Violence rages as surge troops depart Afghanistan
September 18th, 2012
07:25 PM ET

Violence rages as surge troops depart Afghanistan

By Mike Mount

A spate of violent attacks in Afghanistan spurred on by an anti-Muslim video made in the Unites States, as well as continued attacks on coalition forces by their Afghan partners, is putting a tumultuous start on the first step of the U.S. handover of authority to the Afghan government.

The attacks come at a sensitive time as the United States removes the last of the more than 30,000 surge troops the Obama administration rushed in to quash an increasingly powerful Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan in 2010.

Those remaining troops are scheduled to be out of the country by the end of this month, bringing the U.S. troop level down to about 68,000 in addition to other NATO allies and Afghan forces.

But as that schedule rolls on, U.S. troops have been ordered to halt some joint operations with Afghan security forces after the attacks by their local allies and amidst the fallout from the controversial anti-Islam video.

"In response to an increased threat situation as a result of the 'Innocence of Muslims' video, plus the recent insider attacks, ISAF forces are increasing their vigilance and carefully reviewing all activities and interactions with the local population," Maj. Lori Hodge, a spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said Tuesday.

The attacks included a brazen assault on a coalition base in southern Afghanistan on Friday that killed two US troops and destroyed six coalition fighter jets as well as a suicide attack carried out in Kabul on Tuesday by an insurgent group that killed 12 people, eight of whom were foreigners. An extremist group that claimed responsibility for the latter attack said it was in response to the film.

The other factor behind the partial joint operations suspension is the number of insider attacks in the country.

More than 50 coalition troops were killed between January and mid-August in instances where uniformed Afghans turned their guns on allied troops.

"We are absolutely resolute in our commitment to the objectives of our campaign, but ... on the path to achieving those objectives we will make adjustments as we go," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Tuesday while traveling in the Middle East.

But while some say the surge was a boon to security - "The surge ordered by President Obama...had a huge positive impact on security," the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, said Monday during a speech - others say the end of the surge may have been a bit short-sighted on its departure timeline.

"I think the violence is going to escalate as the numbers (of surge troops) dwindle," said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based policy analysis organization. "With the surge troops there the U.S. was in a position to go on the offensive," he said.

When President Barack Obama finally announced his decision to add more troops in Afghanistan in December of 2009, his goal was to take back what the Taliban had seized during the years when the United States was more focused on its war in Iraq.

The surge helped tilt the balance in favor of the U.S. and its allies, but the current threat of insider attacks remains a bit of a mystery as to what is fueling it, according to Nawaz.

"We are now faced with another emerging threat, which is not the Taliban, but the violence from the Afghan troops the coalition trained," Nawaz said in a phone interview with CNN.

The threat reached such a point that the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen ordered additional reviews of security procedures and limited some joint operations with Afghan security forces.

The insider attacks are a puzzle for the Defense Department, which has yet to get a solid answer on what is causing them. While military analysts and U.S. commanders have not drawn any correlations, insider attacks did not really exist prior to the surge troops arriving.

"It maybe frustration on the part of the troops that are leaving; they are pushing the Afghans to do things (for) which they are not ready yet," Nawaz said adding that he has only been able to get anecdotal information from the military instead of any detailed reports or analysis.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he believes at least some of the attacks are part of the Taliban, but does not see it as a successful campaign by the insurgents, but rather a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

"We think it is kind of a last gasp effort to be able to not only target our forces, but to try to create chaos, because they've been unable ... to regain any of the territory that they have lost...we are concerned about the increase in these attacks," Panetta said Monday while traveling in Asia.

"What we need to do is look at these places and understand why there is a greater propensity, and to arm ourselves against it and to continue to encourage our Afghan partners at every level of their leadership to be engaged with us in this," Dempsey said of the insider attacks.

"I expect that two weeks from now, (Allen, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan) will be looking at the conditions as he confronts them and making other assessments," Dempsey said of Allen's assessment of restarting the halted Afghan training operations.

