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US, Afghan troops push into Taliban stronghold

American and Afghan forces pushed into the region west of Kandahar, where the Taliban Movement was born and continues to dominate the region.

US military veteran Jake Diliberto from Rethink Afghanistan argued that the overall situation in the region will result in very little beyond a large casualty rate.

Not much is gunna happen, besides a bunch of dead people. The political outcomes are gunna really be inconsequential and overall the overall objectives set by the Obama administration are gunna be, are not gunna have a significant impact and there’s not gunna be any serious developments, positive developments for the coalition,” said Diliberto.

Diliberto argued that there is simply no way a withdraw schedule will meet US President Barack Obama’s July 2011 deadline.

There’s no way that we’re gunna be able to get out of there by 2011 or even start a drawdown”, he said.

Diliberto explained that southern Afghanistan is decades behind any notion of developmental success. The region is populated by the Taliban, the Pashtun people, making it incredibly challenging to win the region.

It’s just a big big mess that’s not gunna have any real sort of positive situation for decades,” said Diliberto.

He argued that the US is staying in Afghanistan long enough to prop-up the Karzai government, not to win the war on terror. He said that the longer the US stays the more money the US taxpayers will have to pay – it’s a quagmire.

For the US to leave without embarrassment and to show success, there would need to be a sever redacting in violence and the local population would have to support the government, said Diliberto. The military would need to have the ability to protect the people and the insurgency would have to decline like in Iraq, he argued.

US ‘kill team’ in Afghanistan

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One of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the war in Afghanistan; five soldiers have been accused of conspiracy and murder for being a part of a ‘kill team’ that blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random, and then collected their fingers as trophies.

More information on the alleged ‘kill team’ has come to light and military defense attorney Eric Montalvo, the legal representation for one of the five soldiers, said that failures in the military system and a lack of general supervision are to blame. The soldier Montalvo represents is responsible for coming forward with information on the incidents by way of confiding in his father.

The problem is how did people like this get into position that they are and where’s the leadership? Where’s the officer in charge? Where is the command? Where is the daily inspections? How where they accounting for rounds? I mean, there’s so many little questions, you know, that if you look on this on a day to day basis how is it that these individuals are running around the country side doing whatever they want to do, including murder, and nobody has any accountability for that.” said Montalvo.

He added, “It’s a deficiency in the entire system. You have a complete and utter total breakdown of chain of command, of reporting requirements on every level, and that’s how this thing came about.” 

According to former US State Department official Matthew Hoh, the goal of the military operation in Kandahar is unachievable. Rather than trying to outmuscle the Taliban, which is impossible due to the heavy support of the local population, the United States should work more closely with the people.

“Akin to what we did in Iraq in 2006-2007 in Anbar province,” Hoh explained, “we turned the Sunni insurgents onto our side, and against Al Qaeda. That’s what we need to do in Afghanistan. When we went into Afghanistan in late 2001 we stabilized it, we vanquished one side, put the other side into power, we never addressed those underlying causes of the conflict,” he pointed out.

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Watch full interview with Matthew Hoh

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