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  #1  
Old 02-04-2009, 09:44 PM
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From Russia with love

Russia, Allies Offer to Assist U.S. in Afghanistan

By Lucian Kim and Ken Fireman

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Russia and four former Soviet republics offered to help the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan even as one, Kyrgyzstan, moved forward on a decision to cut off American access to an air base used for war supplies.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the five countries, including the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, are ready for “full-fledged and comprehensive cooperation” with NATO forces in the region. He spoke on state broadcaster Vesti-24 today.

At the same time, Kyrgyz Security Council Secretary Adukhan Madumarov said on the same channel that the U.S. air base at the Manas airport near Bishkek must cease operations within 180 days. The base would be crucial to President Barack Obama’s plans for a buildup of troops to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Kyrgyz Parliament will likely vote Feb. 6 on legislation formally renouncing the agreement allowing U.S. operations at the base, the Interfax news agency reported from Bishkek.

Andranik Migranyan, a Russian institute director with ties to senior officials in Moscow, said Russian cooperation on Afghanistan may be linked to progress on resolving differences over issues such as missile defense and NATO expansion.

“I am absolutely sure the Russian side is going to cooperate,” said Migranyan, director of the New York-based Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, in an interview. “But Russia needs some security guarantees. Not guarantees about dominance, but about its own security.”

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev disclosed the move to close the base in Moscow yesterday after receiving a Russian pledge for more than $2 billion in economic assistance.

No Notification

The U.S. hasn’t received any notification from Kyrgyz officials about a base closure and still hopes to negotiate a way to preserve American access, spokesmen for the State and Defense departments said. “We’re having discussions with the Kyrgyz about this and we’ll continue to do so,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

There may be basis for the hope of keeping the base accessible to the U.S., said an expert on the region, Stephen Larrabee of the RAND Corp. policy research organization in Arlington, Virginia.

“It is not clear if this is a final and formal decision or whether they’re playing hardball to try to get more money out of the United States,” said Larrabee, who is head of European security at RAND. “It’s just not clear whether the game is over.”

Afghan View

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Said Jawad, said that based on recent history he thought a solution could be found to preserve U.S. access to the base.

“In the past we have had these ups and downs with some of the northern neighbors, but always a solution was found,” Jawad said in an interview yesterday. “Usually they ask for more money or some kind of concession. In the end they will come forward.”

Russia’s role and motive in the base closure are also open to interpretation, said Larrabee and Paul Saunders, a Russia expert at the Nixon Center in Washington.

Saunders said that, while Russian pressure was a factor in the Kyrgyz move to close the base, Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian governments have grown increasingly wary of a U.S. presence in their region.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told reporters today that the base closure was Kyrgyzstan’s independent decision and not connected to the Russian aid package.

Central Asia

Saunders said the main message Russian leaders are trying to deliver is that they insist on playing a brokering role between the U.S. and the Central Asian nations.

“The message is that they really want us to take into account their interests in that part of the world, and we’re going to need to deal with them,” he said. “We can’t just go directly to all these governments and get what we want if they’re not involved.”

Jawad agreed, saying Russia was concerned about Western influence in Central Asia. “Russia is trying to push some of our northern neighbors not to be too cooperative with the U.S. and NATO,” he said.

Larrabee said Medvedev’s statement about cooperation on Afghanistan was an effort to “keep their options open with the United States and see whether some kind of arrangement can be worked out.”

He said Russian leaders may be prepared to offer help, such as the use of their airspace to transport supplies, in return for U.S. concessions on issues of importance to them. Such issues include Russian resistance to U.S. plans for a missile defense system based in Eastern Europe and support of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, he said.

Russian Leaders

Migranyan agreed with that interpretation, saying Russian leaders “would like to discuss with the United States in a broader context the problem of cooperation.”

Migranyan’s institute was established to seek improved U.S.-Russian relations. While it isn’t directly connected to the Russian government, he has what he described as “very good relations with our authorities.” He said he just returned from a trip to Moscow, during which he consulted with several senior Russian officials.

