AP's weird perspective on warfare in Afghanistan

The news agency which does not want to be quoted will be today. In a story in which 22 enemy are killed and the remaining enemy flea to Pakistan and no Afghan or coalition troops are killed the AP says:


Fighting between Taliban-led militants and security forces is surging, clouding hopes that the six-year, multibillion-dollar effort to stabilize the country will succeed any time soon.

The problem with this perspective is that it is divorced from the reality of warfare. Fighting is why it is called a war. What should be blazingly obvious is that the Taliban are losing this fight and every other engagement with coalition forces. The AP has this weird perspective that violence is the enemy of peace. They divorce the concept from the fighters. They made similar mistakes in Iraq where violence was used as a metric disembodied from keeping score on casualties and more importantly who controlled the real estate.

Any fair observation of the conflict in Afghanistan would note that the Taliban do not control real estate or people and they are losing all the fire fights. Because they are fighting an insurgency, the war may drag on, but the outcome is clear if we stay with it. The average insurgency last 11 to 12 years and the insurgents lose 90 percent of the time. Some last longer, such as the one in Colombia which has gone on for 40 years. Violence is no reason to despair.

In contrast the Reuters story points to an even larger defeat for enemy forces.

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces killed up to 35 Taliban insurgents after the militants attacked two towns in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border overnight, a police chief said on Wednesday.

The Taliban have launched a number of ground assaults and rocket attacks on isolated towns in eastern Afghanistan in the last week, part of a rising wave of violence in the east that Afghan and U.S. officials have said is the result of de-facto ceasefires with militants in neighboring Pakistan.

About 100 Taliban insurgents attacked the towns of Gomal and Sarobi in Paktika province overnight, but fled when they were engaged by Afghan police supported by coalition troops, said provincial Police Chief Nabi Jan Mullah Khail.


The Afghan government and some of its Western allies are growing increasingly frustrated by Pakistan's failure to clamp down on militant activity in its tribally ruled border regions.


There is more. In this story the increased violence is put in context and more details are provided on the defeat of enemy forces. Maybe it is just as well that the AP does not want to be quoted. Reuters certainly did a better job with this story.


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