Afghanistan and Pakistan: Transition and the Way Forward

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
October 27, 2011
Secretary Clinton Testifies Before HFAC on Afghanistan and Pakistan October 27, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy on October 27, 2011. Secretary Clinton said:

"...I want to start by recognizing the concerns that many of you have about Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. You and the American people are right to ask questions, but I think it's also important, as the Chairwoman alluded to in her opening statement, to recognize the significant results that our policy has already produced.

"Usama bin Ladin and many of his top lieutenants are dead. The threat remains real and urgent, especially from al-Qaida's affiliates. But the group's senior leadership has been devastated and its ability to conduct operations greatly diminished. Many of our successes against al-Qaida would not have been possible without our presence in Afghanistan and close cooperation with Pakistan.

"Now in Afghanistan, we still face a difficult fight, but coalition and Afghan forces have reversed the Taliban momentum in key areas. Afghan security forces have a long way to go, but they are taking more responsibility every day. And while the country still faces enormous challenges from poverty and corruption, our development efforts have bolstered the economy and improved lives.

"You know the statistics. Ten years ago, fewer than a million students enrolled in Afghan schools, all of them boys; now more than 7 million, nearly 40 percent of them are girls. Afghans are better positioned to chart their own future.

"I offer these very brief examples as a reminder that, as President Obama has said, we are meeting our commitments and we are making progress toward our goals. And we cannot let up. We should build on our momentum, not undercut our progress. Now I will be the first to admit that working with our Afghan and Pakistani partners is not always easy. But these relationships are advancing America's national security interests, and walking away from them would undermine those interests.

"With that as context, let me report I have just completed a productive visit to both countries. In Kabul and Islamabad, I emphasized our three-track strategy of fight, talk, and build, pursuing all three tracks at once, as they are mutually reinforcing. And the chance of success for all three are greatly increased by strong cooperation from the Afghan and Pakistani governments. Let me briefly discuss each track.

"First, the fight. Coalition and Afghan forces have increased pressure on the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other insurgents, including with a new operation in eastern Afghanistan launched in recent days. But our commanders on the ground are increasingly concerned, as they have been for some time, that we have to go after the safe havens across the border in Pakistan. Now, I will be quick to add that the Pakistanis also have reason to be concerned about attacks coming at them from across the border in Afghanistan.

"So in Islamabad last week, General Dempsey, Director Petraeus and I delivered a single, unified message -- Pakistan's civilian and military leadership must join us in squeezing the Haqqani Network from both sides of the border and in closing safe havens. We underscored to our Pakistani counterparts the urgency of the task at hand, and we had detailed and frank conversations about the concrete steps both sides need to take. I explained that trying to distinguish between so-called good terrorists and bad terrorists is ultimately self-defeating and dangerous. No one who targets innocent civilians of any nationality should be tolerated or protected.

"Now, we are not suggesting that Pakistan sacrifice its own security; quite the opposite. We respect the sacrifices that Pakistan has already made. And it's important for Americans to be reminded, over the past decade, more than 5,000 Pakistani soldiers have been lost, and tens of thousands Pakistani citizens have been killed or injured. That's why we are pursuing a vision of shared security that benefits us all.

"The second track is talking, and here too we are taking concrete steps with our partners. So in both Kabul and Islamabad, I reaffirmed America's strong support for an inclusive Afghan-led peace process. And we have been very clear about the necessary outcomes of any negotiation. Insurgents must renounce violence, abandon al-Qaida, and abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan, including its protections for women and minorities. If insurgents cannot or will not meet those redlines, they will face continued and unrelenting assault. And I want to stress, as I did in Kabul, that the hard-won rights of women and all Afghans cannot be rolled back, and the growth of civil society must be not be quashed.

"Now, there is no doubt that the murder of former President Rabbani was a setback, but the Afghans strongly believe reconciliation is still possible and we support that as the best hope for peace and stability in the region. Pakistan has a critical role to play and a big stake in the outcome, so we look to Pakistan to encourage the Taliban and other insurgents to participate in an Afghan peace process in good faith, both through unequivocal public statements and by closing off the safe havens.

"We are working with the Afghan Government to help them secure commitments from all of their neighbors to respect Afghan sovereignty and territorial integrity and to support Afghan reconciliation. This will be a key focus when I go to Istanbul next week to meet with regional foreign ministers. For our part, the United States is working with the Afghan Government to conclude a new strategic partnership.

"And let me add, in response to the Chairwoman's question, in 2011 we had three Washington-led rounds of discussions, with the State Department leading an interagency team, including DOD, USAID, and the NSC. These discussions resulted in a text that is about 90 percent agreed to, including strong commitments on economic/social development, democratic institution-building, human rights, anti-corruption, and other important long-term reforms.

"Among other things, we envision establishing an Afghanistan-United States bilateral commission and associated implementation mechanisms to help our focus remain on what needs to be done during the transition process. Ambassador Crocker and General Allen are still working through some of the security cooperation issues with President Karzai. The negotiation is ongoing, but I want to assure the Congress that although we do not expect this to take the form of a treaty or to require advice and consent of the Senate, we will consult with you on where we are in this process, and I will ensure that anyone who wishes to get a full briefing will get one, and we will very much welcome your views.

"And in response to Congressman Chabot's point, we anticipate having a transition that does include security components, not only from the United States, but also from NATO, commitments that were made at the Lisbon Summit. And again, we look forward to consulting with you on that.

"And finally, the third track is building. Building what? Building capacity and opportunity in Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the region. Now, this is part of a clear-eyed strategy rooted in a lesson we have learned over and over again around the world -- lasting stability and security go hand in hand with greater economic opportunity. People need a realistic hope for a better life, for a job, for a chance to provide for their families. So it is critical to our broader effort that civilian assistance continue in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I thank Congressman Berman for raising that. Yet, I will also be very clear that we have had to move rapidly and deeply to strengthen oversight and improve effectiveness, and I'll be happy to answer questions about that.

"Early next week, I will be sending you a comprehensive status update on our civilian assistance detailing our plans to shift from short-term stabilization to long-term development.

"Now as the transition proceeds and coalition combat forces leave Afghanistan, there need to be realistic hopes for development. So we are working to achieve greater agricultural productivity, greater exploitation in a way that benefits the Afghanistan people of natural resources, increasing exports, and strengthening the financial sector. I really want to underscore the point that Congressmen Berman made, which is really that we want to move from aid to trade. We cannot do that if we don't get Reconstruction Opportunity Zone legislation, which will lower tariffs on Pakistani and Afghan products, and the Enterprise Fund, which will not require taxpayer dollars. This is what we did in Central and Eastern Europe, and it was a big help in convincing people that the free market was the way to go.

"And finally, we are pursuing a broader, long-term vision for regional economic integration that we call the New Silk Road. It's not just an economic plan. It talks about how we can get these countries that have so many problems with each other to begin cooperating. And to that end, I'm very pleased by the progress that both India and Pakistan are making on the commercial front and the progress in implementing the transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"So those are our three tracks -- fight, talk, and build -- and we're on all of them simultaneously. We believe this is the best place that we can be in moving forward."

You can also read a transcript of the Secretary's remarks here.

Comments

Comments

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
October 28, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

The Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan have both made fools out of the United States. They both have received funds (Tax payers dollars) to provide security of their own people. We have paid the bill in these countries and the outcome is always the same. Seems to me that both leaders have accomplished the unthinkable, which is found a way to slush American money into their Nations, continue with terrorism and be friends at the same time. So if I have this right, they don't mind being friends long as they can provide terrorist and keep the war fuming, while our soldiers protect their homelands? The real trojan horse is how two nations who live beside each other have discovered the United States being the Golden Goose knowing all too well we would fight against terrorism. They have used our Soldiers and taken funds (US Tax Dollars) to continue its fight all these years. I think its about time Afghanistan and Pakistan provide for it's own security along the borders. The United States Constitution does not include these Nations as our bordering countries. The United States responsibilites and duties, and accountable to the American people who have paid taxes in our country. The Smartest thing that can happen in future is to withdraw our forces and let the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan work out their own security issues with their Nations. We have enough security issues to worry about in the United States than to continue this madness of trying to provide security around the world for leaders of countries to pocket the money and build up their own wealth off the American Tax Payer! If they want to prosper, let them find new businesses in their own country and end the terrorism. Some people say that you will never change the will of the people and religon that lives in those countries. If someone can explain to me what is so valuable in Afghanistan that has cost billions of dollars?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 28, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Donald in Virgina,

"If someone can explain to me what is so valuable in Afghanistan that has cost billions of dollars?"