Karasin, speaking to reporters on a conference call, said Russians are “interested in the success of the anti-terrorist coalition in Afghanistan because it’s our common concern.”

Russia and its partners in the so-called Collective Security Treaty Organization agreed to form a rapid-reaction force at their meeting in Moscow today, Vesti-24 reported. Medvedev said the unit won’t be any worse than equivalent forces belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

A bruising 10-year war in Afghanistan helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and gave rise to Islamic militants such as Osama bin Laden, who resisted the Russian invasion.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lucian Kim in Moscow at lkim3@bloomberg.net; Ken Fireman in Washington at kfireman1@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: February 4, 2009 19:52 EST

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:31 AM
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uh, in a word, no. I guess I have too long a memory.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:50 AM
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It will be interesting to watch this unfold. I think it has the potential to become very dramatic in the near term.

Folks who think we should pour lots of additional troops into the Afghan war need to go to Google Earth and imagine how they would send supplies to maintain 200K or more troops and support personnel in the field.

Take just food and water alone and assume everybody's gonna eat MRE's. Soldiers are assumed to need more cal/day than "normal" people because soldiers in the field get lots of aerobic exercise. That's why a single MRE contains about 1,300 cal. A soldier is expected to consume 3 per day.

That's about 10 pounds per day per person for food.

Water consumption is a MINIMUM of a half-gallon/day. In a dry climate with strenuous exertion that can easily double or triple, but lets keep it at 1/2 gal.

That's 4 pounds of water.

So 14 pounds per sperson per day, not including clothing, ammo, etc, etc.

14 pounds/person/day X 200,000 people = 2.8 millions pounds per person per day.

There is no deep-water port within what, a thousand miles of Afghanistan? How many trucks per day are required to move 2.8 million pounds/day? Aircraft?

What if we tried to sustain an army the size of what we currently maintain in Iraq? -- which has a deep water port, BTW.

Etc.

B
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:56 AM
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Just send in the Army Corp of Engineers and divert some Himalayan snowpack.

Actually a gallon of water is more like it. Activity requirements notwithstanding, increased food consumption requires increased liquid intake. Every gram of glycogen binds to four grams of water. Nope, you can't just eat dry starch. When carbohydrate is burned the water is released.

I'm sure we can look at Napoleon's journals and gain some valuable insight about how to transport provisions through two thousand miles of rugged terrain in the middle of winter.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:10 AM
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Just send in the Army Corp of Engineers and divert some Himalayan snowpack.

Actually a gallon of water is more like it. Activity requirements notwithstanding, increased food consumption requires increased liquid intake. Every gram of glycogen binds to four grams of water. Nope, you can't just eat dry starch. When carbohydrate is burned the water is released.

I'm sure we can look at Napoleon's journals and gain some valuable insight about how to transport provisions through two thousand miles of rugged terrain in the middle of winter.
Indeed. But not to worry! Closer to our time there was a rather fat reichsmarshall who told his boss he could support the 6th Army in Stalingrad exclusively by air. Maybe we can follow that lead...

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  #6  
Old 02-05-2009, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Take just food and water alone and assume everybody's gonna eat MRE's. Soldiers are assumed to need more cal/day than "normal" people because soldiers in the field get lots of aerobic exercise. That's why a single MRE contains about 1,300 cal. A soldier is expected to consume 3 per day.

14 pounds/person/day X 200,000 people = 2.8 millions pounds per person per day.

There is no deep-water port within what, a thousand miles of Afghanistan? How many trucks per day are required to move 2.8 million pounds/day? Aircraft?

What if we tried to sustain an army the size of what we currently maintain in Iraq? -- which has a deep water port, BTW.

Etc.

B
One of my favorite statistics for the AN-225 transport

"The type's first flight in commercial service departed from Stuttgart, Germany on 3 January 2002, and flew to Thumrait, Oman with 216,000 prepared meals for American military personnel based in the region. This vast amount of ready meals was transported on some 375 pallets and weighed 187.5 tons."

Figure thats about 1/6 of what the daily requirements of food would be. Thats the largest transport in the world and theres only one right now. A C-5 couldn't carry anywhere near that amount.

