Dr. Jonathan Schroden Profile picture
18 years as a military operations analyst. Lots on Afghanistan, CT, SOF & the like. All views my own, RT not endorsement. Be droll, not a troll.
Arif Ammar Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
29 Jul
Comments on #Afghanistan by @PentagonPresSec in today's #DOD presser in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
@PentagonPresSec Q: On the SIVs, the flights. do you have any updates? They were supposed to come in on the 29th. Have they landed? Processing at Fort Lee? Anything? 2/n
@PentagonPresSec MR. KIRBY: I’m going to have to refer you to the State Dept for that. I don’t have any updates for you. As you know, when this first group of special immigrants do get to the US, they will be temporarily housed at Fort Lee. 3/n
Read 7 tweets
29 Jul
.@SIGARHQ released its latest quarterly report on #Afghanistan today. Some key points in this THREAD.

1/n

sigar.mil/pdf/quarterlyr…
@SIGARHQ Data from @USFOR_A shows that enemy-initiated attacks increased significantly since the signing of the US-#Taliban Agreement. During the past quarter (March – May 2021), USFOR-A reported 10,383 enemy-initiated attacks and 3,268 effective enemy-initiated attacks. 2/n
@SIGARHQ @USFOR_A Most ANA corps refuse to execute missions w/o spt from the ANA Special Operations Corps (ANASOC), according to NSOCC-A. When ANASOC forces do arrive, they're misused to perform tasks intended for conventional forces such as route clearance, checkpoint security, & QRF. 3/n
Read 12 tweets
15 Jul
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the level of #Taliban control in #Afghanistan, so this is a brief THREAD on that topic. 1/n
The debates about district control go back a long time. I was first involved in these during my time @CENTCOM circa 2009. At that time, ISAF was producing district control maps, as was CENTCOM & @DefenseIntel (among others). None of them agreed on methods or results. 2/n
@CENTCOM @DefenseIntel Later, while with ISAF & at the command’s request, I wrote an internal memo laying out the challenges with the various methodologies involved with assessing "control" at the district level in #Afghanistan. 3/n
Read 14 tweets
14 Jul
Comments on #Afghanistan from today's presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
@PentagonPresSec MR. KIRBY: @SecDef & the Chairman were proud & delighted to greet GEN Miller earlier this morning when he arrived at Andrews Air Force Base. I think you saw some of the coverage of that. & the Secretary, I think, will have a little something more out today... 2/n
@PentagonPresSec @SecDef ...but @SecDef deeply appreciates GEN Miller's leadership, not only over the last three years in #Afghanistan but over the long course of his career. Certainly there's very few military officers who have as much experience as he does in AFG over the last 20 years &... 3/n
Read 48 tweets
13 Jul
Comments on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
@PentagonPresSec MR. KIRBY: Earlier today, you know there was a transition of authority ceremony held at Resolute Support HQ in Kabul, #Afghanistan, marking the transition of command authorities from GEN Scott Miller to the commander of @CENTCOM, Gen Frank McKenzie... 2/n
@PentagonPresSec @CENTCOM ...As the secretary approved earlier this month, and as we outlined to you on July 2nd, Gen McKenzie will now lead the US mission in #Afghanistan, and that's focused on 4 things: 1) protecting our diplomatic presence in country; 2) enabling the safe operation of... 3/n
Read 95 tweets
13 Jul
"Last autumn, with the departure of American troops from #Afghanistan looming after the US signed a withdrawal deal with the #Taliban, several of the most senior security officials in Kabul urged President @ashrafghani to make some hard choices." 1/n

