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  President Obama is trying to defeat ISIS in Iraq (and maybe Syria), but ISIS might
be setting up a new franchise in Afghanistan.

 Militant Islamic fighters in Afghanistan who are linked to the Taliban have said they would join forces with Isis, should it manage to create an Islamic caliphate.
 Remember when President Bush forgot Afghanistan to fight a war in Iraq without defeating terrorism in Afghanistan?
  Well, the Taliban haven't forgotten.
Commander Mirwais says Muslims around the world are
Commander Mirwais says Muslims around the world are "thirsty for an Islamic caliphate"

 For more than three weeks, the Taliban has increasingly attacked Afghan security officials in an attempt to take back strongholds it occupied before U.S.-led forces entered the country in 2001. The uptick in Taliban assaults comes just four months before the U.S. is supposed to begin withdrawing its troops from the country.
   The attacks are part of the massive campaign launched by the Taliban in May, after the U.S. announced it would begin withdrawing its troops by the end of the year. According to local media reports, the campaign spans across the entire country, from Kunduz to Kabul to Helmand province.
 Obama has said he would delay his plans for a complete pullout of troops until 2016.
  On the other hand, Obama has also said he would withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan by December without a new force agreement.

 After 12 years the Taliban are still strong enough to topple the weak Afghani government, which by the way, is having an increasingly more troublesome political power fight that is threatening to lead to ethnic unrest.

Officials and diplomats fear it could trigger conflict along ethnic lines, on top of the insurgency.
   "Announcing the results based on fraudulent means endangers the whole process and takes the country deeper into crisis. It is in no one's interest. It will divide Afghanistan," Mohaqeq said.
 Lately the news stories from Afghanistan are about what has gone missing. For instance, more than 200,000 guns.
  Last Friday the Inspector General of the DOD found something else missing - $3.3 Billion.
 it looks like no one knows what happened to yet another $3.3 billion, earmarked for the sustainment of the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF).
 That's "yet again" because in March of 2013 it was reported that only 10% of the $100 Billion spent to rebuild Afghanistan could be accounted for.
   In fact, the Pentagon really had no idea what the contractors they hired were doing in Afghanistan.

  However, the GAO was able to account for $360 million - which wound up in the hands of the Taliban.

   If you think that is bad, consider this.

 US military intelligence now fear as much as 25% of Afghan security forces are Taliban or al Qaeda operatives and sympathizers, which means we may be arming and training an army of some 87,500 enemy infiltrators with easy access to US personnel and intelligence. The massive infiltration puts the entire Afghanistan exit strategy at risk.
  Thirteen years after toppling them, we’re training the Taliban to retake Afghanistan.
 Politically Obama could walk away from Iraq right now and no one would blame him. But if Afghanistan goes back into the hands of the Taliban, or worse, ISIS, then he would be on the hook.

3:06 PM PT: For the sake of accuracy, the meme of "Bush taking his eye off the ball in Afghanistan to invade Iraq" is a generally accepted meme in the Democratic world.

  Whether you agree with that meme or not, that is how it got sold to the American public and it will be accepted that way when the Republicans talk about Obama.

  I'm not talking about right or wrong. I'm talking about politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:05:41 PM PDT

  •  I do not think Obama is trying to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    defeat ISIS or IS in Iraq or Syria.  I think he is going to gravitate to Afghanistan before that too is just a lost cause. Frankly, I think that Syria and Iraq and Lebanon should be one big country excepting the land occupied by the Kurds.

  •  Why would he be on the hook? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lordcopper, Laurence Lewis

    It isnt Obamas business to "fix" Afghanistan. That´s afghan´s business. If it takes them one or several civil wars until they find a form to live, that is not Obama´s job either.

    He can walk from Afghanistan and I believe he should. I see little indication why the Taliban are a threat to anyone except their regional neighbours, with who they might have conflicts. Thats quite different from the IS which so far seems to be a movement unconstrained by any regional limits, and which is all the more inseparable from European internal development of Islam.

    what exactly should Obama or any other american administration achieve in Afghanistan? The old internationalist al quaida terror structure is long gone, and with it the reason for involvement.

  •  We ought to get off the oil merry-go-round and (8+ / 0-)

    ... leave these folks to their own devices. Time for a tax on gasoline and bigger incentives/mandates on fuel economy.

    Then we can tell the Middle Eastern states, "You're on your own. Figure it out."

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:21:57 PM PDT

    •  yep (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      all this is about oil. get off oil altogether and we can get out of the middle east. and it also might help with that little global warming/climate change thing...

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:49:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Missed an opportunity on 9/11. (5+ / 0-)

        We had a great opportunity to change the trajectory of our nation. A different president, one who wasn't so tied into the oil companies, could have imposed a 50 cent tax on gasoline, effective immediately, and added another 50 cents every six months until our consumption declined 20-30%. At the the same time, the tax collected could have gone into clean energy research.

