Now it’s all good in Afghanistan. The strategy is working. The goal to hand over the keys to the Afghans in 2014 can be met. The security climate is improving while Regional Command-East, South, and South-west remain in a constant kinetic posture. And you can eat chicken in Marja!
Good data provided by the Danger Room on IED’s. Sadly, a new record was set this past month of November in Afghanistan when more than 1,500 new IED’s were constructed and emplaced. However, somehow there is good news in all of this because the majority of IED strikes were less lethal and produced lower casualties. I thought the idea behind COIN was to win the support of the populace by securing them. If the numbers of IED strikes are a metric to gauge the intensity of an insurgency, and this number continues to increase over time (and set new monthly total records), then where is the good news in the fact that November’s IED totals set a new record? Obviously we will always take comfort in the efforts to improve survivability and detection, as well as having less casualties, but really, this fact is not good news nor does it shed a good light on how effective or successful US/NATO COIN operations are.
Final note, why do General Officers who fail in their missions (i.e. defeat IED’s) get promoted and assume additional responsibilities? Where is the accountability?
A lot happens when the Secretary of Defense visits the battlefield. Miraculous progress is suddenly noted. Karzai is suddenly a good guy because he stood stoic during the recent Wiki-imbroglio. IED strike totals are up, but it doesn’t matter because no one is getting hurt. And so on and so on… Now we hear that Nawa district in Helmand Province is “our most advanced district” and will be the first point of security transition from U.S. to Afghan troops “in a few months.” Well like the First Sergeant used to say “the checks in the mail; there will be trucks on the drop zone; we will be serving Hot-A’s after this mission” and so on and so on…anything to motivate the troops and keep the press happy.
Lest we forget that there are 50,000 troops deployed to Iraq still under fire. This week a soldier assigned to a Provincial Reconstruction Team, north of Kut was gunned down by a sniper and died of his wounds. The grind continues.