theguardian.com/world/2021/jul…
@ashrafghani "The Afghan army & police needed to retrench, figures incl the then defense minister, Assadullah Khalid, told Ghani. Remote outposts & rural areas where troops held little more than the cluster of govt & security buildings that make up a district center should be abandoned." 2/n
@ashrafghani "Troops & ammunition drawn back from these areas could focus on the fight for more important assets, such as key roads & border crossings, as forces adapted to the loss of the US air force & other technical support that had been critical to fighting the Taliban, they argued." 3/n
Read 6 tweets
12 Jul
A number of people have been asking my thoughts on recent developments in #Afghanistan. Now that I’m back from a week of sandcastle building, a THREAD to that effect. 1/n
1st, a few thoughts on recent #Taliban gains. That the TB are suddenly gaining ground in rural areas shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. eg, I predicted the group would have a slight military adv post-US withdrawal in a @CTCWP paper back in JAN: ctc.usma.edu/afghanistans-s… 2/n
@CTCWP The #Taliban have—for years—been employing a strategy of capturing rural areas IOT generate position & resources to threaten more populated areas, as we @CNA_org described in our independent threat assessment for Congress back in 2013 (cna.org/cna_files/pdf/…). 3/n
Read 25 tweets
12 Jul
Comments on #Afghanistan from @PentagonPresSec's #DOD press conference late last week in this THREAD. 1/n
defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: A couple things on the president speech on #Afghanistan. Can you say what, if any, progress DOD is making on the over-the-horizon negotiations? & can you talk a little bit about the #Taliban and what progress they've made on district takeovers? 2/n
How far do you think they've gotten? I've heard over a hundred. At this point can you talk a little bit about what the situation is on the ground with the #Taliban?

MR. KIRBY: So, on over-the-horizon capabilities, we continue to explore additional OTH capabilities... 3/n
Read 97 tweets
29 Jun
Comments on #Afghanistan from today’s #DOD presser with ⁦@PentagonPresSec⁩ today in this THREAD. 1/n defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: A question about #Afghanistan and trying to understand the sequence of events as the US military winds up its activities. When Gen Miller leaves, will that mark the end of Resolute Support mission or will there be some sort of interim period between the next several days… 2/n
…or weeks and September, when there will be some other commander or some other mission follow on?

MR. KIRBY: I don't want to get too far ahead of process here. Resolute Support is a NATO operation, so it's really more appropriate for NATO to speak to the future of it… 3/n
Read 43 tweets
22 Jun
Comments on #Afghanistan from ⁦@PentagonPresSec⁩’s #DOD presser today in this THREAD. 1/n defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: The #Taliban have made some significant gains in recent weeks & even as recently as past weekend…especially in the North. Is @SecDef considering recommending a slowdown in the withdrawal or other changes to minimize a chance of an early collapse of the Afghan forces? 2/n
MR. KIRBY: I would say w/o speaking specifically to the #Taliban advances you spoke to, as @SecDef has said, the withdrawal is on pace. It is a dynamic situation & we've said that from the very beginning, which means that he, the chairman, & Gen McKenzie, are constantly… 3/n
Read 47 tweets
10 Jun
In this issue of Survival: Global Politics & Strategy, @LaurelMillerICG brings some hard truths about Biden's decision to withdraw from #Afghanistan. Some highlights to follow... 1/n

tandfonline.com/doi/epub/10.10…
"The ‘ending forever war’ slogan may be in vogue among critics of involvement in #Afghanistan, but it is hard to imagine that, had Biden believed that truly crucial goals were at stake, he would have declared that time was up simply because it was taking too long to achieve them"
"The problem was not that American involvement in the war was endless; it was that the US found itself unable to end its involvement on the terms that it preferred..." 3/n
Read 12 tweets
10 Jun
Comments on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: @usairforce Acting Sec, John Roth, yesterday told Congress that for now the over-the-horizon capability to support #Afghanistan will be from the existing footprint that the USAF has in the region & I'm wondering if that means there haven't been any inroads made... 2/n
...w/potentially new locations to move US forces to provide that over-the-horizon capability?

MR. KIRBY: We already have an over-the-horizon #counterterrorism capability there & other parts of the world, & we are already using that OTH capability in #Afghanistan. 3/n
Read 18 tweets
8 Jun
Comments on #Afghanistan in today's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: Considering that @CENTCOM is saying they're not going to provide % any longer on #Afghanistan troop & equip withdrawal, I was wondering if there's any progress on getting us either DLA or some type of briefing on some of the things that can be discussed about the w/drawal? 2/n
And my second Q is has @SecDef had any discussions with #Turkey about security at the airport in #Afghanistan and do you see negotiations progressing on that issue? 3/n
Read 22 tweets
7 Jun
I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about how the #ANDSF might fare after the US withdraws from #Afghanistan. I’m going to put some thoughts on that in this THREAD. 1/n
First, a recap, as I’ve written about this before. In JAN, I published this net assessment of the #ANDSF vs the #Taliban, in which I concluded the latter would have a slight military advantage after US advisors left. 2/n ctc.usma.edu/afghanistans-s…
That conclusion was largely due to the #Taliban’s advantages of cohesion & financial self-sustainability, & not being as numerically outnumbered as most people think. But I acknowledged some key #ANDSF advantages, the most notable of which is air power. 3/n
Read 16 tweets
1 Jun
ICYMI, last week I published an article with @Diplomat_APAC titled “Will #Afghanistan Collapse When the US Withdraws?” Since the article is behind a paywall, I’ll summarize some of my main points in this THREAD. 1/n

