Monday, November 17, 2014

Northeastern Afghanistan - Deadlock

The current situation in the north eastern provinces of Afghanistan (Kunar, Nangarhar, Laghman, and Nuristan) is in a state of deadlock - with neither the insurgents or the government security forces winning. A common axiom is that the counterinsurgent must defeat the insurgent to win; while the insurgent must merely survive. The Taliban have been able to move freely throughout much of this area and although they have been in numerous battles with the security forces they are not defeated. The insurgents have been able to mass their numbers and attack remote police checkpoints and district centers. Their ability to mass into larger units for combat is a direct result of the Taliban realizing that ISAF air support is being withheld or is no longer available. The mosaic that is north eastern Afghanistan is difficult to fathom for the ISAF advisor who deploys to the region for 9 months - the learning curve is great and once the advisor finally has his understanding of the region, its culture, history, politics, and human terrain - he departs (tour over!). Read a comprehensive report about the complexity of this four-province region in "Footsloggers, Turncoats and Enforcers" the fight along the eastern border", Afghanistan Analysts Network, August 18, 2014.

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