Soviet ghosts in Afghanistan

Soviet ghosts in Afghanistan

Although ISAF commander Gen. John Allen this week is giving Congress the old gung-ho line about the war in Afghanistan, the bottom seems to have dropped out of public pessimism about it.

The Lexington Institute’s Dan Goure argues that the very scenario that war advocates mocked at the time of the invasion has come true — the U.S. is the Soviet Union, and even its leaders are beginning to sound alike:

Comments by senior Soviet leaders about the reasons for Moscow’s failure in Afghanistan are eerily similar to those being made today. In a 1986 Politburo meeting focused on the Afghan situation Premier Mikhail Gorbachev remarks, “The goal we posed was to expedite withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan and at the same time to ensure an Afghanistan that is friendly to us. This was to be achieved via a combination of military and political means. But there is no movement in any of these directions. Afghan government positions have not strengthened.” Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko chimes in with “social conditions in Afghanistan made it impossible to solve the problem in short order…” The Deputy Minister of Defense, later Chief of the Soviet General Staff, Marshal Sergei Akhromeev then delivers a devastating assessment of the security situation:

There is not one military objective that has been posed and not achieved, but there is still no result. The problem is that military results are not being reinforced by political ones … We have lost the fight for the Afghan people. Only the minority of the people support the government. Our army … is capable of maintaining the situation as it is. But under these conditions, the war will continue for a long time.

Goure’s headline is about the “grim lessons” the Soviet withdrawal offers the U.S., but “lessons” implies something constructive, the opportunity to do something different. But his conclusion is deeply fatalistic:

The grimmest lesson from the Soviet experience in Afghanistan is that Soviet foreign policy and intelligence experts warned that the failure of the pro-Moscow regime to survive would likely result in “Islamist fundamentalists coming to power.” Despite assertions by the administration that al Qaeda has been decimated and driven from Afghanistan, is there any reason to believe that having made virtually every mistake Moscow made, our withdrawal will not result in the Taliban’s “reconquesta” of their country and the recreation of a safe haven for al Qaeda? 

In other words, the whole war will have been another colossal waste and not even achieve the strategic goal of denying the bad guys an ungoverned space.

Actually, it might not be that bad.

Afghanistan as Switzerland, Kabul as Indianapolis, the “Central Asian roundabout” — all that stuff was never going to happen. But the key difference between the U.S. and Soviet pullouts could be the lingering presence of American troops in key sections of Afghanistan. The Soviets did not leave behind a corps of special operators to prosecute the most vital missions, relying on Afghans who ultimately were not up to snuff. The presence of American special operators, however, could mean the U.S. always will be able to count on going after at least the most dangerous al Qaeda and Taliban bad guys, denying them the time and space they enjoyed before the invasion.

This isn’t much of a silver lining. It requires a commitment almost in perpetuity, and it can’t by itself guarantee the stability of the central government. If today’s Kabul government falls, the new bosses might not be so welcoming of the American presence. You can drive yourself crazy imagining all the nightmare scenarios five or more years from now, when an unfriendly regime attacks the remaining American bases around Afghanistan, forcing U.S. troops to fire on the units they once trained or flee altogether.

And there’s another important difference between the U.S. and Soviet situations: Before Sept. 11, the U.S. did not have the terror-industrial complex it now runs every day around the world, pursuing and killing bad guys as a standard matter of course. The surveillance, intelligence and special operations apparatus took time and a king’s ransom to get running, but now that it is, terror networks might find it that much harder to mount a surprise attack inside the U.S. (We hope.) Even worst-case political scenarios in Afghanistan might not mean the threat level to American citizens at home goes back to the same level as before the war.  Thin gruel, though.

Still, Allen could be right: He and other American commanders could be correct that the thousands of American lives and billions upon billions of dollars were worth it, and the resulting Afghanistan can hang together and function enough to avoid once again becoming a petri dish for terrorists. The problem is, there aren’t many “lessons,” from the Soviets or anyone else, that justify much optimism.

