Christian Science Monitor reports:
While current US counterinsurgency doctrine in Afghanistan broadly conforms with historical best practices, the Taliban enjoy a slew of advantages that historically correlate with insurgent success, according to a new study of 89 past and ongoing insurgencies worldwide.
Factors that favor the Taliban include receiving sanctuary and support in another country, learning to be more discriminating in targeting their attacks, and fighting a government that’s both weak and reliant on direct external support.
The historical trends suggest that the Achilles heel for the Taliban would be the loss of their Pakistani sanctuary, while the principal American vulnerability lies in Hamid Karzai’s anocracy, or weak, pseudodemocracy. The study, says the author, cannot be predictive, but can help the US address or exploit these vulnerabilities.
“A lot of the things being done in the current [US military] plan are along the lines of successful things we’ve seen in the study,” says Ben Connable, lead author “How Insurgencies End,” published by RAND Corp. in Washington. “The key is if the US recognizes it is working with an anocracy and recognizes the limits of that kind of government, you can work on solutions to that problem.”
Meanwhile, The Times reports:
Almost a quarter of the low-ranking Taleban commanders lured out of the insurgency in southern Afghanistan have rejoined the fight because of broken government promises and paltry rewards, a scathing report on reintegration claims.
Nato plans to spend more than $1 billion (£648 million) over the next five years tempting Taleban foot soldiers to lay down their arms.
But research by a Kabul-based thinktank warns that those efforts could make matters worse by swelling the ranks of the insurgency, exacerbating village level feuds and fuelling government corruption.
The report, titled Golden Surrender, by the independent Afghanistan Analysts Network, is highly critical of the British-backed Peace and Reconciliation Scheme (PTS), established in 2005, which it says has been left to flounder under bad leadership with neither the political nor the financial capital it required.