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  8. ConcernedParticipant

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    September 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  9. ?

    the war is a mess, the taliban has about a handfull of forward bases in the pakistan tribal regions, a few 16's loaded each with a 500 hundred pounder could end the war in the next 15 minutes but it don't even matter, the President has beaten out enemy and brought victory...against one's an ideology and peace is the real answer, getting into their schools and teaching them there are better things to do than to blow themselves up as matyrs is the real answer...that and.....colonizing them....i would make it my primary mission to capitalize on the muslim spring by taking over....with each passing government comes the opportunity to rule with the 51st state....then we no longer have to appeal to their people against the will of their leaders rather we become their leaders.....far fetched but when the gun rules anything is possible, after all we are talking about the third world

    September 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • ?

      excuse me....beaten our enemy, one cannot alow an army a place to train, have hospitals, rifle ranges, op name it, total warefare is how it gets done, the pakistanis (their government) have trouble with the taliban just as we do, what we should do is convince them we will clean their wild west for them...get rid of the indians and their won't be any more people left to fight

      September 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  10. sephora luzincourt


    September 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  11. sephora luzincourt

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    September 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  12. David in Tampa

    Who cares about Afghanistan? Nobody but a bunch of mercenary contractors.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  13. krm1007 ©™

    Let's not kid ourselves. We had to invade Afghanistan to save our pride and to show the world that we had the financing and forbearance to fight this war on ground chasing the shadows. But ego aside, we all know that winning the endeavors in Afghanistan is not possible without Pakistan. Yes, we have cajoled Pakistan over the years, threatened them, poor boyed them, played the neighbor against them, let the congressional dogs lose doing the god guy – bad guy routine and done the carrot – stick dance. All to no avail. We tried partnering with India in Afghanistan and that has been a disaster. We may have won a battle or two but are on the verge of losing the war. We have hit a wall.

    The time has now come to do the tango with Pakistan. That takes boldness and a desire to commit one self. And that is what we need to do. We need to form a strategic partnership with Pakistan...a long term alliance...and a commitment. We need to lay the cards on the table and not pull the rug from under them. At the same time we need to make them understand the consequences of going wayward on us. We need to evolve a common vision...and common grounds for constructive engagement. We then need to support them and then let them implement the common vision in the region under our supervision. After all, they can do it more productively, efficiently and economically than we can. That is for sure... a lesson we have learned the hard way.

    Together we shall prevail, as we have done in the past while overcoming insurmountable odds. After all, the Americans and Pakistanis share common values and history in the struggle for their Independence and their fight for survival.
    God Speed. "In God We Trust".

    September 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • Hello

      there are no gods to trust and no government either,

      September 26, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  14. Bill

    We kicked the taliban out of Kabul in 2 weeks and then spent the last 10 years of again making the fatal mistake of using the US military as a police and nation building force. When will those idiots in Washingon ever learn. It is not going to be another Vietnam they said ... right. We all know what is going to happen when we leave (if we actually ever do, we will keep forces there under one guise or another as long as they can to prop up the crook we put in charge.) Newsflash to Washington, I am well aware of the stragetic importance this area has and why your warped brains think this area is important. You are right in stragety but wrong in implementation/tactics . Get the hell out. If it becomes a problem again in the future we can again go in and here as in Iran, kick ass for 2 weeks, eliminate the head of the snake and let these tribal throwbacks live the culture thay want to in peace until if necessary we rinse and repeat. We learned in WW2 we must police the world but the success of the Marshall plan was unique to Europe where the majority of the population wanted to rebuild and recognized the horror of what was allowed to be created before we stepped in to save the UK and ultimately the world. Rural Afganistan does not share that dream of change and until the majority of them do we are wasting our effort. God Bless and protect our brave soldiers and the soldiers from our partners trying to do the right thing. Bring them all home safe asap and do not spend another dime on Afganistan or Iran until they can give us something in return for the blood alreay shed in a well meaning attempt to drag them into the 21st century even if they dont want to come.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • matt

      im sorry if people have there head to far up there butt to see. america is wining the war in afgahnistan. IN NO WAR has the casualties of a fighting force been less then ten thousand an less then 49000 wounded but i guess you liberals want to see americans die. if you didnt know, in afgahn opium is leagel an they supply 80% of the worlds haroin and if the taliban are not spending there money on ieds rpgs and ak47s then they will save up for another martydom mission. we need to stay till 2020 an there will be no such thing as the taliban, alquida, an mujahadean in afgahnistan, right now all were having is a cold war with iran an sorry to say were the russians

      September 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
      • Sodomite

        If you weren't so damn illiterate and so bloody ignorant, you might actually come across as merely an idiot.

