Here’s a very insightful interview with Kerry Patton, by Zaki Khalid from the Pakistani site Terminal X.
I have to say I agree with Kerry, especially on the part of not involving conventional troops and pulling out after 2003. Read it and decide for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments section.
I’d also highly encourage you to read and review a copy of SOFREP’s latest eBook original by Kerry Patton, The Syria Report.
Let us know what you think.
About Terminal X
Terminal X (abbreviation: “TX”) was launched on August 14, 2010 as an emerging forum on selected intelligence, geopolitics and defence news based in Pakistan. The website started off as a news aggregate and with time, started publishing exclusive in-house analyses and reports.
Taliban will resume power in Afghanistan in the near future
By: Zaki Khalid
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced that the United States will recall half of the 66,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan. It was an indication welcomed by President Hamid Karzai, but most people and security analysts in Kabul expressed deep concern over a premature withdrawal by international combat forces. At present though, rising tensions can be witnessed between Washington and Kabul on the Bilateral Security Agreement.
President Karzai, of yet, is refusing to sign the deal. He wants complete assurances that US forces will not raid homes, innocent people will not be targeted and efforts will continue to hold peace talks with the Taliban. This delay is deeply worrying members of Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga, including some of Karzai’s own loyalists because, the US government has made it clear: if the deal is not signed before the end of 2013, US forces will be compelled for a complete withdrawal or an understanding of security implications for the regional scenario.
Terminal X talked with Kerry Patton, an internationally-recognized independent security, terrorism and intelligence official, author of Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors and Contracted II: America’s Terror Trackers. As an established professional, Kerry has provided services in private capacity for organizations such as the National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defence, to name a few. Among other things, he has also interviewed militants and ex-militants belonging to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami and the Afghan Taliban.
First of all Kerry, thank you for taking out time to answer some critical questions for our readers. You have served in and out of Afghanistan between 2001 and 2008. What do you perceive of the invasion? Was intervention in Afghanistan’s affairs under the pretext of the ‘War against Terrorism’ justified?
While a “base” was established by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda did attack the United States, war became inevitable. But how many Afghans were actually on those aircraft which struck the United States on 9-11? How many Afghans specifically assisted in financing those who engaged in these attacks? If one answers those questions honestly, they would realize the answer to both questions as “no Afghans were on those aircraft and it is not known that any Afghan assisted in financing these attacks.” Because of that answer, I believe an argument can be made that a US-led invasion into Afghanistan might not have been the appropriate location to engage in this claimed “War on Terror.”
However, it is known the “heart of Al Qaeda” did plan these attacks in Afghanistan and because of that, another argument can be made that it was the right decision. My perception of the initial phase of the invasion is that it was a successful operation. This was between 2001 through late 2002/early 2003. This is because that phase dominated in special operations that worked closely with local indigenous Afghans willing to defeat the Taliban.
Unfortunately, after this phase, US leaders were quick to bring in conventional US military forces which proved to be a mistake considering this was not a conventional war nor was the enemy a conventional army. Money, assets, and lives were wasted due to an internal power struggle between US Special Operations and the conventional military who failed in continuing the needed relationships with the local forces who we had excellent report with prior to 2003. That relationship dwindled thereafter 2003.
Would it be correct to say that ISAF/NATO have, according to ground reality, failed to counter the Afghan Taliban and are planning to retreat, thus marking a sign of defeat? After all, was removal of the Taliban as a key stakeholder not among the prime objectives of the US and its allies?
According to 2001 reports created by then Under Secretary of Defence Douglas Feith, there were two primary objectives going into Afghanistan: 1. Remove Al Qaeda and its base in Afghanistan and 2. Remove the Taliban from power. So that was an actual objective from the start of this war. Did the US fail in countering the Taliban? I believe it is safe to say that considering the Taliban and other anti-Afghan forces continue operations, those groups are alive and operational even today. This means, if we pull out as planned, we did not meet our objectives hence we did in fact fail in the overall operation.
Was the United States defeated? While it is difficult to quantify or qualify success (victory) vs. defeat, one can claim that be not meeting the overall objective constitutes mission failure therefore the United States and our allies did or will wind up losing this war. Some will argue this just like many still argue whether the US was defeated in Vietnam but in truth, we did lose Vietnam because even today, it remains a communist country. I suspect that in the very near future, the Taliban will resume power in Afghanistan.
The US wants to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban, who according to them, are affiliated with the Al Qaeda. Is it not ironical?
I have difficult time accepting the rationale that the Taliban in Afghanistan is affiliated with Al Qaeda. Most Americans, to include policy makers, cannot even articulate exactly who the Taliban in Afghanistan actually is and for those who have experience in Afghanistan, it is safe to assume the Taliban in Afghanistan are different than the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP).
Have the Afghan Taliban worked closely with other anti-Afghan forces? Yes. But that was for a mutual objective held between the groups similarly how multiple militias fought together to defeat the Russians during that war in Afghanistan. However, we all know that these militias had serious infighting during and after the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan. I suspect the same will result when the ISAF coalition leaves the country. Is it all ironical? Yes, it is.
Read the rest on Pakistan’s Terminal X.