Obama's failure to provide enough surge troops still having effect
Image via WikipediaNY Times:
The villagers gathered on mounds of dirt to watch as the American armored vehicles rolled in. The streets were narrow and banked by high mud walls; the bulky vehicles could barely squeeze through. The villagers had not seen a coalition patrol here in at least two years, they told the American commander as he stepped out to greet them.It is here and in the North of the country where Obama's short sighted restrictions on the number of troops is exposed. The lack of an effective force to space ratio here has given the enemy and advantage that will be difficult to overcome with occasional patrols. Obama's ego gets in the way of him even comprehending his mistakes like this one. He will blame the military for not succeeding with what he gave them rather than himself for not giving them enough to do the job.
“And how long has it been since you’ve seen the governor?” the commander, Capt. Aaron T. Schwengler, asked the villagers as they crowded around him.
“Ten years,” one man said through an interpreter.
But the villagers do see the Taliban, and on a nightly basis. Insurgent leaders here and in many of the other small farming villages that dot much of the Andar District in Ghazni, one of Afghanistan’s more troubled provinces, have filled the void left by the government. They settle land and water disputes and dictate school curriculums. They issue curfews and order local residents, by way of “night letters,” not to talk to foreign forces.
It is in this environment that coalition forces must try to persuade villagers to trust a government they seldom see, and to help coalition forces root out the Taliban at great personal risk.
While American-led NATO forces have claimed gains in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, this strategically vital part of Afghanistan’s east, at the crossroads of Highway 1 from Kabul to Kandahar and along roads out to the provinces of Paktia and Paktika, has proved stubborn. Despite beefed-up coalition patrols in recent months, the insurgents are still sheltering in this remote wheat-farming area.
If we had the troops to put in this village and others it would squeeze the Taliban into the open where they could be destroyed, but out here we are back to playing whack-o-mole. That is the nature of counter insurgency warfare when you have an inadequate force to space ratio.
Despite our success where we do have an adequate ratio we are having to cede the areas where we do not.