thediplomat.com/2021/05/will-a…
For the article, I was asked to explore what might happen in #Afghanistan in the year after the US withdraws. To do so, I found it instructive to revisit the years immediately following the Soviet withdrawal & to compare/contrast to the situation today. 2/n
I’ve seen people making superficial comparisons of these two eras to predict impending doom, but a detailed comparison reveals both striking similarities and distinct differences between the two, which should inform our thinking about the future of #Afghanistan. 3/n
Read 31 tweets
26 May
Points on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: Gen Milley has recently mentioned that securing Kabul Airport will be essential for keeping embassy presence not just for the US but for other countries after the withdrawal is completed & that there could be an int'l force assembled to do that... 2/n
...I wondered whether @SecDef agrees w/this & whether he's been talking to @NATO partners or others about organizing such a force.

MR. KIRBY: Certainly the secdef recognizes the key hub that is the airport there in Kabul & the impact that will have... 3/n
Read 29 tweets
25 May
Interest items on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
.@SecDef spoke w/#Pakistan's COAS, Gen Bajwa, to discuss shared regional interests & objs. During the call, the sec reiterated his appreciation for PAK's spt for the #Afghanistan peace negotiations & expressed his desire to cont to build on the US-PAK bilateral relationship 2/n
Q: Getting back to #Pakistan, its Foreign Ministry put out a statement today ruling out the possibility of any US mil bases for the post-withdrawal from #Afghanistan #counterterrorism effort. Is there anything that the US is looking for right now from PAK... 3/n
Read 20 tweets
19 May
Comments by @PentagonPresSec on #Afghanistan at yesterday's #DOD presser in this THREAD. 1/n

defense.gov/Newsroom/Trans…
Q: In @US4AfghanPeace's testimony today, he said that the withdrawal is proceeding w/o any sig interference from the #Taliban & that he expects that to cont to be the case. You said you assumed there would be attempts by the TB to interfere. Have you changed your assessment? 2/n
MR. KIRBY: We would agree that thus far, the retrograde continues at pace, the withdrawal continues at pace with nothing more than some minor harassing attacks that have had no impact, so we agree w/that assessment. We certainly hope that that remains the case, going forward. 3/n
Read 16 tweets
18 May
I attended #SOFIC today, at which GEN Rich Clarke, the commander of @USSOCOM spoke. My notes from his speech (paraphrases, not quotes unless specified) are in this THREAD. 1/n
- #COVID19 has impacted @USSOCOM's operating culture—caused #SOF to look at where they need to be, how they interact, etc
- The withdrawal from #Afghanistan will bring changes. SOF were first ones in, will be the last ones out. Will spark a new era of opportunity for SOF. 2/n
- #SOF today are almost unrecognizable from SOF that invaded #Afghanistan in 2001. 20 years of the necessity of combat has been the mother of all inventions. SOF have had urgent warfighting needs for 20 years, and will continue to have these going forward. 3/n
Read 26 tweets
12 May
Today, the House Armed Services Committee held a full hearing for "An Update on #Afghanistan."

Witnesses were ASD David Helvey (OSD) & BGen Matt Trollinger (Joint Staff). It was a *long* hearing. I'll post a summary in this THREAD. 1/n
(If you'd like to watch the whole thing, here's the link: armedservices.house.gov/2021/5/full-co…. Note that what follows aren't quotes, but my paraphrases of their comments). 2/n
Chairman Smith opening remarks: This hearing will focus on key questions, such as: What is the process for US withdrawal from #Afghanistan & what’s our strategy going forward? Also, what our lessons learned from the past 20 years? 3/n
Read 87 tweets