War in Afghanistan Turns 15 Years Old

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. It began on October 7, 2001, four weeks after the 9/11 attacks, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. It supposedly ended in 2014.

It sounds like it just changed names from Operation Enduring Freedom to Operation Freedom Sentinel. In 2015, more than 10,000 U.S. troops were active in Operation Freedom Sentinel. Today, U.S. Army General John Nicholson, the Commander of Resolute Support forces and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, visited Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, the largest Afghan province and met with elder tribe leaders. He told them the U.S. would not let the Taliban win. [More...]

The same article says there are reports the U.S. is funding "ghost soldiers" in Afghanistan.

John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), conveyed his concerns through a letter he recently wrote to the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Persistent reports indicating discrepancies between the assigned force strength of the ANDSF and the actual number of personnel serving raise questions regarding whether the U.S. government is taking adequate steps to prevent taxpayer funds from being spent on so-called “ghost” soldiers,” Sopk wrote.

Local media have quoted the new Afghan police chief of Helmand saying that of the approximately 26,000 ANDSF personnel assigned to the province “40 to 50 percent of the force did not exist physically when we asked for help during operations,” Sopko noted.

The U.S. government has allocated more than $68 billion since 2002 to creating and funding ANDSF to fight the Taliban and provide national security. But recent battlefield setbacks have raised questions about the capacity of the Afghan forces.

The Independent's Robert Fisk calls the war in Afghanistan an arrogant, wretched venture.

ISIS today, through its affiliated Amaq News Agency, announced a suicide bomber named Abdullah al-Khurasani detonated his explosive vest and killed 6 U.S. Marines and 5 Afghan troops in Akhundzada, southwest of Jalalabad.

Another site reports:

8 US invaders killed, 2 injured in Nangarhar province NANGARHAR, Oct. 10 - Early Saturday Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate attacked with IEDs an American tank traveling in the convoy in Behsood district of Nangarhar province, blowing the tank to bits, according to Al-Emarah News report.

At least 4 American invaders were instantly killed in the blast and 2 more were wounded, the report further added.

This came as 4 American invaders were killed in a similar attack in the provincial capital of Parwan province on Thursday taking the number of the US invaders killed 8 in Nangarhar and Parwan provinces.

Apparently, there were two separate attacks in Nangarhar Saturday. According to the Afghan press, the second resulted in four civilians being injured. The U.S. says two soldiers were injured in a roadside attack near Jalalabad. (Jalalabad is the capital of the Nangarhar province.) I think this is the first attack, by the Taliban.

A few days ago, the U.S. said one Marine was killed by a roadside bomb on Friday.

15 years ago there was al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, there is also ISIS and we're fighting everyone. The current Afghan government is allegedly mired in corruption.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) published this release for the 15th Anniversary of the war:

But 15 years passed since the US occupation, we can see that everything is going in reverse. Has Afghanistan stood on its own feet? They had made it the poorest country in the world, and despite abundant resources no fundamental work has been done.

– Before the US occupation, the Islamic Emirate was able to eradicate drug cultivation to zero, but now under the American occupation; Afghanistan shattered the world record in the cultivation and export of the drugs.

– Instead of building a government system according to the desire and will of the Afghan people, they have imposed the world’s most corrupt setup; a combination of thieves and gangs of evil and corruption with the force of airplanes and tanks, and are supporting them to this day.

– Security and stability of the country is such that a senior US general declared that 1000 people are killed per month in Afghanistan. Bombardment of civilian houses and public facilities is the daily routine of the occupiers and their stooges.

Thus the Islamic Emirate condemns the barbaric invasion and continuation of occupation by America and her allies in the strongest terms and on the 15 anniversary of their horror once again calls upon the invaders; leave our country, bring the brutal occupation to an end, stop the bloodshed of innocent Afghan people in your heinous existence, let the Afghan people decide about their own country and future.

This is the same sensible and reasonable solution that the Islamic Emirate identified fifteen years ago in the dispute, and has repeatedly declared it for you over time.

Otherwise the believing Afghan nation will continue their legitimate struggle under the leadership of the Islamic Emirate, until the invaders are expelled from the country like the previous ones. When you will have lost tens of thousands more troops and wasted hundreds of billions of more dollars in exchange for a historical and humiliating defeat. That time is close, Allah willing, and the entire world are witnessing the signs of it.

ISIS has been in Afghanistan for two years now. (use Google translate.)

The Islamic State (IS, its acronym in English) was born in March 2014 in Afghanistan and Pakistan, when nine former commanders of Al Qaeda swear allegiance to the new terrorist group, who was then based in Iraq.

In October, 2014, some leaders of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) pledged allegiance to ISIS. In February, 2015, former ISIS spokesman al-Adnani announced the formation of Wilayat Khurasan and ISIS' plans to establish its caliphate in Khorasan (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Iran.)

