September 14, 2009

Today's essential Afghan reading

Chandrasekharan on Kandahar. Notable:

Shortly after he took over as the overall U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, McChrystal asked his subordinates why more than half of the 21,000 troops deployed this spring were sent to neighboring Helmand province instead of Kandahar. The implication was clear, according to a person familiar with the discussion: Kandahar requires more forces.

By then, however, it was too late to move the Marines from Helmand...

UPDATE: Just to be clear: McChrystal's appointment was announced on May 12. The Marines started to arrive in Helmand on July 1. Despite the fact they'd be using the same logistics hub regardless (KAF), Western forces were unable to redeploy one province over in strength given six weeks notice... even though the General didn't want them there anymore, and there were going to be no ANSF available to help them accomplish their mission.

During my rotation, Afghan troops deployed in the hundreds from Kandahar to Helmand twice. Once on 11 hours notice. Yes, it sucked for all involved, but that's the Afghan way of war. (It was also Patton's way of war too, one might add.)

Posted by BruceR at 09:13 AM