        September 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • Jonathan

        Amen, just sign a peace treaty and be done but have that area still under survalence. incase something erupts

        September 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • AZ1962

      I agree we need to get our kids out of there...before more are killed by the forces they train. You are all in danger there!!

      September 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  15. Francis C

    The American invasion of Afghanistan brought to the forefront the irrelevance of India as a nation. With a population of over 1.2 billion people there was no value that this nation could bring to the table. Their soldiers (ragtag) 1.2 million continue hiding in the trenches scared from Talibans. A few teenage Talibans invaded the country and held it hostage for days on end showing how useless India is. It was embarrasing for the world to observe this humiliation of a nation that was being touted as a regional power.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Jessup_Indiana

      Empowering subjugated minorities in India by splitting it into smaller states would trigger uber economic demand for western nations who have given so much financial and technology aid to India with no return to show for the investment. We need to understand that India has an unmanageable large population mired in poverty and we are spinning our wheels trying to feed it. It is also too big of a geographical unit to govern.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  16. Victor

    The Afghani's over here, don't even trust their own troops to protect them. Some people just don't understand that violence is sometimes the answer.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  17. Another guy

    Islam has changed a bit; they want us dead now, more than ever, and will spin whatever we say, into something that will encourage a percentage if their followers to do what it takes to convert us, or kill us. You folks who wish or think that pulling us out will change that, are not understanding what the goal of these people is. Also, Some of you need to do some research about Islam and the way they recruit and train their 'soldiers'. They may not be born with an AK-47 in their hands, but they expose and train their children with one as soon as they can hold one. I am not saying we need to stay there, but we will need to remain vigilant here at home. With all the resources we don't have we need a change in the leadership here, and not with the usual collection of media approved candidates. Open your minds and pay attention, or our country will fall, one way or another.

    September 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Hello

      the us has already fallen.. where have you been?

      September 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  18. some guy

    If i was the general i would have occupied only the fertile areas of afganistan lets say 1/3 of the country , develop and gaurd it well rather than stretching out the troops and loose the ability to control the area.

    September 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  19. KEVIN

    Dempsey (chairman of the joint chiefs of staff) is the only one who is correct as to the social anthrapoligic ability of political cohesion and functioning in Afghanastan. The bottom line is that the Afghanastan people are completely incapable of functioning in a cohesive manner whatever the type of govt' they wish to have (communism, democracy or even dictatorship). The inhabitants are tribal and waring amoungst themselves and they want it that way. We have only two choices: Pull out and protect the borders of the niehboring countries or use genocide.

    September 19, 2012 at 7:28 am | Reply
    • some guy

      They were OK under the taliban. Maybe NATO must focus on economic stimulus vs military control expansion and control. When afghans see a higher quality of life in a city they will abandon the village and move. Hearts and minds are required to be won by construction of infra structure be it in small well controlled areas rather than attempting to capture the hinterland and no development.

      September 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  20. adunbar

    Time to move on. War is expensive. People die. We should have adhered to the "Powell Doctrine, especially #2, 3, 5, and 6... a lesson learned from VietNam. You don't go to war unless the following conditions are met. Of course, Bush never served in Nam, so I guess he didn't really care.

    2. Do we have a clear, obtainable objective?
    3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
    5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
    6. Have the consequences of our actions been fully considered?

    September 19, 2012 at 7:22 am | Reply
    • matt

      im sorry if people have there head to far up there butt to see. america is wining the war in afgahnistan. IN NO WAR has the casualties of a fighting force been less then ten thousand an less then 49000 wounded but i guess you liberals want to see americans die. if you didnt know, in afgahn opium is leagel an they supply 80% of the worlds haroin and if the taliban are not spending there money on ieds rpgs and ak47s then they will save up for another martydom mission. we need to stay till 2020 an there will be no such thing as the taliban, alquida, an mujahadean

      September 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  21. Smokey

    Now HEI is bombing buses in Kabul? That's terrible news for the security situation over there, Hekmatyar has been fairly quiet up til now. To think that the likes of Dostum, Hekmatyar and old man Haqqani are still around after more than a decade of American occupation boggles the mind, not to even mention the fact that they still have their networks and their power bases...what have we even been doing over there?

