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 It's time that Americans learn a lesson about Regime Change: It usually doesn't work.

The collapsing country of Iraq is just the latest example.
  If things play out in the same way, it won't be the last example.

 Staff Sgt Kenneth Ventrice, 34, who served three tours in Iraq and is on his second Afghan deployment, said he had come to terms with the prospect that the Afghan war will be lost. “It’s going to fall a lot faster than Iraq did,” Staff Sgt Ventrice said. “Nobody fights like the Taliban.”
   An Afghan soldier, Staff Sgt Jam Shid, appeared dejected as he agreed with those conclusions. Afghan security forces will start losing ground as more American military resources vanish, he predicted, and could quickly lose control.
 

 U.S. forces in Afghanistan have already pulled back to main bases and only provide support to Afghan forces. That's the reason why American casualties there have dropped to very low levels, and thus have fallen out of the headlines.
   What isn't getting much press is how poorly Afghan forces have performed against Taleban forces.
  Taliban fighters are scoring early gains in several strategic areas near the capital this summer, inflicting heavy casualties and casting new doubt on the ability of Afghan forces to contain the insurgency as the United States moves to complete its withdrawal of combat troops, according to Afghan officials and local elders.
  Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it. The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year.
    “They are running a series of tests right now at the military level, seeing how people respond,” one Western official said, describing a Taliban effort to gauge how quickly they could advance. “They are trying to figure out: Can they do it now, or will it have to wait” until after the American withdrawal, the official added, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the coalition has officially ceded security control.
 The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for 13 years, with two more years to go, by far the longest war in American history. 2,197 American soldiers have died there.
   We've also spent more money there than we spent on the Marshall Plan in post-WWII Europe. Much of that money went into guns. Lots and lots of guns. 200,000 guns that we've since lost track of.
 Since 2004, the United States has supplied the fledgling Afghan Nation Security Forces with everything from uniforms to transport aircraft, but a new inspector general report finds that officials might have lost track of more than 43 percent of the 474,823 small arms supplied to the ANSF.
 200,000 lost guns on top of the other quarter million guns, an army that can't stand up to the same Taleban that we originally went to war against, and an unstable government that nearly went to civil war.
   All that is happening two years before we leave! What will this mess of a country look like in 2016?

  There's a lesson to be learned here, and it isn't that Republicans suck.
There is a larger lesson to learned about the limits of military power, and both political parties are badly in need to learning it.

Originally posted to gjohnsit on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 03:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by This Week in Afghanistan.

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