This is gonna be a long one guys.
For those of you who just care about your countries in Afghanistan... In 2014, the NATO mandate expired which means that no NATO countries are required to send troops and most have pulled out. I don't know how NATO works but the whole mission was a farse anyways. While each country is supposed to go to war over the defense of the USA as per Article 5, in reality NATO sent a piss poor amount of soldiers and some NATO members didn't send any. Greece comes to mind.. Article 5 of NATO should have never been triggered because of a terrorist attack no matter how large.
Your total casualties aren't even that high: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_casualties_in_Afghanistan
Key take aways.
1. The U.K. and Canada took the most non-US losses here.
2. This was the first time that German troops were engaged in combat since WW2. So kind of a big deal. The Afghan war should have been a very big moment for Germany but instead it will be a featured in a "top 10 facts you didn't know about Germany" video on youtube 10 years from now and a very minor historical footnote.
3. The USA has the highest number of deaths (about 2/3rds) at 2,313.
For reference, America alone lost 58,318 in Vietnam. Iraq clocks in at 4497 so it is also minuscule when compared to Vietnam. Don't compare Afghanistan and Iraq to Vietnam. Together 8 or 9 times more Americans died in Vietnam than in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Only an idiot would compare Afghanistan to Vietnam. So don't fucking do it.
In June 2018 the Afghan and Taliban negotiated a ceasefire for the final day of Ramadan. This was the first signs of a diplomatic breakthrough between the ethnic Pashtuns/Uzbek faction and the Tajik/Hazaras/Char-Aymaqs in 39 years
. Many Taliban fighters came into the cities to celebrate and both sides sized each other up. This has prompted a number of articles in the west. A few report that the rank and file Taliban that we saw entering the cities were war weary and eager for a peace settlement. But most western news outlets focused on the idea that this a sign of weakness from the Afghan government, that the high level Taliban leadership isn't interested in negotiations, and that this is a sign that the US is losing.
The reason I use the ethnic divisions and not the names "Taliban" and "Afghan government" is because the current Afghan constitution has only been in place since 2004 and the Taliban has only exist since 1994. These terms do not describe the 39 year long war.
"But wait, Rogue! The media tells me that this war has been going on for 17 years. Are you doing some shady calculations?" I am glad you asked. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Afghanistan_(1978%E2%80%93present)#/media/File:War_in_Afganistan_(1992%E2%80%932001).png
In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Their experience can be summed up thusly.
1. They were doing fine until the US provided Stinger missiles to the Mujaheddin.
2. Contrary to popular opinion, Afghanistan is a very cold country because it is so high up in the mountains. So in the winter, many of the mountain passes are filled with snow and combined with terrible infrastructure it is nearly impossible for any army to move during the winter. Not only were the Soviets beaten by the Finnish winter but also the Afghan.
3. There were several interviews from Tajiks about this period They said that the US funneled their stinger missiles and other military supplies through Pakistan (this is before 9/11 so we were good allies) and that Pakistan made sure that Pashtuns/Uzbeks aka the future Taliban got the lions share of the US aid. So it wasn't actually our fault that we armed the people who defended the people who bombed us on 9/11.
In Vietnam, neither army could conduct major operations during the monsoon season. So in a similar vein, there is a few seasons of intense fighting in Afghanistan and then a season were both sides recoup their losses. Iraq and Syria are different. Those are desert countries were they fight all year round like madmen.
Anyways, the Soviets left in 1989 and Afghanistan descended into a multi sided civil war. As you can see, by 2001, the Taliban had control of 90% of the country although the Tajiks in the north east where hanging on for dear life. btw, this may be of some use to you. https://i.redd.it/8fmxxqalw8421.png
Some of you may be asking why there are Tajiks in Afghanistan when right across the border there is a country for Tajiks called, wait for it, Tajikistan
. The answer is that all of the borders in the Middle East make less than no sense. They make negative sense. Also notice on that map the Kurd dominated region of Iran to the north east. Why even bother drawing correct borders if there is just going to a Kurd majority on the other side of Iran? All of the borders in the ME are bad and the ethnic maps don't help.
Anyways, as you can see, Afghanistan has been in a constant state of civil war from 1979 to the present. The US did not start a war although we might have prevented one from ending by siding with the weaker side. Whatever we decided to do, the anti-Taliban forces would have resorted to guerrilla tactics and the war would probably be going on to this day.
Some of you may be putting the pieces together now. "Rogue, if the US didn't start the war in Afghanistan and it was only intervening in a civil war like Russia is doing in Syria right now then why is it called the US invasion of Afghanistan
?" The answer is because it wasn't an invasion. The term "invasion" was used by left wing media to make the war sound worse than it is. Don't call the 2001 US intervention in Afghanistan an invasion. It is called taking sides in a civil war. They are totally different things.
There is a general strategy for guerrilla warfare and that is that eventually you will have to abandon it and start holding territory. After you have exhausted your enemy's moral and money through asymmetric warfare, then you can form your guerrilla's into proper military units and march on the capital. This is the dream of every rebel.
For our purposes, fighting in rural areas=guerrilla warfare and fighting in urban areas=conventional warfare. Yes, there are terror attacks in urban areas but for the most part, rebels try to hold urban areas when they are nearly certain that the war will end soon in their favor.
In Vietnam, the war wasn't over until after the US pulled out and the conventional forces of North Vietnam were able to overrun the southern Capital of Saigon. Therefore, if you maintain a force strong enough to defeat the enemy such that you will win any conventional engagement but they will win any guerrilla engagement then congratulations. You have a perpetual war.
This is the current state of Afghanistan. The Taliban needs to eventually adopt conventional tactics to win. However, so long as the US has overwhelming air superiority and enough ground troops then they will lose all conventional battles. However, the US is not strong enough or smart enough to beat the Taliban while they adopt guerrilla tactics.
As an aside, the US has defeated radical Sunni extremist conventional army THRICE in Iraq. Once in 2004, JTJ took over an entire city, Falluja and changed their name to AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq). Then the US defeated them and AQI went back to Guerrilla warfare to build back up their strength.. Then AQI launched the 2006 Ramadan offensive, a conventional military tactic. AQI renamed itself to ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) during this period. But they were defeated by Iranian backed Shiite militias and US forces.
Then in 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq, now named the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or ISIS took territory in Iraq for a THIRD TIME and in 2016 and 2017 they were pushed back by Iranian militias and US airstrikes. And since their defeat in Iraq, ISIS has gone underground changing its name to the "White flags" to build back up their strength. Lest you think the Iraqi people are grateful to Iran and the US, all segments of Iraqi society, even the Shiites are pissed at both powers for "taking advantage" of their country. The war in Iraq will never end so long as both Iran and the US team up whenever a radical Sunni organization engages in conventional tactics but then we go back to bickering when they are driven underground and have to rebuild. The US cancellation of the Iran deal is case and point. After Trump no longer needed Iranian Shiite militias to fight ISIS, he cut Iran loose.
In case any of you are under the delusion that ISIS has been permanently defeated then there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. https://twitter.com/CJTFOIR/status/1073274153522917377
For example, 5 days ago airstrikes blew up an ISIS tunnel. ISIS is just licking their wounds right now. They will be back in 3 years, max.
There is a new idea cropping up in national security circles though and that idea really just a reskin of an old idea called the "fly-paper theory". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flypaper_theory_(strategy
As you can see, the Flypaper theory is the idea that you invade a country like Iraq and foreign extremists will pour into Iraq to fight you instead of pouring into America. It sure sucks if you are Iraqi but that isn't the point. This is also the best case for the Iraq war and the best evidence that it wasn't about oil or what not. US generals specifically ordered Iraqi troops away from guarding the Iraqi border in 2005 to "deal with a rise in violence in Mosul" so that more foreign extremists, mostly Chechens and Saudis would flow into Iraq unimpeded. https://twitter.com/jseldin/status/1072893139667562496
This tweet above is proof that the US government knows that they are allowing ISIS to remain in conventional formations in the Haijin area because it will attract guerrilla fighters to Haijin, Syria and away from Iraq. Classic flypaper theory.
Edited 12/15/2018 09:37:21