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  • 19 Reasons To Win In Afghanistan

    This email is making the rounds on .mil addresses:

    There have been many arguments in the past four weeks to withdraw. We have compiled a short review of other social network debates to summarize the basic arguments for staying in the Afghanistan. The 19th reason has been added at the bottom.

    1. Afghanistan and Pakistan – This Region is Ground Zero for Anti-U.S.
    Radical Islamic Violence. As the host nations for the primary terrorist organization that successfully conducted multiple attacks against the U.S. personnel and facilities, this region, by definition, is important to U.S. national security interests. Between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the preponderance of radical Islamic combatants, their recruitment base, and Al Qaeda central headquarters are current adversaries. Allowing the Taliban and Al Qaeda to return to power in Afghanistan, without their proper acceptance of a clear political defeat, can only:

    1) embolden other U.S. adversaries, 2) increase radical Islamic recruitment, 3) undermine those Afghan civilians who supported the U.S., and 4) set back the notion of moderate Muslim governance for decades to come. This is not just a conflict to terminate Bin Laden but to ultimately diminish the future recruiting base of radical Islam. With realistic projections for a significant youth bulge Afghanistan and Pakistan, the potential for future violence is high for the near future.

    2. U.S. Credibility is at stake.
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations support the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan. Over 500 coalition soldiers from countries other than the U.S. have died in Afghanistan. Abandoning Afghanistan could lead to significant weakening of NATO cohesion/structure and undermine potential future requests for security assistance. The Fallout from a Afghanistan withdrawal can potentially be far worse than remaining. Following the Fall of Vietnam, U.S. experienced setbacks in Cambodia, Philippines, Fall of Iran, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Egypt-Israeli conflict, Angola, Lebanon, Libya, El Salvador, Colombia, and Nicaragua due to the loss of U.S. credibility.

    3. U.S. Presence in Afghanistan has served as a proximity deterrent for Al Qaeda.
    From a severely weakened position, Al Qaeda has been forced to accept the condition of awaiting more opportune circumstances before relaunching its campaign against the U.S. Having U.S. soldiers on the border of Waziristan, is a realistic deterrent from initiating offense operations that are so close to cross-border retaliation. Crossing the border into Pakistan is only one nuclear incident away. If, on the other hand, U.S. soldiers are ordered to abandoned Afghanistan, Al Qaeda will then have the freedom of action to recommence operations.

    4. Counterterrorist campaigns cannot be waged from a distance.
    Critics of the U.S. force presence claim that there are alternatives to holding Al Qaeda at bay such as intensive intelligence, Predator drones, cruise missiles, Special Operations raids, and monetary payments to Warlords to deny safe havens. However, most specialists on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism claim terrorists cannot be confronted at a distance.

    5. Abandoning Afghanistan will move the War’s Frontline from Overseas to the Homeland.
    U.S. military forces in Afghanistan are essentially hardened targets that can easily kill far more Taliban than can be similarly inflicted on U.S. troops. Moving the frontlines from overseas to CONUS will expose the soft underbelly of the U.S. civilian population to potentially horrific casualties. While one American casualty is too many; the scope and scale of potential casualties would remain far less in relative comparison by continuing the fight overseas.

    6. Cost-Benefit Analysis favors Forward Presence.
    Alan Greenspan recently claimed that the long term repercussions of the 9/11 attack contributed to the making of the 2008 global economic crisis, large federal government deficit spending, and the current recession.
    Greenspan indicated that to stimulate the economy immediately after the
    9/11 attack the Federal Reserve needed to cut interest rates dramatically to spur domestic spending. Rates quickly moved from 3.5% to 1%. This reduced Federal Reserve rate helped to fuel speculative borrowing to homeowners who would not normally qualify for home mortgages. Post 9/11 interest rates were also a contributing factor leading to the real estate bubble that burst in 2007. The recent economic crisis has cost the global economy over $11.9 trillion dollars.
    Can the U.S. taxpayer afford another 9/11 type of attack, which coupled with nuclear devices, could have far worse second and third order effects? Spending $60 billion annually is a far less expense than a potential $11.9 trillion dollar impact related to another 9/11 incident.

