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I'm pleased to see Nagl's now the President of a D.C. think tank.
Dr. John Nagl is the President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Prior to this position, he was a senior fellow at CNAS. He is a Visiting Professor in the War Studies Department at Kings College of London, an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Dr. Nagl was a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy Class of 1988 and served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His last military assignment was as commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor at Fort Riley, Kansas, training Transition Teams that embed with Iraqi and Afghan units. He led a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and served as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He earned his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, taught national security studies at West Point, and served as a Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Nagl also earned a Master of the Military Arts and Sciences Degree from the Command and General Staff College, where he received the George C. Marshall Award. He was awarded the Combat Action Badge by General James Mattis, USMC.
Dr. Nagl is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and was on the writing team that produced the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. His writings have also been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Parameters, Military Review, Joint Force Quarterly, Armed Forces Journal, and Democracy, among others. He was also profiled in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Magazine. Dr. Nagl has previously appeared on National Public Radio, 60 Minutes, Washington Journal, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has lectured domestically and internationally at military war colleges, the Pentagon's Joint Staff and Defense Policy Board, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, major universities, intelligence agencies, and business forums.
Dr. John A. Nagl | Center for a New American Security
The emerging Obama doctrine | csmonitor.com...despite an escalation of troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested that the US will scale back on their goals there, from achieving a full-fledged stable democracy to achieving a semblance of security.
FRONTLINE: the war briefing: interviews: henry crumpton | PBSThis is the main governing council of the Taliban, headed by Mullah [Mohammad] Omar?
Right. Now, they don't have, you know, a permanent office, but they are in the area, and they have meetings there. And it's been tough not only for us but for our Pakistani allies to gain access and control into Quetta, into the surrounding area.
And as you move further north into more mountainous terrain, into South Waziristan, North Waziristan, you get this tribal collection. Many are allied with the Taliban, view themselves as Pakistani Taliban. And others who have resisted have faced some pretty harsh retaliation. Perhaps as many as 200 tribal leaders have been assassinated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
How does it work that they can be so brutal with the population and maintain a kind of indigenous support?
I think that they've been able to rally support because they've been able to focus them on an external threat, whether it's the Pakistani government or the U.S. government or the Afghan government or NATO. And they've been able to influence them through many years of residence, in some cases intermarriage and money and intimidation. They use a mixture of different things that they apply, and they're pretty adept at it.
Who are the main players in South and North Waziristan?
You have various groups there. A little bit further north is the Haqqani clan. They've operated in Waziristan and further north.
Who is that?
[Jalaluddin] Haqqani and the family, they are a well-known Pashtun tribal entity. They fought the Soviets very successfully. After 9/11, they made the choice to align themselves with the Taliban as the Taliban fled into Pakistan. And the ties to Al Qaeda are historical. They're tough and effective fighters.
Jalaluddin Haqqani knew Osama [bin Laden]?
Yes. And the relationship now? I'm not sure how close they might be. I'm not sure where bin Laden is. I wish I did.
But the Haqqani clan is one example, an important example, of how these tribal families are able to exert influence. But they are not universally respected or liked. In fact, there is competition among some of these tribes. Haqqani faces, I believe, some, if not resistance, suspicion and competition in that part of the world.
You've located Haqqani in North Waziristan. Do you know where he is? Does the CIA or the State Department or the ISI, [Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence]?
I don't know if the CIA does or the ISI does. I know that earlier, in '01, '02, there was an effort to have meetings and discussions with Haqqani. In fact, I encouraged this because he is such a key player. The idea was that if Haqqani would be willing to come to an agreement with us to work with us against Al Qaeda along that border region, that would be a good move. And I don't know where the U.S. government or where the Pakistani government is now, today, in any discussions with him. ...
Did you meet with him?
No, I did not. … We sent emissaries to meet with him and his people, and there were some limited communications, but for whatever reason, he decided he did not want to engage with us.
What was the message you got back from Haqqani?
That he was not interested at this time.
However, there WAS some cooperation with some of the tribes early in our CIA focused fight there 2001-2002.
Some of the Taliban did accept our offers. In fact, that is why we had such success in the fall of '01, because we had engagement with a wide variety of Taliban commanders and local tribal leaders -- because our enemy, it was not necessarily the Taliban, and certainly not Afghanistan. Our enemy was Al Qaeda. They are the ones that attacked us on 9/11, and I think that's an important distinction.
And [Afghan] President [Hamid] Karzai, [has had] ongoing efforts to talk to the Taliban, to have them lay down their arms and come into a legitimate form of government. I think that's reasonable and that should be continued, especially if they give up other Al Qaeda allies, if we can get to bin Laden and other leaders.
Last edited by bhkad; 03-10-09 at 09:54 PM.