On another front, DT obtained a copy of an after action review of operations in Afghanistan from former 24th Infantry Division commander in Operation Desert Storm and now International Affairs professor at West Point, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who traveled to Afghanistan in mid-February.
During his visit, McCaffrey met with a wide range of military leaders, intelligence officials, diplomats and local Afghans to get a read on how things are going over there. This is something McCaffrey is exceedingly good at. His OIF post-op was outstanding and lacked the politically-charged rhetoric of many other assessments then and now.
Overall, hes optimistic that the U.S and NATO can without question, achieve our US national objective of a functioning law-based state -- with a performing, non-drug economy -- which rejects sanctuary for terrorism. This is the cross-over year. The execution of our plan in the coming 24 months will decide the outcome in the country.
But rhetoric and political will cannot achieve our goals. Afghanistan needs strong US inter-agency and Congressional support to provide the dollars, equipment, combat soldiers, ANA and ANP mentors, and vigorous NATO and Afghan leadership to pull this mission from the fire.
McCaffrey is calling for a $500 billion investment over the next 10 years to build the Afghan army and police force into capable, dominant institutions.
The Afghan economy is booming at 12% growth rate a year. $14 billion has been spent on aid since 2001. Six TV channels and a hundred free/uncensored publications are available to the people. Literacy is increasing rapidly. The ring road is now 2/3 complete. The 40,000 soldiers of the ANA are growing rapidly in numbers and capability. There are 45,000 NATO and US troops in-country. There is a functioning democracy with an elected Parliament ---and a serious, dedicated Afghan President in office.
Afghanistan can be a strategic victory in the struggle against terrorism. We are now on the right path.
Theres also good information on Pakistans role in the festering conflict, a NATO force hamstrung by constrained rules of engagement, the success of U.S. airpower and an innovative option for creating more tier one special operators
in my view, the Pakistanis are NOT actively supporting the Taliban -- nor do they have a strategic purpose to de-stabilize Afghanistan
the Pakistanis need better US support for COIN operations in South and North Waziristan. We need to sort out a set of strategic tools to help them do better. They immediately require the $395 million they have requested for their Frontier Corps. It will be a disaster for our strategic purpose if we push them to premature military action which destroys them as a unifying and stabilizing force in the region
as a general statement, however, the NATO forces are too weak on the ground, lack essential supporting elements (helicopters, engineers, logistics, intelligence), have severely restrictive rules-of-engagement, and may lack the national political will to fight when required. It is possible that the Taliban will try to knock one or more of these NATO nations out of the war. A major blow to the Italians, the Canadians, the Dutch, the Spanish, or the Germans might shatter their weak domestic political support
we need to take a revolutionary look at the methods of creating these Tier One forces. It will require a separately funded recruiting program similar to WWII OSS programs to identify college graduates, with superb athletic skills, who will volunteer for a 24 month training program (to include total immersion language training in Arabic or Dari) -- followed by a four year employment tour