Gates says it's not time for U.S. to leave Afghanistan


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Well he's wrong isn't he. Shouldve just sent in the SAS and snipered a few key targets instead of killing so many innocents!! And let's not forget Iraq. How many dead and all for what?

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buggerlugs. I agree with you 100% about Iraq. But Afghanistan is a different story.

First we planted the seeds that led to 911 when we chose to back Islamic radicals against the Soviets. Then we made matters worst by simply ignoring Afghanistan once the Soviets decided to go home. That paved the way for the civil war that brought the Taliban to power. And it opened the door for Islamic radicals to set up training camps there that led to 911.

We just can't shake off responsibility for our past actions so easily. The Afghan people have paid for our war on the Soviets for twenty years now. And we have paid in the form of a much more evolved terrorist network who can reach out and harm us at home. If we leave, we compound this problem by inviting the Taliban to triumph over our efforts, take Afghanistan back and we are back where we started with another ill conceived policy that will have long term blow back results.

No. This time we must do this right. We must work more closely with Pakistan to engage moderate Taliban and tribal groups and to alienate and isolate the more radical factions so that they can be taken out.

We must have soldiers matched in civil resources to bring visible and meaningful change to life on the ground there. We must offer viable solutions to stop the drug trade and remove that income option for the radicals and Taliban.

This means more troops to secure places so work can take place. It means more effective combat efforts to take out radical Taliban. And it means engaging people we don't necessarily like so that all Afghans have a voice in the future.

It will be long, it will be hard. But sorting Afghanistan is the right thing to do. Leaving now will just defer the problem to the next generation of young people who will have to live in the shadow of our mistakes made today.

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One more note. Losing in Afghanistan will mean that Pakistan will be in greater danger of losing secular control over their government and nukes. If radicals can turn their attention from fighting in Afghanistan to spreading their power in Pakistan,then the risk of a nuclear armed Taliban state become very real. Not to mention the inevitable all out war that would bring.

We must think long term about this issue and come up with solutions that have the potential to really change things for the better. We cannot be short sighted about this conflict or we will pay for it long term.

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It is past time.

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Is there worth fighting and dying there in Afghanistan for more years? maybe forever? I think Taliban will never accept American democracy.

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Should've just sent in the SAS and snipered a few key targets instead of killing so many innocents!!

Pretty poor understanding of what the SAS actually do there buddy. I think you are confusing the SAS with the Vietnam era CIA, the Phoenix Program and all of that. A lot of my old colleagues currently serving in Afghanistan are engaged in more traditional regimental tasks - patrolling, surveillance and ambushes. They are also doing hearts and minds where possible

With regard to killing innocents, if the new US commander in Afghanistan gets his way, aerial interdiction on targets is going to give way to a lot more CRW, or whatever they call counter-revolutionary warfare these days. This should see the level of civilian casualties drop away. Then again, I cannot see the Taliban suddenly deciding to stop killing innocents.

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Kwatt. There are Isalmist radical Taliban and just tribal guys who fight for the Taliban. The majority are the tribal men. And they are just as tired of the war as anyone else. It is these guys that need to be engaged.

I think US style democracy is not the answer for Afghanistan. And I think most people familiar with the country would agree. But Taliban rule is also not an option for a majority of people there. So some solution is required.

I believe a semi-Islamic state is required with democratic representation in a parlament type setting that must be inclusive of a wide range of Afghan groups.

Do this and start to make real impact to living conditions and the tribal guys may put down their weapons in favor of getting on with life.

As for the extreme guys, they need to be taken out which should already have started. Just remember this kid of Taliban is the minority and not fully trusted by the Afghan people.

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Around 1980s Soviet tried to conquer Afghanistan. The US supported a lot of US weapons to Islamic Taliban. Bin Ladin was a very good friend to the US. Finally Soviet failed and all troops returned to Soviet. Why the US is doing same mistake? I think the best way is let Afghan people handle their own country from the beginning. Why the US has been sticking the nose into Afghanistan? Because of 911? Bull! Much more people are still dying than 911.

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Well, come on mothers throughout the land, Pack your boys off to Afganistan. Come on fathers, don't hesitate, Send 'em off before it's too late. Be the first one on your block To have your boy come home in a box

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I think Taliban will never accept American democracy.

I didn't think we were trying to get the Taliban to become democratic. I thought we were trying to stop the Taliban and bring them down in strength and influence. < :-)

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We will never sort this out. Both history of Afghanistan and history of the many previous wars trying to impose "Western values" on an unwilling populace are strong indicators that this one will fail too.

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plus, if Gates is so sure, what is he doing about it?

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There are always consequences to actions. We are now living those consequences and have been since 911.

Our goal should be to diminish the strength of the Taliban and allow the Afghans to determine their own destiny. The Taliban do not represent the majority view in Afghanistan. And failure to support Afghan change now may have far more bloody and painful blow-back in the future.

Bush started this war and we now have no choice but to find a reasonable end to it. Abandoning Afghanistan is not an option as the implications for nuclear armed Pakistan would invite a future conflict to prevent nukes from falling into the hands of a radical Islamist state.

Like it or not, we have to see this through. It is the right thing to do, but it must be done intellengently and with the long term interests and wishes of Afghans first in mind.

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No countries even the US could extirpate all radical, extreme Taliban if we think those people are problem to plant a stable peace and a democracy among many Islamic tribes in Afghanistan. Radicals do not want such a peace given by western countries. They want to get organized Afghanistan by their own way and want to make a peace there by their own way. Taliban say that Afghanistan used to be a poor country but a peaceful country before invasion of Soviet, the US,,,,.

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Afghanistan used to be a very liberal country and was very much a dynamic society before the Soviet invasion. With proper attention it may have become so again after their defeat. But the world, satisfied by the Soviet withdrawal, turned its back on Afghanistan and left it to long dragged out civil war that ended in Taliban rule and Al Qaida bases.

If we leave now, the Taliban will take over. Not because they are loved and wanted by the Afghan masses. But because they have the military power to do so. And then they will turn their attention to the collapse of the Pakistani secular government. That means nuclear weapons coming into the hands of a government that would be unacceptable by European and American standards. The risk would be that India or any number of other nations that felt that threat would act against Taliban ruling Pakistan resulting in a war in two countries. And essentially a whole new start to the conflict.

No my friends we cannot go backwards now without a price far higher than the one we are paying today. The tribes and the people want stability and the opportunity to prosper. That is what we have to deliver and provide security for. Once the average Afghan feels the impact of this singular change, resistance against the militants will skyrocket. But first people need to feel there is a future worth risking their lives for.

We achieve this through security for schools, for business development, for the restoration of services and for infrastructure. This means active security provided by western countries. Then, once better established, the Taliban moderates will put down their arms. Many already express this desire in reaching out to negotiate via the Saudis.

The extremist will fight on, but there is little anyone can do about that but to make it harder for them to do so. And that means giving the tribal areas hope through autonomy, support, viable economic options and infrastructure.

There really are only two choices. War for stability today or war to prevent a nuclear arms catastrophy tomorrow if we leave today.

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Afghans are caught in a vicious cycle of their own making, and have no future but more shootings, floggings, bombings and bumper crops of opium poppies. They should take lessons from Pol Pot, that would at least make the killing operations more efficient.

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"of their own making.' How do you arrive at that conclusion without ignoring cause and effect?

The Taliban were born in the refugee camps around Peshawar where radical Islamists preyed upon angry disillusioned young people who had lived their entire lives in exile from the Soviet war. A war not caused by the Soviets in their expansionist plans and lengthened by US support for the Muhjahadin.

When the Taliban returned home they saw everyone as complicit in their long suffering and imposed an extreme regime. Without the Soviets and US intervention the Taliban would never have existed.

As for opium. The poor in that country have very little say over their economic welfare. There are no jobs, farms are robbed by warlords and Taliban leaving the residents with only opium as an option to hold off starvation and the drug lords to provide them and their families with protection.

Implement the same conditions in Idaho and you will get the same results. People need to eat, need to have security and need to live. If the drug warlords can provide these things then people will accept. If a proper government can replace these things, then people will accept. But expecting people to just die rather than do such things is naive at best.

We have to care about this country and try to bring real change. Or it will come back to haunt us.

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Time for US to set deadline year to leave,the Taliban will slow down and wait for the deadline year to come. The taliban afghans are masters of long years warfare.

Hamid Karzai and his governance must deal with taliban ,once this deadline year to end afghan intervention starts.

Many nations with opium poppy/cocaine industries have insurgent separatists. Chaos and anarchy is norm,where they have these poppy/cocaine industries. Drug cartels spread the money to make this kind of lawless/war situations.

To have law and order,will mean demise of income of Drug cartels and their supplier nations.

Law and order can only be made via afghans themselves.

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Afghanistan doesn't really need to be one of anything. It can be patchwork, as long as it keeps the Taliban at bay. I don't think the US or anytone really cares about a tribe somewhere in Afghanistan as long as they aren't working with the Taliban and not growing opium. The US, Afghan government, and the tribe can all live separately in peace as far as everyone's concerned.

For everyone else, there should be a democracy that they can believe in and participate in, if that's what they choose to do. The corruption is something that has to stop, it's counterpriductive to everything that happens on the ground. There has to be some kind of credible authority figure in Afghanistan to control areas that need to be controlled, and they also need to have the ability to go after the Taliban if they start to gain ground again in any part of the country.

Afghanistan doesn't need to be conquered, it needs to be managed. The Taliban can't be 100% eliminated and 100% of the tribal groups aren't interested in working with the Afghan government or the Taliban.

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Agreed that the drug trade as to go. But you need to replace it with something viable and security to make sure it isn't forced back. That is the challenge.

Agreed SuperLib. The tribes don't want any of us there. If we can give them good reason to side with the effort to improve the nation, they will certainly side against the Taliban to reduce the violence.

Finally. Rajakumar, don't confuse the old Mujahadin and the Taliban. They are not the same. The Taliban are a new group who managed to take power. But many Afghans see them as outsiders born and raised in Peshawar and the NWFP of Pakistan. If they can be isolated and security improved, people will start to reject them. And late joiners to the Taliban ranks are likely to defect to home. But again, it is all about making the country secure.

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tkoind2- Making afghanistan secure,is what it is all about,you say.

I think this mission is a long run mission and may take years?

I think it will take very long and don't know if US/EU have enough will power and can do this job.

It is a very long run thing and requires plenty of constant corrections/patience/improvements/money and many other requirements .

In the long run,things may get better,but the US/EU need to stay for the long run and that is many years.

We do not know how years it will take,but could be very long. This afghanistan security mission,may take decades.

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This afghanistan security mission,may take decades.

Yep. My guess is that NATO will be involved in Afghanistan for the rest of our lives. It's just another front on terrorism and it's a cost just like the costs we pay for counter-terrorism in any other part of the world.

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Why leave? The Taliban and its Al Qaeda connections have not been defeated by NATO forces yet. In all reality I doubt the Taliban will ever be defeated as the the ideology will live on, however they need to be set back a lot more than they are now.

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