Sunday, February 12, 2017

Adequate Attention Will Suffice

Less than a month into the Trump presidency, AP wonders why he has paid little attention to the Afghanistan campaign:

Afghanistan, America's longest military fight, is getting little attention so far from the Trump administration despite the protracted struggle to rein in the Taliban and battle a stubborn Islamic State affiliate there.

The problem is the result of the last few weeks?

The corruption is one reason the [Afghan] government has lost control of about a third of the population since 2014. The foreign troops left in 2014 and the Taliban have been on the offensive ever since. That, like most else in Afghanistan, has not worked out as expected. At the end of 2016 the Taliban only controlled about ten percent of the country and were very active (“contesting control of”) another 20 percent. This is nearly ten times as much control as they had at the end of 2014. Most of the Taliban gains have been in Helmand because, as the old saying goes, “follow the money”. Over half of Taliban income comes from the drug gangs and much of the rest comes from associated activities (smuggling, extortion, looting).

So now the media wonders why Afghanistan gets little attention? The last 4 or 5 years don't ring a bell?

Afghanistan is peripheral to the war on terror in regard to the civil war going on in the Islamic civil war to define Islam as the minority (but extremely violent) jihadis want it formatted or as the majority of Moslems willing to live and let live would prefer it to be. Afghans are recipients of and not propagators of religious doctrine in the Islamic world.

Sadly, in a world of easy travel and communication, even a backwater spot like Afghanistan can be the source of devastating terror attacks (see September 11, 2001) if ignored.

Or the source of 18,000 recruits fighting for Assad in Syria in the Shia foreign legion that Iran pays for.

The American general in charge of the Afghanistan mission wants more troops (American and allied) to reverse the Taliban gains over the last several years. We'll see if paying attention will lead to protests from the leftists.

Do read all of the Strategypage link.