Thursday, October 15, 2009

Expecting a significant surge of US troop level in Afganistan - Will it deliver?

[US Army in Afghanistan]

In the end the Game of choice and confusion is almost over. Washington is going to increase the number of troops serving in Afghanistan by 45,000 or close to this value. The new plan is expecting to be announced publicly in the next week. The decision was taken after the request from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan some weeks ago.

In line with the new strategy British government is already announced the deployment of 1000 more troops in Helmand province[It is to be remembered that British premier earlier blocked the request for an additional 2000 troops]. In this 1000 new troops 500 will be new troops from Britain and the rest will be redeployed from British battle group currently under international command in Khandahar province. The new deployments will rise the British troop level in Afghanistan to 9,500.

The proposal for the new surge from General McChystal was on hold for some time. The question of new troop surge created heated debate in US. May people opposing the war and want to pullout from the region.

There was three option before Mr Obama. One was to send no new troops at all. But this will lead to a status quo much in favour of Afghan militants and will not show any quick results. Already the number of attacks is increasing exponentially. If Obama continue th war with the current troop level it will not add any substential value to operations and he will be criticized for the continuing turmoil in Af-Pak region.

[British troops on patrol in Helmand province]

The second option was to send a small contingent of additional troops, again this one will not increase the situation substantially. This will lead to severe criticism as a flawed military strategy, both by military strategists and people opposing the surge. The third option was to give enough troops to the General to fight.

Talks are also on air about making an agreement with the moderate group of Taliban, and people who are not fighting for ideology. That may be in correct direction after all Afghanistan suffered severely due to the decades long continuous civil war, and people who are living on the extreme conditions will be happy if they have some guarentee about their life. But any deals with hardcore Taliban and a premature exit will only lead to turmoil. Analysis suggests that their is a considerable possibility in the rise of insurgency level in India, Afghanistan and western provinces of China after a premature withdrawal.

Indeed Afghanistan required a substantial increase in troops, and a different war strategy. Afghan people are suffering the causalities of war from the time immemorial. This is not a conventional warfare, its a guerrilla one. In order to counter this insurgency there should be enough support from the people and and ground forces. More focus on aerial warfare will lead to massive collateral damage, and the war will become more and more unpopular in Afghanistan.

In order to form a substantial stability in Afghanistan, Obama should be able sell the war in Afghanistan successfully to the common people. This will not be an impossible problem for the already proven highly efficient PR machine of Obama. Considerable ground support and the destruction of the safe heavens in Pakistan will put US in an advantageous position.

In all countries there is a strange thing called patriotism. However bad the civil administration and army is, under invasion people will normally support their own army and government -This is true in majority of cases. Whatever US government i saying and doing, in the end of the day they are outsiders.

So in order to gain support of the locals, authorities should be able to generate belief in common people. Make them think that its their war, US and NATO is fighting for them. Another thing they have to do is to find a solution to the reported corruption and other illegal activities. Some reports suggest that Taliban is already receiving a cut in development aid as ransom for the protection of the new developmental projects.

If people doesn't have the faith in administration, then it will be a never ending war for US.


Report of General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan

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