Sunday, January 27, 2008

So, a 1000 more troops increases the chances of success

Whew, am I ever happy Mr. Manley has pointed that out.

Here I thought we needed to worry about increased poppy production, a resurgent Taliban, which is now carrying out attacks in heretofore "secure" parts of Afghanistan, a porous Pakistan/Afghan border and extreme political unrest in Pakistan.

Mr. Manley states all of these are certainly concerns but they can be compensated for by adding a 1000 NATO troops, with some helicoptors and unmanned drones, in the South of Afganistan.

Who knew?

Kind of makes me wonder why the Soviets lost their war in Afghanistan. They had over 100 thousand Soviet troops, with armour, artillery, air support and honking big helicoptor gunships. They were supported by an Afghan army numbering in the 10s of thousands and unlike NATO the Soviets actually gave these Afghan army troops real equipment with which to fight. They still lost.

NATO only has around 60 thousand troops in Afghanistan, of which about 15 thousand are in the Khandahar region and they have yet to create a viable Afghan army. I guess that does not really matter to Mr. Manley however since he believes that only another 1000 NATO troops in Khandahar will be enough to overcome all of those other issues that are interfering with NATO's inevitable triumph.

Mr. Manley's report is very much a political document. He described the complex, interdependent challenges facing the NATO forces in Afghanistan very well but in the true fashion of all politicians everywhere he came up with a simple, easy to digest "solution" to those problems.

He does pay some lip-service to greater diplomacy but he focuses on greater diplomacy with Pakistan to prevent the Taliban from using its territory as a safe haven. He of course does not say how the world is to deal with a Pakistani government that is so riven with competing factions and with no real hope of being united in the near to medium term.

And he certainly does not mention that a military victory against the Taliban is now out of the question so real peace in that country is only going to come about by talking to the less bloody minding elements of the Taliban.

The Afghan mission has gone off the rails and the world has a choice. Either invest the time, money, lives and effort to reshape the mission or abandon it. Neither choice will be as easily accomplished with the simple bromides that Mr. Manley and his panel gave us last week.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

Your analysis is spot on. The Afghan struggle is a blur of wheels within wheels that spin from India, through Kashmir and the Punjab into the Northwest Frontier and the Tribal Lands, Balochistan, the Pashtun south and Uzbek, Tajik and Hazara centre and north and on into Iran. There are so many players and what one does inevitably impacts, often with unwanted consequences, on others. NATO isn't even trying to accommodate those realities and neither is Manley.

January 27, 2008 6:54 PM  
Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

By the way, I noticed you're into soaring. Does the Hawkesbury club still operate?

January 27, 2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger knb said...

I agree with all that you've said ottlib.

The obvious question to me is this. We are supposedly fighting in order to not give the Taliban a place to regroup. Nonsense in my view if you understand who they are. Further, we are fighting to not provide Al Qaeda ground to plot. Huh?

What the heck does everyone think they are doing in Pakistan. I know it's a fractured group, or so we think, but they obviously have freedom somewhere. I doubt it's restricted to a cave or a condo.

The mound of sound is right. It's so complex and it's not being spoken of, though I defer to his knowledge.

In 2008, we should be able to hear and digest the complexity. It makes me sad that we seem to not want to.

The leader of we do not want to know is Harper of course, but I admit, it would be tough for anyone in power.

January 27, 2008 8:51 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

mound:

As far as I know Hawksbury is still open. I am a little out of the loop because it has been more than a year since I have done any soaring.

I fly out of the Gatineau Gliding Club in Pendleton, just east of Ottawa, but I was not able to do it last summer because of time constraints.

Hopefully this summer I will be able to find the time to do some soaring.

There really are very few things like passing through 6000 ft, going up at 2 knots at a speed of 70 knots.

January 27, 2008 9:17 PM  

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