While announcing his new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan on March 27, 2009, President Obama had said that, "going forward, we will not blindly stay the course. Instead, we will set clear metrics to measure the progress and hold ourselves accountable." These measures were to be framed in pursuance of the administration’s stated objective of “disrupting, dismantling and defeating the al-Qaida” in the AfPak region. The draft metrics comprising some 50-odd measures of performance have since been framed and made public. Incidentally, the issue of draft metrics also coincided with General Stanley McCrystal’s review of counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. The assessment calls for a major shift in the US’ war fighting strategy, necessitating the deployment of 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.
The strategy debate has since intensified. Several officials from within the US administration are seen rooting for options ranging from a minimalist to a maximalist approach. While Republicans believe that the war effort is grossly under resourced, there are others and in particular President Obama’s own colleagues who are visibly uneasy with General McCrystal’s recent assessment. McCrystal has stressed the need for a troop-intensive strategy to support the nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. He argues that diluting the strategic goal at this stage would be short-sighted. He has also consistently opposed the so-called `Biden’ plan and the much talked about tactic of `off shoring’ the military campaign which was also recently advocated by the influential columnist George Will. Read the full Article: http://www.idsa.in/publications/stratcomments/HarinderSingh221009.htm
Afghanistan Region has always been a 'tough region' to control. Terrain, under-development, least exposure to the World outside has affected the psyche of people in the Region. It is a 'jungle raj'. Wielding a Gun, and Killing are favourite past time. Organised 'war lords' dominating their respective 'Sectors of Influences', are troops consuming. It is 'guerrilla versus guerrilla' fight. Massive troops are needed for overall control and operations; both for conventional and non-conventional fighting in the Zone. Earlier the US recognises it, better it would be. It is a tough fight, long-term.
Brigadier(Retired) Sukhwindar Singh
(A Global Solution for Offsets)
Credit: In Arrangement with the Institute of Defence Studies & Analyses, http://www.idsa.in/, A Think Tank of India on Matters Defence.