Counterinsurgency

A Winning Strategy in Afghanistan?

To win the war in Afghanistan, we must send the 40,000 troops that General McChrystal has requested from Obama—or so argue Frederick and Kimberly Kagan in The Weekly Standard. The Kagans write that the U.S. must fight the Quetta Sura Taliban and the Haqqani Network as well as al Qaeda because al Qaeda is not an isolated group with a discrete goal, but a network-of-networks bent on ruling the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and reducing "non-Muslim peoples to subservience." The winning strategy, the Kagans say, is to put pressure on al Qaeda by isolating it from the Afghan population and "eliminate bad guys faster than they can be replaced." In order to generate necessary intelligence and turn the population against the local groups, American forces need to be able to protect the Afghan population from the various terrorist networks and build the Afghan Army. Targeting mid-level terrorists would both disrupt the organization and eliminate replacements for senior officials who were killed.