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Securing Helmand

30 September 2009

Please Click Here to view the entire Report from Jeffrey A. Dressler

 

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# Ron 2009-10-01 00:14
An interesting report. Just a couple of points:

The report refers to 'Scottish' and 'British' forces: Scotland is part of Great Britain and Scottish Regiments are part of the British Army.

The British Platoon House strategy was very much forced on them by local Afghan government pressure and wasn't the British preference. The limited size of the British contingent (under 4000 troops in 2006) was not suited to this and very small British forces soon found themselves under siege all over Helmand. To a degree this still appears to be an issue. For example, RE: Garmsir, this article provides an interesting perspective on the numbers game and multi-national cooperation: 4000 US Marines moved into the town in July 2009 to relieve a very small British force: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/we-pity-the-brits-the-view-from-the-marines-1782093.html

"[T]he clean shaven, fastidiously polite Marines landed ... to be greeted by the sight of a bunch of "bad ass" troops in shorts and flip flops, long adapted to this searingly hot, harsh environment. ....Lieutenant Colonel Christian Cabaniss, the commanding officer of 2/8, praised the British efforts.
'From my perspective, they were doing all the right things,' he said. 'They knew what they should do, they just didn't have the resources to do it. The plan we executed on 2 July had been done before but in pieces. We just had the resources to execute it all at the same time and stay. That is the difference."


The whole issue seems to be with resources. Even with the huge surge of US Marines into Helmand there doesn't seem to be the force:Populatio n ratios needed for successful counterinsurgen cy.
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# Papa Ray 2009-10-03 11:46
This is what the previous U.S. and NATO commanders have been saying for years. Afghanistan is a large varied terrain country with few roads and many small villages. The Taliban and aQ forces know this country, where Western forces do not. Learning these areas and having enough forces to clear and hold and defend are key to any improvement in the fight and in the improvement and setting conditions for the population to have enough confidence to assist our Military. It is also imperative if any projects are to be accomplished.

This is going to not ony require many thousands more Military, but thousands of various government civilians and contractors to accomplish. But without some way to stem the flow of Taliban and others from Pakistan along with their supplies, explosives and weapons, it will be almost impossible. Pakistan is the key along with massive efforts over a long period of time in Afghanistan.

Does NATO have the will to do all of this? If their performance over the last few years is any measure, I say that they don't. You can count on one hand the member states within NATO that are actually involved in combat efforts and few others do little more than stay in their bases, with hardly any interaction or assisting of Afghans.

With only a small margin Americans want to get out of Afghanistan now without any regard for the consequences of doing so. Also to be considered is the cost. As long as the democrats want to spend massive amounts of borrowed money on their programs, where is the money to come from (and will they allow enough) to continue this fight for as long as it takes. Which many say will be for over twenty years.

I'm no expert, just someone who has been doing a lot of reading of experts and people who are actually there. People like Michael Yon, who tried to tell everyone three years ago that we were losing and in danger of losing it all.

Papa Ray
Central Texas
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