    7. President Obama and GEN Stanley McChrystal have both claimed that the fight to stabilize Afghanistan is winnable.

    8. Today’s U.S. All Volunteer force is qualitatively a more capable military force than Vietnam predecessor.
    Despite the challenges of facing multiple deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, the All Volunteer force still retains advantages in education, training, hard-won experience, superior leadership and proven equipment compared to its Vietnam counterparts. Joint, Interagency and multi-national coordination has improved.

    9. U.S. Precedent for Bringing Stability in Iraq and Kosovo.
    The U.S. government has experienced recent successes against hostile adversaries during transition phase of war. Although skeptics denounced the potential for U.S. success in these recent conflicts, the track record for success resides with the U.S. government.

    10. Afghanistan provides the venue to Learn about the Long Term Adversary.
    If observers believe that Al Qaeda is a long term enemy of the United States, where is the best location to study the threat than in the actual region? Residing in Afghanistan provides the opportunity to develop language skills, foster culture apperception, discern tribal networks, study vulnerabilities, learn weaknesses, and to recruit the next generation of informants to eventually penetrate Islamic networks. The intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) begins with cultural appreciation that can be gained first-hand by living in the region.

    11. U.S. Presence Denies Sanctuary of the Adversary within Ungoverned Spaces.
    The Al Qaeda selection of Afghanistan is no accident. Terrorist networks have managed to find the ungoverned spaces in Somalia and Afghanistan to construct training camps for future terrorists. Remaining in Afghanistan denies this remote country from becoming a host for terrorist training activities.

    12. U.S. Presence, if managed properly, can serve to Drain the Terrorist Recruitment Swamp.
    This is a delicate balance. Merely occupying a country, does not guaranteed setting the conditions to diminish hostile recruitment. Nonetheless, if presence can be performed in a manner which engenders hope, fosters rule of law, exhibits benefits of governance and development, then the seeds of peace can be sown into a war torn region.

    13. The Germany Precedent.
    Unless a determined adversary is convinced of defeat, the second war becomes much more pronounced, highly probable, and devastating. World Wars I and II were the same war. Germany merely brought about a strategic pause to regroup and refine its war winning strategy. The Peace treaty of 1918 was nothing more a temporary cessation of conflict. Germany convinced the world that it was militarily weakened. A strategic deception plan was underway that only became apparent in 1939. The Wehrmacht’s “stab in the back” thesis led by WWI veterans kept the interwar sentiments strong and thriving. Similarly, Al Qaeda must be taught that it has been defeated to prevent a far worst catastrophy. If, as a decentralized network, it cannot be made to accept defeat, then a generational strategy to await the natural death of key Al Qaeda leadership may be a more thorough and calculating approach.

    14. Loss of Superior Force and Infrastructure Posture against Iran.
    If Iran is truly one of the most likely and most dangerous near-term adversaries of the United States, it makes little sense to abandon a mature base infrastructure and a means for a Second Front against a potential War with Iran. Multiple Lines of Communications complicates Iranian defense planning, splits their leadership focus, undermines soldier morale, and can lead to a much shorter Iran war with superior U.S. force posture.

    15. Strategic rhetoric of an early withdrawal prolongs any conflict.
    During later phases of a war (Phases 4 and 5), one of the greatest challenges is to cause the mid-level managerial “fence sitters” to choose sides. The Fence sitters are the local leaders who will eventually make a support decision, encourage the reporting of concealed identification of Taliban adversaries, and buttress a regime when it becomes apparent that the presence is for the long term. The irony is that public indecision and senior official debate weakens the U.S.
    position. A firm strategic communications plan to express long-term presence will speed the commitment of mid-level managerial fence-sitters to align with U.S. supporters.

    16. Other Models of U.S. Occupation Beyond Vietnam.
    Although Vietnam resulted in a failed U.S. position, there are other examples of successful U.S. presence with a much smaller footprint. Following the Spanish-American War, U.S. military presence existed in the Philippines from 1899 through the 1980s. A violent insurgency existed but was able to be overcome. General Blackjack Pershing, General Arthur MacArthur and others were participants in this long term presence. The strategic key is to minimize the Army’s footprint and scale of presence to be capable of sustaining posture for the long term. Still other examples include Kosovo, Germany, Japan and Liberia. Liberia is particularly interesting. LURD and MODEL combatants remained fence sitters for nearly two years after the Civil War ended in 2003. When they became convinced that U.S. and U.N. presence was for the long term, their leaders accepted political positions working for the central Monrovian government.

