douglas9 (591 posts) Fri Nov-19-10 04:56 AM
U.S. deploying heavily armored battle tanks for first time in Afghan war
Source: Washington Post
The U.S. military is sending a contingent of heavily armored battle tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, defense officials said, a shift that signals a further escalation in the aggressive tactics that have been employed by American forces this fall to attack the Taliban.
The pace of Special Operations missions to kill or capture Taliban leaders has more than tripled over the past three months. U.S. and NATO aircraft unleashed more bombs and missiles in October - 1,000 total - than in any single month since 2001. In the districts around the southern city of Kandahar, soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division have demolished dozens of homes that were thought to be booby-trapped, and they have used scores of high-explosive line charges - a weapon that had been used only sparingly in the past - to blast through minefields.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...Yeah, and the insurgents they were fighting were backed by the other super power in the world. Russians ain't to keen on aiding the Taliban and Al Qaeda, in fact their aiding the fight against them.Selatius (1000+ posts) Fri Nov-19-10 05:19 AM
Response to Original message
1. We're sending multi-million dollar weapons to fight a bunch of men armed with hundred dollar AK-47s
We've been through this. The last superpower that tried to stomp out a bunch of backward mountain tribesmen armed with AKs and RPGs bankrupted itself in the Hindu Kush Mountains.
Uh oh... got someone who knows what their talking about. Don't worry though, idiocy and fake reality is on it's way in 3... 2... 1...hack89 (1000+ posts) Fri Nov-19-10 06:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. IED's are the only real threat to US troops
tanks make a lot of sense, especially on the main roads.
Secondly, Afghan villages are like little fortresses, with thick walls surrounding a compound. The tanks will come in handy there.
Keep dreaming buddy.social_critic (162 posts) Fri Nov-19-10 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. The threat will change
If the US marines start using heavy tanks, then the threat will change. My guess is the Taliban will just target the tanks' fuel supply. In the end, the US forces will be defeated, the effort is being wasted because US foreign policy fails to deal with the core issues driving the Taliban.
hack89 (1000+ posts) Fri Nov-19-10 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. They have yet to find a way to stop US supplies
Edited on Fri Nov-19-10 09:15 AM by hack89
that is a problem we solved in Iraq - our techniques to protect supply routes are very effective. We ran thousands of convoys all over Iraq for years with minimal problems. Afghanistan is even easier because the Taliban is not as technically proficient as the Iraqis and the open terrain makes it hard to hide from persistent US surveillance.
The Taliban is getting its ass kicked because they have not found any effective method to kill US troops consistently and in large numbers. All they really have is IEDs - which are becoming less and less effective. We are engaged in a major offensive against the Taliban and the drug lords in southern Afghanistan and they have yet to stop us. Their IED's become less effective as we target their bomb making teams and leadership. There is a reason civilian deaths are declining and it has nothing to do with the Taliban deciding to be nice.
None of this means that there will be a military solution to Afghanistan - I really doubt that it is possible. The problems there cannot be solved with military means.That is what I've heard, and I'm actually here. We are cutting these assholes down like tall weeds. I can't give any details, but the Taliban is getting waxed like a Brazilian.social_critic (162 posts) Fri Nov-19-10 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. That's not what I heard
Maybe you should check the news and some maps. The US occupation troops in Afghanistan have been placed very far from the ocean. The supply routes from the South run through Pakistan, and have to pass the frontier territories, which happen to be the homeland for the Pashtun tribes which supply most of the Taliban fighters. The terrain is very rugged, and as the convoys approach the Afghan border they become increaingly vulnerable to attacks, which usually take place at night when they are stopped in areas which are supposedly secure, but do not have enough cover.
The supplies from the North have to enter via Turmenistan. Supply convoys travel to Kabul via the Salang pass, the only "safe" road through the Hindu Kush in the area. As it turns out, the area just to the West of the Salang is a Tajik ethnic area, and the Tajiks hate the Taliban (the Taliban being Pashtun). The tribes on the other side of the Hindukush are Uzbeks but there are some Pashtun mixed in, and lately the Taliban have been able to place fighting units north of the tunnel, so they can cut off the convoys.
The Taliban isn't really getting its ass kicked. Their move to place fighting forces north of the Hindu Kush shows they are just playing the wackamole game. And they are focusing more and more on convoy attacks.
Here'a an article from Time magazine about the topic, from last year. I particularly like the tale about Alexander paying off the tribes in the Hindu Kush to avoid having to fight them as he made his way down to the Indus river.
My observation? US military personnel have a really difficult time accepting defeat. They rationalize it, but in the end, if they fail to reach the objective and goals, then I mark it as a defeat. And it has been a long time since the US military was able to do much good fighting anywhere. This of course is partly the blame of civilians from Johnson to Clinton to Bush to Obama. It is also partly because generals such as Clark and Petraeous are politicians, and they don't look out for the troops. Instead they try to fight glorious campaigns so they can come home to a triumph. But the imperial role doesn't wear well, and all we see are caskets, wounded, and a lot of money wasted. Like Vietnam, it don't mean nothing.
Yep, I've got Pizza Hut!hack89 (1000+ posts) Fri Nov-19-10 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #29
32. The troops have Burger King and other fast food!
I don't think supplies are real issue here if they have logistics capacity for luxury items.
And... you have no clue what you are talking about.social_critic (162 posts) Fri Nov-19-10 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #32
40. Afghanistan is getting real bad, buddy - and it's costing a ton
One Burger King at Baghram doesn't mean everybody gets to eat junk food. Supply choke points are a real issue. The reason why US diplomats are being very cozy with Turkmenistan's dictator is the critical need to have that supply route stay open - but that route stays open only if the Russians say it's OK. The Russians aren't about to lean on Turkmenistan's ruler because they enjoy seeing our troops stuck in Afghanistan - the more we bleed, the better off they are.
The military has been getting around the problem by flying more supplies in. Here's a little tidbit for you:
"As a deeper example, using a three-month window, between January and March 2009, there were 29,500 tons of cargo airlifted for OEF, statistics show. In that same amount of time from January to March 2010, there were 64,100 tons of cargo airlifted for OEF, more than double from the previous year."
Another comment from the same article:
"In continuing operations, officials said that at many locations throughout Afghanistan, mobility warriors will continue to go full throttle because "Soldiers and Marines depend exclusively on airlifters to bring them supplies they need to survive and overcome in the fight.""
In other words, there are many places in Afghanistan where troops CAN'T be re-supplied by land. It's all done by air because supply convoys are a weak link. The heavier the gear they deploy, the more of a logistics tail they need. And it's getting really complicated. If they are having to deploy tanks it means they're not being successful with the lighter gear. And it also means they'll need much more complex re-supply - or they'll keep the tanks in flat terrain in areas where they already got fuel stashed.
Afghanistan is a lost cause. It's being fought for face saving reasons. But the more they up the ante, the worse it will be. And our economy can't stand having these military parasites like Petraeous dictating the national budget. It's time to send the generals to retirement, and the soldiers back to the barracks where they should have been kept all along.
Right and wrong. We have a solid COIN strategy going, and as long as our government has the gumption to stick around, instead of pulling out like we did to Haiti last century, things will turn around and the country will flourish.hack89 (1000+ posts) Fri Nov-19-10 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Things are not getting bad militarily
we are on the offense, they are desperately playing defense. The Taliban is not going to stop US logistics - they have suffered too many losses.
I have never said we will win in Afghanistan. It will be mess when we leave but it will not be because the Taliban defeated us militarily. It will be because there is no military solution.