Archive for August 31st, 2021

The Afghan issues that “experts” missed…

August 31, 2021

An op-ed in the NY Post caught my eye…

The author is Rebekah Koffler a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer

Her fundamental conclusion:

After 20 years of immense effort by American warfighters, intelligence personnel, diplomats and aid workers to turn Afghanistan into what Westerners consider a normally functioning society, it has reverted to the same chaotic and brutal place that it has been for centuries.

The root cause:

US “experts” conjured up “pie-in-the-sky” policy ambitions and wrongheaded warfighting strategies.

They failed to anticipate how the insurgents in Afghanistan might adapt, fight and stymie the world’s most sophisticated and technologically advanced military.

They underestimated how resourceful a highly motivated weaker power can be when faced with a more powerful opponent

More specifically, Koffler  points to:

> Mission creep: After the American military quickly achieved its initial objective of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, the establishment continued to press on with the usual, and doomed, mission of nation-building, security assistance, and training and equipping the incapable Afghan army.


> Cultural ignorance: “The reason America had to spend 20 years in Afghanistan involves a profound lack of foreign cultural expertise in the intelligence and national security communities … all of which failed to recognize how alien the Western concepts of democracy, women’s rights and the like, are for a tribal, patriarchal Afghan culture.”


> Adversaries’ passion & focus: The Taliban-inspired insurgents had religious ferocity and an Afghan identity that is wrapped up in resisting foreign invaders.


> Hidden in plain site.: The Taliban looks rag-tag in their non-uniform native garb … which make them — save for those carrying automatic rifles — hard to distinguish from non-combatant civilians (and kill on site).


> Defanged military tactics: “The insurgents’ employment of simplistic, homemade improvised explosive devices (IEDs) enabled them, the weaker side, to prevail over US forces. and mitigate US advantages in resources, technology and ground combat.”


Retrospectively, the picture seems so clear…

%d bloggers like this: