TCS Daily

The Blood Will Flow This Spring

By Austin Bay - February 8, 2007 12:00 AM

"As I've said in the past, it will be a bloody spring."

With that sentence, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, Said Jawad, acknowledged that the Afghan government believes the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies will launch a "new offensive" within the next two months.

"We do expect a Taliban offensive (in Afghanistan)," Jawad told me in a phone interview conducted in late January.

NATO, which now controls security operations in Afghanistan, is gearing up for a new round of fighting, as the Himalayan snows melt.

After praising British, Australian and Canadian troops for their high quality and professionalism, Jawad expressed concern that some NATO countries have not deployed their "full pledges" of troops to Afghanistan. NATO and Afghan National Army (ANA) troops also face a shortfall in military transport helicopters.

Jawad sharply criticized Pakistan. The imminent "bloody spring" is made possible "because of the training camps operating outside Afghanistan."

"Good relations with Pakistan are important to us," he reiterated, "but at the same time, the Taliban are coming across the border, killing U.S. soldiers, destroying our roads."

This spring's Afghan campaign will have "two phases," Jawad added. "We have to be able to defend against the (Taliban) offensive once they are in country (the internal phase). On other hand, we have to prevent them (the terrorists) from coming in" (border defense, or external phase).

Preventing the terrorists from entering Afghanistan means more than having combat units covering mountain trails. The Afghan government believes Pakistan must act politically and militarily. "Pakistan must close down the training camps and shut down the (Taliban) leadership in (the Pakistani province of) Baluchistan."

That's a rather blunt signal. The Afghan government is weary of Pakistan's failure to help destroy Taliban cadres. I got the impression Kabul may not have the terror commanders' precise street addresses, but it has identified their Pakistani neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the ANA is doubling in size, from 35,000 soldiers to 70,000. Eventually, the Afghanis intend to defend their own nascent democracy. "But we (the ANA) need air transport, helicopters and fixed-wing, as well as more heavy weapons," Jawad added. "More heavy weapons" means heavy machine guns, mortars and artillery.

That is a brief sketch of the near-term "military-security line of operation."

The hidden story in Afghanistan -- and really the determinative story in this battlefield of The War on Terror -- is Afghan economic and political progress.

More NATO countries are operating Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Originally, these PRTs focused on humanitarian projects (for example, medical aid or food distribution). Afghanistan has advanced, albeit slowly, past the stage of meeting urgent humanitarian needs. "We would like for the PRTs to be involved in development with a more lasting impact," Jawad said. "For example, capacity-building so the government can deliver more services. And capacity-building of security forces, the police in particular."

PRTs are positioned to address some of the more subtle, nettlesome but politically vital development issues. "One of the major issues is lack of human capital, lack of trained people to provide services," Jawad said. Afghanistan needs embedded trainers with local police but also "guidance or assistance for state institutions. We need training in bookkeeping, accounting and administration skills, to enhance (the skills of) our civil servants."

Afghanis need help documenting business skills. "We have people who know business, (their families have been in business) for thousands of years. But this expertise is not reflected on the books. They want loans, but they don't look good on paper," Jawad said. A focused development program that helps document these skills "will benefit the private sector."

I asked the ambassador what Afghanistan will look like in 2021, 20 years after 9-11.

"In 2021, Afghanistan will be much more stable," Jawad replied, "because of the investment we make now in education. Six million Afghan children are going back to school. By then, the ANA will be fully capable to counter the threat of the terrorists and other elements who benefit from destabilizing Afghanistan. By then, the national institutions such as parliament and the judicial system will be better capable of delivering services."

"This certainly will be a victory not only for Americans, but for humanity."



Help For Iraq
37 countries deploy troops in Afghanistan. All 26 NATO countries have troops stationed in Afghanistan. Why can't we get more help from other countries to win the war in Iraq?

The US is accused of putting money over principle, but the French and the rest of Europe have proven they are more concerned about trade with Iran and the rest of the middle east than liberty.

Imagine the entire middle east as busy and prosperous as Dubai or Beruit a few decades ago.

Yes the spineless French are the biggest back stabbers of any nation. They would sell their souls to the devil.