In May, 2015, ISIS fought against the Taliban and obtained control of several districts in Nangarhar. It then started bombing and attacking Afghan security forces. The U.S. at the time insisted ISIS was not yet operational in Afghanistan.

In August, 2015, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan joined with ISIS. In September, the U.S. acknowledged that ISIS is present in 14 Afghan provinces.

The Taliban then says many ISIS have defected to it. But ISIS has been ever present. In June, 2016, ISIS attacked the Canadian embassy in Kabul, killing 14 people. And in July, it killed 80 people.

Last month:

IS consolidates its presence in the east of the country and creating logistics networks that allow a new expansion to the central and southern parts of the country taking advantage of the Taliban offensives in Helmand and Kunduz which keep the Afghan army to limit their forces.

The Taliban was never interested in global jihad. They say they were fighting for the independence of Afghanistan. ISIS wants to conquer Khorasan, which is a region that had historical significance centuries ago and now includes multiple countries, not just Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A vast territory extending across north central and eastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and spreading southwards across Afghanistan, Khorasan was an important region in early Islam. Some Arab geographers have even suggested that its reach went as far as the modern borders with India.

An interesting series of three articles on the ISIS in Khorasan and it's various leaders is here.

So there are Taliban fighters and ISIS fighters:

Here is ISIS' Abu Rashid training child soldiers:

Abdullah Gul is on the right in the photo below, from the documentary film Isis and The Taliban, by filmmaker Najibullah Quraishi, aired by al Jazeera and PBS's Frontline.

When ISIS announced its Caliphate, its goal was tearing down borders in middle eastern countries established by Sykes-Picot during WWI and governing as a state with Sharia law. It was not interested in the West until we started our airstrikes.

15 years of war and we're now fighting not just al Qaida and the Taliban but ISIS as well. Through its constant meddling in the affairs of others and attempt to dominate the world, the U.S. has ensured that regional jihad turned into global jihad. We need to get out of the Middle East, and let those regions fend for themselves. We should stop the airstrikes, and the unending drain of precious resources, from human lives to taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, Americans seem more interested in Donald Trump's misogyny and Hillary Clinton's emails than issues that really matter.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I can't be the only one cringing (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Oct 09, 2016 at 09:30:25 AM EST
    when I read those propagandistic names, "operation enduring freedom," "operation freedom sentinel," "Commander of Resolute Support forces"...

    It's like living in a Maoist Chinese Martial Opera.

    The One Thing Trump Has Going For Him, (none / 0) (#2)
    by RickyJim on Sun Oct 09, 2016 at 09:52:43 AM EST
    as far as I am concerned, is that he seems to be more inclined to have the US refrain from sticking its nose into everything on the planet than is HRC and her neocon advisors like Victoria Nuland.  Thus he just might withdraw unilaterally from Afghanistan. Of course, Trump is the more unpredictable candidate so even when I agree with what he has been saying in the campaign, I don't trust he will follow through.

    Trump is the one promising (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Oct 09, 2016 at 01:55:42 PM EST
    to build up the military -- we already spend $600 billion a year on it

    "I'm going to make our military so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody -- absolutely nobody -- is gonna to mess with us," Trump says in a 23-second video posted on his campaign website.

        Asking military generals to present a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS, immediately after taking office
        Asking Congress to eliminate the defense sequester
        Building an active Army of about 540,000
        Building a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions
        Building a Navy nearing 350 surface ships and submarines
        Building an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft
        A new "state-of-the-art" missile defense system

    He has no plan because he knows nothing. He's going to leave it to the military to come up with a plan. What plan do you think they would choose? Certainly not withdrawal.


    Yes, he would leave everything up to the military (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 09, 2016 at 02:26:27 PM EST
    And star jarhead Generals who believe might triumphs intellect. The same guys who yes manned the Bush Administration into Iraq beating on their chests.

    ordinarily, i'd be in full agreement with (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sun Oct 09, 2016 at 06:57:17 PM EST
    you Ms. Merritt, get the hell out of the Middle-East, and let them figure it out on their own. there is, however, one major problem with this approach: the potential for a bloodbath, as the three disparate Radical Islamic groups:

    1. fight amongst themselves for overall power in the region.,


    2. the murder of anyone even loosely associated with the allies for the past 15 years. the world could bear witness to thousands of executions, both judicial and extra-juridicial, as the Islamic groups eliminate those who might pose a threat to their grab for power, as well as those they could claim to be traitors to the country, by working with/for the allies.

    this could make the killing fields of Cambodia look mild by comparison. we most assuredly "broke" both countries, so we bear the lion's share of responsibility for putting them back together again.

    both countries... and syria! (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by linea on Tue Oct 11, 2016 at 10:01:36 PM EST
    or are we still pretending it's not another americam poxy war? cia and military advisors, barrels of cash, and high tech anti tank missle systems maybe were your first clue? LoL

    Nothing is going to make the Khmer Rouge (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Oct 09, 2016 at 07:50:06 PM EST
    killing look "mild by comparison."