2008/09/08

Not COIN, but insurgency as strategy against the Taliban

The simple "more troops" approach to the Afghanistan war and the lack of an end in sight there is seriously annoying me. I don't like small wars anyway because they tend to be hugely overestimated in their importance and to be much to expensive if not limited to very short interventions like the French did it in many African conflicts.

This shall again be an attempt to lay out smarter alternatives to the Taliban problem.

The basis is the conclusion that AQ and Taliban were not unanimously greeted in the mountainous Pakistani border region. They were greeted by some local leaders and opposed by others. The latter group was apparently assassinated in large part.
The Taliban apparently exert state-like power in that region.

My suggested strategy is to attack them offensively, but not with primitive assassinations from the air.

Let's raise an insurgency against Taliban rule in the border region. They ruled the region (together with local allies) for some time and their arrival, exertion of power and their killing of opponents have certainly created a lot of opposition that's being suppressed at this time.
An insurgency instead of an overt political opposition could attack their base of power and keep them busy in their previous safe haven, probably even lead to their expulsion.
The Pakistani central government could help in a final mop up phase of such an insurgency and establish a more moderate self-government in the area.

Such an insurgency would be made much easier if the Taliban and their local allies had less propaganda opportunities to unite the people against an external foe.
This foe is apparently the presence of Christian foreign troops in Afghanistan, their partial or complete withdrawal would take away the basis for their jihad.

This is the point where a connection to the mobile defense operational plan could be created. And a withdrawal is also a great opportunity to test the Afghan anti-Taliban power. Who knows, maybe the warlords would turn their drug money-paid militias against the Taliban?

Sven Ortmann

1 comment:

  1. I like this strategy of yours. Of course, such a plan depends on having competent indigenous allies. Furthermore, there is the possibility that such things could lead to more distabilization and radicalization in the region (remember that the Taliban came about in the anarchy of the Mujahadeen period). Then again, such things are never for certain.

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