Excellent question
The reason is, we never made a good case for it when we had the issue before the Security Council. We told the other countries on the Council who wondered about what the emergency was that they didn't know what they were talking about. We refused to let the inspectors finish their work, and hustled off to war with a 'coaliion of the willing," which has been steadily shrinking in numbers.

One interpretation is that the whole world got this whole thing wrong. Another is maybe we blew it.

But its absolutely true that the best - and indeed, perhaps the only way to fix the situation in Iraq is to get lots of other countries involved. The problem is the 'our way or the highway' policy followed so far has made this impossible.

but, sure, blame the French.

Actually it is all your fault
Hey, to err is human, to find someone to blame it on is divine. I nominate you as the scapegoat for all failures in Iraq. There, doesn't that feel better, now the French are free of all blame.

These things take time.
If Americans think that defeating terrorism and oppression can be done in a few years, they're fooling themselves. Education, public health and sanitation and security to allow them to take root are some of the fundamentals of counterinsurgency and dealing with the real causes of terrorism, which is the image of the West as remote and uncaring. Making life better for people does far more than providing weapons for their dictators, as we often did as part of the Realist approach to foreign policy.

A Renewed Effort
I think a renewed effort to get troops from other countries in Iraq could theoretically have some success. The difference of opinion in Congress about the war makes that type of diplomatic effort difficult. President Bush hasn't been soliciting help from other countries for a long time.

Two Sides To A Coin
A better standard of living is a deterrent to terrorism. The other side of the coin is to fight against terrorists as in Afghanistan presently. The battle against Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, or any other terrorist group will inevitably result in killing or capturing terrorists. The terrorists in the Middle East are about as incorrigible as criminals anywhere else on the earth.

If it would help the troops, I'd take the blame
But it wouldn't.

Under better leadershp
The Bush administration's international credibility is now so low that nobody's going to sign on. Unfortuntately, we'll have to wait it out before we can reach out.

It was a joke son; a joke I say!!
I actually thought you might get it and a give me chuckle. Guess iw as wrong.

I always knew I was no comic artist, but that bombed worse than I thought!

oops, sorry
have a great weekend.

No problem
Like I said, I'm no comic genius. Enjoy yourself and maybe we'll find a good point to scream over next week!

They would sell their souls to the devil?
I think you used the wrong tense. "Would sell" means that given the opportunity at some future time their is a high level probability of them selling their souls.

I think they have already done it!

You're right
The Bush Administration (particularly Colin Powell) rarely, if ever, mentioned the thousands of Desert Storm cease fire violations. The media jumped on the WMD issue as though it were the only one. The Bush Administration (particularly Colin Powell) never made a serious effort to correct people's thinking.

I agree. In fact, during WW2 the Germans met with little resistance from the French and there was a certain amount of apathy (for lack of a better turn) from the French. In fact, had they had any spine they could have avoided WW2 altogether.

However, being the jellyfish they are it pains me no end to think of the American men buried there so that they can thumb there nose at us in contempt. I have evern heard of vandalism of American graves.

Might I suggest that next time not one American spill blood for France?

Yes blame France that way you won't have to look at yourselves.
Never that an American could ever think that he might be wrong about something. If you want to know the source of anti-Americanism look at your own post's. With the exception of Israle (and it has problems too) there are one decomancies in the middle east. And I can't see the US calling for the over throw of suida royal family, or the Yemen government. AS long as their selling oil you couldn't give a toss. Everone is looking out for their ownselves, thier own interest, including you yanks so stop thinking your on some democratic crusade. You only make yourselves look sillier when you sner at countries doing the samething as you.

The really funny part is those same organizations that are training and funding the Taliban are the same ones that you guys held setup when the Russians were in there. The current Afghan government is mainly made up of Northern allies many of who fought on the Russia side.

It takes Civil Affairs Personnel
As a former Special Forces Operator in Vietnam and a student of miltary history, I think the ambassodors idea requires civil affairs people from the U.S. Army who are drawn from civilian jobs in the USA to serve to train other Armies and local governments to maintain their societies.

Allan J. Fritz
COL, USA (Ret.)

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