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Steve Coll on Marja offensive

http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/16/strategic_withdrawal

excerpt:

“Routing the Taliban from Marja, where they had established a vicious and increasingly unchallenged shadow government, was undoubtedly necessary. I’m no military strategist, but it remains unclear to me why surging U.S. forces continue to invest their efforts and their numbers so heavily in Helmand. The axis of Taliban power, guerrilla infiltration, and money flows in southern Afghanistan lies somewhat to the East, along the routes between Kandahar and the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Karachi, which serve as sanctuaries for senior Taliban leadership. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and a historical seat of power. From their birth in 1994, the Taliban have relied upon their ability to move freely between Kandahar, Baluchistan and Karachi. The Times recently carried a good piece about just how porous the border remains between Kandahar Province, in Afghanistan, and Baluchistan Province, in Pakistan. It is true, of course, that U.S. forces cannot operate in large numbers in Pakistan, and are dependent on Pakistan’s fitful, ambivalent cooperation against the Taliban. Yet that still raises the question of why the thousands of U.S. Marines available in southern Afghanistan are concentrated largely to the west of Kandahar, rather than reinforcing struggling Canadian troops in the province itself.”

by teru kuwayama at 2010-02-20 17:32:48 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→


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