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July 09, 2009

The Second Afghan War

There are signs that our military leaders have learned lessons from both our 7 years of operations in Afghanistan and our successes in Iraq. They have begun a major shift in strategy and tactics to reflect that. We have discussed some aspects of it here including the decision announced to limit bombing of residential dwellings even if we are receiving fire from them. While this decision may seem counter-intuitive at first. when examined in the framework of a larger shift toward safeguarding populations v. killing bad guys it becomes very understandable.

This same change in Iraq, to take territory and then stay there alongside the populace, was instrumental in shifting public opinion in Iraq. In conjunction with increased security from local forces it led to our ability to let the Iraqis take care of themselves. A similar strategy is now being employed in Afghanistan, but faces many more challenges. The Afghan security forces are near useless as currently constituted. Tribal issues make it almost impossible for any national forces to be used in an area where they are not native. Our training efforts have focused on attempting to put together Afghan police and military units but the problem is that other than perhaps Hamid Karzai there are no Afghans. There are a patchwork of tribes and villages and cliques that speak different languages, hold centuries long beefs and don't see themselves as part of this larger, artificial thing we call Afghanistan.

The full post at BLACKFIVE


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posted by Uncle Jimbo at 02:09 PM

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