    September 19, 2012 at 6:42 am | Reply
  22. babooph

    If we pulled all out,Karzai would beat us to the border.

    September 19, 2012 at 5:41 am | Reply
  23. sigmond seamonster

    After all this money spent, America looks like one big sissy PUNK again. Thanks Bush. Thanks Obama. Great Leadership.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:37 am | Reply
    • tribbles

      bush started both wars....President Obama is getting us out, finally....the typical republican response, no matter what President Obama does it's wrong....spending more money in that sandbox is ridiculous....what happened to cutting the deficit? You sound like four differment mitt, who never wore the uniform, but supported the Vietnam he's calling 47% of our nation irresponsible deadbeats....this coming from a bonified corparate raider, who's managed to ship thousands of American jobs overseas to line his own least he's keeping some of his money offshore where it'll be safe from these deadbeats he has so much disdain for....

      September 19, 2012 at 5:50 am | Reply
      • jim111506

        Obama's a silly nigra.

        September 19, 2012 at 6:04 am |
  24. jim111506

    Silly brown sand nigras!

    September 19, 2012 at 2:35 am | Reply
    • adunbar


      September 19, 2012 at 6:56 am | Reply
  25. bspurloc

    Osama is gone and fed to the fishes time to get out of Afghanistan... MISSION ACCOMPLISHED for realz this time

    September 19, 2012 at 2:03 am | Reply
  26. Richard

    It took South Vietnam 3 weeks to fall once the U.S. left. I wonder if Afghanistan is going to be that fast?

    September 19, 2012 at 12:34 am | Reply
    • DanielL

      The US simply ran away from Vietnam because it lost the war. Afghanistan can't fall. Maybe the Karsai regime fall.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:55 am | Reply
      • OffTheWorldPolitics

        I must also add that the human cost was far greater in Vietnam. However, Communism did not spread throughout Southeast Asia.

        September 19, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • Luke

      Get your facts straight with history, you dolt. It took South VIetnam 2 years, 3 months and 3 weeks to fall after the US left. US troops departed in February of 1973, in accordance with the terms of the treaty signed in Paris. In 1975, the US Congress refused to provide the annual aid package which had been promised to Thieu's government and, in panic, Thieu began a withdrawal from the Central Highlands which turned into a rout and which the NVA capitalized upon – even though, according to the treaty, their troops were no longer supposed to be in the south. Our combat troops were long gone, not even advisors were present, although we did have some token logistics troops deployed to facilitate transfer of military equipment as provided for in the terms of the treaty. Those people scrambling unto helicopters were, for the most part South Vietnamese and US civilians.

      September 19, 2012 at 1:52 am | Reply
      • Oz

        Luke, well said and kudos on your grasp on the facts; obviously you got lost though – this is a website that usually attracts only trolls and morons.

        September 19, 2012 at 2:48 am |
  27. TexDoc

    Just leave. They were nuts before we got there, they'll be nuts after we leave, they'll be nuts four generations from now when everyone reading this is long gone.

    September 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • Justin Olde-Fellow

      Your wise comment hit the nail on the great-great-grandfather fought these lunatics back in the 1880's with the British Army in the Second Anglo-Afghan War.......four generations ago! please just get our folks the heck outta there and let them duke it long as they stay on their side of the fence and just go away.......

      September 19, 2012 at 12:31 am | Reply
      • OffTheWorldPolitics

        As much as those self righteous Islamofascist mongrels in Afghanistan love to boast about how they defeated the soviets. They only won that war thanks to the US. If the US did not provide stinger missiles to the Mujahideen the Soviets would have eventually killed 70% of the male population. I do not doubt that the brutality of the USSR would have won that war just on the basis that it would have decimated the population so much that they would not have been able to effectively fight back.

