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Amid little scrutiny, the U.S. military ramps up in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – The united states is the strengthening of the military presence in Afghanistan, more than 16 years after the war began. Is there someone’s attention?

Consider this: In a Senate hearing this week on the top of the AMERICAN security threats, the word “Afghanistan” was spoken exactly four times, each time during the introductory remarks. In the next two hours of the ask for intelligence agency witnesses, no senator asked about Afghanistan, which suggests that there is little interest in a war with nearly 15,000 AMERICAN troops in support of the fight against the Taliban.

It is not as if the war’s end is in sight.

Just last month, the bulk of an Army training brigade of about 800 soldiers were to improve the advising of Afghan forces. Since January, attack aircraft and other aircraft that have been added to the AMERICAN troops in Afghanistan.

But it is not clear that the war, which began in October 2001, as well as the U.S. had hoped for seven months after President Donald Trump announced a new, more aggressive strategy. The picture may become clearer once the traditional is most intense fighting season begins in April or May. In the winter, American and Afghan fighters have focused on seizures of illegal drugs facilities that are a source of revenue for the Taliban.

One of Washington’s closest watchers of the Afghanistan conflict, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote last month that the administration has made great improvements in military tactics and the plans for the development of the Afghan forces, but has done nothing to deal with the civil and political stability.” That challenge is expected to come into a sharper focus by the approach of the parliamentary elections scheduled for July.

The administration “is not only confronted with a deterioration of the security situation, it has no clear political, policy or economic strategy to produce Afghan stability,” Cordesman said. In his view, the AMERICAN military has been assigned to a “mission impossible” in Afghanistan.

The weak central government in Kabul and the resilient Taliban insurgents are not the U.S. army, the only problems that there are. It is also faced with what Gene. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. general overseeing the war, calls interference of Russia. He told a congressional panel last month that Moscow is trying to undermine US and NATO influence in Afghanistan by exaggerating the presence of Islamic State fighters and portraying this as an AMERICAN failure.

When Trump announced in August that he has the ordering of a new approach to the war, he said that he realized that “the American people are tired of the war without victory.” He said his instinct was to pull out, but that after consultation with staff members, he decided to seek “an honorable and a lasting result.” He said that meant committing more resources to the war, giving commanders in the field more authority and the stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes.

Stephen Biddle, a professor in the political science and international relations at the George Washington University, said that the Americans’ relative lack of interest in the war gives Trump political maneuver room to conduct the war as he wants, but that dynamic is not necessarily a good one.

“The idea that democracy is the spending of billions of dollars per year, the killing of people and the sacrifice of American lives to fight a war, and the elected representatives of the people not paying attention and I think that’s inappropriate,” Biddle said. “But to say that it is inappropriate is not to say that it’s surprising, because this is the way the Congress is worn in the direction of this war for a long, long time.”

In November last year, the AMERICAN commander in Kabul, Gen. John Nicholson said the Afghan army, with AMERICAN support, had “turned the corner” and caught momentum against the Taliban. Since then, the Taliban have waged a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul and elsewhere, which killed scores of citizens. US officials have portrayed this as a desperation tactic of the Taliban, with the argument that they are unable to make new territorial gains.

Than Coats, director of US national intelligence, offered a less optimistic forecast when he testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

“We assess the overall security picture … modest to deteriorate in the coming year, and Kabul will continue to bear the brunt of the Taliban-led insurgency,” Coats said. The afghan forces, while “unstable” will probably maintain control of most major population centers in 2018, he added.

Witnesses at the same hearing, Army Lt. Gen. of Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, offered a mixed outlook. He is forecasting that the Afghan forces this year, will continue to develop offensive combat power. But he predicted that the Taliban “threaten Afghan stability, undermine the trust of the public by means of intermittent high-profile attacks in urban areas,” increase its influence in rural areas and threaten the district centres.

The Ministry of Defence of the special inspector general for Afghanistan said in January that the Afghan government control or influence has decreased and that Taliban control or influence has increased since the US watchdog started reporting this kind of data in January 2016.

He said in a follow-up to the report in the last month of October 2017, about 20.9 million Afghans, or 64 percent of the total population of 32.5 million, lived in areas where the government has control or influence. The rest of the population was in areas under Taliban control or influence, or be considered to be “contested” by both sides.

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