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  1. #11
    Senior Member Exo1's Avatar
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    Nice for units to return early from a deployment that started in summer of 2011 and not 2012 as the article suggests.. lol..
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  • #12
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    Our upcoming deployment numbers keeps on going down. Wonder why????

    U.N. Afghanistan envoy heartened by peace talks - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times

    U.N. Afghanistan envoy heartened by peace talks




    By Deb Riechmann - The Associated Press
    Posted : Wednesday Jan 25, 2012 12:30:44 EST

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.N.'s new representative to war-torn Afghanistan said Wednesday that he was encouraged by widespread discussion about prospects for making peace with the Taliban.
    Jan Kubis, the new special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General, said that he thinks the Afghan people are tired of the 10-year war and are interested in supporting steps that would bring more stability and eventually peace to Afghanistan.
    Related reading

    General: Taliban turning on one another (Jan. 24)
    U.S. confident about upcoming Taliban talks (Jan. 20)
    U.S. sees new interest from Taliban in talks (Jan. 19)
    Experts: Marine video likely won’t derail talks (Jan. 14)

    "Political forces are discussing it. The parliament is discussing it. Civil society is discussing it at all levels — not only at the top level, but in the provinces," said Kubis, who arrived in Afghanistan about a week ago and has been meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other top Afghan and international officials. "People are trying to understand what can we do to support this."
    The U.S. has engaged in talks with Taliban figures, and the Afghan government and other regional players have also opened lines of communication with the insurgency as a way to find a political resolution to the war.
    Kubis said that no major, relevant party can be excluded from the discussion.
    He cautioned that the country was still dangerous.
    "It's obvious to everyone that the security situation is still volatile," Kubis said. "Unfortunately, suicide and terrorist attacks are a part of the life here. What is tragic and sad is that unfortunately, suicide attacks are targeting, indiscriminately, civilians, including children and women.
    Kubis said his priorities were to link security and development, promote reconciliation and work on issues related to governance, human rights, election and legal reforms.
    Kubis arrives as international development assistance is declining and foreign combat forces have started to withdraw — a gradual process that is to be completed by the end of 2014.
    Some countries, including France, are under domestic political pressure to pull out of the unpopular war early.
    France halted its training programs for the Afghan military and threatened to withdraw its forces earlier than planned after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops last Friday in eastern Afghanistan.
    French President Nicolas Sarkozy honored the four at a ceremony Wednesday in the southeastern town of Varces. Sarkozy said the troops gunned down were victims of a Taliban rebel who had infiltrated a military base stationed jointly by French and Afghan forces.
    "Four of our soldiers were shot in Afghanistan, victims of the most cowardly of crimes," he said in remarks aired on French TV. "While unarmed, they were slaughtered by a Taliban wearing the uniform of an ally's army."
    The attacker is in custody. Afghan authorities have not identified him as an insurgent infiltrator, and an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman said Wednesday his motives are not yet clear. France is sending a team of investigators to assist the inquiry.
    Top French officials in recent days have sought to dispel concerns abroad about a possible crack in the NATO-led alliance in Afghanistan and a hasty exit by France. Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliament Tuesday that France is keeping to plans to withdraw 600 troops this year — in line with its previous schedule pegged in part to a gradual U.S.-led withdrawal by 2014.
    France currently has about 3,600 troops in Afghanistan, the fourth-largest national contingent in the coalition force. France has lost 92 troops since 2001. The total alliance death toll is nearly 2,560 — most of them Americans.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai is scheduled to visit France on Friday and meet with Sarkozy.
    Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Wednesday that an investigation is ongoing into the attack on the French. He would not confirm speculation that the attack was motivated by a video purporting to show U.S. Marines desecrating Taliban insurgents' bodies, or for some other reason.
    He said the Afghan attacker is 21 years old and had been in the Afghan National Army less than three months.
    The attack was latest of several by an Afghan soldier on international troops working with the army. There have been more than a dozen such turncoat attacks in two years, although the U.S.-led coalition says they are isolated incidents that do not point to a wider trend or to organized Taliban infiltration.
    The NATO force in Afghanistan said one of the coalition's service members was killed by a roadside bomb on Wednesday in the country's volatile south. The statement gave no further details, including the nationality of the service member.
    Associated Press writers Jamey Keaton in Paris, and Kay Johnson and Massieh Neshat in Kabul contributed to this report.
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    In winding down war, U.S. faces different challenge in Afghanistan than Iraq - The Washington Post

