The attacks have begun

From the Washington Post

Seems as if we are not just pushing the Taliban aside to get to B.L., but are going to remove them. When do we send in ground troops? Do we? If the N.A. moves south to take over, are we going to be involved in the transition, or let another civil war begin? Thougts and questions?

Was hard to miss the beginning of this war. Turn on the football game, and get the President instead.

I would certainly hope we wouldn’t be doing this now unless we’re ready to come in on the ground pretty soon. But the Administration’s done everything else right so far in responding to the events of 9/11; I’m betting on them to handle this one right, too - whatever ‘right’ is.

[sub]Another post brought to you by the Body Snatchers.[/sub]

Is it because we have the best night vision equipment? Not that the Afghani grid worked much anyway…

I bet we have troops on the ground already. This first attack, I think, may be similar to the Soviet Spetznaz attack of 1979. An attempted quick “decapitation,” but then the plan should diverge greatly. I think the humanitarian aspects of the plan and our absence of desire to take over Afghanistan will shape the rest of the campaign. Look for the Northern Alliance to play a big role.

Good question. Should we make the Taliban just weak enough to allow the N.A. to take over? Are we going to be involved in the transition? Didn’t the Taliban rise to power because we didn’t? If the N.A. does take over, how many troops do we place inside to ensure that they do a good cleanup of terrorists? I can’t imagine letting whoever takes over to command or direct American troops- so won’t we have to be the de facto government for a while?

Do on the ground Afghanis know that? I agree that the humanitarian aid will be a strong factor in our decisions, but how do we accomplish our goals without taking over? Even if it ostensibly for the short term, won’t it appear to be an complete occupation?

I see a huge problem here. The Northern Alliance in many respects is no better than the Taliban. From all reports, the NA is a disorganized, tribally oriented group of fighting clans which rarely cooperate even if united by a common enemy. What is needed in Afghanistan is a representative government where all tribes/clans are given power according to their population base. With a coalition like the NA taking over, it leads to a situation in which a nonstable minority government might be able to seize power. This is exactly what we saw after the Soviets left and the Taliban took over.

If the Taliban goes away, someone needs to stay there and get this government working. I can’t see how this would not involve the US. IMHO it is going to be long, ugly, and filled with continual bloodshed for many years.


We have to remove the Taliban. To let them stay in power would be stupid. They’d only support more terrorist training camps and who knows what else.

There should be no major ground war.

What exactly do the N.A. support? Democracy? A more moderate Islamic state?

US aid in civil wars seems to always backfire. Our helping the mujahadien (sp?) put the Taliban in power to begin with. US aid saved Ho Chi Mihn’s life. Should we be helping the N.A?


In this situation there is no choice for us. We have to accept the NA to help do things that we can’t. They probably are not much better than the Taliban but they probably won’t support terrorist organizations that are going to bomb NY. They get the green light.

Totally agree. The question for the armchair diplomats/ generals, is how? Especially with the constraint:


We would get into trouble if we try to take cities and live there. We have to have faith that special ops, intelligence and technology will help us find and kill OBL and his band.

I know it’s no fun to be a regular Afghan right now and I feel bad for their people. We’re getting pretty good at bringing war with a narrow objective.

My big question throughout this whole thing has been why the Taliban allowed themselves to be set up for destruction by their home boy OBL?

OBL is believed to be closely tied to the Talebans, some sources believe he has given substantial finacial support to the Taleban regime. According to BBC, Mullah Mohammed Omar, the elusive leader of the Taleban, has stated in a interview that he would rather see Afghanistan destroyed, than give up OBL.

Read the full article here:

To echo what edwino has said, the Northern Alliance isn’t a particularly viable governing body. Their base of support is in the ethnic minorities (mainly Tajik I think), and in order to gain viability, they’d have to extend their support to the Paktun ethnic group.

Sounds like we’d be setting the country up for yet more civil strife if we simply replace the Taliban with the Northern Alliance. Ideally, I’d like to see some sort of coalition government.

I think it’s pretty clear that the U.S. IS depending on the Northern Alliance to carry out much of the ground campaign.