    17. U.S. Needs to Honor the Ultimate Sacrifice of U.S. soldiers on the fields of Afghanistan by staying the course.
    Dedicated families, friends, and communities have stood behind the very real sacrifices of sons and daughters to fight for defense of the nation. Woe to the nation that forgets the sacrifices of its heroes- will there be a next generation that are willing to commit its defense.

    18. Whole of Government Approach
    A whole of government approach is being implemented in Afghanistan in an unprecedented way, offering a better chance of success than in previous engagments of this type. According to a State Department blog, “In Afghanistan, the new Interagency Civil-Military Action Group (ICMAG) within the U.S. Embassy is the lead body for policy implementation and problem solving. Already, ICMAG has facilitated integrated guidance and geographically-based plans for Regional Command-East and is now moving to Regional Command-South. It has supported development of functional sectoral efforts in areas such as health and focused district development and is increasingly coordinating with international actors such as the International Security Assistance Force (on metrics), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (on district mapping) and with the United Kingdom (Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team). ICMAG is also working on developing an integrated metrics system in-country.” Moreover the U.S. military is continuing to leverage the knowledge and expertise of various kinds of civilian social scientists in winning the hearts and minds campaign. Parts of this approach were obviously used in other ewcwnt conflicts, but perhaps with less emphasis and resources.

    19. The Taliban is largely unpopular and can be defeated.
    While the Taliban have some following among their Pashtun co-ethnics, especially in the southern part of the country, the Taliban are generally hated by the Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazarra and other non-Pashtun groups that together make up a numerical majority in Afghanistan. The memory of Taliban persecution is fresh and motivational for all the non-Pashtun groups. Wherever they have gone since 2004, the Taliban have used barbaric tactics to win the obedience of the local populations.
    They win “hearts and minds” by murder, violence and coercion. Nearly all opinion polls indicate very little support for the Taliban. The Taliban can be defeated and blocked by strategies that protect the population and build up the security capacity of the Afghan state, its provinces and its districts.
    Counter-sanctuary activities by Pakistani forces could easily disrupt their base areas and training grounds. Better coordination with Persian Gulf allies and stronger counternarcotics efforts could dry up their financial base. The Taliban cannot win unless the West quits.

    In Summary, multiple threats are being addressed by the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. They include: dealing with the primary threats of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, preparing for a destabilized Pakistan with nuclear weapons, posturing for a future hostile Iran, and reducing the long-term recruitment of radical Islamic terrorists from this region.
    At the center of debate, however, is the question of whether the average U.S. voter truly believes that Al Qaeda and Taliban can seriously pose a threat to U.S. national security interests at home and abroad? If yes, then it becomes questionable for a decision to willfully deliver strategic victory to a weakened terrorist network by pulling out of Afghanistan.
    There are significant ramifications for U.S. credibility abroad to our detriment. When the first nuclear device explodes in a heavily populated U.S. city, who will be held responsible for this incident?

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to 19 Reasons To Win In Afghanistan

    1. Wilfried Schuler, Fr says:

      If a young boy is all alone in the woods, he starts to whistle or to sing. Just to keep his moral high. This is the origin of an old proverb.

      "Whistling in the cold and dark forest"

      And this is the nature of this article. Stunning the message that a war against Iran is already a given fact in your thoughts. And of course, there must be the inevitable mushroom cloud. A real intectual master piece.

      Anyway, the bank of China will stop your war without firing a shot at a moment of their choice. Than you may try your beloved Armageddon which obviously infests 90% of american brains.

