Saturday, July 29, 2006

Taliban Atoms

I've written before that we must atomize our enemies in Iraq so that less effective Iraqi forces are capable of fighting the enemy instead of our troops. If the enemy can mass in companies or even battalion-sized forces, all but the largest Iraqi bases and patrols would be vulnerable to being overrun. In Iraq, it has been since December 2004, I think, since the Iraqi police lost a position to the enemy.

By making the enemy incapable of fighting even in platoon-sized formations routinely, small police posts and small patrols have become safe since if attacked they can hold out long enough for help to arrive. If large enemy forces could operate, small friendly units would be picked off; or our units could only operate in large units making it tought to spread out a net to protect the people from the enemy intimidation. Atomize the enemy and all things become possible.

In Afghanistan, too, we can see the effect of our relatively small force in making all Afghanistan safer:

Apparently the Taliban has lost some 1000-1200 fighters killed in Afghanistan over the past 8-10 weeks. Despite this, there's only been a slight dip in the number of attacks, mainly because there's so much money being offered for those willing to fight. Apparently the Taliban recruited a lot of folks over the winter. Many Pakistani Pushtuns have been identified among the dead. Several hundred of these Taliban fighters have been captured as well, and some report that morale is getting shaky as the string of Taliban defeats continues. The most discouraging thing for these Pakistani Taliban is the hostile reception they often get from Afghans. Some remote villages show fresh graves indicating a recent firefight, as villagers who don't want their school burned down, or daughters kept from learning how to read, will resist with force if they think they can muster sufficient numbers. Some of the tribes have agreed to tell the Taliban to stay away, or take on the entire tribe or clan. Since the Taliban have to operate in smaller groups (to avoid being detected by UAVs or Afghan army scouts), there are many more instances of local tribesmen mustering sufficient force to scare the Taliban away.

The effect of atomizing the enemy because they fear to clump together is that even armed civilians can muster the strength to drive off Taliban thugs when they come nosing around. That is better than tripling the size of the army.