Why the Taliban might win

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.

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4 thoughts on “Why the Taliban might win

  1. Christopher Hoare

    One should surely hope that the ultimate winners will be the Afghan people.
    NATO has no business operating so far out of its region and the sooner the major European governments bring their troops home the better. That will leave the US alone as the clear meddler in the security of a region of the world where it can only exacerbate dissension.
    Whatever government evolves in Afghanistan, it alone should arrive at a consensus on social issues, and it in concert with the countries it borders must settle the problem of opium production and smuggling. The sooner the region can take care of itself without incompetent outside interference the better.

  2. Norman Morley

    Ask the question about the U.S.Military mind set that is propelling this costly excursion. When one hears of some Army Officer telling his men not to commit “Suicide,” it doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the leadership. Time for all western forces to leave the middle east, if it blows apart, then it’s on them. If the whole World gets destroyed in the process, then so be it. This nonsense has gone beyond being justified. Let the chip fall, where ever they may.

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