    2. Lee Dimin, Albany, N says:

      The Heritage Foundation continues the lies, distortions of facts, and the paranoia of the Bush-Cheney administration, without respect for the 5,000 U.S. military lives already sacrificed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the 32,000 physically wounded and more than 100,000 mwntally wounded. They call for more damage to Amercans than al-Qaeda can ever accomplish. Why? Because they represent those specals interests that profit from war and killing, i.e.: Halliburton, KBR and the oher companies that made millions in profits at the cost of American lives, limbs and financial collapse.

      Heritsage is defined as "something that can be inherited; traditon transmitted from one generton to another". The "Heritage" Foundation transmits death, destruction and fear – nothing worth inheriting.

    3. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      Who is this Lee Dimin, the Heritage Foundation gives us clear, honest answers about what is happening in Afganistan! Our military is ready to do what it takes to protect our country. If we need more troops to do this, then yes, send them. Do you think the troops in the US like standing by and hearing how our guys are being killed, and need help? No, they are trained to fight, fight for freedom, where ever it is in the world! The Afgan people need our help! I say, send the troops, if my son or daughter was in Afganistan, I would say "What are you waiting for Mr. President"? Stop trying to push your health reform agenda, pay attention to our troops, dieing!

    4. Frederick Hallett, A says:

      For a reasoned, carefully thought out alternative opinion see "Llet's Beat the Extremists Like We Beat the Soviets: We Won One Cold War: It's Time for Another" by Andrew Basevich , Professor of History and International Relations at Boston University (Washington Post, Sunday Oct. 4, 2009). There are many troubling things about our current strategy for Afghanistan. Many of the people we are fighting are neither Taliban nor AlQaeda, but rather just people who don't want foreign troops in their region.

      I fear that this is a woefully inefficient way to accomplish our legitimate goal of protecting America.

    5. Maurice Kane, Los An says:

      Afghanistan is a significant front-line conflict and I fundamentally share adherence to the premises of the article and a conviction that the 19 reasons, summarized herein, are valid. However, bearing in mind that it is a synopsis and not a treatise, I would add (1) that support for Karzai qua Karzai is not an integral component of any of the strategic interests, goals, and/or objectives to thwarting the Taliban in particular and jihadism in general (whether or not affiliated with al-Qaeda)and (2)the prior Administration should not have opposed a restoration of the traditional monarchy, which presented an independent pre-Soviet, pre-Taliban source of governmental legitimacy and thus stability, and would be accepted by tribal elders. Kabul need not be an automatic "Aye" vote for the USA in international fora in order for it to serve as a trustworthy stabilizing force and part of an anti-Islamist coalition in South Asia.

    6. Tim Az says:

      I'll be the devils advocate here. Why should Mao-Bama continue to do nothing in Afgahnistan? He can use our son's and daughters in the military as a disciplinary tool against the Americans who refuse to support his political agenda both foreign and domestic. He can institute high casualties every time Americans oppose him and his egenda. Saul Alinsky would be proud.

    7. Diana the MO Ozarks says:

      Great article and great points!! Folks need to wake up, become aware through education on all of the vital issues concerning our current conflicts on the WOT.

      When folks can educate themselves, at least they are 'armed' with knowledge and not just talking heads (on either side of the aisle)

      Please do not politize this conflict, everyone loses when that happens.

      God bless our troops and many He form a shield of protection around them for completing the mission(s) at hand. And always God bless America, our America that we must maintain and keep free from tyranny.

    8. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      Rather surprising comments above.

      Hail to Heritage for this clever analysis especially the 13, 16 and 19 points which alone make the point far more than needed.

      It might be possible that some people still entangled in the torpor of their half sleep, so not to see the whole picture of this war that is just starting.

      Bank of China is just one of the indicators of this war against us, which is a corollary of, in one hand the 9-11, in the other a long planned offensive against us applied by Rat et consorts.

      How people can be that disconnected from Reality?

      American need to stop fighting-at least when it comes to defending this country-those who don't must be viewed as TROJAN HORSES, conscious or not so that most will see how seriously this multidimentional war should be taken.

    9. ChuckL, Nevada says:

      Interesting comments from the first two commentators. Perhaps they are recent graduates of the failing American school systems and simply have never learned about the American freedom donations to the rest of the world.