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Only thing I will say is that I feel we achieved our initial exploits and that was to route Taliban and Al queda and gather what Intel we could after that staying there was a bit to long. If A-STAN stays the same after we leave I would be suprised.

Pursuing and killing bad guys? You ‘ll grow tired of it when it finally succeeds in destabilising Pakistan and you have to deal with a much bigger problem than “Al Qaeda”.

I was attempting to download comments when I hit the “LIKE’ by mistake.……

So true same mission as the Soviets had to set up a pro-our side government in the nation and to crush a terrorist movement but hate to say its ending in the same way the Soviet war ended. Same failed policies.

“You can drive yourself crazy imagining all the nightmare scenarios five or more years from now, when an unfriendly regime attacks the remaining American bases around Afghanistan, forcing U.S. troops to fire on the units they once trained or flee altogether.”

Already drove myself crazy.

except the ruskies flattened the cities to get out of the country.….

There was a line from Gardens of Stone. “These people have been fighting for a 1,000 years and they like it” It seems that there are similarities between the two conflicts. I call them conflicts since politicians don’t even have the decency to declare war anymore and haven’t done so since 1941. Anyway, American politicians have ALWAYS failed to understand the people we are dealing with. Stupid is as Stupid does forest. God help us all as no one else has the power to do so.

Pakistan is a time bomb, it’s not if it’s going to go off, it’s when is it going to go off. But you’re right, it will be a huge mess and India will probablt get stuck with a lot of the fall out.

Part I
I have not seen a defined mission in three years, our troups are being discraced, We just need to get out.
I lost a large portion of my graduation class of 63 to Viet Nam, and I am still trying to figure what they died for?
While we have fought communism overseas, and pounded them good sometimes, we are loosing our Country to Socialism right now. While we are fighting Radical Islam overseas, and have been since 1808, we are now being invaded here and have a commander that says we are possibly the largest muslim nation, are we not loosing our country to Radical Islam here? Our troops have tried hard not to inflict colateral damage, but we still have pounded a lot of good people. My Bible says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” maybe they are? I am afraid our troops are being used and even possibly set up, something don’t seem right to me.

Part II
We have a theater scenario in the south china sea with us and China. We have another in Syria as the Russian fleet from the Black sea has came by Syria. We are buiding up to a war with Iran, when we could have encouraged the Persians to overtake Iran Three years Ago. Now our commander wants to give anti-missile codes to defeat our missiles in Georgia and for our own military. Not the way I would play the game.
Good men fight, but Politicians start the wars.

One hopes that this was only meant metaphorically, not literally…

27195271 John Ewing. Not too long ago I sent a message to a pen pal in Wuxi, China and told him that America is becoming the new 21st Century Soviet Union. non Military member. Sincerely, John Ewing.

Here Am I, Kilroy way here.

Isn’t Persia, actually Iran ?

World War 2 lasted about 5 years and we won! The world was a better place. The war or Policing action in Afghanistan has lasted more than eleven and still no end in sight. In the beginning progress was made, no dought there, the delaying or denying terrorists operating room has been a short term succes. Now we have lost sight of the end goal because of political reasons, with no clear objectives, lack of leadership and the continued wasting of American and allied lives for a country that hates us like they hated the Russians. Another Vietnam? What gains we have made will be lessened when we withdrawel and the Taliban or Al Queda claims victory! I too would like to think that all our efforts were not in vain and the upmost repspect for those who served there.

It simply an attempt to reeshape reality into a perception of Americans and others that we are at folly., and shape our Country into another ready aim retreat socialist utopia.
Journalists don’t get into the business to report but to shape the world according to them.
Turning America inside out and into what we see evolving is many’s mission.

