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Afghanistan the Next Vietnam

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1 Afghanistan the Next Vietnam on Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:41 am

Everyone complains about the 4171 troop deaths and 30,182 wounded in Iraq.
Obama has cancelled his proposed fast withdrawal of the troops and has now committed another 17500 troops and Marines in to Afghanistan.
There will be a lot more deaths in both countries resulting in another Vietnam.

But before everyone say’s no it won’t happen!

A brief history of Afghanistan and it Wars.

It took Alexander the Great nearly three years, from about 330 BC to 327 BC, to conquer what is now Afghanistan. Upon Alexander's death in 323 BC, his empire broke apart as his companions began to divide it amongst themselves. Alexander's cavalry commander, Seleucus, took control of the eastern lands including modern day Afghanistan and founded the Seleucid dynasty. Under the Seleucids the Greeks colonized Bactria, roughly corresponding to modern Afghanistan's borders as well as Pakistan. Later, Seleucus sought to guard his eastern frontier and moved Ionian Greeks to Bactria in the third century BC.

The British became the major power in the Indian sub-continent after the Treaty of Paris (1763) and began to show interest in Afghanistan as early as their 1809 treaty with Shuja Shah Durrani. It was the threat of the expanding Russian Empire beginning to push for an advantage in the Afghanistan region that placed pressure on British India, in what became known as the "Great Game". The Great Game set in motion the confrontation of the British and Russian empires — whose spheres of influence moved steadily closer to one another until they met in Afghanistan. It also involved Britain's repeated attempts to impose a puppet government in Kabul. The remainder of the nineteenth century saw greater European involvement in Afghanistan and her surrounding territories and heightened conflict among the ambitious local rulers as Afghanistan's fate played out globally.

First Anglo-Afghan War, 1838–1842

The encampment of the troops led by General Sir William Nott lay on the vast plain of Chaman-e-Shah in 1839-42. Kabul is pictured in the distance.
To justify his plan, Lord Auckland issued the Simla Manifesto in October 1838, setting forth the necessary reasons for British intervention in Afghanistan. The manifesto stated that in order to ensure the welfare of India, the British must have a trustworthy ally on India's western frontier. The British pretense that their troops were merely supporting Shah Shuja's small army in retaking what was once his throne fooled no one. Although the Simla Manifesto stated that British troops would be withdrawn as soon as Shuja was installed in Kabul, Shuja's rule depended entirely on British arms to suppress rebellion and on British funds to buy the support of tribal chiefs. The British denied that they were invading Afghanistan, instead claiming they were merely supporting its legitimate Shuja government "against foreign interference and factious opposition".
In November 1841 insurrection and massacre flared up in Kabul. The British vacillated and disagreed and were beleaguered in their inadequate cantonments. Shah Shuja, ineffectual for many months, was deposed. The British negotiated with the most influential sirdars, cut off as they were by winter and insurgent tribes from any hope of relief. Muhammad Akbar Khan arrived in Kabul and became effective leader of the sirdars. At a conference with them Sir William MacNaghten was killed, but in spite of this, the sirdars' demands were agreed to by the British and they withdrew.
Of the 16,000 people that left Kabul only one regiment, the 44th was actually British. Another 4000 were Indian troops and the remaining 10,000 their families and other camp followers. During the withdrawal they were attacked by Ghilzai tribesmen and in running battles through the snowbound passes nearly all were massacred. Of the British only one, Dr. William Brydon, reached Jalalabad, while a few others were captured

Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1878–1880

After months of chaos in Kabul, Mohammad Akbar Khan secured local control and in April 1843 his father, Dost Mohammad, returned to the throne in Afghanistan. In the following decade, Dost Mohammad concentrated his efforts on reconquering Mazari Sharif, Konduz, Badakhshan, and Kandahar. Mohammad Akbar Khan died in 1845. During the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848–49), Dost Mohammad's last effort to take Peshawar failed.
By 1854 the British wanted to resume relations with Dost Mohammad, whom they had essentially ignored in the intervening twelve years. The 1855 Treaty of Peshawar reopened diplomatic relations, proclaimed respect for each side's territorial integrity, and pledged both sides as friends of each other's friends and enemies of each other's enemies.

