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A Newly Assertive C.I.A. Expands Its Taliban Hunt in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'South Asia & SAARC' started by Hellfire, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    By THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF, ERIC SCHMITT and ADAM GOLDMANOCT. 22, 2017

    [​IMG]
    Afghan Army soldiers in 2013. The C.I.A. is expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors to fight alongside Afghan forces.CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Time.

    WASHINGTON — The C.I.A. is expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors alongside Afghan forces to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country, according to two senior American officials, the latest sign of the agency’s increasingly integral role in President Trump’s counterterrorism strategy.

    The assignment marks a shift for the C.I.A. in the country, where it had primarily been focused on defeating Al Qaeda and helping the Afghan intelligence service. The C.I.A. has traditionally been resistant to an open-ended campaign against the Taliban, the primary militant group in Afghanistan, believing it was a waste of the agency’s time and money and would put officers at greater risk as they embark more frequently on missions.

    Former agency officials assert that the military, with its vast resources and manpower, is better suited to conducting large-scale counterinsurgencies. The C.I.A.’s paramilitary division, which is taking on the assignment, numbers only in the hundreds and is deployed all over the world. In Afghanistan, the fight against the Islamic State has also diverted C.I.A. assets.

    The expansion reflects the C.I.A.’s assertive role under its new director, Mike Pompeo, to combat insurgents around the world. The agency is already poised to broaden its program of covert drone strikes into Afghanistan; it had largely been centered on the tribal regions of Pakistan, with occasional strikes in Syria and Yemen.

    “We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive,” Mr. Pompeo said at a security conference this month at the University of Texas. “This is unforgiving, relentless. You pick the word. Every minute, we have to be focused on crushing our enemies.”

    The C.I.A. declined to comment on its expanded role in Afghanistan, which will put more lower-level Taliban militants in its cross hairs. But the mission is a tacit acknowledgment that to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table — a key component of Mr. Trump’s strategy for the country — the United States will need to aggressively fight the insurgents.

    In outlining his security policies for Afghanistan and the rest of South Asia this summer, Mr. Trump vowed to loosen restrictions on hunting terrorists.

    “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms,” Mr. Trump said. “Retribution will be fast and powerful.”

    The C.I.A.’s expanded role will augment missions carried out by military units, meaning more of the United States’ combat role in Afghanistan will be hidden from public view. At the height of the conflict, American Special Operations troops hunted Taliban bomb makers, including with night raids. Now, with Afghan commando forces and their Western partners focused primarily on retaking territory from the Taliban and the Islamic State, the agency’s teams will concentrate on hunting these types of threats, according to the officials.

    The new effort will be led by small units known as counterterrorism pursuit teams. They are managed by C.I.A. paramilitary officers from the agency’s Special Activities Division and operatives from the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence arm, and include elite American troops from the Joint Special Operations Command. The majority of the forces, however, are Afghan militia members.

    For years, the primary job of the C.I.A.’s paramilitary officers in the country has been training the Afghan militias. The C.I.A. has also used members of these indigenous militias to develop informant networks and collect intelligence.

    The American commandos — part of the Pentagon’s Omega program, which lends Special Operations forces to the C.I.A. — allow the Afghan militias to work together with conventional troops by calling in airstrikes and medical evacuations.

    In the past, the counterterrorism pursuit teams have operated in Afghanistan’s southern provinces and near its mountainous border with Pakistan in the northeast, sometimes even undertaking raids to go after militants across the border. As the American military drew down its presence in Afghanistan in 2014, the teams continued to conduct missions in Afghan cities and in the surrounding countryside, and with greater autonomy. The units have long had a wide run of the battlefield and have been accused of indiscriminately killing Afghan civilians in raids and with airstrikes.

    “The American people don’t mind if there are C.I.A. teams waging a covert war there,” said Ken Stiles, a former agency counterterrorism officer. “They mind if there’s 50,000 U.S. troops there.”

    Taliban-made bombs have been a persistent problem for American and allied forces in Afghanistan. Over 16 years of war, the Taliban, the affiliated Haqqani network and other militant groups have made roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices, their weapon of choice. They serve as a relatively inexpensive and deadly counter to the United States’ overwhelming technological advantage in weaponry and surveillance.

    The weapons have maimed thousands, including American troops, Afghan soldiers and countless civilians. Of the roughly 5,700 attacks in the first three months of the year, more than 900 were from the crude weapons, according to an American military report released this summer. In recent months, the Taliban have begun to lean more heavily on suicide vehiclespacked with explosives, much as the Islamic State has in Iraq and Syria.

    One senior American official acknowledged that the scope of the new directive would require more manpower, and that it would take time to build up the number of officers and teams to carry out those missions in Afghanistan. But the official insisted that the agency was committed to using its new authority to ramp up its strikes in parallel with increased military air and ground operations.

    Mr. Pompeo said in his remarks in Texas that Mr. Trump had authorized the agency to “take risks” in its efforts to combat insurgents “as long as they made sense,” with an overall goal “to make the C.I.A. faster and more aggressive.”

    Those risks can be deadly. Since 2001, at least 18 C.I.A. personnel have died in Afghanistan, a figure nearly on par with those killed in Vietnam and Laos almost half a century ago. Seven of those killed in Afghanistan were part of the Special Activities Division, including three veteran officers who died last year in eastern Afghanistan.