        September 19, 2012 at 4:42 am |
      • adunbar

        Agreed. The United States got its man with the help of many allies. Now, unless we plan on playing "wack-a-mole-" for the next hundred years, it would be a good time to leave.

        September 19, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Richard

      After 9/11, they should have just leveled every Arab capital city. With nukes. Why send ground troops into those regions at all? "Winning of hearts and minds" was a loser strategy in Vietnam and it still is.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:37 am | Reply
      • adunbar

        Great idea. Slaughter millions of innocents because of a few nut jobs. Unless, of course, you're one of those home boys that actually listens to Rush and believes all Muslims are born with an AK-47.

        As Bugs would say, what a Maroon.

        September 19, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  28. jcarly

    Seems that the Taliban now decide what Obama can do and what he can't.

    September 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • bspurloc

      the taliban never did anythng to the USA we invaded because they would not hand over Osama.... we got out man thanks to Obama... time to leave

      September 19, 2012 at 2:05 am | Reply
      • adunbar

        We went with the purpose of destroying, or at least crippling, Al-Qaeda. Thanks to President Obama's massive drone war, the mission is accomplished. Time to leave. The only ones that want to stay are those that think waving a flag is fighting for America.

        September 19, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  29. y22nxdf2

    This article did it for me. It just dawned on me who paid "that guy" to make "that video." Somebody needed to keep all those troops out there to keep making money.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  30. Deesnutz

    Stop training them and let the Taliban and the Aghani security forces kill each other off

    September 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  31. Dan Patterson

    It is time for Americans to come home !!!!!! No matter how we help we are never welcome we have men and women fighting for them but there lives mean nothing to them. A word, ink on a piece of paper is worth more then human life!
    How can you help people who have not changed in thousands of years when they do not want change.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • adunbar

      Agreed! 1500 years of Islamic history proves you can't wave a magic American flag and turn them all into Republicans. They are, and will be, Muslim. Time to pack our bags. Should have done that the moment Ben-Lauden discovered having dozens of women always around you for eternity is actually hell, and not heaven.

      September 19, 2012 at 7:09 am | Reply
  32. Steve

    Can't figure out WHY?? Maybe, just Maybe, they DON'T want us there?? Go figure, over 10 years & what have we 'accomplished', other than wiping out most of the opium poppies??

    September 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • Kris

      Opium is al-qaeda's main source of income. No opium means no money. al-Qaeda was able to plan and stage 9/11 because they had control of the country and the money to fund it. Now although al-Qaeda is still present, they have no money, and they are left fighting for control of Afghanistan. They can't plan to fight us if they are fighting each other.

      I have no doubt that when we leave Afghanistan will be in chaos, with al-Qaeda and the Taliban fighting the Afghanistan military for control, which is fine with me. They can fight all they want, if it's contained over there I don't care. Armed drones should keep either side from gaining a large advantage.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  33. jasvirjr

    It was simply a ridiculous idea from day one to go to Afghanistan and lost lives and trillions of dollars. What is the result at the end of day? The Taliban US dislodged from power will be back as soon as last US troop leaves Afghanistan. Karzai and his cronies who pocketed billions of money from allies will be living in Swiss Alps that you and I paid, a country I can’t even imagine to visit. Talibans are in safe heaven thanks to Pakistan’s ISI. So we could have killed Bin Laden, operated drones and killed militants with fraction of cost both in terms of material an and human life. People of Afganistan choose not to change and embrace modern value for centuries so let us leave them alone and get back on our lives.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Reply
    • adunbar

      Well-put. Both the wars were bone-head decisions that played well to voters that liked something new to watch on the tellie. Of course, Bush kept the cost of the wars out of the budget, thus making it look like Obama was radically running up the budget when he put the cost of the wars back in. I guess politically it was smart. Too bad a lot of good women and men died for politics.

      September 19, 2012 at 7:13 am | Reply
  34. TheTraveler

    Just keep to the pull out schedule. Afghanistan will rip itself apart soon enough, whether we are there or not.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  35. ManTex

    Send armed drones .... and lots of them ... 24/7

    Talk to them in the language they understand

    September 18, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Reply

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