“A Different Kind of War”, “New strategy”
related NYTimes article:
In the fall of 2003, the new commander of American forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, decided on a new strategy. Known as counterinsurgency, the approach required coalition forces to work closely with Afghan leaders to stabilize entire regions, rather than simply attacking insurgent cells.
But there was a major drawback, a new unpublished Army history of the war concludes. Because the Pentagon insisted on maintaining a â€œsmall footprintâ€ in Afghanistan and because Iraq was drawing away resources, General Barno commanded fewer than 20,000 troops […]
â€œCoalition forces remained thinly spread across Afghanistan,â€ the historians write. â€œMuch of the country remained vulnerable to enemy forces increasingly willing to reassert their power.â€
That early and undermanned effort to employ counterinsurgency is one of several examples of how American forces, hamstrung by inadequate resources, missed opportunities to stabilize Afghanistan during the early years of the war, according to the history, â€œA Different Kind of War.â€
once the Taliban fell, the Pentagon often seemed ill-prepared and slow-footed in shifting from a purely military mission to a largely peacekeeping and nation-building one, fresh details in the history indicate.
â€œEven after the capture of Kabul and Kandahar,â€ the historians write, â€œthere was no major planning initiated to create long-term political, social and economic stability in Afghanistan. In fact, the message from senior D.O.D officials in Washington was for the U.S. military to avoid such efforts.â€
In one telling anecdote from 2004, the history describes how soldiers under General Barno had so little experience in counterinsurgency that one lieutenant colonel bought books about the strategy over the Internet and distributed them to his company commanders and platoon leaders…
2010-01-02 21:09:43 UTC