German: Unless we know how various programs work together, we can't reform intelligence. #CFP2015 Notes DEA dragnet, DirtBoxes.
emptywheel RT @onekade: In the US many people accept the obviously true narrative that people fleeing Arab countries for Europe are refugees escaping …
emptywheel .@Snowden talks abt spying on US lawyers repping Indonesia. Note precisely that kind of spying is what we've indicted Chinese hackers for.
emptywheel .@Snowden talks abt giving up least intrusive approach. requirement to do so still on the books on FBI guidelines, but ignored.
emptywheel @dangillmor Yes. But the people in charge of counterintelligence have dodged responsibility. https://t.co/DBzq0QQsDl @Snowden
emptywheel Mike German raises Webster report on Ft Hood shooting as ex of FBI drowning in data. True, but think he also rec'ed more backdoor searches
emptywheel .@Snowden notes that no one has been held to account for OPM hack. Yep.
emptywheel Cyrpto, Drink! #CFP2015 @Snowden: Comey denouncing encryption like it's end of world.
bmaz @ScottGreenfield In a pig's eye. I need to puke after reading that.
emptywheel @quinnnorton It existed yesterday, and then turned into a car! Today, probably a limo...
emptywheel Mike German: I was fairly well known as someone who did his job well. I thought that would protect me. That made me target [for retaliation]
emptywheel Mike German notes what he whistleblew never got addressed until 5 years after he complained, no reform ever made. Process didn't work.
October 2015
« Sep