Sher Ali Khan with CD Charles Chamberlain and Sir Richard F. Pollock in 1869.
In 1857 an addendum to the 1855 treaty permitted a British military mission to become a presence in Kandahar (but not to Kabul) during a conflict with the Persians, who had attacked Herat in 1856. In 1863 Dost Mohammad retook Herat with British acquiescence. A few months later, Dost Mohammad died. Sher Ali, his third son, and proclaimed successor, failed to recapture Kabul from his older brother, Mohammad Afzal (whose troops were led by his son, Abdur Rahman) until 1868, after which Abdur Rahman retreated across the Amu Darya and bided his time.
In the years immediately following the First Anglo-Afghan War, and especially after the 1857 uprising against the British in India, Liberal Party governments in London took a political view of Afghanistan as a buffer state. By the time Sher Ali had established control in Kabul in 1868, he found the British ready to support his regime with arms and funds, but nothing more. Over the next ten years, relations between the Afghan ruler and Britain deteriorated steadily. The Afghan ruler was worried about the southward encroachment of Russia, which by 1873 had taken over the lands of the khan, or ruler, of Khiva. Sher Ali sent an envoy seeking British advice and support. The previous year, however, the British had signed an agreement with the Russians in which the latter agreed to respect the northern boundaries of Afghanistan and to view the territories of the Afghan amir as outside their sphere of influence. The British, however, refused to give any assurances to the disappointed Sher Ali.

The Third Anglo-Afghan War

The Third Anglo-Afghan War
Began on 6 May 1919 and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. Whilst it was essentially a minor tactical victory for the British in so much as they were able to repel the regular Afghan forces, in many ways it was a strategic victory for the Afghans. For the British, the Durand Line was reaffirmed as the political boundary between Afghanistan and British India and the Afghans agreed not to foment trouble on the British side. The Afghans finally won the right to conduct their own foreign affairs as a fully independent state.

Courtesy Wikipedia

1979: Soviet Invasion

The Soviet invasion
On December 7, 1979, the Soviet advisors to the Afghan Armed Forces advised them to undergo maintenance cycles for their tanks and other crucial equipment. Meanwhile, telecommunications links to areas outside of Kabul were severed, isolating the capital. With a deteriorating security situation, large numbers of Soviet airborne forces joined stationed ground troops and began to land in Kabul on December 25th. Simultaneously, Amin moved the offices of the president to the Tajbeg Palace, believing this location to be more secure from possible threats. According to Colonel General Tukharinov and Merimsky, Amin was fully informed of the military movements, having requested Soviet military assistance to northern Afghanistan on December 17th. His brother and General Dmitry Chiangov met with the commander of the 40th Army before Soviet troops entered the country, to work out initial routes and locations for Soviet troops.
On December 27, 1979, 700 Soviet troops dressed in Afghan uniforms, including KGB OSNAZ and GRU SPETSNAZ special forces from the Alpha Group and Zenith Group, occupied major governmental, military and media buildings in Kabul, including their primary target - the Tajbeg Presidential Palace.
That operation began at 19:00 hr., when the Soviet Zenith Group destroyed Kabul's communications hub, paralyzing Afghan military command. At 19:15, the assault on Tajbeg Palace began; as planned, president Hafizullah Amin was killed. Simultaneously, other objectives were occupied (e.g. the Ministry of Interior at 19:15). The operation was fully complete by the morning of December 28, 1979.
The Soviet military command at Termez, Uzbek SSR, announced on Radio Kabul that Afghanistan had been "liberated" from Amin's rule. According to the Soviet Politburo they were complying with the 1978 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighborliness and Amin had been "executed by a tribunal for his crimes" by the Afghan Revolutionary Central Committee. That committee then elected as head of government former Deputy Prime Minister Babrak Karmal, who had been demoted to the relatively insignificant post of ambassador to Czechoslovakia following the Khalq takeover, and that it had requested Soviet military assistance.
Soviet ground forces, under the command of Marshal Sergei Sokolov, entered Afghanistan from the north on December 27th. In the morning, the 103rd Guards 'Vitebsk' Airborne Division landed at the airport at Bagram and the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan was underway. The force that entered Afghanistan, in addition to the 103rd Guards Airborne Division, was under command of the 40th Army and consisted of the 108th and 5th Guards Motor Rifle Divisions, the 860th Separate Motor Rifle Regiment, the 56th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade, the 36th Mixed Air Corps. Later on the 201st and 58th Motor Rifle Divisions also entered the country, along with other smaller units. In all, the initial Soviet force was around 1,800 tanks, 80,000 soldiers and 2,000 AFVs. In the second week alone, Soviet aircraft had made a total of 4,000 flights into Kabul.With the arrival of the two later divisions, the total Soviet force rose to over 100,000 personnel.

