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US Unveils Innovative New Strategy in Afghanistan: Blame Russia and Iran For 15 Years of Failure

The Taliban is finally going down!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Operation Enduring Freedom — the creative name given to America's never-ending occupation of Afghanistan — officially ended in December, 2014. But of course, this is sort of like saying that the 5th Iraq War (sorry, we lost count) ended in 2011. Both wars are still going strong, despite whatever Barack Obama's teleprompter says.

And so we weren't at all shocked to learn that U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that thousands more troops are needed to "help the Afghan army" break the stalemate with the Taliban. (It's fun reading about the U.S. "fighting" the Taliban, when Washington has already aligned itself with warlords and other unsavory people who are just as despicable — if not far worse — than your textbook Taliban fighter. Remember all that talk about a wonderful democratic Afghanistan, brimming with secular, modern values, circa 2010? Yeah. That was all lies.)

<figcaption>Protecting the product</figcaption>
Protecting the product

But some of you might be wondering: Why can't the United States — the most high-tech and wonderful fighting force in human history — finish off the Taliban once and for all? It's because of those damned Russians and their slimy Iranian allies:

Nicholson also said other countries are interfering with U.S. and NATO efforts in Afghanistan, specifically Russia and Iran, who "legitimize and support the Taliban." Though they claim this support will help combat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh, it has actually acted to undermine efforts at enhancing peace since U.S. troops officially ended combat operations there in 2014.

"It is very difficult to succeed on the battlefield when your enemy enjoys external support and safe haven," Nichols told the senators, stressing that support for the Taliban while NATO and U.S. troops work to root out its members is not helping the situation there.

While Nicholson said Russia is working in Afghanistan explicitly to undermine the U.S., he also said the number of Islamic State militants in the country and the areas they operate there have both decreased significantly.

This is too funny. We've written about this "secret Russian alliance with the Taliban" garbage many times. But this is a new low. Maybe even a new Pentagon dictate, designed to distract the public from a disastrous 15+ year occupation?

First of all, are we really supposed to believe that Russia and Iran are to blame for America's military failures in Afghanistan? Here's a New York Times article from July, 2014, titled "Taliban Making Military Gains in Afghanistan":

Taliban fighters are scoring early gains in several strategic areas near the capital this summer, inflicting heavy casualties and casting new doubt on the ability of Afghan forces to contain the insurgency as the United States moves to complete its withdrawal of combat troops, according to Afghan officials and local elders.

The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it. The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year.

Oddly enough, the word "Russia" doesn't even appear in the article. Same goes for "Iran". It's almost as if the Taliban has been making gains for a very long time, and for very good reasons, none of which have anything to do with Russia and Iran.

In February 2014, the Defense Department's own newspaper reported that:

The authors of an independent, Pentagon-commissioned assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces concluded that current U.S. and NATO plans for the post-2014 ANSF are woefully inadequate to prevent a major deterioration in the Afghanistan security environment.

But again, strangely enough, no mention of Russia or Iran giving "support" to the Taliban. Why?

In conclusion, we would like you to reread this sentence: "While Nicholson said Russia is working in Afghanistan explicitly to undermine the U.S., he also said the number of Islamic State militants in the country and the areas they operate there have both decreased significantly."

Come on, America. Take responsibility for your own Afghan debacle.

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