Handle tribes like tribes same mistake in afghan as iraq. To **** with karzai + a central govt. What happened to the northen allaince? Cut deals with the taliban + the various warlords. Give them all their own areas. That’s howyou keep taliban in check arm the other tribes give them their own valleys to control + offset them against each other tell karzai to stay put in kabul + ****. Central govt my *** iraq same thing loose central govt with 3 large autonomous states sunnistan, shiitestan + kurdistan. Play em off vs each other + get the **** out of afghanistan. Now tell the talinan this is your area stray ou of it + the northen alliance will kick your ***. Get the **** out of there this year

Handle tribes like tribes same mistake in afghan as iraq. To **** with karzai + a central govt. What happened to the northen allaince? Cut deals with the taliban + the various warlords. Give them all their own areas. That’s howyou keep taliban in check arm the other tribes give them their own valleys to control + offset them against each other tell karzai to stay put in kabul + ****. Central govt my *** iraq same thing loose central govt with 3 large autonomous states sunnistan, shiitestan + kurdistan. Play em off vs each other + get the **** out of afghanistan. Now tell the talinan this is your area stray ou of it + the northen alliance will kick your ***. Get the **** out of there this year

I believe when we are finally absent in Afghanistan, we will find much truth in this recent report and probably more then we bargained for.

This statement makes no sense

It’s fairly obvious that the US is on a suicide mission in the Middle East. Some say that Imperialism is the final stage that a nation-state passes through before it disintegrates, collapses and is relegated to the scrap heap of history. I believe the imperialistic United States as we know it is in its death throes now as it flails about without purpose or direction. At least the former Soviet Union emerged from its imperial stage as a vital new country that may once again become a super power, along with China, that will replace a deceased USA. Balkanization is in the future for the United States as an aftermath of massive internal upheaval, race wars and blood in the streets.

GUNG-HO to the congress they are on the same path as the USSR when they were running to the boarder,this is not a “AMERICAN” military of our WWII GENERALS that went to war and do the job that was given to them,this guy is looking how we will “WITHDRAWAL” and this they say he is our best to lead our troops!!! this is the end of the military as we know it.…what will we do on the next war send the WOMAN&CHILDREN first???

Personally, I think that proper exit strategy for Afghanistan is to withdraw our force — through Iran. Other than the conundrum of having to deal with nuclear-armed terrorists operating out of Pakistan, that would pretty much wrap things up and Karzai can stew in his own juice. But seriously, our forces have done a lot better in Afghanistan than the Soviets. I think the notion of the Taliban sweeping back into Afghanistan to take control over the country after we leave is just a fantasy. You end up giving power to unsavory types like Dotum, maybe Massoud’s family. The other fantasy, which I could see the adminstration toying with — Biden opted for a similar approach to Iraq — would be some sort of partition scheme. In any case, the war goes on, whether we’re there or not. There are some reputable civilian politicians in Afghanistan, who I do not see getting real power in the foreseeable future. If we want to create a democracy there, we have to pay for it.

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The last war we the ( United States ) and it’s Alies fought with conviction was the first Gulf War after S H invaided Kuwait ! Bush 41 made it clear that S H leave Kuwait by date certain or face eveiction by masive force ! That date came and Bush pulled the triger that SH never thought would happen ! We fought with purpose and conviction and devasted the Iraqi forces convinceingly how ever we stopped to soon when we could have used that momentum to remove S H from power and thus avoide the following years of his fanatical power grasp ! We learned the hard way the U N is a useless forum in trying to bring peace and civility to Despots and their egos that control helpless people that live under terror and devastation with out civil and human rights ! With the cesation of the first Gulf War we also lost our will and conviction to win at all in any prolonged conflict . Fighting with R O E that allow an enemy to hide within non combatants populace and opening our tactics and plans to the world via embeded journalists only invites destruction of our objectives and loss of our war fighters for stictly political reasons !

