As our Long War continues with no end in sight, it is easy to lose perspective on the course of the war. This brief survey illustrates one aspect of the Afghanistan Campaign. Like Iraq, it began with fantastic success — then has slowly deteriorated as our 4GW foes evolve and their “home court” advantage works against us. Note the links at the end to more information about the Afghanistan War.
The following results from a quick search of the Stratfor database. My thanks to Stratfor, provider of a premier private geopoltical reporting and archive service. They make this kind of research fast and easy.
Afghanistan: War ‘Over,’ But Combat To Continue, 5 May 2003
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced May 1 that “major combat activity” in Afghanistan has ended. However, the events of recent months have shown that conflict — though no longer on the scale of Operation Anaconda — is far from past. If Rumsfeld’s announcement is followed by a draw-down in combat forces and support, the United States will be left more vulnerable to attacks by Islamist militants and warlords.
NATO Troop Strength In Afghanistan, 4 February 2004
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) seeks to more than double its presence in Afghanistan, the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily reported on Feb. 4. According to the German daily, NATO will consider plans to raise the number of troops from the current 6,000 to 14,000. … another detachment of 12,000 U.S.-led forces, separate from the NATO-led peacekeepers, is engaged in tracking down Taliban militants and their jihadist allies in southern and eastern Afghanistan. There are plans to put these troops under NATO control and to construct an Afghan headquarters for Eurocorps, a five-nation military alliance.
Afghanistan: Fewer Troops After Election?, 16 April 2004
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers said in Kabul on April 16 that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could be reduced after the country holds general elections in September 2004. Separately, an unnamed U.S. military official said 2,000 U.S. Marines arriving in Afghanistan would be deployed to Kandahar province in the south and Tirin Kot in central Uruzgan province. The latest U.S. troop arrivals will raise the total U.S. force in Afghanistan to 15,500.
Afghanistan: NATO Increases Troops, 28 June 2004
NATO leaders at a summit have agreed to increase the number of troops serving in Afghanistan in order to provide security for September elections. NATO officials said the increase would bring the force from 6,500 troops to nearly 10,000. The forces would be concentrated in four northern cities — two British controlled, one German and one Dutch. NATO operates only one such force in the city of Kunduz.
NATO: More Afghan Presence, 10 February 2005
NATO plans to increase its peacekeeping force in Afghanistan by about 500 and spread troops out to western regions, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Feb. 10. Currently, the organization has about 8,500 troops in Afghanistan, alongside the U.S. force of 18,000. NATO plans to have the whole country under its umbrella by 2006.
Afghanistan: Additional U.S. Troops, 11 July 2005
An extra battalion of airborne infantry, about 500 to 700 troops in size, will arrive in Afghanistan at an unspecified date, U.S. Army officials said July 11. The troops are being sent to augment the 18,000 allied troops already deployed there, the officials said. Parliamentary elections remain scheduled for September.
Afghanistan: U.S. Reducing Troop Levels, 20 December 2005
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signed an order to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by approximately 3,000 by the spring of 2006, The New York Times reported Dec. 20. Most of the reduction will come from the 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, which will send a battalion-sized task force to Afghanistan instead of the entire unit as originally scheduled. The brigade was scheduled to replace the 173rd Airborne Brigade in southern Afghanistan.
U.S.: More Troops To Afghanistan?, 15 February 2007
U.S. President George W. Bush will announce a U.S. and NATO troop increase in Afghanistan during a Feb. 15 speech, a senior administration official said. The increase is in preparation for an expected Taliban offensive in the spring.
U.S.: Brigade Going To Afghanistan, Not Iraq, 15 February 2007
The U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade, which was bound for Iraq, will be sent to Afghanistan instead, a Pentagon statement said Feb. 14. The change in deployment is reportedly intended to allow for higher troop levels in order to increase operations against the Taliban.
U.S., Afghanistan: Proposal For 3,000 More U.S. Troops In Afghanistan, 9 January 2008
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he will consider a proposal to send some 3,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan to counter any spring offensive by Taliban militants, Reuters reported Jan. 9, citing the Pentagon. The troops would be provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, Gates said.
Afghanistan: Implications of a U.S. Surge to Afghanistan, 10 January 2008
A recent surge of British troops has already nudged the total strength of U.S. and NATO forces above 50,000, and NATO summits in the first half of the year probably will entail pressure for further reinforcements.
Afghanistan: U.N. Says Violence Up Sharply, 11 March 2008
Insurgent and terrorist violence in Afghanistan increased sharply in 2007, reaching its highest level since U.S. forces invaded the country in October 2001, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said in a report to the Security Council on March 10, The Associated Press reported. According to Ban’s report, more than 8,000 conflict-related deaths occurred in 2007, an average of 566 incidents per month. That compares with an average of 425 incidents per month in 2006.
US, Afghanistan: U.S. To Urge NATO Allies To Agree To New Afghanistan Plan, 13 March 2008
The United States will try to persuade NATO allies at a summit in April to agree to a five-year plan to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, Reuters reported March 13, citing a document obtained by the news service. The plan would require alliance members to end troop shortfalls and provide support, training and equipment to Afghanistan’s security forces. The plan also sets benchmarks for measuring success, including the ability of Afghanistan to hold elections without violence and to deploy a trained army of 70,000 troops and an 82,000-member national police force.
US, Afghanistan: 2,200 Marines Deployed To Kandahar, 18 March 2008
The U.S. Marines sent about 2,200 Camp Lejeune-based troops to Kandahar, in Afghanistan’s volatile southern region, for a seven-month deployment, The Associated Press reported March 18. The troops, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, were retasked from a scheduled deployment with the Nassau Expedtionary Strike Group.
UK, US: More Troops Planned For Afghanistan, 4 April 2008
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States will send a “significant” number of extra troops to Afghanistan to aid NATO in 2009, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported April 4. The unspecified increase will come regardless of whether U.S. troop levels in Iraq are reduced later in 2008, Gates said. Separately, the United Kingdom said it would order hundreds more troops to Afghanistan after NATO allies snubbed pleas April 3 to send reinforcements, the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail reported online.
Another perspective on the Afghanistan War
- Testimony about the war’s status and trends on 2 April before the House Foreign Affairs Committee by David W. Barno (Lt. General, US Army, retired), Director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies: click here for the 3 page PDF. He does not paint a happy picture.
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