Peace of mind and the satisfaction of pulling out a can of whup-a$$ on terrorists, so we don't have a repeat 9/11, or ever have to go back in a decade and do this all over again...now does this about cover it, as far as an answer, or do you need me to elaborate?

Ok then I will, because if we bloody well have to go back a decade from now to get the job done right the second time when it "wasn't worth" doing right the first time, I give you even odds we'll simply nuke it and "forgettaboutit" at that point.

And remember, unlike Iran at least folks are listening and willing to work with us so as to get with the program of denying safe-haven, before we have to make safe havens unihabitable for anyone, including terrorists.

And before Pak generals ask us "to think ten times" (because they have nukes) before doing anything on their territory to address these, they should probably realize there's a point that gets reached where we just don't give a damn whether they do or not, and if they want to commit suicide and think to use them, then at that point we'd certainly be compelled to oblige them in their political stupidity in our own defense against a sponsor of terror.

They lost 30,000 folks because they weren't willing to share the same foxholes with us and fight the common threat together as allies, and compromised with terror allowing taliban and others a foothold to threaten their soveregnity. And they complain about us violating their's?

We got a job to finish and part of that is saving people from themselves apparently.

Not that they seem to understand that or appreciate why that is as yet, but I think they got told in no uncertain terms that they can either fight in the same foxholes alongside us and ISAF, or get the hell out of the way while we finish the nasty buisiness to bring an end to a very sad chapter in the region's history.

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
October 28, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

My friend Eric, nobody wants to see another 9/11 happen on our soil. If you calculate the cost in the economy in the past ten years, prices of goods in the States, rising gas prices, I don't argue that we have made a difference in those countries, but sooner or later the responsbility of Afghanistan and Pakistan belong to them to deal with terrorists. They can hire local law enforcement and deal with the terrorism. All I am saying is, like any projects or the war in Iraq, theres a time to end it. After all, with Iran and North Korea around the corner, they will most likely present a bigger threat to the United States and our allies on the war on terrorism. Sometimes you have to change the focus on the objective, and keep the eye on the ball. Who is the bigger threats to our country? Iran and North Korea. Its NOT Afghanistan or Pakistan. If those two Nations get out of hand, the US Government still can use the option of the UAV drones to deal with it.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 28, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Donald, when you say "no one" wants another 9/11, you are denying the existance of those that absolutely do want to see another 9/11 and are actively planning a repeat performance with the biggest bang for their buck.

It's like saying "no one wants war." when some folks seems to be doing everything they possibly can to start one with someone; and if the leaders of Iran arn't trying to with Israel or America every day of the week, there's always the Shiite/Suni divide to exacerbate via attempted assination and further destabilization of the region...,

...or a convienient island for North Korea to drop a few shells on..., when they have their next political temper tantrum.

While Afghans are fighting in the same foxholes on patrol with ISAF forces, they are taking responsibility; whereas Pakistan is still trying to figure out why we are holding them responsible for thier future.

You got your question answered in the way it was because you expressed the implied opinion it wasn't worth our doin' right, because it costs big bucks to do right, and these governments have "made fools of out of the United States".

Well they might be fooling themselves, but not us...we know how to win wars.

Just got to be willing to win them unconditionally is all. There's an educational opportunity for folks in the region.

Remember if you arn't going to spend the money getting your brakes fixed right, you probably won't be able to stop your car in time to keep it out of a ditch. Then you'll understand why it's worth doing right the first time, because you might not have a second chance after the car is totaled.

Just wait for either Iran or North Korea to twitch and do someting really stupid again, and we'll see what happens.

EJ

John P.
|
Greece
October 28, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Donald M. in Virginia

I was about to send you my views concerning your interesting question:

“Can someone explain to me what is so valuable in Afghanistan that has cost billions of $?”

Actually, I’d have brought on the table an answer/question for your question:

Can someone persuade us what would have happened if we had not operated in Afghanistan? Maybe chaos…

But Eric gave a wise answer that fully covers what I would have tried to contribute. So, i underline his view:

“Remember if you arn't going to spend the money getting your brakes fixed right, you probably won't be able to stop your car in time to keep it out of a ditch.”

