October 15, 2009

The Afghan Conundrum

President Obama is pondering what to do about Afghanistan. General McChrystal has asked for 40,000 more troops in addition to the existing 65,000 already on the ground.

The American military planners are trying to implement a policy of trying to win the hearts and minds of the local people and marginalize the Taliban.

Many others have tried to conquer the rugged terrain that is Afghanistan and failed.

America's recent 'success' in Iraq has given it hope that it can adopt a similar policy in Afghanistan.

But it's sobering to realize that Afghanistan is almost 50% larger than Iraq with almost as many people.

The people of Afghanistan are fare more poor and less educated that the people of Iraq. The population of Afghanistan consists of numerous tribes.

American forces in Vietnam totalled more than 5,00,000 at their peak but failed in their mission as they failed to win over the local population.

Hopefully, whatever America tries in Afghanistan will take into account all the lessons learnt in battles past.

There are probably lessons to be learnt for the Indian security forces operating in Kashmir as well.

Recently, there's talk that the govt. might ban pre-paid mobile services in the Valley as it was a 'security' threat. Well, that would be alienating 40 lakh people to tackle a 1,000 terrorists ... not a very bright idea.

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