Monday, September 28, 2009

Soviet vs NATO in Afghanistan

An interesting comparison of Soviet and NATO experiences in Afghanistan--a good, informed one for a change. Steve Coll compares how the late Soviet strategy is similar to McChrystal's new strategy.
The revival of an urban-dominated “ink spot” strategy for the defense of a weak Afghan state may be the best of a series of bad military choices. Certainly the past U.S. military approaches since 2001—a concentration on counterterrorism raids initially, followed by a poorly resourced counterinsurgency approach that also made a dubious priority of rural Helmand Province—have not stanched the Taliban’s revival.
Those are a lot of ifs. The uncertainties point, like so many other factors in this conflict, to the central importance of politics in Kabul and Islamabad.
Smarter than your average bear in terms of comparing past and present--that the USSR tried an inkspot strategy focused on cities and that seems to be the McChrystal strategy as well.

I still need to hear more about what Gen. McChrystal wants to do to have an opinion, but this article does raise some important questions.

As always, in counter-insugency, success is pretty hard to measure.

No comments: