Bright and full of sunshine this Sunday afternoon on California’s north coast — still a bit on the chilly side, though. White, big-fluffy clouds paints a wind-blown sky looking-like winter. On occasion, when those clouds pass between the sun and my apartment window, the air itself appears to get darker real fast.
Also this particular day (via ABC News): ‘The longest war in American history came to an end Sunday.
In a ceremony at their headquarters in Kabul, the United States and NATO brought the combat phase of their mission in Afghanistan to a close.’
(Illustration found here).
Another war-zone gear-shift. Another ‘low-key ceremony’ to formally end the shit: ‘The event was arranged in secret due to the threat of Taliban strikes in the Afghan capital, which has been hit by repeated suicide bombings and gun attacks over recent years.’
Crazy, huh? And ironic in a bad way.The official end to the official NATO engagement in Afghanistan ends Wednesday, but there will be still be quite a number of boots-on-the-ground — reportedly, about 13,500 troops from the International Security Assistance Force will remain, including 10,600 Americans, as per security agreements with the U.S. and NATO.
In this coming spring, when the Taliban like to get attack-crazy, Afghanistan will appear a way-poor-man’s Iraq. From the Washington Post late last month:
Taliban insurgents have intensified their attacks on this besieged capital with a flurry of brazen bombings and afternoon raids targeting foreigners and Afghans, bringing the war into this city in a way not seen in any other year since the radical Islamists were ousted from power.
The dramatic increase in violence in Kabul, arguably the most heavily defended city in the nation, indicates the resilience of the Taliban, despite pronouncements by Afghan, U.S. and NATO officials that the insurgency has been weakened.
As the annual fighting season nears an end in rugged, increasingly snow-covered mountain areas, the capital has become the new focal point of the conflict.
“The city is now the front line of the war,” wrote Esmatullah Kohsar, an Afghan journalist, in a tweet Saturday, noting that there had been 12 or 13 blasts in the past two weeks in Kabul.
But in recent weeks, the Taliban has gone after Afghanistan’s symbols of influence, including Kabul’s police chief and an outspoken women’s rights activist, as well as foreigners working at aid agencies and embassies.
Scores of Afghan civilians have been killed or injured.
Fear swirls around the capital in way it hasn’t in years.
And last Wednesday (via FoxNews): ‘From a convoy strike that killed two U.S. troops near Kabul to the recent massacre of schoolchildren across the border in Pakistan, brazen Taliban attacks have brought renewed concerns that the fight against the insurgency is far from over — even as President Obama vows to bring the Afghanistan war to a “responsible end” next week.’
Supposedly, this was to be “the good war” in great effort to get the perpetrators of 9/11, and for a small space of time, ‘Operation of Enduring Freedom,” carried the mantle. Assholes, though, with Iraq on the brain transformed the concept.
From the New York Times in August 2007:
But that skepticism had never taken hold in Washington.
Since the 2001 war, American intelligence agencies had reported that the Taliban were so decimated they no longer posed a threat, according to two senior intelligence officials who reviewed the reports.
The American sense of victory had been so robust that the top C.I.A. specialists and elite Special Forces units who had helped liberate Afghanistan had long since moved on to the next war, in Iraq.
At critical moments in the fight for Afghanistan, the Bush administration diverted scarce intelligence and reconstruction resources to Iraq, including elite C.I.A. teams and Special Forces units involved in the search for terrorists.
As sophisticated Predator spy planes rolled off assembly lines in the United States, they were shipped to Iraq, undercutting the search for Taliban and terrorist leaders, according to senior military and intelligence officials.
As defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed credit for toppling the Taliban with light, fast forces.
But in a move that foreshadowed America’s trouble in Iraq, he failed to anticipate the need for more forces after the old government was gone, and blocked an early proposal from Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, and Mr. Karzai, the administration’s handpicked president, for a large international force.
As the situation deteriorated, Mr. Rumsfeld and other administration officials reversed course and cajoled European allies into sending troops.
George Jr. and his boys screwed a lot of people real, real bad.