Afghanistan Surge In The Making?

The recent death of nine US soldiers who were killed at an isolated outpost in the mountains of Afghanistan has again raised the issue if there is a need for an Afghan surge. Taliban and al-Qaeda militants have become more aggressive and their ability to slip back and forth the Afghan border with Pakistan creates difficult logistical problems for dealing with the insurgency. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates indicated: “I think that we are clearly working very hard to see if there are opportunities to send additional forces sooner rather than late.” His comment indicates the Pentagon is working on contingency plans to shift troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Admiral Mike Mullen, who recently returned from a trip to that area of the world noted: “It’s a tougher fight, it’s a more complex fight, and they need more troops to have the long-term impact that we wall want to have there.”

The reality is seven years have passed since American led forces defeated the Taliban and installed a new government in Kabul. Little has been done for seven years to develop an effective fighting force in Afghanistan or to place pressure on its government to undertake the needed reforms that would stimulate economic activity and lessen power of tribal lords. Afghanistan is NOT Iraq. Its geography is more suited to guerrilla warfare as Soviet troops learned during their battles in the country. A successful surge in one place does not guarantee it in another.