Best Regards!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 29, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece,

"Can someone persuade us what would have happened if we had not operated in Afghanistan? Maybe chaos…"

You mean like (A) if President Bush after 9/11 hadn't decided to respond militarily to al quaida's attack on us?

Or (B)decided to put no "boots on the ground" because it wasn't "worth it" and simply nuked bin laden's training camps in response, (similar to Pres. Clinton's action in '98, but with a bigger bang for the buck?)

If A, then Mr. Bush would have faced impeachment, and someone else would have been making that decision.

If (B) Then he would have given bin laden exactly what he wanted, as a mass incentive for his holy war global jihad.

And then Mr. Bush would have been impeached, for world opinion would have turned completely against us for using a nuke to target a terrorist.

Folks would be calling it "overkill" and a crime against humanity, and on and on and we'd never be hearing the end of it.

So here we are ten years on now after doing the thing to be done to rid the world of al-quaida, and doin' our best to do right by the people of Afghanistan who are just as much set upon by terror as we were, with millions of refugees now returned home to rebuild in freedom and a measure of security...and we're still wondering what would have happened if....?

I'm wondering what happens next...no, correction...actually it's "who's next?"

Looks like time to crush al-sheebab,...if folks want to help 12 million get the aid they need to survive on.

It's good to see folks like Kenya stepping up to the plate and taking action against them.

I laugh when folks ask the current President whether he's "leading from behind" or not...

And whether one is dragging allies and partners along by their short hairs, or simply giving them a swift kick of reason to get off their backsides, or just shoving them forward into a realization before them to make, I don't care how he gets it done, just so it gets done right, so we don't have to go back a decade later to do this all over again, as we had to with Saddam after folks left him in power.

If folks are going to do the job, damned well better finish the job, or don't and pay a much higher price in blood and national treasure later.

Chaos? ....that's the least one could expect.

Best,

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
October 29, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ John in Greece and Eric in New Mexico

You guys know, I value and respect your opinion on these countries. If the brakes are bad you replace them, sure but with the money the United States spent on both of these Nations you could of bought and started 10 brrand new car manufacutring companties since the 1970s. If United States is that threatned by these two countries, then by all means, keep Nato forces rolling. I still think that Iran or North Korea could pose a greater risk to us.

Paul
|
Canada
October 29, 2011

Paul in Canada writes:

"Remember if you arn't going to spend the money getting your brakes fixed right, you probably won't be able to stop your car in time to keep it out of a ditch.”

Brakes or no brakes if you still end up in the ditch; what does it matter? - Common sense dictates that the breaks were never the problem to begin with. Or is such rational baseless?

We can have no solutions if the actual problems are not identified and rectified in any situation.

"Was it worth it?" - that's quite a loaded question. Depends on your perspective and who you ask, what you believe and what you value.

I would say this, become predictable and you lose. America has become predictable in terrorism, drug war....on and on.

Predictability allows adversaries to own you, manipulate you and even convince you that what is wrong for you is right.

It is an art lost to honor core values, while remaining fluid enough to avoid becoming predictable.

The core thought of Donald's original post should be thought about more carefully. At least in policy matters. It is not just Pakistan and Afghanistan that perhaps plays America for a fool- Many nations have and still do. They have done so for a few hundred years.

Review American history with a fresh perspective, common sense and you soon realize that many of Americas past and present problems are not American made but somehow America gets saddled with the baggage.(America is not the only country to suffer this phenomena) Why?

Any action that becomes a bigger deficit than the asset obtained is a losing strategy for anyone.

Convince a friend or foe to engage in such fool hardiness and eventually they are doomed from within.

Sadly in this world friends are not exactly friends always (easy to understand why if you apply some thought).

Put it this way you live on a street and are in competition with the neighbors, to build a better house. You have two choices. 1) Build a better house and keep building or 2) knock your neighbors house down.

If you burn down the neighbors house its easy to become the nicest house on the block.

Now imagine convincing your neighbor to burn their own house down. (laugh - you win by doing almost nothing at all - who is the fool?)

Erics postings, while intelligent also show a distinctly predictable American attitude.(not an insult, just an observation)

"Smart Power" requires to think in ways most people are not trained or taught to think. It will also require acting in ways not done before.