Soviet personnel strengths and casualties

Monument to Soviet Soldiers in Afghanistan. Kiev, Ukraine
Between December 25, 1979 and February 15, 1989, a total of 620,000 soldiers served with the forces in Afghanistan (though there were only 80,000-104,000 serving at one time): 525,000 in the Army, 90,000 with border troops and other KGB sub-units, 5,000 in independent formations of MVD Internal Troops, and police forces. A further 21,000 personnel were with the Soviet troop contingent over the same period doing various white collar and blue collar jobs.
The total irrecoverable personnel losses of the Soviet Armed Forces, frontier, and internal security troops came to 14,453. Soviet Army formations, units, and HQ elements lost 13,833, KGB sub-units lost 572, MVD formations lost 28, and other ministries and departments lost 20 men. During this period 417 servicemen were missing in action or taken prisoner; 119 of these were later freed, of whom 97 returned to the USSR and 22 went to other countries.
There were 469,685 sick and wounded, of whom 53,753 or 11.44 percent, were wounded, injured, or sustained concussion and 415,932 (88.56 percent) fell sick. A high proportion of casualties were those who fell ill. This was because of local climatic and sanitary conditions, which were such that acute infections spread rapidly among the troops. There were 115,308 cases of infectious hepatitis, 31,080 of typhoid fever, and 140,665 of other diseases. Of the 11,654 who were discharged from the army after being wounded, maimed, or contracting serious diseases, 92 percent, or 10,751 men, were left disabled.
After the war ended, the Soviet Union published figures of dead Soviet soldiers: the total was 13,836 men, on average, and 1,537 men a year. According to updated figures, the Soviet army lost 14,427, the KGB lost 576, with 28 people dead and missing

Courtesy Wikipedia

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2 Re: Afghanistan the Next Vietnam on Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:42 am

US involvement of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)

The War in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001 as the U.S. military operation Operation Enduring Freedom, was launched by the United States with the United Kingdom in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda. The United States' Bush Doctrine stated that, as policy, it would not distinguish between al-Qaeda and nations that harbor them.
Two military operations in Afghanistan seek to establish control over the country. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is a United States combat operation involving some coalition partners and currently operating primarily in the eastern and southern parts of the country along the Pakistan border. Approximately 28,300 U.S. troops are in OEF. The second operation is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), initially established by the UN Security Council at the end of December 2001 to secure Kabul and its surroundings. NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003. By January 12, 2009, ISAF had around 55,100 troops from 41 countries, with NATO members providing the core of the force. The United States has approximately 23,300 troops in ISAF.
The U.S. and the UK led the aerial bombing campaign, with ground forces supplied primarily by the Afghan Northern Alliance. In 2002, American, British and Canadian infantry were committed, along with special forces from several allied nations. Later, NATO troops were added.
The initial attack removed the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have since regained some strength. The war has been less successful in achieving the goal of restricting al-Qaeda's movement. Since 2006, Afghanistan has seen threats to its stability from increased Taliban-led insurgent activity, record-high levels of illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside of Kabul. As of end 2008, the war has been unsuccessful in its primary purpose of capturing Osama bin Laden, while tensions have grown with regional ally Pakistan over hot pursuit of the Taliban into Pakistani territory giving sanctuary to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

U.S. planned to attack Afghanistan before September 11, 2001

NBC News reported in May 2002 that a formal National Security Presidential Directive submitted two days before September 11, 2001 had outlined essentially the same war plan that the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon put into action after the Sept. 11 attacks. The plan dealt with all aspects of a war against al-Qaida, ranging from diplomatic initiatives to military operations in Afghanistan, including outlines to persuade Afghanistan’s Taliban government to turn al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden over to the United States, with provisions to use military force if it refused.
According to a 2004 report by the bipartisan commission of inquiry into 9/11, on the very next day, one day before the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Bush administration agreed on a plan to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan by force if it refused to hand over Osama bin Laden. At that September 10 meeting of the Bush administration's top national security officials it was agreed that the Taliban would be presented with a final ultimatum to hand over Bin Laden. Failing that, covert military aid would be channelled by the U.S. to anti-Taliban groups. And, if both those options failed, "the deputies agreed that the United States would seek to overthrow the Taliban regime through more direct action."
However, an article published in March 2001 by Jane's, a media outlet serving the military and intelligence communities, suggests that the United States had already been planning and taking just such action against the Taliban six months before September 11, 2001. According to Jane's, Washington was giving the Northern Alliance information and logistics support as part of concerted action with India, Iran, and Russia against Afghanistan's Taliban regime, with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan being used as bases.
The BBC News reported on September 18, 2001, exactly one week after the September 11 attacks, that Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, had been told by senior American officials in mid-July 2001 that military action against Afghanistan would proceed by the middle of October at the latest. The message was conveyed during a meeting on Afghanistan between senior U.S., Russian, Iranian, and Pakistani diplomats. The meeting was the third in a series of meetings on Afghanistan, with the previous meeting having been held in March 2001. During the July 2001 meeting, Mr. Naik was told that Washington would launch its military operation from bases in Tajikistan - where American advisers were already in place - and that the wider objective was to topple the Taliban regime and install another government in place.
An article in The Guardian on September 26, 2001 also adds evidence that there were already signs in the first half of 2001 that Washington was moving to threaten Afghanistan militarily from the north, via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A U.S. department of defence official, Dr. Jeffrey Starr, visited Tajikistan in January 2001 and U.S. General Tommy Franks visited the country in May 2001, conveying a message from the Bush administration that the US considered Tajikistan "a strategically significant country". U.S. Army Rangers were training special troops inside Kyrgyzstan, and there were unconfirmed reports that Tajik and Uzbek special troops were training in Alaska and Montana. Reliable western military sources say a U.S. contingency plan existed on paper by the end of the summer to attack Afghanistan from the north, with U.S. military advisors already in place in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Make up of Present Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

