General Mark Carleton-Smith, who commands British forces in Afghanistan is arguing there is need for a significant increase in the number of troops assigned to that nation if any progress is to be made against Taliban militants. Senior military officers are reported to seek a growth in the number of British troops from about 8,000 to 12,000 which would represent a significant rise considering they initially consisted of 3,000 back in 2006. “One of the characteristics of counter-insurgency,”he told The Independent, “unlike conventional war, is the more successful you are in the short term,the more troops you require. The more ground and the more people you become responsible for, the more troops you need….there is no point thinking that aviation is going to make a strategic difference.”
Seven years have passed during which there was ample time to create a powerful Afghanistan army. Perhaps, someone could explain why it took seven years for this need to be recognized. However, in the long run, counter-insurgencies are successful if they can win the support of local populations and that entails economic development and political changes that reflect meeting local needs. More troops without the other factors will not succeed.