    By Greg Jaffe and Kevin Sieff, Published: February 2
    The narrative that the Obama administration has laid out for winding down the war in Afghanistan has a familiar feel: It is intended to evoke the gradual withdrawal from Iraq.
    But the administration faces a fundamentally different challenge in Afghanistan and a host of problems that it did not have in the latter days of the Iraq war.
    In Afghanistan, heavy fighting is likely to persist well into 2014, particularly in the provinces along Pakistan’s border, senior military officials said. In contrast with Iraq, the Afghan government and security forces will require billions of dollars annually in U.S. support for the foreseeable future. It seems unlikely that the insurgents’ haven in Pakistan will shrink.
    “In Afghanistan, you will be fighting a much tougher war over the next few years compared with Iraq post-2008,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, who previously served as the top U.S. commander in Kabul.
    Obama administration officials made the comparison to Iraq on Thursday as they scrambled to clarify Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s remarks that the United States hoped to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, more than a year earlier than scheduled, and shift to advising Afghan forces.
    “Iraq is a helpful reference point in this,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. Just as in Iraq, he said, American advisers would remain in the country and would “continue to participate in combat missions.”
    But by mid-2010, when the Obama administration declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, American forces had already pulled out of the country’s major cities, where the war’s fiercest and bloodiest battles took place. The 49,000 U.S. advisory troops that remained took casualties, but the vast majority of the fighting was carried out by Iraqi forces.
    In Afghanistan, Taliban forces still control swaths of territory in the mountainous eastern regions along the border, where they continue to kill Afghan government forces and intimidate villagers.
    “Are we ready to take over? In some places, we are,” said one Afghan commander, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But in others, we aren’t now, and we won’t be in a year.”
    The Afghan commander’s concerns were echoed by senior U.S. military officials in Kabul who insisted that Panetta’s remarks did not signal a change in U.S. policy or even a planned diminution in combat operations for U.S. forces.
    In many ways, the dust-up caused by Panetta’s remarks reflects a political divide within the Obama administration over how quickly the United States can and should turn over responsibility for security to an Afghan government that remains weak.
    Senior military officials cautioned that the U.S. forces would still be in the lead in battles abutting havens in Pakistan, where commanders believe insurgents still receive assistance from that country’s intelligence service.
    “We’re still going to be fighting,” said a senior military official in Kabul. “As time passes, we’ll become more distant to the [Afghan forces] as they become more self-sufficient and capable across 2014-2015.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to appear as though he was contradicting his civilian leadership.
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  • #14
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    In winding down war, U.S. faces different challenge in Afghanistan than Iraq - The Washington Post