      We fought and defeated would be dictators in Europe, and Asia. Then WE, The AMERICAN People, helped rebuild the countries that had been ravaged by the invaders. We restored Kuwait to its rightful citizens. We have almost finished doing the same thing for the citizens of Iraq.

      Wilfried Schuler owes his freedom to US. Withour US Europe would be either Nazi or Communist.

      Lee Dimin quite simply does not understand that giving in to evil, promotes more evil. WE can pray that some day he understands.

    10. Vallejo, Ca. says:

      When we invaded Irac, we " Opened the Pandora's Box." If we as a Leading Nation, can bring all our alies to fight for the same cause,we can win.If not,we've started the begaining of the End of the World as we know it now ! God Bless America and have Mercy on the Damn Fools who have brought this upon us.

    11. Ben Franklin, IN says:

      WOW! Did I miss something? Did Al-Qaeda NOT target the US and kill over 3,000 people on 9/11/01? Was it a dream? Has the radical jihad NOT been continuing to plot and scheme and promote violence towards the West, Israeli, their own people when they don't agree with their views? Have they NOT been issuing statements of war against us? Is the Taliban NOT attempting to re-assert control over Afghanistan and trying undermine the government in Pakistan? Did the Taliban NOT provide a safe haven for AL-Qaeda?

      When someone declares war on you one option is to stick your head in the sand and pretend its not happening, I guess.

    12. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      With our current resources, the debts that we owe China and to Russia, combined with the promise that 'if' we were to use Nuclear weapons on Iran and or any other Middle East Nation, they would retaliate against all our Armed Forces every where in the World but here in the USA; Combined with the facts of Iran already having at least an Atomic Bomb and able to reach Israel;

      My suggestion is to immediately withdraw all of our Troops from around the World. Call back all our on sea Navies, and private shipping, call and ground all our fights anywhere but within our Nation, bring back all Americans from wherever they are;

      Then Nuke the Hell out of Afganistan and Iran, until nothing remains but glass and sand. God knows his own, He will take care of those souls, that is not our job.

    13. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      I think it is clear that Obama has no intention of winning in the war on terror, he and his Party are too much invested in chaos. Better to have a viable terrorist threat so as to increase the Democrat's liberal fascist grip, they do not dare to solve the problem. The progressive liberals are vested in the Socialist agenda, so the terror threat will be used to get unprecidented power and go after Conservatives (that's what terrifies them).

    14. Brian Diemer, Albany says:

      We all agree that war is wrong, but saying this war is about the increase in greedy corporate profits as the main sinister reason is wrong. Al Qaeda and the Taliban need to be neutralized now, instead of being allowed to take over Afghanistan and launch a bigger problem in Nuclear armed Pakistan which is very unstable. We need to keep getting Afghans on our side to help them determine a democratic future for themselves as well as their neighbors. The genie can't be put back into the Nuclear bottle, so it must be controlled as sanity must prevail. What other choice do we have? For America to shrink now from this leadership role, will accelerate chaos and revolutions were instability is ripe.

    15. John Miller says:

      I fully support the presence of US and allied troops in Afghanistan. This is not a war of conquest, nation-building or as some would have it a manifestation of US imperialism. Afghanistan is but one country in the region that is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and in other fora, I have used the term arc of instability to describe Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

      The biggest problem is Pakistan where LeT is extremely strong and more disturbingly the training ground for expatriate Pakistanis who then return to the West with terrorism in mind. However at present Afghanistan is the beachhead and a decisive victory is required in that country.

      The basic problem of who should govern and in whose interest is in the hands of the Allies and an extremely difficult problem to solve, especially given the deep tribal divisions and loyalties within the local population. However, to withdraw precipitately is to invite triumphalist Islamists to take the war to Washington and and other US cities.

      The sooner people realize that jihadists of any stripe use an unreformed sixth century quasi-religion as a theological cover for terrorism, the better. And it does the US government little credit to issue weasel words to describe terrorism: a terrorist act is by definition the act of a terrorist; it is not a man-caused disaster and although Ms Napolitano and the cringing bunch that provided advice for a new lectionary earlier on this year need to reflect on that. How about "divinely inspired murder?" Reduced its fundamentals that's what terrorism really is because of the beliefs of the adherents of extremist theologies.

