General Rodriguez Explains Marjah

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 4 months ago

From UPI:

U.S. Marines are moving into the central Afghan province of Helmand to boost the security
presence as British forces redeploy, leaders said.

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said the 1,000 British marines deployed to the Sangin area of Helmand province are moving to the central part of the province by the end of 2010.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriquez, commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan, said U.S. Marines were increasing their presence in the northern and southern parts of Helmand as British forces redeploy.

“The British are committing their theater reserve for the next several months into the central Helmand River valley to increase the security zones in the central Helmand River valley,” he said.

International forces pushed into the Helmand district of Marja earlier this year to wrestle control away from the Taliban. Taliban forces, however, have shown resilience prompting the general to say patience is needed in the fight against Afghan insurgents.

“When we went into Marja, we had not planned long enough in advance,” the Pentagon quoted him as saying. “We had done it kind of in a sequence, versus a parallel effort, so it was a little bit slower to get the government services and the development in there that we wanted.”

Rodriquez said the political situation was advancing, however, as local residents grow accustomed to a formal regional government.

“As security grows and as the confidence of the people grows, it will become more representative of the whole district of Marja,” he said.

I see.  I’m glad that we got that one all cleared up.

So the ISAF or the Marines screwed up by not getting the government ex-machina in there quickly enough.  Government is the answer to all counterinsurgency problems.  It had nothing to do with the work of  long term counterinsurgency, or Taliban fighters and the fear of them by the people of Marjah.  If we had sequenced it better it would have been like clap-on lights.  Presto!  No more enemy – the place is safe, secure and serene!

They can’t let go of this childlike belief in the magic of COIN doctrine.  Or, more accurately, someone in the ISAF, or the Pentagon, or their counselors, has convinced themselves that COIN can be done in one tenth of the time it really should take, simply because the President has set an unrealistic time table for troop withdrawal.

It’s called intellectual dishonesty, and it pervades the campaign in Afghanistan.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Obama Administration and was published July 8th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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