    By Greg Jaffe and Kevin Sieff, Published: February 2
    The narrative that the Obama administration has laid out for winding down the war in Afghanistan has a familiar feel: It is intended to evoke the gradual withdrawal from Iraq.
    But the administration faces a fundamentally different challenge in Afghanistan and a host of problems that it did not have in the latter days of the Iraq war.
    In Afghanistan, heavy fighting is likely to persist well into 2014, particularly in the provinces along Pakistan’s border, senior military officials said. In contrast with Iraq, the Afghan government and security forces will require billions of dollars annually in U.S. support for the foreseeable future. It seems unlikely that the insurgents’ haven in Pakistan will shrink.
    “In Afghanistan, you will be fighting a much tougher war over the next few years compared with Iraq post-2008,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, who previously served as the top U.S. commander in Kabul.
    Obama administration officials made the comparison to Iraq on Thursday as they scrambled to clarify Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s remarks that the United States hoped to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, more than a year earlier than scheduled, and shift to advising Afghan forces.
    “Iraq is a helpful reference point in this,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. Just as in Iraq, he said, American advisers would remain in the country and would “continue to participate in combat missions.”
    But by mid-2010, when the Obama administration declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, American forces had already pulled out of the country’s major cities, where the war’s fiercest and bloodiest battles took place. The 49,000 U.S. advisory troops that remained took casualties, but the vast majority of the fighting was carried out by Iraqi forces.
    In Afghanistan, Taliban forces still control swaths of territory in the mountainous eastern regions along the border, where they continue to kill Afghan government forces and intimidate villagers.
    “Are we ready to take over? In some places, we are,” said one Afghan commander, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But in others, we aren’t now, and we won’t be in a year.”
    The Afghan commander’s concerns were echoed by senior U.S. military officials in Kabul who insisted that Panetta’s remarks did not signal a change in U.S. policy or even a planned diminution in combat operations for U.S. forces.
    In many ways, the dust-up caused by Panetta’s remarks reflects a political divide within the Obama administration over how quickly the United States can and should turn over responsibility for security to an Afghan government that remains weak.
    Senior military officials cautioned that the U.S. forces would still be in the lead in battles abutting havens in Pakistan, where commanders believe insurgents still receive assistance from that country’s intelligence service.
    “We’re still going to be fighting,” said a senior military official in Kabul. “As time passes, we’ll become more distant to the [Afghan forces] as they become more self-sufficient and capable across 2014-2015.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to appear as though he was contradicting his civilian leadership.
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  • #15
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    700 Stewart soldiers get ready for Afghanistan - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times

    700 Stewart soldiers get ready for Afghanistan




    By Russ Bynum - The Associated Press
    Posted : Friday Feb 3, 2012 13:25:54 EST

