US Pretends to End Combat Mission in Afghanistan

And then we can pretend that we won, too!

Lt. General Joseph Anderson, head of ISAF Joint Command, left, and Royal Army Maj. Gen. Richard Nugee, ISAF Chief of Staff, right, fold the ISAF Joint Command flag at a ceremony December 8 in Kabul commemorating the “end” of the combat mission in Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Perry Aston.

We need no other indicator of just how bad the situation in Afghanistan really is than that, with no previous announcement of the schedule that I am aware of, the US staged a ceremonial “end of combat operations” in Kabul today, more than three weeks before the December 31 scheduled end of the current NATO mission. The NATO mission is supposed to transition from a stated combat operation to one of support (as noted in its name: Resolute Support). We can only conclude that the date of the ceremony wasn’t announced because it would become an obvious target for the increased number of Taliban attacks in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan.

But like most of what the US says and does in Afghanistan, this was all really just bullshit. In a visit to Kabul on Saturday, which, like today’s ceremony also was unannounced due to the horrid security situation in Afghanistan, outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel admitted that the non-combat designation for US troops in Afghanistan from 2015 onward is in name only. First, the claim of support:

“As planned, Resolute Support will focus here in Kabul and Bagram with a limited regional presence,” he said. “As part of this mission, the United States is prepared to provide limited combat enabler support to Afghan forces.

See? Right there, he says we only are there to enable Afghan troops to take part in combat.

Oops. Hang on, Hagel wasn’t finished:

Hagel said U.S. forces in Afghanistan would “always” have the right and the capacity to defend themselves against attacks.

“We’re committed to preventing al Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a safe haven,” Hagel said, to threaten the United States, the Afghan people, and other U.S. allies and partners.

Also, the United States will take appropriate measures against Taliban members who directly threaten U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to al Qaeda, he added.

Oh. So we are “only” combat support, unless we decide we aren’t and that there are targets we need to hit because they pose a threat to us.

And why are our troops there threatened? Simply by being there:

Yet Obama’s decision to allow American forces to remain behind in a more active role suggests the U.S. remains concerned about the Afghan government’s ability to fight. Chances of Ghani restarting peace talks with the Taliban also appear slim as he signed agreements with NATO and the U.S. to allow the foreign troops to remain behind — a red line for the militants.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AP that the group would continue to fight “until all foreign troops have left Afghanistan.”

“The Americans want to extend their mission in Afghanistan, the motive being to keep the war going for as long as possible,” Mujahid said. “And for as long as they do, the Taliban will continue their fight against the foreign and (Afghan) government forces.”

And there we have it. The Taliban and US troops continue their sick cycle of co-dependency. The Taliban will fight us as long as we are there, and we refuse to leave while they still want to fight us.

5 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    The last soldier to die in combat in Afghanistan? (Probably not.)
    Pentagon, Dec 4
    The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
    Staff Sgt. Matthew R. Ammerman, 29, of Noblesville, Indiana, died Dec. 3, in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire while conducting a clearing operation.
    He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

  2. Don Bacon says:

    “And why are our troops there threatened? Simply by being there:”
    Yes, it’s true in Afghanistan as it has been in other countries which the US military invades and brutally occupies.
    “One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country. This truth escapes millions.” –Mike Hastie, U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71
    Of course the US knows about this very human response to the presence of foreign occupation soldiers, which is to kill them. We would do the same. But blood must be shed and sacrifices must be made to sanctify US foreign policy. ‘Look at how these brave men gave their lives to keep America free.”
    It’s part of being a “security state,” to shed the blood of the lambs.

  3. Don Bacon says:

    from Stripes:

    KABUL — Despite an escalation in Taliban attacks in recent months, the outgoing commanders of the NATO-led military coalition sounded an optimistic note Monday at a ceremony marking the closure of the ISAF Joint Command, which has overseen combat operations since 2009.
    “Everyone made tremendous sacrifices but those sacrifices were not in vain,” Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson said.

    Ali Akbar Qasimi, the head of the Afghan parliament’s defense commission [had a different opinion]–

    “I believe no one will admit his failure at the end of his job,” he said of the closing ceremony. “After this project, after this many years, no one will say, ‘I’m done and I have totally failed in my job.’”

    The US and its allies have called the war over, but the Taliban didn’t get the memo–

    Underscoring the tenuous situation in Afghanistan, a rocket slammed into ISAF’s main logistics hub, Bagram Airfield, on Sunday night, killing two civilian workers. [WSJ — killed were 10 civilians, four coalition service members and two Afghan police officers, local and military officials said.][There is yet no other US press coverage of this attack, which occurred at Bagram at about the time SecDef Hagel was there.]

    A major focus of the Obama surge was Sangin district in Helmand, the Taliban heartland.

    In his speech, Anderson hit back at criticism that the problems in Helmand, where nearly 1,000 coalition troops lost their lives, illustrate the shortfalls of the Afghan military.
    “Sangin is secure,” [General Anderson] said. “The government of Afghanistan remains in control.”
    But Sulaiman Shah, who until last week was governor of Sangin district, said that government forces there are in desperate need of coalition air support and that insurgents still control much of the district.
    “The government (forces are) in a defensive position, only able to protect themselves where they are and not able to recapture territory,” he said. “The Taliban are not going away easily.”

    It looks like the US military won’t be going away easily, either.

  4. RUKidding says:

    Thanks. I heard some pretentious @sswipe intone Very Seriously that War or Conflict or what have you had ENDED!!11!! today in Afghanistan. I was so PO’ed by this crap that I changed the station. What bollocks. Of course, Team USA will be ever-mired in Afghanistan possibly until the End Times (which may come sooner than planned if we keep poking at Putin and forcing him into a very bad place economically). Sheesh.
    Thanks for the update on the bullshit. There’s simply no shovels adequate to the task of keeping Augean Stables, aka USA Propaganda, clean.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Speaking of the Augean Stables, cleaning of which was the fourth labor of Heracles,–and the title of a website with an article on Sharyl Attkisson’s book “Stonewalled — My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington”

    Ex-CBS reporter’s book reveals how liberal media protects Obama
    By Kyle Smith
    …Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

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