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What are Americans willing to accept in Afghanistan?


SkinsHokieFan

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Foreign policy hat is on today. No clue why, just been reading tons of foreign newspapers

It is clear that our soon to be President Obama is going to push to make Afghanistan the center piece of our foriegn policy, and continue with President Bush's policy of launching attacks within Pakistan

We have gone back and forth on this, but from the threads the past several months it seems that 95+ percent seem to think the solution is to have a "surge" within Afghanistan, attack within Pakistan when neccessary and completely wipe out the Taliban.

Correct me if I was wrong on that

Reading the global news the past few days (yup the world doesn't stop even if the stock market does) it appears that the Taliban has announced it has split with AQ, talks are occuring with the Taliban and Karzai's government in Sadui Arabia, diplomats are saying Afghanistan is in the worst shape its been in since 2001 and General McKiernon (spelling, sorry) seems to be in a growing chorus of people stating that a military solution is not possible within Afghanistan

Currently there are 80,000 western troops in Afghanistan, with pretty much all of the non-US troops with rules of engagement that prevent them from entering combat. Most European populations want to see a pull out from Afghanistan

Pakistan everyday is under intense suicide attacks. Essentially anytime a predator drone blasts a missle into the FATA, a bomb blows up in a Pakistani city, killing 10 times the people.

So short of complete victory in Afghanistan, what are willing at accept?

In particular when it looks like victory will probably not be achieved in Afghanistan, short of invading deep into Pakistan (and I am talking about into SWAT and within an hour of Islamabad)

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So short of complete victory in Afghanistan, what are willing at accept?
Bin Laden's head on a stick.

If we pulled out of Iraq after we had gotten Saddam, I think most people would have been satisfied too.

People are generally in favor of killing bad guys. We haven't gotten the baddest bad guy in Afghanistan/Pakistan yet.

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Bin Laden's head on a stick.

If we pulled out of Iraq after we had gotten Saddam, I think most people would have been satisfied too.

People are generally in favor of killing bad guys. We haven't gotten the baddest bad guy in Afghanistan/Pakistan yet.

I should have thrown that in the discussion

SHORT of Bin Laden, and the defeat of the Taliban, what are we willing to accept?

We can find Bin Laden without 100k troops in Afghanistan

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Just to give you guys a bit of background on what I have been reading

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JJ08Df05.html

Look who came to dinner ...

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - Although the Taliban and al-Qaeda have consistently rejected overtures to make peace with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces until they leave Afghanistan, the latest initiative led by Saudi Arabia, and approved by Washington and London, is on track.

Reports emerged this week that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently hosted high-level talks in Mecca between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban. If a middle road is found, next year's elections in Afghanistan could be held under the supervision of peacekeeping forces from Islamic countries, rather than those of NATO.

The first move in the peace process was made by Saudi Arabia

Look who came to dinner ...

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - Although the Taliban and al-Qaeda have consistently rejected overtures to make peace with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces until they leave Afghanistan, the latest initiative led by Saudi Arabia, and approved by Washington and London, is on track.

Reports emerged this week that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently hosted high-level talks in Mecca between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban. If a middle road is found, next year's elections in Afghanistan could be held under the supervision of peacekeeping forces from Islamic countries, rather than those of NATO.

The first move in the peace process was made by Saudi Arabia

last year when a Saudi consul based in Islamabad secretly visited the North Waziristan tribal area and met the al-Qaeda leadership. His mission was to convince them of the necessity of a peace process in Afghanistan and provide them with assurances of an amnesty. (See Military brains plot Pakistan's downfall Asia Times Online, September 26, 2007.) Al-Qaeda refused the consul access to its senior leaders, and anyway rejected the initiative.

Undeterred, Riyadh pitched the idea to the Taliban rank and file that if the forces of Islamic countries were involved in peacekeeping operations for the elections, it would create a climate of reconciliation in which both the Taliban and NATO would not lose face. The Taliban also did not accept this idea, but the proposal did generate low-profile debate and in this sense a peace process had begun.

Like the Taliban, the Western coalition was divided over peace formulas but decided to at least initiate a political process to resolve the seven-year conflict in Afghanistan. The British Embassy in Kabul sent some people to Helmand province to initiate talks with the Taliban, but the procedure backfired as the Taliban dismissed their commanders involved in the negotiations. And the Afghan government, under instructions from the US Embassy in Kabul, expelled European Union officials from Afghanistan for their involvement in the dialogue process.

