There is controversy stirring over a report that the President is considering sending 10,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, along with the 21,000 reinforcements he as already committed and the 38,000 in-country. To all of the detractors, I must clearly state that the idea of sending troops to Afghanistan is the correct one.
Especially in the Pashtun areas of the south, American and ISAF presence is far too limited. About 70% of the population of the country are friendly Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Only in the south of the country, about 20% of the land area of the country is the volatile Pashtun regions. One of the problems is that the Pashtuns in Pakistan, supported by al Qaeda and elements of the Pakistani intelligence services, are supporting the Taliban.
While these extra troops may help the situation, the President and his staff must make sure that they also send a strategy. General David Petraeus is well-known for executing a counter-insurgency effort in Iraq that turned the war around. We must make our focus on protecting the population, not just eliminating the Taliban. We must split the population from al Qaeda and the Taliban and give them reason to side with us. If they want to fight alongside us, that’s great, but we cannot give them weapons in case they plan to use them against us. It was this strategy with the Awakening in Iraq that helped the Iraqi-Coalition forces defeat al Qaeda and their allies.
These 29,000 extra troops, along with a potential of thousands of European forces, could help turn the tide. We must make sure that we do not give up the fight. Out of Afghanistan came the plan to attack the United States. With a power vacuum and the return of the Taliban, al Qaeda will not only come back, but come back with the belief that they have defeated the United States.
To be cross-posted at Jumping in Pools.