THE TALIBAN COMEBACK: BROUGHT TO YOU BY BARACK OBAMA

Ken Berwitz

What do you getwhen you defeat an enemy to the point that it is almost powerless….but thenleave with virtually no residual forces staying to make sure that the the enemyresurges?

You get this -excerpted from SudarsanRaghavan\’s article in today\’sWashington Post:

With control of – or a significant presencein – roughly 30 percent of districts across the nation, according toWestern and Afghan officials, the Taliban now holds more territory than in anyyear since 2001, when the puritanical Islamists were ousted from power afterthe 9/11 attacks. For now, the top American and Afghan priority is preventing Helmand, largely secured by U.S.Marines and British forces in 2012, from again falling to the insurgency.

As of last month, about 7,000members of the Afghan security forces had been killed this year, with 12,000injured, a 26 percent increase over the total number of dead and woundedin all of 2014, said a Western official with access to the most recent NATOstatistics. Attrition rates are soaring. Deserters and injured Afghan soldierssay they are fighting a more sophisticated and well-armed insurgency than theyhave seen in years.

As Afghan security forces struggle,U.S. Special Operations troops are increasingly being deployed into harm\’s wayto assist their Afghan counterparts. Since Nov. 4, four members of theU.S.-led coalition have been wounded in Helmand, said U.S. ArmyCol. Michael Lawhorn, a military spokesman. Officially, U.S. militarypersonnel have a mandate only “to train, advise and assist” Afghanforces.

To refresh yourmemory:  when President Obama took office, there were about 30,000 UStroops in Afghanistan.  He was told that, to prevent a surge by theTaliban, he needed a great many more for the short term.  But, afterignoring repeated pleas for those troops – while the Taliban strengthened – heeventually provided only a fraction of what his military people askedfor. 

The resultanttripling of forces to over 90,000 was too little and too late.  But it didgive him the personal political opportunity to then reduce the troops and bragabout how many fewer there were – as if “halving” the troops to45,000 was an accomplisment of his, rather than bringing back the troops hehimself had put there.

Now there arevirtually no US troops in Afghanistan…and, like in Iraq, all of the gains werealized there are not only gone, but – if the Washington Post article iscorrect about how the Taliban is strengthening, it may well be in the processof taking back the entire country.

And who is BarackObama going to blame for this?  George Bush?  

On January 20,2017, we put Barack Obama\’s presidency in our rear view mirrors.  That daycannot come fast enough.

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