    In announcing that the C.I.A. was dispatching more officers into the field, Mr. Pompeo said, “If we are not out pushing the envelope, the agency simply will not succeed.”

    The change also comes during an increase in violence in Afghanistan in recent months. Attacks on security forces and the police, including at least three last week, have taken a heavy toll. A record number of civilians, 1,662, were killed in the first half of the year, and another 3,581 were wounded, according to the United Nations.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/...-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well
     
  2. BlackOpsIndia

    BlackOpsIndia Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Same story is being repeated in Afghanistan again and again, after Trump's speech it felt that this time things will be different but we must commend Pakistan's boot licking ability that they soften even a fiery maniac and now we are back at square one.

    2 more years will US give chance to Pakistan, Pakistan will help US to kill few talis meantime training more of them and after few years when the President will be short of time to make any decisive win they will again withdraw all support to US awaiting next President who will again, after too much chest thumping and boasting make deal with Pakistan secretly, to hell with all those lives lost in that battlefield, seems like they never mattered, nor to those political hacks, neither to this clown.
     
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  3. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Why hunt....they are everywhere in Afganistan:terrorist::troll:
     
  4. WhyCry

    WhyCry Reaper Love Developers -IT and R&D

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    There is a far bigger difference between the Obama and Trump policy.

    Obama policy was basically telling the pentagon to do anything and state department with a blank cheque to do they want but a full roll back in 2 years. Pakistan and taliban had only to wait them out so they can be back to normal in afghanistan.

    Trump actually did 4 bigger things that shifted the policy upside down.
    1. No Draw down date rather additional soldier were provided and a permanent base is in talks.
    2. Role of the soldiers have been changed from Training to Combat operations as well.
    3. Put pakistan in the spotlight.
    4. Guerrilla warfare. They are not interested in territory capturing. Taliban can fight only 6-7 months during spring and want to talk during winter (pakistan strategy actually). But US forces can do operations all year round. They have put the onus on taliban to defend their territory and Drones don't disappoint.
     
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  5. BlackOpsIndia

    BlackOpsIndia Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    As long as your are in bed with Pakistan you can never win, Pakistan is complete problem in itself, thinking it as part of solution is sure shot strategy to fail like everytime before.

    Just wait a few months and see for yourself how deal making with Pakistan will again leave US with no option. This small tactics changes are futile as long as you think Pakistan can change.

    Just observe last few days news items, US eliminated some of Pakistans top enemy leadership which the mighty GRS, Zarb-e-azb, Rad-ul-fasad or any other fancy general/operation after putting all the efforts can't achieve. How big a gift that can be! But you won't find any significant Afghan tali killed, forget killing in the meantime Pakistan sponsored Talis has killed over 100 ANA soldiers and over 100 civilians in less than a week as a return gift to US for making things easier for Pakistan.

    Pakistan is most poisonous snake ever born and no matter what you do it will never stop being a snake. Only solution is to beat the shit out of that snake, break everything inside so that the only thing it can do is to lay low in some gutter.

    Don't you get fooled with theatrics around by politicians, commentators, experts on payroll, army propagandists of both nations. Follow the news, see what is actually happening, actions not words and past few days actions are like blessing for Pakistan without giving anything in return so far.
     
    Hellfire likes this.
  6. WhyCry

    WhyCry Reaper Love Developers -IT and R&D

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    The whole premise of saying "spotlight" is that role of pakistan is being made "adversary" from an "ally". This is not just a backroom diplomacy but a declaration by Trump. The place where he delivered speech makes its context more important.

    What you fail to understand that Afghan taliban is inside pakistan. They will have to push the taliban out. Another issue is pakistan is no longer the owner of 'Jihad', there is IS as well. Hence this evil is required to counter the other bigger evil.

    Pakistan is ruled by "establishment". They milk their holy cow to get richer and powerful. US has started putting pressure outside the context of bilateral convincing tactics. Pakistan will be the ping pong ball in the game played by establishments objective and reality.
     
  7. BlackOpsIndia

    BlackOpsIndia Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Read this :

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/12/01/obama.afghanistan.speech.transcript/index.html

    That is transcript of speech of newly elected President of USA on Afghanistan so probably doesn't mean shit but since you talked about place where load of bullshit is delivered can make a difference please read the first line.

    I don't know to laugh or cry on your assumption! I have heard this from so many people few of them were President of USA.


    And what is that pressure? Does gifting head of worst enemy of Pakistan comes under pressure? Or pin drop silence on multiple suicide attacks that claimed over 200 lives after the gift reflection of such pressure? Anyways, peace.
     
  8. WhyCry

    WhyCry Reaper Love Developers -IT and R&D

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    Like I explained above he was hell bent on withdrawal... maybe Need to justify the peace prize or the democrats promise of 'Change'.

    Pressure comes with labels like "Agents of Chaos" and "Terroristan". Pressure is diplomatic isolation. Pressure is outcomes of non-alliance. Pressure comes from taking off the military aid. Pressure comes from non supply of available military hardware or access to existing hardware like F16's from Jordan. Pressure comes from statements specifying pakistan to be the real problem and to do MORE. Pressure comes from non grata of economic assistance. Pressure comes from drone strikes and sovereignty claims. Pressure comes from Afghanistan and disdain from its resident. Pressure comes from ISIS-khorasan in close proximity of peshawar. Pressure comes from non-cooperation of IMF and defaulting on loans.

    There are a lot of pressure but you wouldn't understand... maybe constipation :toast_sign:
     

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