U.S. Watchdog Sifts Through the Wreckage in Afghanistan

Welcome back to Foreign Policy‘SitRep! How’s that US pivot to the Indo-Pacific going, right? The split screen from this week’s G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia says: While US President Joe Biden and his top aides conducted a reassurance mission from their hotel room following a Ukrainian shooting of a Russian missile that killed two in Poland, President Indonesia’s Joko Widodo time by giving reporters a a personal journey for his mangrove garden.

We’ll be out next week for Thanksgiving but look forward to getting back to your inboxes after the holidays.

OK, here’s what’s going on for the day: A watchdog calls out the United States for a nation-building failure of historic proportions in Afghanistanthe The Polish missile crisis it continues to make waves in Europe, and a new Republican speaker is threatening to stop it Funding the pentagon.

Welcome back to Foreign Policy‘SitRep! How’s that US pivot to the Indo-Pacific going, right? The split screen from this week’s G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia says: While US President Joe Biden and his top aides conducted a reassurance mission from their hotel room following a Ukrainian shooting of a Russian missile that killed two in Poland, President Indonesia’s Joko Widodo time by giving reporters a a personal journey for his mangrove garden.

We’ll be out next week for Thanksgiving but look forward to getting back to your inboxes after the holidays.

OK, here’s what’s going on for the day: A watchdog calls out the United States for a nation-building failure of historic proportions in Afghanistanthe The Polish missile crisis it continues to make waves in Europe, and a new Republican speaker is threatening to stop it Funding the pentagon.

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Similar to Vietnam

When it comes to the history of US nation-building efforts, it’s hard to do worse than Afghanistan.

That’s according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the US government’s top inside-the-Beltway watchdog office designed to track American funding for the 20-year war and the new government in Kabul, which fell this year. spent as the Taliban’s. lightning attacks into the capital and the American forces left behind.

SIGAR’s latest report found that the stunning fall of Ashraf Ghani’s US-backed government was influenced by a failure to recognize that US President Joe Biden was serious about withdrawing American troops, excluding him from diplomatic talks with the Taliban and the reluctance of the militant group. compromise, and the stacking of loyalists around the presidential palace that made corruption an endemic problem in Kabul.

But while the report isn’t exactly groundbreaking by Washington standards — clocking in at just 70 pages — it will also leave Republicans, who won the House by a narrow margin, plenty of ammunition to hold Biden’s feet to the fire about the administration’s mess. leave Kabul and see the failure that the Ghani government is likely to collapse.

“U.S. efforts to build and sustain Afghanistan’s governing institutions have been a complete, epic, premeditated failure on par with the same efforts and results in the Vietnam War and for the same reasons,” said Chris Mason, associate professor of security national in the USA. Army War College, who was interviewed for the report.

Strangely enough, there are some residual effects of 20-year American involvement in Afghanistan despite its terrible rush to the exit. Although the Taliban dissolved some of the ministries that the United States helped Afghanistan create after the 2001 invasion that followed the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan’s ministries of finance, health and economy as well as the country’s central bank “continued. some basic functions,” concluded SIGAR. And the Taliban mostly kept lower level civil servants in their jobs.

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The watchdog also blamed the United States for failing to help tackle Afghanistan’s corruption and its inability to properly oversee elections, which have been consistently marred by allegations of fraud. Ghani and his loyalists didn’t help matters either. Michael McKinley, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, told SIGAR that the Afghan president consistently proposed development goals that were “completely off the charts” and that his “apparent detachment from the reality of Afghanistan” was troubling.

Ghani was “living in fantasyland,” McKinley said.


Dean Karlana professor at Northwestern University, named chief economist for the US Agency for International Development.

Mary Beth Longformer US assistant secretary of defense, has joined the board of directors at drone manufacturing company Red Cat Holdings.

Shana Mansbachspeechwriter for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, now into the State Department as a speechwriter and senior adviser to the secretary of state, Politics reported.


What should be high on your radar, if it isn’t already.

The Polish missile crisis was not. A missile struck Poland and killed two people amid Russia’s massive salvo on Ukraine this week. Turns out, the missile was probably an errant Ukrainian air defense missile, according to preliminary investigations. Western officials said it is still a tragedy that is entirely Russia’s fault. (After all, Ukraine wouldn’t have to fire anti-aircraft missiles if Russia weren’t constantly blocking the country.)

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Although the president of the USA, the leaders of Poland, and the head of NATO said that it was an unfortunate accident, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky still insists that the missile came from Russia.

Not until I’m a speaker. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is threatening to hold up the passage of Congress’ main defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for fiscal year 2023 until Republicans take control of the House in the new Congress. If he makes good on his threat, it will be the first time in 61 years that Congress has failed to pass the NDAA — even though negotiations are still ongoing.

McCarthy was elected House speaker by his Republican colleagues after several midterm disappointments for the GOP in the midterms this week. McCarthy said that Democrats “woke up” to the NDAA and wanted to wait until the new Congress could help “make things right,” per. Defense News. He did not elaborate on what specifically “woke up” in the NDAA. Oh, and also, he already voted to repeal the House version of the NDAA in July. (It will pass by a vote of 329 to 101 with the majority of the Republican support). Shrug.

Nordic spies and Russian lies. A new espionage scandal has engulfed Sweden as reports have emerged of two Iranian-born brothers in Sweden, one of whom worked for Sweden’s intelligence services, arrested on charges of spying for Russia, writes FP’s Elizabeth Braw. The revelation came on the heels of another spy scandal in Norway, where Norwegian officials said they had caught a Russian spy posing as a Brazilian academic.



Soldiers sit on a vehicle with guns.

Soldiers sit on a vehicle with guns.

Kenyan soldiers arrive in the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a regional military operation to ease violence following fighting between Congolese security forces and the M23 rebel group. Alexis Huguet/AFP via Getty Images


Today: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting begins in Thailand.

Friday, November 18: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin begins a six-day trip to Canada, Indonesia and Cambodia. Jack will be riding and bringing back highlights of FP motherhood here in Washington.


“[P]To my understanding, ‘article 5’ is the technical term for the paywall popup that tells you that you’ve read 4 articles this month and you might want to subscribe.”

CNN polling and analytics editor Ariel Edwards-Levy was among many nonexperts who received roped into NATO semantics this week after a missile likely from Ukraine’s missile of a Russian missile landed in Poland, killing two.


FP Reads more this week

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Boy King Crypto got dethroned overnight by David Gerard


One devil of a drug. It may only be November, but we’re really looking forward to the February release Cocaine Bear, which is, yes, a true film about a bear who goes on a drug-induced rampage. Please count your hosts for two tickets. And we’re not the only ones with bad movie taste: the Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker he came out of a late-night movie binge session thinking that vampires are “great people”.



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