Abandoning the Pech Valley

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

Regular readers know my position on abandoning the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan, and chasing the insurgents into their havens to kill them, so there is no need to rehearse that issue.  Now comes James Foley’s report on the Pech River Valley area.  As an aside, Jim has done and is doing some of the best reporting coming out of Afghanistan.  I have exchanged mail with Jim, and find him to be not only learned about the situation in Afghanistan, but friendly and open minded as well.  Any time you can catch his reporting you should do so.  You will be richer for it.  Now for his report.

Did you catch Lt. Col. Joe Ryan’s views on our presence in the Pech Valley?  Our presence helps the insurgency by giving them an enemy to fight.  Do regular readers remember what other situations we have discussed where the same claim was made?

Think for a moment.  Who else regurgitated these talking points?  What army was it, and where were they located?  Think hard.

For the astute readers, you’re right.  The British failure in Basra is storied, and covered in painful, lengthy, gory detail here at The Captain’s Journal.  Recall their final justification for retreat (with flags waving proudly)?  It was this:

Rather than being – as the anti-war brigade claimed – a humiliating retreat, the tactical withdrawal from Saddam’s old summer palace on the banks of the Shatt al-Arab was undertaken on the basis that the continuing presence of British troops was exacerbating, rather than helping, the local security situation.

Goodness yes.  Best to let the Sadrists take full control of things, executing whomever they wish, destroying infrastructure, and generally wreaking havoc until the ISF and U.S. forces finally wrested control of Basra from them with stiff-armed kinetics.  At least we aren’t being shot at.  The brutish Yankees are doing the labor.  Time to go home.

We now sound like the British in Basra – the talk is now about full-on retreat.  The end cannot be far off.



  • http://www.thisainthell.us Operator Dan

    Lt. Col Ryan will make a fine general one day.

    “We have ample reason to be here and I can find reasons not be here.”

    Talk about hedging and being indecisive.

    Surrendering ground and outposts provides a propaganda victory for the Taliban. In conventional military terms, it provides them terrain from which they can rest, refit, and launch attacks. First it was the Korengal, now its the Pech, and next they will be knocking on the door of Abad and then Kunar is truly lost.

    Remember, the Muj took control of the Eastern Provinces first and eventually used them to attack Kabul in the early 1990s’ against the Afghan Communists. A few of them (most of the Muj from then actually have aligned with us) have done this before.

  • DirtyMick

    I’m curious if 1/327 Battalion commander has a short memory. I was in Kunar when 2/12 infantry left the Korengal last April/May during the spring offensive when 1st and 2nd Battalion 327 took over Kunar. We got slammed all summer. The Taliban took it as a victory and scores of soldiers were killed and wounded during the summer. So what happens if we pull out of the Pech. Well I can gaurentee it will be another victory for the Taliban and every COP south of Asadabad will get attacked more frequently (fortress, joyce, penich, and badel already get attacked often) and it will eventually flow into nangahar province (where Jbad is).
    By his rational if the insurgents in Sadr City, Mosul, Baghdad, Tal Afar, Ramadi, and Fallujah didn’t want us there then I guess we should have pulled out and left. By his way of thinking we should have never done the surge in Iraq in 2007. In order to Achieve Victory (yes I said it) we need to be aggressive and kill Taliban wherever they hide and lurk. It amazes me with these senior officers in the Army and Marine Corp it’s like they’re constantly reinventing the wheel or discovering fire for the first time. Disgraceful.

  • http://www.cowboyjihad.blogspot.com Rick Keyes

    The more I look at this the more it looks like Mao’s version of guerrilla warfare live out away from the cities and slowly force government forces out of the rural areas giving them free reign to operate.
    If we give up all of Kunar the Taliban can claim a huge victory over us then watch the recruitment grow. What our commanders seem to forget is there is a longer term strategy at work here the Muj are convinced they forced the Soviet Union to collapse and their stated aim is to do the same to us. So no only are we giving way in Afghanistan but playing into their long term goals as they see them.

    Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually reads the materials that the jihadists put out? There is more at stake here than Kunar or Afghanistan these people want the region and there is very little to stop them from all of the Stans if the U.S. loses this fight.

  • Pingback: Human Terrain Systems Analyst PPL (February 2011)

  • Pingback: The Captain's Journal » Abandoning the Pech Valley Part II

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  • Pingback: The Captain's Journal » Al Qaeda Makes a Comback in the Pech Valley


You are currently reading "Abandoning the Pech Valley", entry #5971 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Pech River Valley and was published January 6th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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