It no different then running drug dealers out of the neighborhood. They just go round the corner, set up shop till you’re gone, than move back for “old home week ”

The Soviet Union’s anaylsis of the Afghan campaign failures have been my poiny=ts exactly for sometine, only becasue it was very obvious the failure of Our Leaders to heed from ALL of the errors the Soviets made while they were taken to the “cleaners” in Afghanistan during their occupation. I was always led to belive that Our Command and Staff School was to have a curriculum constantly uypdated with the the results of any global warefare that has taken place, SO THE US WOULD NOT REPEAT THE SAEM MISTAKES, and train our leaders to excel. It has become more and more obvious that Our leaders are NOT being trianed as such, but appear to stumble, as we continually make excessive changes of Commands within our general ranks!. All due to political intereference from the flunkies in Our Congress, and and appointed offices within our State Department. As a result our military leaders have been subjigated and allowed the recenst wars to be a failure and tremendous waste of manpower, equipment, and US treasury.…. Sad commentary, but never the less true.…

The qusetion is do we leave and let the terrorists take controll and keep control so that we have to always look over our shouldres? Will Pakistan remain a friend or will they turn against US? We have to protect the rights of our way of life and help those who are opressed. This is what I was taught in religion class. War is not good, but it maybe a necessary evil to protect the world from terrorists that want to hurt US just because we have a different way of life. I believe that the military has been handcuffed because of the current President and his administration. The UN is too ploitically involved and is not in our best interests. We can use our money for better things that to support a organization that is too afraid to get their feet wet and really stand up for the opressed.

We need stronger action against North Korea, and Iran as they pose the greatest threat to the world if they get nuclear weapons. My family lost a good man on the USS Arizona when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and do we want to loose a lot more because of inaction by our government? We need a stronger President that doesn’t go around appologizing for what happened in the past. The past is over and we did what we thought was right at the time. We need somebody to lead our country and have a strong foreign policy. We are the USA and we can do anything if we put our minds together in a positive manner for the betterment and safety of the world.

It has all the attributes of war except for one thing. An opposing army. It is a campaign against a widely scattered group of thieves and cutthroats whose leaders hide behind the shroud of religion, depending on the convictions of the general population to stay in power. We are letting them make the rules and they keep changing, or adding to them. We are at the point now where we have to pay a country to hunt down it’s enemy, then they provide shelter and safe passage for the same enemy we hunt. Its time we send them a shipment of free food, we wouldn’t want then to weaken and falter.

Gen Allen is just spouting the obama line to keep his job. Panetta was doing a creditable job until the last couple of months. Now he is just spewing the WH Talking Points.

this place will never be whole, nation building does not work, and counter terror is the way to go. the war IS the afghan economy. i say we draw down quicker than 2014. AQ is dispersed, OBL dead, the mission has been completed in that sense.

We are not the world police. Obama has not been some kind of coward when dealing with national security. He had the guts to pull the trigger on OBL. Bush gave up. We cannot just flail like some wounded giant, hell you pick ur battles right. Have we done that, really?

The military wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took a lot less than 5 years, too. The political consequences and follow-on wars to WW2 lasted much longer — the Cold War, the Balkans, etc. — but we didn’t choose to stay in all of those fights the whole time.

This isn’t another Vietnam, thank God — but anyone who expected a clean victory, or even closure, was deluded. Unfortunatley, that list seems to have included the people making the decisions.

Bush didnt give up, the teams, programs and policies that delt with OBL were put in place by Bush. Bush pulled the trigger Obama just happend to be in office when it all came to fruition. Obama only looks out for his own political gain and he knew that claiming he killed OBL would help him.

For one the mission in Afghanistan has always been to deny access. The only mistake we made was to try to make it something more and fix the people there.

When comparing the U.S. and Soviet Union’s time in Afghanistan everyone always talks about how our policies are screwed up and just like the Soviets. Has anyone stopped to consider it’s not us it’s the Afghans? We’ve given them everything they’ve wanted while they sat back and demanded more. We didn’t destroy their infrastructure like in Iraq. They never had one to begin with, they never had the initiative to build it their selves, they just demand others to do it for them. Some countries are just filled with lazy crappy people. They will always fight there, they will always be corrupt, and they will never build themselves up. The problem with the U.S. isn’t us, it’s our inability to fathom that some peoples just don’t have the drive or ingenuity to move forward. Some peoples just wait for the next country to do it for them. Afghanistan is like that.

