Afghanistan War, the Additional Troops Request and the Election

September 28, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

There has been additional troops request from the U.S. and NATO Commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal accompanied by the endorsements of the other highest commands. The request made with a sense of urgency within the military ranks based on variable assessments and conflicting reports from different sources that if the troops request delayed or denied; “it could perhaps lead to the mission failure” in the prolonged war that had continued to deploy troops on that strategy.

According to reputable news sources, the U.S. force in Afghanistan estimated to reach 68,000 by the year’s end. Now, the fact remains to be carefully examined on the U.S. and NATO defense policy implemented in the Afghanistan war prompting the current administration to inflate the defense budget disproportionately to $651.2 billion excluding the various non-itemized expenditures by the other departments in the nucleus.

The following materials are extremely important in ascertaining the real purpose of the persistent war nearing almost a decade with incessant violence, lawlessness and horrendous loss of lives on all sides that could have been contained considering the interjection of enormous resources in terms of funding and troops supply possibly restoring a democratic rule in Afghanistan conforming with the metaphor –

“Where there is a will, there is a way.”

The sequel with a detailed analysis will follow in due course of time.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant
Advisers split over Afghan troop request:

Military divided over force levels required for plan

By Peter Baker and Elisabeth Bumiller – New York Times

Provided through The San Jose Mercury News, Sunday September 27, 2009 – Thank you.

“Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s troop request, which was submitted to the Pentagon on Friday, has reignited a longstanding debate within the military about the virtues of the counterinsurgency strategy popularized by Gen. David H. Petraeus in Iraq and embraced by McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

McChrystal is expected to ask for as many as 40,000 additional troops for the eight-year old war, a number that has generated concern among top officers like Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, who worry about the capacity to provide more soldiers at a time of stress on the force, officials said.

While Obama is hearing from more hawkish voices, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, and Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, some outside advisers relied on by Obama have voiced doubts.

But other officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and say they admire McChrystal nonetheless have privately expressed doubt that additional troops will make a difference.
“If a request for more forces comes to the Army, we’ll have to assess what that will do in terms of stress on the force,” said a senior Army officer, who asked not to be identified speaking before McChrystal’s troop request became public.”

Casey, whose institutional role as Army chief is to protect his force, has a stated goal by 2012 to increase a soldier’s time at home from the current one year for every year of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan to two years at home for every year served.”

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U.S. Defense Budget for the Fiscal Year 2009:

For the 2009 fiscal year, the base budget rose to $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion. Not included in the DoD budget is $23.4 billion to be spent by the Department of Energy to develop and maintain nuclear warheads.


This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance, cleanup, and production (about $16.4 billion, which is in the Department of Energy budget), Veterans Affairs (about $53.0 billion), defense spending by the Department of Homeland Security (about $41.4 billion),

Interest on debt incurred in past wars, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (about $83.4 billion in 2009, funded through extra-budgetary supplemental bills), or State Department financing of foreign arms sales (about $5.3 billion) and militarily-related development assistance.

The U.S. Department of Defense budget accounted in fiscal year 2008 for about 21% of the United States federal budgeted expenditures. Including spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Homeland Security, and Veteran’s Affairs, defense spending was approximately $800 billion, or 32% of 2008 tax receipts of $2.5 trillion.[5]

Because of constitutional limitations, military funding is appropriated in a discretionary spending account. (Such accounts permit government planners to have more flexibility to change spending each year, as opposed to mandatory spending accounts that mandate spending on programs outside of the budgetary process.) In recent years, discretionary spending as a whole has amounted to about one-third of total federal outlays. Military funding’s share of discretionary funding was 50.5% in 2003, and has risen steadily ever since.

The 2005 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending combined and is over eight times larger than the military budget of China (compared at the nominal US dollar / Renminbi rate, not the PPP rate). The United States and its close allies are responsible for about two-thirds of the world’s military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the majority). In 2007, US military spending was above 1/4 of combined industrial and agricultural production in the USA.

Focus on the Afghanistan war and the Operational Deficiency:



By January 2009, the Taliban claimed that they had killed 5,220 foreign troops, downed 31 aircraft, destroyed 2,818 NATO and Afghan vehicles and killed 7,552 Afghan soldiers and police in 2008 alone. The Associated Press estimated that a total of 286 foreign military personnel were killed in Afghanistan in 2008.[130] Icasualties puts the total number of coalition soldiers killed in 2008 at 294.

