If US plans counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, more troops are needed.

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Taliban fighters
Taliban fighters

Strategy drives military method. General Stanley McChrystal wishes to employ counterinurgency methods, protecting Afghan people and property from the taliban. The actual strategy that counterinsurgency is aimed at is not exactly clear to some.

Others promote counter-terrorism, which means less troop requirements and focusing on killing or capturing terrorists a opposed to focusing more on the populace’s safety.

If counterinsurgency is to work, we will need more help from NATO. Also, the countries that surround Afghanistan, such as China and India could help. They each have a vested interest–probably more so than the US–in ensuring that the Taliban does not spread extremism throughout the region. Remember, the Taliban is a local problem, unlike al-Qaeda which posed a global threat. I prefer the counter-terrorism option in this unsaveable country.

All of this begs the question of the necessity of counterinsurgency in Afganistan in ensuring US security. If we choose the counterinsurgency option and do not provide more troops, we will violate the military maxim of concentration of forces. The result will be more attacks on relatively weak and remote US forces such as occured in eastern Afganistan a few days ago. The attacks show sophistication. Some reports say that the insurgents lit the outpost on fire and that the heat from the fires decreased the effectiveness of thermal imaging devices on US Apache gunships attempting fire support for US troops during the early dawn raid.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters swarmed an Afgan police station, taking many policemen hostage, then, fighting from high positions with AK-47s and RPGs, attacked the US outpost, eventually breaching the secure perimeter. 8 US servicemen were killed along with two Afghan National Security Force members also died. The assualt was eventually repulsed. Some reports state that up to 700 Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters took place in the attack, with the outpost defended by a scant 50 US and Afghan troops.

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One thought on “If US plans counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, more troops are needed.

    Bill said:
    October 8, 2009 at 5:54 am

    I just heard a Russian Foreign minister complaining to the US (it’s going to be in teh form of an official complaint) that as a result of how we’re handling the situation, Russia is being flooded with dirt cheap, ultra potent Heroin. This has fluctuated forever but they say it’s never been this bad. Could just be russia being opportunistic (and at least to some small extent, it almost certainly is). This jibes with what much of Europe is reporting . That the heroin is cheap and strong – that’s what happens when there’s competition and huge incentives to compete. So Russia wants us to spray the fields – this will, if we do it, leave a poor country without a major source of revenue. There’s no way that will be well received locally.

    Like you’ve said, there’s no infrastructure there – there’s nothing we can really call a society. So other than Islam, Terrorism and Heroin, nothing comes out of there. Taking away the one way people feed themselves (and according to one of the vids you posted, a major way that the Afghani’s who are unhappy deal with their miserable lives) and not replacing it will leave a void that will be filled one way or the other – and the smart money says it’ll be filled by something bad for the US.

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