More thought and less action can achieve far bigger results - ALWAYS.

Unconditional action has failed by all who have used it - its not a new concept.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 30, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Folks, 13 US service members died today in Afghanistan in a terrorist car bombing.

For decades on America has applied the brakes hard on totalitarianism and terror, to make sure the car civilization is driving doesn't end up in a ditch.

We've been witness to some bloody wrecks driven by dictators drunk with power behind the wheel; endangering populations in the process of driving over oblivion's cliff, and we'll be witness to more of the same unless we get the remaining drunks off the political road to self destruction...( Iran and North Korea, Syria, ) The cars they have manufactured don't come with any break system installed.

We've "stopped the car in time" in the past when Pakistan and India were about to go to nuclear war with each other, instigated by terrorism in the attack by al-quiada affiliates upon India's parliment back in 2002.

We applied the brakes on our own drunken investers who were in the process of driving America's economic car into a ditch, and it seems the people are trying to remove the keys from their greedy little fingers as folks "occupy" Wall st. So be it...(chuckle).

So there are any number of ways my analogy may be applied to serve any reader's of this blog purpose and perspective.

It's not our car that needs fixing, it's being driven by a certified mechanic.

When folks get their people's car stuck in a ditch, we got the tow truck to pull them out of it, or ourselves with a winch if need be if we slide off on a patch of economic ice, or via a political spin-out, as 90 MPH is the speed we normally drive at...to get the job done in nation building as fast and efficiantly as possible.

Attitude is everything, can't get the job done without it. If folks feel like they've got attitudinal tire tracks across their back, they shouldn't have stepped into cross-town traffic without looking both ways first.

Having been in the construction industry for over 30 years, I can say with certainty it takes teamwork to build a house or a nation for that matter.

We do these things on a bi-partisan level of engagement as well as on an international level of teamwork, because the attitude we go into this process with is a "can do" attitude, and it's contagious if folks hang out with us long enough to finish the job on totalitarianism and terror.

I know that such an attitude can and will threaten the status quo, because a lot of folks are perfectly willing in this world to knock their neigbor's house down to make their own hovel seem like a palacial mansion of self rightiousness; such is the totalitarian mindset we've been at war with for a very long time since our founding as a nation..

And if we weren't willing to win "unconditionally" we might have said "it isn't worth it" during the battle of the bulge in WW2 and Europe would never have had the chance to be today...whole, free, and at peace.

That's just one example of a winning attitude, and that all other attitudes (as policy) don't get that job finished properly.

One of the great strengths we possess as a nation is the consistancy and predictability of the policies entered into via the principals we hold dear, and in that process of applied attitude continue to write "The Cure for Political Stupidity, and/or How not to go to War with America" (the idiot's guide).

I'm just one of many authors contributing to that "best seller" on this blog over the years.

So being told my attitude is "predictably American" is no insult to me, but it is innaccurate as a nationalistic assumption because above all else it is the attitude of a Human, sick of being witness to the wars and destruction caused by those with a really toxic attitude towards life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.

I'm sure I'm not being unique among a whole lot of folks around the world in this,...seeking change we can live with.

13 folks from the US and a number of Afghan civilians died today because we are defending a people's right to live in peace, and our own. So let's get the job done right so their sacrifice will mean something to all those who may have doubt whether the job they were doing there was "worth it" or not.

Besides, if America wasn't so predictable in being the guardian of humanity's common interests, the majority of the world would have become uninhabitable long ago, and/or we'd be facing 9/11 on a daily basis in this country.

Doing right by people earns us enmity from some quarters.

That's just a "given" if common sense lends any clarity to the history of political stupidity on the world stage.

But should we change to a "cut and run" attitude and leave folks in the lurch because they have difficulty in dealing with their own political angst over it?

Some would try and fool themselves thinking we should adopt such a losing strategy.

Or that our predictability in pricipal involves some inbalance between thinking and acting on the threats posed by others.