If you can't bring the supplies in by rail or ship then you have to fly it in...which is very expensive and you would need pretty much every transport the US has in its inventory constantly flying.

So your pretty much screwed without forward bases and help in general.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Nickel_Grass
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
There is no deep-water port within what, a thousand miles of Afghanistan? How many trucks per day are required to move 2.8 million pounds/day? Aircraft?

What if we tried to sustain an army the size of what we currently maintain in Iraq? -- which has a deep water port, BTW.

Etc.

B
How dare you be so deep.

You illustrated the primary reason the force is much smaller in Afghanistan any why a huge percentage of that force is specialized forces, ie 82nd, 10th Mountain, Ranger, SF ect not only do you get more bang for the buck you get a big bang pound for pound.

I had a discussion with a person that has been in Afghanistan since Oct. 2001 and asked him why we don't build a farm/cattle herd and water system to feed the troops while we are there and when we leave the Afghan citizens will have a sustainable food supply. He said thats a great idea but they did not plan on being there more than 2 years. That hind sight will getch ya every time.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:01 PM
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A bruising 10-year war in Afghanistan helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and gave rise to Islamic militants such as Osama bin Laden, who resisted the Russian invasion.


A hint as to why we might want to reconsider.......
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:05 PM
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I can just see the Afghans welcoming Soviet - er- Russian troops into Kabul.

Where the Red Army goes, there is no retreat!
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:50 PM
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If you're interested in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, start with the movie "Charlie Wilson's War." Then read the like-titled book. It's freaking mind-boggling.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
If you're interested in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, start with the movie "Charlie Wilson's War." Then read the like-titled book. It's freaking mind-boggling.
When the movie first came out, my g/f (from RU) told me she would never watch that movie. After I watched it when it came out on HBO, I understand why. I think a high school classmate of hers went in and never came out.
She became a US citizen after 9/11, but the emotions are confilcted on the Soviet/American Afgan war..
If reality is more shocking than the movie, wow!

As far as yesterday's news goes, I think the quid will be, once we abandon the air base, we/NATO will be asked to abandon the Polish Missle plans or the push for Ukraine to get full NATO membership. Uncle Joe told us The One would be challenged, didn't he.

"Don't want to do that Mr President? Sorry, we can't help you out."
I can't see what's in it for Russia to fark around with Afghanistan again..ever.. Two destinations Russia's leaders don't want to visit: Afganistan and Chernobyl.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
If you're interested in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, start with the movie "Charlie Wilson's War." Then read the like-titled book. It's freaking mind-boggling.
If you really want to see the reality of Afghanistan, read "The Other side of the Mountain" and the archives of the Army's Center for Lessons learned, which is Net accessible w/o special accesses. The Russians did so many dumb things they make Rumsfeld look smart!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:36 PM
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If you really want to see the reality of Afghanistan, read "The Other side of the Mountain" and the archives of the Army's Center for Lessons learned, which is Net accessible w/o special accesses. The Russians did so many dumb things they make Rumsfeld look smart!
That right there is worth noting.

What I found intriguing (the perfect word) about "Charlie Wilson's War" is the political machinations. Amazing.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:44 PM
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all i remember from that time is dan rather dressed as an afghan ( well, sort of) reporting "behind enemy lines", making nice with our new friends, the, yes, "muhjadeen". that turned out quite well...
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:05 PM
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all i remember from that time is dan rather dressed as an afghan ( well, sort of) reporting "behind enemy lines", making nice with our new friends, the, yes, "muhjadeen". that turned out quite well...
Of all the things Dan Rather has done for which I hold him in contempt, that is not one. What he did was extraordinarily brave.

Yeah, it was showmanship for our end of the TV tube. But he honored his hosts by playing straight with them and adopting their dress in a serious and dignified manner. His hosts are tough as stone and iron and they do not suffer cowardice or insult willingly. Rather did exactly the right thing and they took him places they wouldn't take most westerners. Just as our special ops guys and CIA guys did before the "real" war began.

Dan Rather doing that showed real "courage."

B

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