tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera October 6, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT
and parasites. the nobel committee says the break throughs these three have made to improve human health and reduce suffering are immeasurable. caroline malone, al jazeera. >> you can get the latest at aljazeera.com. i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight, america's longest war, what was really gained in afghanistan 14 years since the first bombs fell ? the news that taliban fighters in afghanistan had taken over the northern city of kunduz last week was bad enough. it meant that afghan government forces had handed the taliban a huge prize: the capture of a
major afghan city for the first time in 2001. that was the year that the united states invaded afghanistan with the goal of wiping out the taliban and al qaeda soon after the terrorist attacks. soon after, the united states has spent over a trillion dollars, in a conflict that has taken thousands of american lives and tens of thousands of afghans dead. the knowledge that taliban had re -taken kunduz was horrifying then, the american bombing of a hospital in kunduz, run by doctors without borders. doctors without borders said it made tran tick call frantic caln capital and
to no avail. the attack came after, the americans said, the afghans call in for military support. that was different from what the general said. mike viqueria, what did the general say and what has the reaction been? >> well ali, the headline coming out of washington and elsewhere, the president of the united states, president obama now extending the time line for u.s. troops in afghanistan. remember, it was the end of 2016 when u.s. troops were going to be confined to an embassy function, that being reconsidered. secretary of defense ash carter asked about it, but the president is considering the situation on the ground. so that is out there meanwhile you're right. general john campbell appeared at the pentagon pressroom today. he is in charge of all
necessitating and u.s. forces in afghanistan. what got people rhode islan reld riled up, u.s. military characterized the attack as collateral damage, and u.s. personnel advising and assisting role in afghanistan force he. >> afghan forces advised they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support. then to eliminate the taliban threat, several civilians were were accidentally hit. reads in part their description of the attack keeps changing from collateral damage to a tragic incident to now, attempting to pass responsibility to the afghan
government. the reality is the u.s. dropped those bombs. president obama says he's waiting for an investigation of the department of defense to go forward. there is a parallel investigation, and the afghan deposit says that's not enough, they want to see if it's a war crime. >> all the doctors without borders debate is overshadowing the debate, what has changed, why are we in a position of parenthesis years so many lives and so many years later of having this battle? >> the salient question is that al qaeda has been driven from afghanistan, the taliban is still existent. they have had their trials and tribulations an certainly no shortage of the government, certainly with hamed
karzai. most experts say it cannot stand and yet u.s. troops have to stay yet longer. the talk about extending their stay and keeping them in if not a combat role, an advising and assisting role and providing air support to afghan forces that evidently led to this tragedy ali. >> mike viqueria, in washington, thank you mike. it's important to put the events in historical context. let's remember that the u.s. led nato mission in afghanistan officially ended last december but nato still has about 13,000 soldiers in the country. their mission is to train afghan forces and to offer battle support like the taliban siege of kunduz. the situation i in kunduz underscores how its new
president ashraf ghani still relies on u.s. 14 years after the war. david ariosto has the story. >> on my orders the united states military has begun strikes against the al qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the taliban regime in afghanistan. >> fall 2001. u.s. forces descend on afghanistan. their mission: dismantle al qaeda. order air strikes and link up with afghan fighters to drive the taliban from power. within weeks taliban positions crumble. and by november, the last taliban stronghold in the north, a city called kunduz, is under siege. as truckloads of u.s. backed northern alliance fighters
barrel to the north, convoys of taliban defectors are seeing fleeing the city, pledging new loyalties. >> translator: in the future i will never take up a gun again because this gun and all this fighting has created disaster for our country. >> reporter: but fast-forward 14 years. despite blood, the loss of more than 2300 american lives, and 26,000 civilians, and treasure, nearly $1 trillion in u.s. spending, there are new signs that the prospects for peace may have already come and gone. the city of kunduz again fell to the taliban. it's a shift in the fight from the taliban's traditional southern home land to this strategic transport hub in the north. which connects afghanistan to form he soviet republics across the region. >> they thought this will be
better for them than southern afghanistan because they could easily infiltrate or easily move to the other countries. >> the city has been largely recaptured but the tabl roads into kunduz highlight a deeper problem, the absence of coalition forces. >> several years ago it was 130,000 foreign troops and today it's only three,000 u.s. troops. you can imagine how challenging it has been. >> this map updated by the united kingdom shows how difficult it has been, increasingly encircle the capital, kabul. >> nearly 130,000 troops served in iraq and afghanistan. >> reporter: president obama says the size of the force will be reduced to just a couple hundred by the end of next year
but recent events could make him think again. >> it's a great deal of instability in afghanistan that goes beyond simply the taliban and infiltrated insurgency. but one element that has been systematically underestimated is the state of dworches. >> corruptio governance. >> corruption is rampant. the country is ranked near the bottom on transparency international's corruption index just above sudan, north korea and somalia. and even success stories like u.s. and west world bank fund he, inspector general for reconstruction accused senior afghan officials are stealing international donations by essentially fabricating the number of schools and teachers in the country.
all of this has contributed to what some describe as a crisis of confidence in afghanistan's government playing out in cities such as kunduz just as the taliban gains ground. and yet continued u.s. support may be tough to count on. recent public opinion polling suggest that most americans feel that america's longest war has gone on long enough. david ariosto, al jazeera, new york. >> coming up navigating the future of u.s.-afghan relations, i'll talk to a former u.s. diplomat that says president obama's plan to draw down to a few hundred troops by next year is the wrong policy, at the wrong time.