The people are the problem, not us. Look at what they do there. I know that there is good there but it’s a huge minority. Some cultures don’t advance past the point other nations advance them.

Anytime we allow politicians to dictate military parameters, we can only go backwards from there on out.

Next time just type “white man’s burden” and be done with it.

Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them. Please vote for Ron Paul and end this interventionist/ nation building foreign policy that has bankrupted our nation. Afgfanistan is where empires go to die. If we do not give up on the idea of empire we risk loosing our Republic. RON PAUL!!!

RJ Brewer

That doesnt make any sence at all. Its a culture thing not a race thing. Are you saying every American is white? Do you have any experience with that country at all? If thats what you got out of the post then your an idiot and obviously racist.

Hey Guest (unless that is your name) Stay out with your defeatist comments and attitudes.


Well firstly I believe Persia was once Iran ‚Iraq and Afghanistan. If not more territory than that. Secondly. The statement “I am afraid our troops are being used and even set possibly set up,…..” sounds like someone needs to see the psyche. officer!!

Mr? Brewer if Afghanistan is where empires go to die and a Republican sent us there Why should I vote for another. This Democratic in the WH wants us to get out. Let’s give him the chance to do so. Barack Obama!!! Four more Years!!!
Former USAF.

Burn the Poppy fields, Mark their locations then fire bomb them with drones again next year until they are out of business. Then warn the rest of the world that this is how we intend to carry on the “War on drugs”. Everybody hates us any way we go so let’s legitimize that hate by wiping out the drug sources. Bring home the troops. Three and four deployments is a rediculus concept. At least during Vietnam a soldier did one tour and could be reasonably assured that would be it. Though not true in all cases.

Yeah, and tell him to stop getting us into adventures like Libya and Uganda. Bush had a definite reason for his wars, love them or hate them. I’m still not sure what Sir Teleprompter is trying to accomplish.……

Good moning folks: WiseMan says.if we Do not finish Iranian regime,THE MULLA’s they will destroy the WORLD giving them more time will harm us more, they are over 35 years in power ‚enough .

The profound difference one must gather from this is the difference between a military victory and a political victory. It is clear our politicians did not have a well developed plan for what to do following the initial invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. The DOD basically received a FRAGO, “now that you have executed the initial battle plan, drivine Al Queda from Afghanistan and crushed Saddam’s Army, please build a democratic government and a capable trustworthy military in each of these countries”. It’s important that this distinction and failing is recognized. Overall, Iraq with a common enemy of Iran and oil revenues has a chance of operating as a “unprofessional puppet ” but not an ally. Afghanistan should have reverted to a CIA / SF driven exercise from the start. They have no history of any lasting form of government. Even the Taliban can’t truely offer them a government, remember, they had their chance before. Allow this to grow and be a Pakistan problem and threat; they deserve it!

Vietnam, Why Did We Go? Avro Manhattan. free online.
9/11 ‘Terrorist’ attacks end in the new Enabling Acts given the gloss of PATRIOT and DHS. Outcome? Bush takes a loving stroll in the Popes private gardens as he leaves office.
7/7 ‘Terrorist’ attacks in London end in their new Enabling Acts. Outcome? Blair converts to Roman Catholicism upon leaving Office.
Behind the Dictators, LH Lehmann 1942, establishing who was behind Franco/Mussolini/Hitler and all the other goose-steppers and quislings.

RC Sarkozy establishes “The Mediterranean Union”: within short order 5th columns topple the govt.‘s of Libya, Egypt and (soon) Syria.

On the US Supreme Court: 6–3 RCC. Strange, given that they comprise only 25% of the populace.
Of Presidential appointments to all nodes of higher govt.: Predominantly RC’s given the posts.

Are you getting the picture now as to why you are over there, targeting a former old tribe of Israel who are now Moslems (Pashtunwalli)? I bet Rome is wetting itself over how easy its been to use the US and the nominally ‘protesting’ West as its new proxy the world over.

The ancient enemy of base Liberty the world over has ever been men in miters, even more than men in turbans. Divine Right will always attempt to steal your Rights.

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