2009: U.S. Surge :

Main article: Coalition combat operations in Afghanistan in 2009


The Khyber Border Coordination Center between the U.S., Pakistan, and Afghanistan, at Torkham on the Afghan side of the Khyber Pass, has been in operation for nine months. But U.S. officials at the Khyber Center say language barriers, border disputes between Pakistani and Afghan field officers, and longstanding mistrust among all three militaries have impeded progress.

In January, about 3,000 U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division moved into the provinces of Logar and Wardak. The troops were the first wave of an expected surge of reinforcements originally ordered by George W. Bush and increased by Barack Obama.

In mid-February, it was announced that 17,000 additional troops would be deployed to the country in two brigades and additional support troops; the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade of about 3,500 from the 7,000 Marines, and the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a Stryker Brigade with about 4,000 of the 7,000 US Army soldiers. The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General McKiernan, had called for as many as 30,000 additional troops, effectively doubling the number of troops currently in the country.


On August 10, 2009, Stanley McChrystal, the newly appointed U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said that the Taliban has presently gained the upper hand and that the ISAF is not winning in the 8 year-old war.
Possible long-term U.S. role & military presence:

Many of the thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan are positioned in what experts say are large, permanent bases.

In February 2005, U.S. Senator John McCain called for the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, saying such bases would be “for the good of the American people, because of the long-term security interests we have in the region”.

He made the remarks while visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul as part of a five-member, bi-partisan Senate delegation travelling through the region for talks on security issues.

The same delegation also included then-Senator Hillary Clinton, now U.S. Secretary of State.

In mid-March, 2005, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers told reporters in Kabul that the U.S. Defense Department was studying the feasibility of such permanent military bases. At the end of March, the U.S. military announced that it was spending $83-million on its two main air bases in Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base north of Kabul and Kandahar Air Field in the south of the country.

A few weeks after this series of U.S. statements, in April 2005, during a surprise visit to Kabul by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Afghan President Hamid Karzai hinted at a possible permanent U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, saying he had also discussed the matter with President Bush. Rumsfeld refused to say whether or not the U.S. wanted permanent American military bases in Afghanistan, saying the final decision would come from the White House.

As of July 2008, hundreds of millions of dollars were being spent on permanent infrastructure for foreign military bases in Afghanistan, including a budget of $780-million to further develop the infrastructure at just the Kandahar Air Field base, described as “a walled, multicultural military city that houses some 13,000 troops from 17 different countries – the kind of place where you can eat at a Dutch chain restaurant alongside soldiers from the Royal Netherlands Army.” The Bagram Air Base, run by the U.S. military, was also expanding according to military officials, with the U.S military buying land from Afghan locals in different places for further expansion of the base.

As of January 2009, the U.S. had begun work on $1.6 billion of new, permanent military installations at Kandahar.

In February 2009, The Times reported that the U.S. will build two huge new military bases in southern Afghanistan. One will be built in Kandahar province near the Helmand border, at Maiwand – a place famous as the site of the destruction of a British army during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The other new U.S. military base will be built in Zabul, a province now largely controlled by the Taliban and criminal gangs.

The idea of permanent U.S. military bases vexes many people in Afghanistan, which has a long history of resisting foreign invaders.

In May 2005, riots and protests that had started over a false report in Newsweek of U.S. interrogators desecrating the Koran and turned into the biggest anti-U.S. protests in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion included demands that the Kabul government reject U.S. intentions to create a permanent military presence in Afghanistan.
Public opinion

Main article: International public opinion on the war in Afghanistan

Although the war was supported by most Americans, most people in the world oppose the war.
In a 47-nation June 2007 survey of global public opinion, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found considerable opposition to war.

In 41 of the 47 countries, pluralities want U.S. and NATO troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. In 32 out of 47 countries, clear majorities want this war over as soon as possible.

Majorities in 7 out of 12 NATO member countries say troops should be withdrawn as soon as possible.

Afghan Election:

After Karzai’s alleged win of 54 per cent, which would prevent a run off with his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, over 400,000 votes had to be discounted for Karzai, and many more with hundreds of thousands of votes and polling ballots being accused of fraud.

Making the real turnout of the elections much lower than the official numbers, many nations criticizing the elections as Free but not fair.

Coalition in Afghanistan backs Karzai’s Strategy:

By Karen DeYoung, Washington Post , provided by San Jose Mercury News, Monday September 28, 2009.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other NATO foreign ministers, meeting Friday in New York with their Afghan counterpart, reached “consensus” that Karzai would probably “continue to be president,” whether through a runoff or as the legitimate winner of more than 50 percent of votes cast in disputed Aug.20 elections, an Obama administration official said.”



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