Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Surge in Afghanistan

The Bush administration is sending 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It is being referred to as another ‘surge.’ The troops will go into southern Afghanistan to augment 13,500 Canadian, Dutch and British soldiers already in that area. They will be under the command of U.S. Brig. Gen. John Nicholson.
Nicholson said, “If we get the troops, they’re going to move into areas that haven’t been secured, and when we do that, the enemy is there, and we’re going to fight,” said Nicholson, who spent 16 months commanding a brigade of 10th Mountain Division troops in eastern Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.
That fighting should eventually clear the way for security and governance to take hold, he said. “If you want to summarize that as it’s going to get worse before it gets better, that’s exactly what we’re talking about,”
Patterico observed that: “The Iraq surge started with the Sunni Awakening in western Iraq, one of the hotbeds of the insurgency. But the eastern provinces near Pakistan — not the south — have been the problem in Afghanistan. Difficulty engaging the eastern tribes is one reason experts believe a surge won’t work in Afghanistan.
Perhaps this is a variation of the surge where the goal is to isolate the eastern provinces. If security, government, and improved conditions can be established in the south, NATO forces will have a base to expand east. Maybe that will encourage the people of the eastern provinces to accept the benefits realized by their southern neighbors.”

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