Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 7:46 AM

Russians Arming Taliban to Fight Americans in Afghanistan…? Duh

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

The Taliban have received improved weaponry in Afghanistan that appears to have been supplied by the Russian government, according to exclusive videos obtained by CNN, adding weight to accusations by Afghan and American officials that Moscow is arming their one-time foe in the war-torn country.

US generals first suggested they were concerned the Russian government was seeking to arm the Afghan insurgents back in April, but images from the battlefield here corroborating these claims have been hard to come by. …

Two separate sets of Taliban, one in the north and another in the west, claim to be in possession of the weapons, which they say were originally supplied by Russian government sources.

(CNN, July 25, 2017)

To be fair, the Russians insist they are only enabling the Taliban to fight terrorists in Afghanistan. But this is rather like the Iranians insisting they are only enabling the Sadr brigade to fight terrorists in Iraq.

Powerful Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr instructed his followers on Sunday to target US troops deploying to Iraq as part of the military campaign against Islamic State.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday the Pentagon would dispatch 560 additional troops to help Iraqi forces retake the northern city of Mosul in an offensive planned for later this year.

‘They are a target for us,’ Sadr said.

(Reuters, July 17, 2016)

Or perhaps it is more like the Americans insisting they were only enabling the Mujahedeen to fight communists in Afghanistan (during the 1980s) …

Whatever the case, the following two quotes explain why this news about the Russians arming the Taliban smacks of American chickens coming home to roost.

Do unto others…

[In arming the Taliban] the Iranians are only doing to the Americans today what the Americans did to the Russians during the 1980s (when they were fighting an equally ill-fated war in Afghanistan). Anyone familiar with the derring-dos of Congressman Charlie Wilson, all of which are documented in Charlie Wilson’s War, knows this. Karma: it’s a bitch!

(“Iran Arming America’s Enemies in Afghanistan … Duh,” The iPINIONS Journal, September 10, 2009)

The enemy of my enemy…

A further irony is that the shoulder-fired missile that was used to take down this American helicopter is very likely a remnant from the stash the Americans supplied the Mujahedeen to help them take down Russian helicopters. … In fact, it was such deadly missile attacks on helicopters that forced the Russians to finally turn tail and run. …

This is why nobody can blame the Russians for expressing unbridled schadenfreude over this unfolding comeuppance for the Americans today.

(“Afghanistan: Obama Saluting War Dead…Again,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 10, 2011)

But Russia using proxies to take pot shots at the United States is the least of what’s wrong with this never-ending war in Afghanistan. I have delineated the primary follies in numerous commentaries, including most recently in “Three More Americans Die for ‘Mistake’ in Afghanistan,” June 12, 2017. And that commentary includes links to many related commentaries, most notably “Obama’s Ironic Mission to Afghanistan,” March 3, 2010, which includes this prescient excerpt.

__________________

It is a fateful indication of how little progress the US has made in Afghanistan that President Obama had to deploy even more cloak and dagger maneuvers to visit there last weekend (over eight years into this war) than former President Bush did in 2006 (five years after launching it). …

Yet the instructive irony of this embarrassing folly seemed completely lost on Obama. Only this explains him trying to rally war-weary troops by boasting that he’s ‘absolutely confident’ he’ll be able to stamp ‘mission accomplished’ on Afghanistan by July 2011.  Indeed, the irony of ironies is that he sounded every bit as delusional as his predecessor did when he made a similar boast about wrapping up the war in Iraq almost seven years ago. …

The US legacy there will be distinguished either by a terminally wounded national pride – as American forces beat a hasty retreat in defeat (following the Russian precedent), or by thousands more American soldiers being lost in Afghanistan’s ‘graveyard of empires’ – as they continue fighting this unwinnable war (following America’s own Vietnam precedent): more troops only mean more sitting ducks for Taliban fighters.

Therefore, Obama would be well-advised to cut America’s losses and retreat ASAP; let the Afghans govern themselves however they like; and rely on Special Forces to disrupt and dismantle Taliban and al-Qaeda operations in country and on aerial drones to attack their havens in the mountainous regions of Pakistan.

The vietnamization of Afghanistan continues …

__________________

Clearly, I’ve been lamenting for years that America seems doomed to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam. Nothing reinforces my lamentation quite like this:

When President Trump made his first major decision on the war in Afghanistan, he did not announce it in a nationally televised address from the White House or a speech at West Point.

Instead, the Pentagon issued a news release late one afternoon last week confirming that the president had given the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, the authority to send several thousand additional troops to a war that, in its 16th year, engages about 8,800 American troops.

(New York Times, June 18, 2017)

Again, more US troops only means more sitting ducks for Taliban fighters to shoot.

But even worse, these sacrificial troops also have to worry about getting shot in the back by the Afghan soldiers they’re training. The three who were killed and the lucky seven who were only wounded in separate “insider attacks” last month attest to this.

The ubiquitous spectre of these “green-on-blue” killings have haunted America’s ill-fated war on terrorism from day one. I have bemoaned them in many commentaries, including recently in “Killing of US General Betrays Tragic Folly of US Presence in Afghanistan,” August 8, 2014, and “Obama’s Mission Creep in Iraq Channeling JFK’s Mission Creep in Vietnam,” November 12, 2014.

Finally, Trump made quite a show of criticizing Obama for allowing Iran to do in Iraq what Russia is doing in Afghanistan. But think again if you think this loudmouth hypocrite is going to do anything to stop Russia.

After all, if he’s too beholden to Putin to even criticize Russia for meddling in America’s elections, he’s hardly inclined to stop Russia from meddling in Afghanistan’s war. And this, despite the fact that Putin now has the blood of American soldiers on his hands.

Of course, if Trump had any national pride or moral principles, he would be punishing Russia for meddling in last year’s presidential election. Beyond this, he would be arming Ukrainians to fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of their country. For American-armed Ukrainians would surely kill more Russians in Ukraine than the number of Americans Russian-armed Taliban are killing in Afghanistan.

Instead, this narcissistic oaf of an American president is trying to absolve and reward Russia. Specifically, he’s trying to prevail upon Congress to lift the sanctions Obama imposed not only for Russia’s meddling in that election but also for its annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Eastern Ukraine.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will reveal the ties that bind their antic bromance in due course. But it speaks volumes that even the Republican-controlled Congress defied Trump’s executive entreaty to appease Putin. It voted in rare-bipartisan fashion just yesterday to strengthen those sanctions by a veto-proof majority. The bill is now awaiting his signature.

As is his wont, Trump thought it would help his entreaty to insinuate that Hillary’s campaign colluded with Ukraine the way his colluded with Russia.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s US election and raised questions, without offering evidence, about Ukrainian support for his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

In a pair of early morning tweets, Trump also said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had ‘taken a very weak position’ toward the Democratic presidential nominee and cited ‘Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – quietly working to boost Clinton’.’

(Reuters, July 25, 2017)

This would seem to preclude arming Ukraine: maybe, maybe not. One never knows with the fickle and unprincipled Trump.

But what is most troubling is that his entreaty and insinuation are just two of many indicators that this leader of the free world is completely detached from political reality.

God help us.

Related commentaries:
Iran arming America’s enemies in Afghanistan
Saluting war dead
Three more dead
Obama’s ironic mission
Killing of US general
Mission creep
Ukraine
Ukraine...
Crimea...

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