    FORT STEWART, Ga. — About 700 soldiers from Georgia are among the latest U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan for a war that continues even after the Iraq conflict’s end, leaving anxious spouses and parents who wonder why their loved ones are still fighting.
    A battalion from Fort Stewart, near Savannah, is deploying in the coming days, the first engagement in Afghanistan for ground forces from the Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division that fought four times in Iraq, including in the invasion of Baghdad in 2003. Two more battalions are scheduled to follow this spring and summer.
    “Do I really want him to go to war? No,” said Christy Van Nest of her husband, Sgt. Jeffrey Van Nest, one of the deploying soldiers. “ . ..It was sudden for a lot of the families and there was that conflict where we don’t want to see our soldiers leave.”
    At a departure ceremony for the troops this week, she said she’s proud of her husband and his fellow soldiers in spite of her concerns, then added: “There’s a very real possibility that some of these people won’t come home.”
    Steve and Ruth Weick traveled to Fort Stewart from their home in Peabody, Mass., to see their son off. Pfc. Bruce Weick, 23, joined the Army a little more than a year ago and will be serving his first overseas tour in Afghanistan.
    The soldier’s father, a Vietnam veteran, said his son had expected to be deployed not long after arriving at Fort Stewart. Other family members and friends, his father said, reacted to the news in disbelief.
    “When we mention he’s going to Afghanistan, they say, ‘Why? I thought we were getting out of there,’ ” Steve Weick said.
    At the ceremony, dozens of soldiers stood frozen at attention as their unit’s battle flag was rolled up and packed for traveling with them. Army wives watched from covered bleachers with squirming children who have never known peacetime.
    “I would say a majority of the soldiers are pumped up and excited about this mission,” said Sgt. Van Nest.
    The battalion first got news of the deployment late last year. It came as a surprise to some because the soldiers had been home for a year and were training with tanks and Bradley armored vehicles, equipment that’s not used much in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.
    Battalion commander Lt. Col. Mike Jason brought the word: The Pentagon was tapping his troops to spend nine months in Afghanistan to help provide stability and security in its remote villages.
    “It was a bit of a surprise,” Jason said. “I pulled the battalion together in the motor pool, where I had about 700 soldiers personally looking at me, and I told them. And then within a couple of days I told all the families at one time. And I was awed by the spirit of the soldiers.”
    Jason’s troops plunged into an accelerated 90-day training cycle to prepare for a very different war. Their tanks and Bradleys were put aside as soldiers focused on moving and fighting on foot with rucksacks and rifles.
    Their families, meanwhile, stayed hush about the deployment and kept the news from local rumor mills and social networking websites. The general public didn’t find out until an official announcement was made early last month.
    The U.S. still has about 91,000 troops in Afghanistan, although the plan is to reduce that number to 68,000 by September. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said U.S. forces should be able to move into noncombat roles by mid-2013, and focus on training and advising Afghan authorities through 2014, after which U.S. troops would leave.
    So far, only about 2,200 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry have been tapped to deploy to Afghanistan. That’s only 10 percent of the Fort Stewart-based division’s 22,000 troops. The division commander, Maj. Gen. Robert A. Abrams, said recently that other units will be training to be ready if needed but no further deployments had been ordered.
    “I don’t have any specifics on what might occur,” Abrams, who is scheduled to deploy with his headquarters battalion this summer, told reporters Jan. 19. “I just know that our task at hand is to be ready whenever they do call.”
    Other Army units recently chosen for 2012 Afghanistan rotations — the 1st and 4th Brigades of the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C.; and the 27th Infantry Brigade of the New York National Guard — have previously served there.
    At Fort Stewart, Sgt. Benjamin Whitehead said the deploying soldiers have mixed feelings about diving into a new war. At age 25, the soldier from Fredericksburg, Va., already has two Iraq tours under his belt. Deploying means leaving his wife, Courtney, not only with their 2-year-old son but with another child on the way. She’s five-months pregnant.
    “It’s exciting,” Whitehead said. “But at the same time everybody has these questions like, ‘Why the 3rd Infantry?’ We weren’t really expecting a deployment, seeing the drawdown in Iraq.”
    In part, bringing in fresh units like the three battalions from the 3rd Infantry is allowing the Army to shorten rotations. For the first time since the war began, Afghanistan tours have been cut to nine months rather than a full year.
    Many soldiers are quick to say they don’t mind deploying because it’s the only way they get to put their training to use.
    And Van Nest, a 36-year-old sergeant who’s spent half his life in the Army, said he looks forward to a “no-nonsense mission” in Afghanistan after finding the last of his two tours in Iraq “a little more laid back” as U.S. forces assumed more of an advisory role.
    “I definitely don’t want to leave my family,” Van Nest said. “But to have an Afghanistan tour under my belt before I retire is a cool thing.”
    Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran (OIF V & OEF X & XIII)
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  • #16
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    An interesting officer's view

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    The bottom line is that just like in Iraq where all those lost lives will be in vain, so too will the results of our untimely departure from Afghanistan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSGDay View Post
    The bottom line is that just like in Iraq where all those lost lives will be in vain, so too will the results of our untimely departure from Afghanistan.
    So how many years should we remain MSG? Since you are retired, you will not know how it is for constant deployments throughout a career. To be honest; I am tired of it and a marriage can last so long with long term separations.

    How much money should we constantly spend and neglect our domestic needs?
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    the main thing I notice these days is the complete lack of Opsec from the commander in chief on down.
    Ignorance can be remedied through education ........stupidity is a permanent affliction.....
    - Me 1989

  • #20
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    I just read an article about tribal customs in the south where they take young boys and turn them over to the elders to be taught "the arts of love." Pedophile at its worst sanctioned by the local government!

    Perhaps we ought to get our troops out of there today and leave the sons of b's to their fate!!!!!
    Last edited by MSGDay; 02-11-2012 at 09:26 AM. Reason: spelling

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