The cruel reality is that many of the other Muslim states would be very uncomfortable with a U.S. occupation government in Afghanistan, and I’ll bet the U.S. had to give some assurances that that wouldn’t happen before it could get Pakistan and other neighboring governments on board.

Also, it’s nearly impossible to occupy Afghanistan in the face of armed resistance. And I’m willing to bet you that if the U.S. tried it, the remnants of the Taliban would quickly ally themselves with the Northern Alliance, and they would start fighting the U.S. No one wants that.

So, what I think has happened is that the U.S. has cut a ‘deal’ with the Northern Alliance. They will support them militarily, and agree to knock out key targets in the north so that the Alliance can make a successful military push (which actually appears to be happening). In return, the U.S. has probably gotten concessions from the NA that they will aid in finding and exterminating terrorists, plus almost certainly that the U.S. would be allowed some form of limited oversight to end some of the gross human rights abuses that have been going on. And perhaps even a semi-permanent U.S. presence on Afghan soil much like they have in Saudi Arabia.

That’s probably the best result we could hope for.


If you were in England during WWII and after the bombs fell some cases of sausages were dropped in … would you suddenly feel warm and fuzzy for the Nazis?

Not to portray our side as Nazis, I’m very supportive of the way that our government has handled this so far, but to phrase it in such a way as so we can see how the Taliban (who DO think of us evil) will be portraying the food drops to their people.

I do not think we will win hearts and minds, unless those were already against the Taliban.

Which, according to many reports, a lot of people are.

I think some Pushtun (if that is the right name for the majority ethnicity), Taliban types have defected already. I think the U.S. is well aware that a NA takeover won’t work. One thing I find disturbing is the tactical nukes angle. Although it is unrealistic to not always be aware that it is hanging over our heads. The thought of the Russians nuking Chechnya as we nuke Afghanistan makes me queasy.

DSeid, I don’t see any parallels between WWII carpet bombing of civilian population centers and what we are doing right now. Well, one, bombs are involved. In WWII it was not uncommon to obliterate a whole town in one American day raid followed by one British night raid, or vice versa. The vast majority of Afghanis will be largely unaffected by the bombings even if they live pretty nearby. CIVILIANS WILL BE KILLED (I am not pipe dreaming), in war that is practically unavoidable, but that is nothing new even in a peaceful Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban.

On food aid, the Afghanis are starving and we have increased the rate of population displacement with our actions. Therefore we should help. As for the political or propaganda consequences, that will vary from person to person. Many Afghanis, especially women, may well be rejoicing right now, food or no food.

The ones I’ve seen on the news seem a bit preoccupied with fleeing for their lives from the attacks to be spending much time on rejoicing.

Did anyone else see the reports on the food drops? Apparently they’re kicking piles of food out of planes?!? But only in those areas where there seem to be reasonable assurances that the people collecting it are not Taliban supporters. I’m very disturbed by this.

Why does that disturb you? The Taliban has a history of hijacking humanitarian aid and using the food and other supplies for their armed forces. Why should we give the Taliban army food?

I can’t believe it. I had thought the Bush administration was contemplating a little more than just another bombing attack. That’s pretty much the last thing we need. The purpose of military action should be to reduce the possibility of terrorist actions, not increase them, which the government has admitted it is doing.

As the casualties mount, expect hatred of the US to increase in Afghanistan and other Arab nations. Even if the Northern Alliance can seize power (seems unlikely), terrorism will continue out of Afghanistan for some time to come, since most Afghanis will still hate the US, no matter who is in power. The NA is not powerful enough, and would certainly lack the political will to crush terrorism in their midst.

History has already shown us that the enemy of our enemy is not our friend countless times in the last century. We cannot make the same mistake again.

Are you even following what’s going on? Civilians have not been hit. Terrorist training camps were, and all Afghan air defenses.

See, the U.S. wants to send humanitarian aid in, but they aren’t about to risk a bunch of transport aircraft being shot down. So they need to establish air superiority first. No way around it.

And what else were you expecting militarily? A ground assault without air cover? Troops marching in en masse? Just ignore them and go home?

Today was an inevitability. If you don’t think so, make your case. It’s easy to take pot-shots at a plan when you don’t have one of your own.