EJ

Ashim C.
|
India
October 30, 2011

Ashim C. in India writes:

Pak response to US plain speaking is a) North West Waziristan is too difficult a terrain b) Acting tough there would spawn more talibanis c) development of the region is a real soultion. The ultimate message is stay engaged and keep giving aid. Will this suit and help US target of withdrawal of it's army before the next presidential elections? Let us imagine what the reaction would be if Pakistan is subjected to blockade like Iran and India allows J & K and other strategic facilities in it's western sector for use by USA? It will end Indo-Pak tensions. Chinese muscle flexing in border will vanish. Pak won't have anyrhing to support taliban. Most importantly, hit hard, pak ruling elite will turn around 380 deg. But India won't actively help US miltarily so long as India's central authority remains as weak as it is now to radically change it's foreign policy positions. BJP led coalition don't promise a strong centre in foreseeable future as it's hindutvaad politics hasd failed though it may fare better in next parliamentary elections. Therefore, US withdrawal and stoppage of the economic drain as targetted is most unlikely. US needs to cultivate india for achieving long term goals with or without China in tendem and engage Beijing to achieve immediate short term goals in afpak without conceding any ground to china to protect long term US interests in central and south asia to east asia and pacific region. US must appreciate that Pak elite by education, cultirally are naturally aligned with west inspite of recent surge in anti americanism, and therefore, pressed hard by a policy of boycot and blocade instead of engagement and trade not aid for development after boycot and blocade yield results pak ruling elite will not take much time to fall in line. And taliban without ISI backing will never be the same. What is obvious and visible ought to be acknowledged and acted upon with straight talk and diplomatic veil as demanded by ground realties.

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
October 30, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

The United States has B52 Bombers in its arsonel of weapons. If I was President of the United States, I would certainly consider using it in Afghanistan or Pakistan when our country is losing American soldiers on the ground. The "Mother of all Bombers" would certainly make them think twice about attacking US Soldiers. Just pull our forces out and start bombing campaigns. Sooner or later the Taliban would get the messaage.

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
October 31, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

How does the US State Department feel about Nigeria buying Fighter Jets from China through the country of Pakistan? So this how American dollars are being spent in these foreign countries making deals while our forces in Afghanistan continue getting hit? Read this below:

"The Nigerian military leader was in pakistan recently discussing further defence co operation. Nigerian military personnel are already trained in Pakistan. Has Nigeria purchased a version of the F7MG that Pakistan currently operates?" What about the air bases Nigeria and Pakistan are sharing with this deal? Along with China!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 31, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Ashim C. in India,

Interesting assesment, if indeed that is the Pakistani official response, I'll pose an unofficial one right back at 'em as a citizen, just because I can...(grin).

PAK- A) "North West Waziristan is too difficult a terrain"

Then deed the land over to Afghanistan like the French did the US in the louisianna purchase or the way we bought Alaska from the Russians and relinquish sovereign right to the area if you cannot opperate there to achive peace and stability.

Then ISAF won't be hindered by any problem Pakistan might have being "in" their territory.

PAK b) "Acting tough there would spawn more talibanis"

It's a tough neighborhood, and kids happen mainly due to sex a' happening...(chuckle).

If the madrassa's educate them, they will be taught the sky is brown and still paint it blue as they see it, not as their indoctrination will have it, if they are removed from such influence.

PAK c) development of the region is a real soultion.

"Without security, nothing can be built."
-Hamid Karzai

There's a precedent I don't know that anyone has considered because the guy fell into obscurity back in the late 50's, I forget his name, but he was like bin laden's predecessor calling for jihad back in the day and being stupid, running around in the same neck of the woods being pretty much a nuisance to folks in power. I would take a good look at how the former King of Afghanistan- Zahir Shah, handled the Pashtun tribes in getting them to turn away from the notion as not befitting Afghan solidarity as a people to make war on each other.

(if I rember a story told to me by his godson years ago correctly)

That's all I could suggest as far as talking is concerned, but in the end this proto-bin laden in the 50's died without a following.

I think an American comparison would be Pancho Villa, the only guy to actually invade (or repetedly raid) the continental United States of America and who evaded capture for quite some time.

If I remember, the US airforce took about 150 meters or so off the top of Tora bora's total elevation, and Donald does have a point about "the mother of all bombers" being effective but all not by itself, just add COIN and all the loose change the Afghan Army can muster.

Just as I believe development and reintegration are essentials in a post conflict environment to provide a lasting peace, but that's post- conflict, anything during is mostly organizing humanitarian aid delivery within the military supply chain going into the region.

Enjoyed reading your posts, keep 'em coming..,

EJ

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