Pakistan, meanwhile, despite American pressure, kept open channels of communication with the Taliban. All the while, the conflict in Afghanistan escalated, reaching new heights this year.

Kabul is virtually under siege and the Taliban have established pockets in Wardak (30 kilometers from Kabul) and Sarobi (50 km from Kabul) as well as in neighboring Kapisa and Parwan provinces. More ominously, the Taliban-led insurgency has spread to Pakistani territory where vast areas have been brought under its control, especially in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan. From a military standpoint, this is particularly worrying for NATO as most of its supplies pass through this area.

Against this backdrop of a seemingly unwinnable war, as Britain's senior commander in Afghanistan has commented, the stalled pace process was revived.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan was used as a cover for revived backchannel diplomacy in the Saudi holy city of Mecca. Afghan officials, former Taliban leaders and leaders of mujid Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan shared an Iftar fast-breaking meal with King Abdullah. Separate meetings were held with other top Saudi officials, including Saudi intelligence chief Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz.

One person who was present at the king's table was former Taliban foreign minister Wakeel Ahmed Muttawakil. He spoke to Asia Times Online by telephone from Kabul.

Asia Times Online: Did you meet King Abdullah?

Wakeel Ahmed Muttawakil: I traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform umra [pilgrimage] in the holy month of Ramadan ... and it is true [i met King Abdullah]. You know, the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan [as the Taliban's regime was known from 1996 to 2001] had good relations with Saudi Arabia and therefore I know everybody over there.

ATol: Your meeting with Saudi intelligence chief Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz is believed to be the real beginning of a dialogue process between the Taliban and Saudi Arabia over a truce between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

WAM: As I said, I met with many people during my stay in Saudi Arabia, but it had nothing to do with politics. Our reason to travel was to perform pilgrimage and prayers in Ramadan. Since I am known to the Saudi government, they invited me for Iftar.

ATol: Then was it a coincidence that immediately after your visit, Afghan President Hamid Karzai stepped up efforts to engage the Taliban and mentioned a Saudi role in that regard?

WAM: I said earlier that Saudi Arabia had very good relations with the Taliban in the past, therefore the Afghan government expects the Saudi government to play a role. Not only with the Taliban, Saudi Arabia had very good relations with Sheikh Osama bin Laden and other jihadi movements. So its role would be very effective.

ATol: Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan has also been approached by the Saudis. Do you have any knowledge in this regard?

WAM: I don't know anything in this regard, but I can guess that since the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami are both part of the present insurgency, but still keep separate commands, Hekmatyar would have been approached separately. Like the Taliban, Hekmatyar also keeps very good relations with Saudi Arabia and with his connections with the Ikwanul Muslemeen [Muslim Brotherhood] he is even closer to the Saudis.

An earlier Taliban statement said:

The mainstream media is reporting about a "peace process" between the Taliban and the Kabul puppet administration which is being sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, and that there are "unprecedented talks" involving a senior ex-Taliban member who is traveling between Kabul and the alleged bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan. The Afghanistan Islamic Emirate leadership council considers such as baseless rumors and as failed attempts of the enemy to create mistrust and concerns among Afghans and other nations and mujahideen.

No official member of the Taliban is currently or has in the past negotiated with the US or the puppet Afghan government. A few former officials of the Taliban who are under house arrest [Mullah Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan] or have surrendered [Wakeel Ahmed Muttawakil] do not represent the Islamic Emirate.

The Taliban's denial and Muttawakil's reticence apart, it cannot be denied that something is afoot. This is no better illustrated than by Washington-backed Karzai at the weekend asking "terrorist" Mullah Omar to join the political process and saying that he would convince the international community about him.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com

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I should have thrown that in the discussion

SHORT of Bin Laden, and the defeat of the Taliban, what are we willing to accept?

We can find Bin Laden without 100k troops in Afghanistan

Taliban are irrelivent. They are just punching bags. They are misguided fools who thought Al Quada was a good meal ticket. If they roll over and cry uncle they can be forgiven. Hell if they just play nice with the new democratic government they can be forgiven and share power if they have the votes. We don't care.