        In addition, fuel economy standards could have been ratcheted up more quickly.

        The economy was in the tank, post-9/11, anyway. We could have taken charge of our own destiny and told the assholes who funded the terrorists (the Saudis) to, "Go fuck yourselves. We're no longer your key customer. Clean up your shit."

        "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

        by Bob Johnson on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:54:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  you have this backward (4+ / 0-)

    obama's mistake was to think afghanistan was in some way winnable. he in no way would be on the hook for it falling back to the taliban. his mistake was in not realizing soon enough that he couldn't stop it from falling back to the taliban, or anyone else.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:48:07 PM PDT

  •  An alternate narrative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, FG

    It's not that George W. Bush took his eyes off Afghanistan, to go invade Iraq.

    The central thesis of the American failure in Afghanistan—the one you'll hear from politicians and pundits and even scholars—was succinctly propounded by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage: "The war in Iraq drained resources from Afghanistan before things were under control." In this view, the American invasion of Iraq became a crucial distraction from stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, and in the resulting security vacuum the Taliban reasserted themselves.

    No Good Men Among the Living, Anand Gopal

    It's that the Taliban, around 2002, was entirely defeated. But the very aggressive Taliban hunting efforts, by the U.S. in joint efforts with the warlords, chased a defeated Taliban into an insurgency.
    The Taliban’s resurgence in Kandahar post-2001 was not inevitable or preordained. The Taliban—from senior leadership levels down to the rank and file—by and large surrendered to the new government and retired to their homes. But in the early years after 2001, there was a lack of a genuine, broad-based reconciliation process in which the Taliban leadership would be allowed to surrender in exchange for amnesty and protection from persecution. Rather, foreign forces and their proxies pursued an unrelenting drive against former regime members, driving many of them to flee to Pakistan and launch an insurgency.

    Militancy and Conflict in Kandahar, Anand Gopal

    An important part of it: Taliban, retired from political life, and not a threat, were targeted for killings and imprisonment anyways.  The current insurgency is an enemy we created.

    Another important part, and an old mistake still being repeated, is U.S. support for the factional warlords. Those old guys would have been a powerful force in Afghanistan at any rate. But we just stacked everything to their side.

  •  No F**king Way (6+ / 0-)

    Obama should have withdrawn from Afgan a half decade ago. How many trillions will be spend of eliminating evil in the ME? How many more can the US Taxpayer afford to piss away on pointless wars? How many American  sons and daughters will live their last days in those deserts? Those are real questions.

    Respectfully, Enough.

    No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:53:45 PM PDT

  •  Mohammad Mohaqiq, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    quoted by Reuters above, and described as "a leader of the minority Hazara community," in talking about the threat of ethnic violence, is probably better described like this:

    The most divisive figures, said sources speaking on condition of anonymity, remain Mohammad Mohaqiq, the Hazara warlord running as Abdullah's second vice president, and Atta Muhammad Nur, the governor of northern Balkh province.

    Abdullah threatens to back out of Afghanistan election, Los Angeles Times

    He is the threat of ethnic violence. Not someone for the newspapers to quote about it, where the threat comes from some mystery direction.
  •  U.S. to participate in Ukraine War Games in 2 wks (8+ / 0-)

    Believe it or not...

    U.S., allies to stage exercises in West Ukraine as battles rage in East

    By Peter Apps
    WASHINGTON Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:41pm EDT

    (Reuters) - As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies.

    The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict.

    The annual exercise, to take place in the Yavoriv training center near Ukraine's border with Poland, was initially scheduled for July, but was put back because early planning was disrupted by the crisis in the eastern part of the country.

    "At the moment, we are still planning for (the exercise) to go ahead," U.S. Navy Captain Gregory Hicks, spokesman for the U.S. Army's European Command said on Tuesday...

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:18:44 PM PDT

  •  Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (8+ / 0-)

    alone are estimated to end up costing the United States over $4 Trillion dollars and could cost as much as $6 Trillion.  That is money down a black hole.  That is money that could have been spent in this country on a clean renewable energy program which would have created lots of living wage jobs.  That was money that could have been invested in helping the poor. That was money wasted and money spent creating more enemies than ever.

    Harvard researcher Linda J. Bilmes, who has been associated with Joseph Stiglitz, has been doing the calculations as these wars continue on.  The costs will continue even after we have completely withdrawn from these countries.  

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~ So.Lib.inMD UID166438

    by gulfgal98 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:25:15 PM PDT

  •  there is one thing.. (0+ / 0-)

    the Bush years taught me, and that is nothing is as it seems.  While geography, natural resources, and pipelines made the most sense, I remain clueless because of all the countries/company's involved. I understand the need for providing a narrative, because the story/principles change all the time. What were friends become enemies, only to be friends again. If the region united, they might have the power to stand up against intervening outside forces. Just as it seems to me the United States will no longer be united, the middle-east could be united.

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