Time for the final exam

The announcement was made this morning after a ceremony in Kabul marking the formal handover of combat operations in Afghanistan from NATO forces to the Afghan Government.

The handover of responsibility at a ceremony, attended by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Mr Karzai, marks a significant milestone in the nearly 12-year war.

It also marks a turning point for US and NATO military forces, which will now move entirely into a supporting role andĀ opens the way for their full withdrawal in 18 months.

So now they have taken over all combat operations in the country. I wonder how that will work out for them and how long it will take until the Taliban really tests them….

The handover came the same day as a large bomb exploded in the Afghan capital, killing at least three people.

The blast was in the Pul-e-Surkh area of the western part of Kabul.

Seeing that both these quotes are from the same article, I guess the answer is “not long”. So this is it, this is the time for the Afghans to truly step up and take it, this is the final exam before this 12 year class is over. I am sure the “leaders” (I use that term very loosely) in the Afghan government are very happy for this, but I am bet the Afghan soldiers aren’t.

I also how “support role” will be defined for the NATO forces. I mean, when I was there in 06-07 we were in a “support role” with every mission requiring an “afghan face” on it. Afghan face meant 15 Afghans in two Ford Ranger pickups at the front of a convoy of 4 heavily armed up-armored HUMVEES with TACSAT radios and bombers or jets just a radio call away.

I am sure the Afghan government and the military will do whatever they can to give themselves an advantage and avoid the true kinetic head to head fight…

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said his government will send representatives to the Gulf state of Qatar as soon as possible to hold formal talks with the Taliban.

Yep, I would say trying to work out a deal with the enemy would qualify as doing whatever they can. An enemy that has no reason to give any consolations or even care to. They just need to hold on long enough for us to get our troops out, then the whole place can destroy itself because in the end the people are accountable to themselves.

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