Afghanistan and Pakistan

For Britons and Americans watching the hard-fought progress of our Coalition troops in Helmand, the harsh reality is that Nato could do everything right in Afghanistan and still lose the broader regional campaign against terrorism if Pakistan fails to contain its internal militants. This makes the fight in Pakistan, and finding means to help Pakistanis help themselves, the most important battle in the world.

Kilcullen argues that Pakistan is much bigger and more problematic than Afghanistan. He's certainly right; the Afghanistan problem has been inflated for years.
This needs to be reflected in priorities and therefore in strategy.

I've argued about this at the example of border control years ago (I think it wasn't in the blog).

An intuitive answer to the problems in Afghanistan is what many people in fact demand: To seal off the border, to interdict the smuggling of drugs and fighters. That would be fine for the campaign in Afghanistan; it would reduce the pressure there.
The problem: The pressure would still exist. It would stay in Pakistan and cause much greater trouble. A campaign against smuggling would also add the smugglers (traders) to our list of enemies for no good reason.

This could be considered one of the many seeming paradoxes in war. The intuitive, quick answer is 180° wrong (and not being refuted often enough).

The sad part in this is that there's really little hope of getting us out of the mess except by simply disengaging or by leaving effective counter-Taliban forces in power.

Sven Ortmann

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