Tag Archives: Ryan Crocker

Photo: the last troops leave.


Photo of the Day: The last U.S. military forces drive across the Iraqi border Dec. 18, 2011, following the Iraqi and U.S. security agreement requiring all U.S. service members to depart the country by Dec. 31, 2011. Since 2003, more than 1 million airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines have served in Iraq.

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

When I compare this photo to the image of helicopters over the US embassy during the fall of Saigon in 1975, I’m comforted by the exit we’ve made, all things considered. But when I read of Maliki threatening the power-sharing agreement necessary for democracy, or remember Amb. Ryan Crocker’s 2009 prediction – the war will be remembered for events that haven’t happened yet – my mood changes. Such fragility should be expected, but it is also maddening.

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The Firefight in Kabul

When the BBC reported yesterday that “Afghan and international security forces have been battling a multi-pronged attack by insurgents targeting the US embassy, Nato headquarters and police buildings in Kabul,” I became worried that the Taliban and opposition forces were becoming stronger and emboldened. The attacked seemed well planned and organized: the attackers arrived in burkas so they wouldn’t be searched, and were armed with “rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), heavy machine guns and hand grenades, as well as biscuits and energy drinks,” as if expecting a long firefight.

But how bad was it? According to the New York Times:

The American ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, played down the attack as “harassment” that had made for a hard day at the embassy but was not a game-changer.
“This really is not a very big deal,” Mr. Crocker said. “If that’s the best they can do, you know, I think it’s actually a statement of their weakness.”

The initial reports state that the attackers are believed to be part of the Haqqani Network, a Pakistani group affiliated with the Taliban. If this is so, it is further evidence that Pakistan is far more important strategically than Afghanistan, or at least that the stability of Afghanistan is dependent on the stability of Pakistan. “Mr. Crocker indicated that such attacks were likely to continue because the insurgency had strong support in Pakistan.”

NATO posted two videos of the firefight on Youtube.

The second video is here.


Simon Gass, the senior civilian NATO representative in AF, also offered, in the same NYT article linked, what must be the worst metaphor I’ve read in a while:

“Afghanistan is a little like a boxer,” said Simon Gass, the senior civilian NATO representative in Afghanistan. “It is going to take some blows along the way, but it will keep coming forward, and it will prevail over its enemy.”

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