>> the money fell victim to the politics. >> they're more focused on getting jobs than our education. >> all right despite $1 trillion in spending and more than 2300 u.s. forces lost, americans have lost ground in afghanistan. some say there's a bigger problem here. the relative answer of u.s. forces. ambassador james jeffrey, now he says american foreign policy under president obama is in a free fall. he wants to keep 10,000 u.s.
soldiers in afghanistan for the foreseeable future. good to have you. >> thank you. >> the u.s. is scheduled to have about 10,000 in afghanistan until the end of this year, supposed to drop to a couple hundred at the end of next year. president obama may consider keeping as many as 5,000 troops through the end of 2016, you think that number should look more like 10,000. >> i think we should keep the 10,000 there. let the next administration decide how it wants to deal with afghanistan. but my recommendation would be, why not keep these troops on? as we saw when they're committed to a battle in small numbers as in kunduz, they have a huge impact on making the afghani soldiers more responsible. it is our interest to keep afghanistan. >> in iraq by the way which you know a lot about, american forces can defeat the taliban and i.s.i.l. in iraq too but the problem is american forces have been there for 14 years.
fitz only american forces who can do that why is it american-trained forces can't do it? >> there's a huge difference between trained forces who are local who are left on their own and trained forces that get logistical support, forward support and other support from the united states. that's what we're talking about. nobody's telling the american people we should send our young people back to fight as infantry in these places like we did in iraq and afghanistan with 6500 casualties. what we're saying is advisory teams, logistics, air support those kinds of things. that's extraordinarily inexpensive compared to our companies in campaigns in the last decades, these people are willing to fight, be in iraq or afghanistan, they need our help to do it. >> the question is never the willingness or ability of american soldiers, there is, you
said americans have battalions in the field in those areas, the american public doesn't have much of a stomach about this. >> the american public is changing its opinion. the american council of global affairs note ed in the last survey a significant uptick for american support. when i say battalions i'm saying for very special short duration combat situation wrest you may have four or 500 highly trained troops clearing the way for an afghani or iraqi troop taking over. they are capable of fighting the local forces but they're much better when we're there with them. >> at what point and again i draw on your experience in iraq and your views on afghanistan. they are very, very different but they are similar, at what point do you shift the responsibility over from a military solution and there are
others who have told me what you've told me that we need to beef up military support in both countries and shift it over to a viable political solution, a president and you can take -- i can be talking about afghanistan or iraq right now you can take your choice where a president really exercises some control or is the u.s. military going to be on the ground in iraq and afghanistan for the next 50 years or longer? >> first of all, these countries have democratically elected leaderships and they control most of the territory. in afghanistan once kunduz is retain all of the provincial capitals, in iraq all of the provincial capitals except mosul, have been in the government's hands. political process is not going to start as long as the taliban
thinks it can chase away this locally elected government, and it can wait out the american presence, and take down the rest of the country militarily. that's how the taliban thinks right now. we need to make some thinking in different way. >> that's an interesting point, the answer is that they can't wait out the u.s. presence which means making a relatively often commitment to keeping u.s. troops on the ground. >> and i'm very happy to do that because what the taliban is smart enough to also know is that while we couldn't sustain 70 or 80,000 troops doing brunt of fighting and dying in afghanistan for years we certainly can sustain a limited advisory presence with very low casualties. we've had only less than ten americans killed in the last year in afghanistan. and relatively limited cost compared to what we did before. in order to give this government the breathing room that it cannot only defeat taliban attacks but also make it clear
to the taliban that we can stay there, we've been in korea for example 65 years. we can stay as long as necessary so why don't we find a compromise solution. that's what everybody's goal is but that isn't going to happen if the taliban thinks they can roll over an afghani government and the rest of the international community. >> you interestingly mentioned korea. the u.s. lost 55 soldiers last year in afghanistan, last week, wasn't in combat but a c-130 crashed, six americans dead, so there is a cost to this. >> that's true. in 2014, the united states did lose that number of people but in 2015, the numbers are i believe from combat action have been less than 10. and frankly u.s. aircraft crash all around the world. >> i want to take you back to the political conversation. you're right, democratically
elected president but again second one in a row that cannot make a claim to governing all of the country, and keeping it safe, without either nato presence or i.saf presence or u.s. presence. is there a problem in the political process that afghanistan has weak presidents? >> absolutely. and when you look at that stretch of societies and states from southeast asia all the way to the southern borders of europe, you see nothing but weak states and ineffective governments. the beauty of both afghanistan and iraq is they're more responsible to their people because they're elected governments than most. but like all the rest of them they suffer from corruption they suffer from poor governance they suffer from weak institutions. that's nothing new and something we have to live with. we can't change it and it's not unusual. >> let's stretch that a little bit because you were both an ambassador to iraq under
president obama but you were a deputy national security advisory under george w. bush. you understand the politics and the military side of it. on the political side what can we do better? >> first of all from much experience in my three years in iraq and in other assignments we're not good at going into the retail level down at the villages and trying to change basic sociological core institutions. what we can do is help the central government make key decisions on reconciliation, with ethnic groups, be they the pashtun or sunni arabs in iraq, and to make smart moves with respect to their economy and forces, and diplomacy rather than stupid moves. how do we show that influence by saying we've got skin in the game and standing by them.
