Afghanistan: February 16, 2002


Turkish peacekeepers are beginning to arrive. They may be badly needed, with the country moving closer to civil war. Feuds within the government, and rampaging warlords out in the countryside, make the situation increasingly precarious.

The first battalion of the new army is being assembled in Kabul for six weeks of training (to begin February 25th.) The first battalion has 20 men from each of the nation's 32 provinces. The British peacekeeping force will provide instructors. Warlords out in the provinces are already training battalions of regular troops using men who had served in the old Afghanistan regular army (which disappeared in the early 1990s.)

The CIA has returned to the 1950s. Back then, and into the 1960s, the CIA would go into places like Africa, Southeast Asia and South America and operate independently. The CIA would hire local troops, often using CIA people to lead and manage them. The CIA would bring in it's own aircraft. All this fell out of favor after the Vietnam war, but now it's back. The CIA had people in Afghanistan before the special forces did. The CIA has its own air force of transports and armed Predator drones. Most important, the CIA does not report to the Department of Defense, but to the president himself. So far, this has worked. The CIA has more money and freedom of action than the troops, but has worked well with the military. Early in the campaign, the U.S. military commander had some control over the CIA use of force, but this has apparently changed as the war went on. The CIA people on the ground did a lot of the same work as the special forces, with CIA teams being more active in the south, while the special forces were more active in the north. The CIA had to work closely with the special forces, because the military were the ones who had the smart bombs.


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