Thursday, October 22, 2009

Afghanistan, the growing albatross

Nicholas Kristoff's excellent summary of the USA no win policy in Afghanistan still contains to my mind a vain hope. He thinks by holding US presence at the current level is the right way,. He is probably right. But the end result, contrary to Kristoff's prognosis remains the same. The US will have to leave Afghanistan humiliated one way or another. The article is here.

New York Times has been running a riveting series of "Held by the Taliban" by a reporter who managed to escape from a Taliban camp. The first installment is here.

One observation caught my attention in his Part 4 installment published yesterday because it confirms the unpleasant truth about the fundamental flaw of US Afghan war policy using brute and massive force as if it were fighting a conventional war even though it is called a counter-insurgency war.

Second, it confirms the mindless obsessions with "body count" in gauging the progress of the military campaign, the same mistake that plagued the Vietnam War mindset. The truth is for every Taliban or for that matter, Al Qaeda, fighter killed, two step forward to join. For every senior fighter killed, the depth of its rank is sufficient to provide "promotions" to take the place of the fallen.

Here is the tell-tale paragraph:

..."A stalemate between the United States and the Taliban seemed to unfold before me. The drones killed many senior commanders and hindered their operations. Yet the Taliban were able to garner recruits in their aftermath by exaggerating the number of civilian casualties...."

No comments: