Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, told the Los Angeles Times America’s allies simply did not know how to gain victory in Afganistan. “I’m worried we’re deploying(military advisers) that are not properly trained and I’m worried we have some mlitary forces that don’t know how to do counter-insurgency operations.” He blamed lack of training regarding insurgency situations has impaired the ability of NATO troops to succeed in Afghanistan. Jaap de Hoop Schefeer, NATO’s secretary general,rejected the criticism and appeared surprised the American Secretary of Defense would openly criticize allies. British defence officials said Gates had quickly telephoned them to make clear he was not referring to British troops, but to NATO as a whole.
Ironically, British military leaders consider American tactics in Afghanistan as counter-productive. They disagree with the extensive use of aerial bombing which usually results in the deaths of civilians and gains support for the Taliban among those who are being bombed. The British do not believe Americans have a grasp on how to conduct counter-insurgency operations. For example, the British want to organize self defense militia in villages which has been flatly rejected by American military leaders.
At some point, the United States has to take a step back and examine the results of six years of fighting using tactics that apparently are NOT WORKING. The Taliban continues to expand its control over areas of Afghanistan from which they were driven years ago and the United States insists NATO doesn’t know what to do. Perhaps, NATO forces are not well versed in dealing with insurgencies, but the United States can hardly point to its success in confronting such groups as a model of success.
Isn’t it time for all involved in the Afghan operation to take a step back, get together some of the best minds on handling insurgencies and come up with a new plan that just might work?