Bin Laden has to face justice. There is no compromise on Bin Ladin.

We don't leave Afghanistan without Bin Laden. He is the be all end all. The entire justification and rational for both wars.

If he's in Pakistan we will go in. If he's in Saudi Arabia we will go in. Any country which shelters him or refuses to police their territory, or refuses to hand him over we have an instant grudge against... The laws have already been passed and the American people are pretty unified on that view.... Even if Bush never got the message.

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Taliban are irrelivent. They are just punching bags. They are misguided fools who thought Al Quada was a good meal ticket. If they roll over and cry uncle they can be forgiven. Hell if they just play nice with the new democratic government they can be forgiven and share power if they have the votes. We don't care.

Bin Laden has to face justice. There is no compromise on Bin Ladin.

We don't leave Afghanistan without Bin Laden. He is the be all end all. The entire justification and rational for both wars.

If he's in Pakistan we will go in. If he's in Saudi Arabia we will go in. Any country which shelters him or refuses to police their territory, or refuses to hand him over we have an instant grudge against... The laws have already been passed and the American people are pretty unified on that view.... Even if Bush never got the message.

Very well said JMS. :applause:

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Just to give you guys a bit of background on what I have been reading

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JJ08Df05.html

we do not want to get in a grudge match with the Afghanistani's. We would love to send our troops home and hand them over some substantial infrastructure aid to rebuild their country....

We wouldn't have a problem if the Taliban was incorporated into that governemnt either...

But nothing happens in Afghanistan without Bin Laudin being captured or killed. If the Saudi's work out a peace agreement where we are supposed to leave and bin ladin isn't captured; I don't think we would leave... We aren't going to negotiate peace with Al Quada..

9/11 was bigger than pearl harbor; We didn't forgive the Emporor of japan and negotiate with him half way through WWII as he wanted. We aren't doing it with Bin Ladin either.

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we do not want to get in a grudge match with the Afghanistani's. We would love to send our troops home and hand them over some substantial infrastructure aid to rebuild their country....

We wouldn't have a problem if the Taliban was incorporated into that governemnt either...

But nothing happens in Afghanistan without Bin Laudin being captured or killed. If the Saudi's work out a peace agreement where we are supposed to leave and bin ladin isn't captured; I don't think we would leave... We aren't going to negotiate peace with Al Quada..

9/11 was bigger than pearl harbor; We didn't forgive the Emporor of japan and negotiate with him half way through WWII as he wanted. We aren't doing it with Bin Ladin either.

That is the entire premise here. Do we need 100k troops or so to find Bin Laden in one of those caves?

Can we "get a peace deal" and leave but keep our CIA/DIA whatever else ops officers there to get him

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That is the entire premise here. Do we need 100k troops or so to find Bin Laden in one of those caves?

well we have never had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. Currently I think we have about 32,000 and that's an all time high. For the majority of this "war" we've had fewer than 20,000, and it took fewer than 10,000 to chase the Taliban out of Kabul...

We didn't actually send troops into Afghanistan initially. we sent guys carrying sacks of money. There is a good argument to be made we should do more of that to get Bin Laudin.

If Obama get's into office and says he needs 600,000 guys in Afghanistan to take care of business, he'll get them.. Bush wouldn't get them today, he would have in 2001, the next President will also be give what he needs to take care of business. And we do have unfinished business with Bin Laudin.

Can we "get a peace deal" and leave but keep our CIA/DIA whatever else ops officers there to get him

We went into Afghanistan for a reason. Without some progress on that reason we have no reason to leave.

I don't think Bin Ladin is actually in Pakistan or Afghanistan. If I had a few million dollars, and a family worth Billions; I know I wouldn't be there. But that's pretty much besides the point. Somebody in Afghanistan knows where he is; and the Taliban even if they don't know where he is dammed well know somebody who does.

They aren't just going to be alloud to shrug their shoulders and say "it's all good".

Give up Bin Ladin, that's the beginning of any discussion on our end... Everybody get's that, including Obama, including McCain. The Saudi's might not get that, but we will explain it to them.

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JMS nails it. Bin Laden is the prize. I think Americans will accept a lot if the goal is clear. We want Bin Laden. We are willing to stay there as long as it takes. We will send more troops and I think the American People will even support a long occupation if we make it clear that we aren't leaving until we have him and the Taliban is gone.

Americans lost faith in Iraq because the goal posts kept moving. It is hard to accept more troops, more death, more innocents when we don't know what our goal is.

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Americans lost faith in Iraq because the goal posts kept moving. It is hard to accept more troops, more death, more innocents when we don't know what our goal is.

I would go further than that. I would say the entire Iraq war was sold to the American people as a way to get Bin Ladin. We were told Bin Ladin and Sadam had contacts, and that Saddam even helped plan 9/11. That's what 70% of Americans believed on the eve of our invasion, down from 90% at one time!! We believed it because that's the message this administration gave us. Iraq was part of the war against Al Quada and Bin Laudin. That's what I heard Collin Powel say at 3 am from my appartment building in Riyadha when I watched him in front of the UN.. Al Quada has operational ties with Iraq, and Iraq is supplying terrorists shelter, support, and weapons including potentially WMD.

Americans lost faith in Iraq when we learned that our leaders had lied to us. Flat out.

That doesn't mean we still don't require Bin Laudin.

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JMS nails it. Bin Laden is the prize. I think Americans will accept a lot if the goal is clear. We want Bin Laden. We are willing to stay there as long as it takes. We will send more troops and I think the American People will even support a long occupation if we make it clear that we aren't leaving until we have him and the Taliban is gone.

How long of an occupation? And would American's support a possible military exchange with Pakistan?

Actually, I think the answer to my 2nd question is yes. The first question I have no clue on

I came to the conclusion in 2004 he is either dead or we won't find him in those caves. Too damn many of them

Personally, and I think people are getting this from my posts, I believe our Afghanistan/Pakistan policy is a complete failure and will quite honestly continue to be a failure if we think there is a military solution to Afghanistan, and/or finding Bin Laden, along with both Presidential candidates thinking that missles fired into Pakistan helps the situation

Not that I don't want the man found. I had been yelling about him as a 14 year old back in 1996 that he needed to be killed. I am just certain now that we aren't going to find him, even with 1,000,000 troops in the border area

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Saudi involvement in Afghanistan would spark Iranian aided insurgency in Afghanistan (cause anyone who's been paying attention to Mid east foreign policy sees some sort of mini great game going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran). so while at the moment Iran has pretty much been helpful in the Afghanistan theater this would not be the case with Saudi peace keepers... though knowing Saudi Arabia they would bank roll it but not actually send any troops. Peace keeping troops in Afghanistan would have to be Turks if they are to be Muslims. Saudi or Iranian peace keepers wouldn't work, and those are the only other two countries in the Mid East that could have any clout in Afghanistan (discounting Pakistan for obvious reasons).

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No War in Afghanistan or Pakistan will make me happy.

I'm Peaceful.

AQ and the Taliban get funding from Iran and SA.

Drilling and Refining here will take the money out of SA's hands.

Place a major embargo on Iran and anybody who deals with them, including China.

Get the money out of their hands and see where we are at after that.

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For all the people that say get Bin Laden, what happens if he isn't there?

You've set an impossible (or at least distractionary) goal for yourself with respect to Afghanistan.

If he isn't in Afghanistan the more resources you spend looking for him in Afghanistan makes it that much less likely you'll find him where ever he is.

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This really gets down to the meaning of this War on Terror. Is it a War on Radical Islam? Or is it a War on Al-Qaeda (i.e. the radical islamists who attacked us)?

The Taliban have slowly realized that Al-qaeda is a magnet for US attention (and bombs). The shrewd ones amongst them want to ransom Al-qaeda to the U.S. In exchange, we'll ahve to accept the Taliban's return to power.

Im fine with it, so long as they deliver OBL to us first, and the Taliban understand that they cant ever ever ever again allow their country to be used as a base for planning attacks against americans.

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Since they allowed the Taliban to take them over, and

Since the Taliban gave shelter to Osama bin Laden, and

Since the Taliban gave him cover post 9/11, and

Since they grow a huge contribution to the global opium trade,

I want to see the entire country turned into a nuclear desert, with warning signs stated on the perimeter letting folks know why it is the way it is.

Hey, they are all associated with Terrorists right?

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