>> given what we know about iraq and afghanistan, what should we be doing in syria? the american government, the official line continues to be, that we need regime change although i've seen that soften in the last week with the administration talking about a transition to a new government. what should the american experience tell them about what to do in syria? >> well, let me be clear it's not the american government in and of itself. it is 70 to 80% of the syrian people who have taken up arms against assad. it is turkey and most of the arab states in the middle east who are all saying that there needs to be a new government. key to that is assad going. what is equally important however is that the state structures that we foolishly dissolved in 2003 in iraq remain in place. those are bureaucrats, those are generals, those are army officers, those are people who will follow orders by some kind uf compromise solution.
we need a compromise solution. but again if assad hezbollah the iranians think they can defeat the bulk of the population militarily, and that seems the way they are going, there will be no compromise. >> james jeffrey, deputy national security virus. coming up. iraq's government, many iraqis say what really matters is the under of government corruption, poor public services and human rights abuses. that story is next. >> we're in the "prairie state" yet we have such little of it left. >> now old-school methods meet cutting-edge science... >> we've returned this iconic mammal to illinois. >> with a much bigger long-term benefit. >> grasslands have a critical role in climate change. >> it's exciting. >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is what innovation looks like. >> can affect and surprise us. >> i feel like we're making an impact. >> awesome! >> techknow - where technology meets humanity.
>> now i want to move from afghanistan and look at another country in middle east where the united states has another costly history, iraq. part of baghdad's heavily protected green zone are open. prime minister haider al-abadi announced the easing of monitoring. ixght iments imtiaz tyab reports from baghdad.
>> heavily fortified green zone is opened to the public. the decision was announced by prime minister haider al-abadi, attempts to address growing public anger for poor public services. for 12 years the green zone or international zone as it is officially known has been closed to most iraqi citizens. after the 2003 u.s. led invasion it was turned into the administrative headquarters for coalition forces. today the ten square kilometer compound is still surrounded by concrete blast walls, barbed wire and heavily fortified checkpoints. it includes the luxury homes of senior iraqi officials, for many symbolizes the disconnect. >> this move won't last long. we may as well enjoy it as long as we, it will add more time to the checkpoints. trust me this will be shut down
soon. >> reporter: the easing of restrictions inside the green zone is surprising to many here. it has been the target for bombings and rockets, at a time when the overall security of baghdad and the parts of iraq remain under government control continue to decline. shia militias have been accused of abducting and killing sunni american men. human rights groups accuse them of killing and committing war crimes. >> translator: there has been a growing number of kidnappings, it is a clear indication that the government is not in control of these armed groups. there are countless checkpoints across iraq and people are wondering what the exact role of these checkpoints are. >> most iraqis are skeptical of prime minister
abadi's change but offering very little. human rights violations, the opening of a few roads into the green zone won't calm their anger. imtiaz tyab, al jazeera, baghdad. >> tomorrow "on target,," after he told me that my reporting on saudi was full of misrepresentation, i asked him how it comes under strain at times. here is what he told me. >> there's a difference between clerics or people who express sympathy or support for the syrian people in their struggle against a repressive regime in syria and between direct incitement to clear and go to so-called jihad in iraq and syria.
the latter was syria. if you commit that you commit a crime. >> that's our show for tonight, i'm ali velshi. thanks for joining us. betting on sports, but outside of las vegas, it's pretty much, illegal, right? so what do you do? don't bet on the games. bet on game derived performances. in games that don't really happen. it started out as a way for fans to be their own general managers. drafting, trading, seeing how it all works out for fun. fantasy sports are now a multi-billion dollars business, and it's all legal. you want to bet? it's the inside story. ♪