It was a war we thought we’d won. But after eight years of escalating violence, the Afghanistan conflict has morphed into something perhaps unwinnable. U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to deny sanctuary to Al Qaeda, a goal we’ve largely achieved. But in years of occupation, Washington has apparently conflated counter-terrorism with nation-building. Now the U.S., NATO and their allies are struggling to destroy a deeply-rooted insurgency in country with a corrupt, ineffective government, poor infrastructure and few prospects for everyday people, but to fight. David Axe visits U.S. forces to see for himself.
by DAVID AXE
U.S. forces are testing a modified strategy dubbed “ink spots” in which coalition forces pick certain districts to flood with reconstruction projects and permanently defend from Taliban insurgents.
In Logar province, 50 miles south of Kabul, a newly arrived contingent of U.S. and Czech troops is putting the ink-spot idea into practice.
“I don’t have enough troops to cover every square inch,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Gukeisen, commander of roughly 1,000 soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, deployed to Logar early this year alongside a Czech army reconstruction team.
The concept, in part, reflects anticipation that the Obama administration is leaning toward deployments of fewer than the 40,000 extra troops reportedly sought by top commander Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.
(Photo: David Axe)
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