United States - 19,950
United Kingdom - 8,745
Germany - 3,600
Canada - 2,830
France 2,785
Italy - 2,350
Netherlands - 1,770
Poland - 1,600
Australia - 1,090
Turkey - 860
Spain - 780
Romania - 740
Denmark - 700
Norway - 588
Belgium - 550

Total - 55,520

Coalition deaths in Afghanistan by country

As of January 31, 2009, there have been 1004 coalition deaths in Afghanistan as part of ongoing coalition operations (Operation Enduring Freedom and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) since the U.S. invasion in 2001.

USA: 576
UK: 143
Canada: 107*
Germany: 30
Spain: 25
France: 25
Denmark: 23
Netherlands: 18
Italy: 13
Poland: 8
Romania: 8
Australia: 8
Czech Republic: 3
Estonia: 3
Norway: 3
Hungary: 2
Portugal: 2
Sweden: 2
South Korea: 2
Finland: 1
Latvia: 1
Lithuania: 1

TOTAL: 1004

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3 Re: Afghanistan the Next Vietnam on Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:09 am


Grim struggle continues for women in Afghanistan

Afghan women, putting blue scarves that symbolizes justice on their heads, during a ceremo...

Sun Mar 8, 11:20 AM EDT
On the same day an Afghan female lawmaker announced her candidacy for Afghanistan's presidency, an impoverished widow seeking to escape a life of despair set herself on fire.

With every step forward that women in Afghanistan take, violent incidents highlight the fact many still struggle for basic human rights eight years after the ouster of the conservative Taliban regime.

In a speech commemorating International Women's Day on Sunday, President Hamid Karzai challenged Afghan religious leaders to denounce violence against women and reject traditional practices that treat women as property.

"The forced marriages, the selling of women — these are against Islam," Karzai told some 600 women gathered in a high school auditorium in the capital, Kabul.

The Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 forced women to stay at home and banned them from appearing in public without a body-covering burqa.

Much has improved since then: Millions of girls now attend school, and many women own businesses. Of 351 parliamentarians, 89 are women. On Saturday, a female lawmaker, Shalah Attah, said she will run for president in this year's election, now set for August.

But despite those advances, millions of Afghan women still face violence and traditional practices such as the trading of women as brides to settle feuds. Rape reports have increased.

Karzai's speech came one day after a widow in western Afghanistan burned herself alive in what relatives called a desperate move to escape her miserably poor life.

Jan Bibi, 53, lived with family and made a little money washing clothes for neighbors, officials said. On Saturday, she walked into her room, poured gasoline over her body and set it on fire, according to Dad Mohammad, police chief of Obe district.

The family rushed her to a hospital where she died, Mohammad said.

The incident occurred in an area where scores of women have killed themselves by self-immolation to escape abuse, forced marriages or other oppressive customs. As a widow, Bibi would have been on the bottom rung of traditional Afghan society — undesirable for marriage and unemployable because of her gender.

Even in the cities, where women have made great strides in employment and recognition, there are signs of backsliding in recent years. Karzai noted in his speech that the number of women working in government ministries has actually dropped to 21 percent from an earlier figure of 32 percent.

A U.N. report this week on human rights in Afghanistan said that "threats and intimidation against women in public life or who work outside the home have seen a dramatic increase."

Still, there are Afghan women passionately working for change. In cities across Afghanistan on Sunday, groups of women donned blue headscarves to show their support for women's rights and prayed together for peace and justice.

In the southern city of Kandahar — the Taliban's spiritual birthplace — about 600 women gathered in the Human Rights Commission hall in a show of support for women and a call for peace.

During Karzai's speech in Kabul, women in the audience repeatedly interrupted their president to tell him about their plight. One woman, 30-year-old housewife Tuba Rahimi, stood up and stopped Karzai mid-sentence, shouting that his government was not doing enough to prevent violence against woman. She asked why a letter she had sent to the government calling for action had not been answered.

When Karzai started asking where she had sent the letter so he could follow up, Rahimi walked up on stage and handed a copy to the president. He accepted it graciously.

Rahimi told The Associated Press that she came to the event hoping to give her letter to Karzai.

"I wanted to use the solidarity of Woman's Day," she said. "I knew this was my opportunity."

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