The Washington Times: U.S. Tests “Ink-Spot” Strategy in Afghanistan


Categorie: Afghanistan, Axe in Afghanistan '09, COIN, David Axe |

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.


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.

Read the rest in The Washington Times.

(Photo: David Axe)

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3 Responses to “The Washington Times: U.S. Tests “Ink-Spot” Strategy in Afghanistan”

  1. David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/16/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. [...] Afghanistan, with the way they have conducted counter-insurgency operations in pursuit of the “ink-spot” strategy. This strategy concentrates military and construction efforts around population centers in a bid to [...]

  3. [...] and a base for insurgent fighters targeting Kabul. In late 2009, NATO’s eastern command made Logar the focus of its counter-insurgency and development efforts. U.S. President Barack  Obama cited the province [...]

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