      On the battlefield, the fight is asymmetrical warfare, something with which the US has problems. It is the sort of situation where you have to be in for the long haul because there are no quick solutions. Winning hearts and minds is important but in the final analysis, some more of your critics and lily-livered bloggers Mike asked where they would like to fight the final battle – in the streets of Washington, New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Miami or even the most unlikely of places in Nevada.

      Since the end of the Vietnam war and the Cold War, the world needs a new moral compass but compromise with those who seek to destroy the very freedoms that the US, UK and other Western democracies enjoy is to invite overwhelming disaster. For someone in Germany to write such nonsense as Herr Schuler above is quite astonishing: he obviously doesn't read the German press and discover for himself how much trouble Europe is in with fundamentalist Islam.

      Lest I be convicted of the heinous charge of being some sort of right-wing super hawk, I am a social democrat but I have over 30 years in the military and intelligence behind me. I do not speak from a position of ignorance.

    16. Walter Bradley, Loui says:

      Totally disagree with the points made in this article. In case you haven't noticed, the US's prestige is already shot. Consider this: how does it look to the rest of the world when we try to set things straight militarily, as well as export our cultural values while we rack up record deficits and we are morally bankrupt? Please. If I thought we had something worthwhile to offer Afghanistan I might be more supportive but with the exception of our military we're practically on life support in this country and I don't expect a turnaround anytime soon. Let's cut our losses and bring our folks home. There's nothing to gained there.

    17. Tim Az says:

      Walter Bradley have you ever considered becoming a citizen of France? Maybe the prestige of the French will buy you some sleep.

    18. Walter Bradley, Loui says:

      Don't read me wrong Tim Az. I served this country honorably and was willing to die for it. In addition I don't like France. My problem is this: our objective in Afghanistan is no longer clear. When is the last time you heard someone articulate clearly why we are there? I understand that the current commanding general thinks we can win. Fine. Hopefully Pres. Obama will approve the additional troops and we can win it and get out because our so called enemies will just wait us out and return after we've left and finish what they started. Trust me, it happened in Vietnam and it will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Watch and see.

    19. Harry Snyder Mich. says:

      Simple logic: The Taliban is/was a regime practicing an extreme version of Islam. Women were little more than slaves. The slightest violation of Shar'ia law was punished by cruel punishment, torture, even violent death. They haven't changed their beliefs.

      They willingly gave al-Qaeda asylum and assistance to plan the atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001: 5 buildings totally destroyed, etc, etc. al-Qaeda is still in Afghanistan, they will ally once again to plan and execute further attacks on the U.S. and others, this time with nuclear devices furnished by Iran, or Pakistan, if it is taken over or destabilized.

      The U.S. adopts a "Fortress America" policy at it's mortal peril. It didn't work before WWI or WWII. The "interventionist" Marshall Plan saved Western Europe from Soviet Russian domination.

      Current leadership in D.C. is ineffectual or pathetic or anti-U.S., and a vigorous, aggressive new model is sorely needed/terribly necessary unless our nation is to become a backwater second- or third-class country.

    20. Pingback: Grassroots in Nebraska: In the News: October 1-7, 2009 | Grassroots in Nebraska

    21. Mary Parks, Port Orc says:

      Perhaps after reading this post some may shift their views. Depending on his/her perspective. I myself DO NOT ever want to witness the live coverage and aftermath of 9-1-1. Seems like Homeland Security has done a great job protecting us since.

      Yes, I have friends and family fighting for "our" lives and theirs in that region. Yes, I dearly want to see them again, hopefully alive.

      However, if it keeps a people who are willing to

      die for Allah from coming to our shores en masse, then we need to be there.

      Remember this is a war like none other-We do not know the enemy. He/She could be anywhere.

    22. Tariq Khan says:

      20th reason is that united States is currently a World Leader in a unipolar world. Regardless of this fact being an outcome of result or design , it is there. The obligation of a World leader surfaces the decision of shopkeeper i.e. cost benifit analysis and points more to morale, but intangible factor of retaining the status, posture and credibility of a world leader, heavying his the head that wears the crown.

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