Let's hope this optimism about Afghanistan isn't just whistling past the graveyard:
As in past years, coalition forces in Afghanistan expect a substantial spike in spring fighting from the country's Taliban insurgency in 2017, particularly in the latter's southern stronghold regions. Despite the continuing deadly attacks on Kabul and other areas, NATO said the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) are better prepared compared with just four months ago to confront the insurgents.
Yeah, I was worried about the direction of the campaign back then and the need to rely on the elite of Afghanistan's forces to hold the line to cope with inadequacies of the regular forces.
In theory, Afghan troops and police--and especially their leaders--are better and more numerous after the winter of training and recruiting; vulnerable outposts are reduced in order to have more Afghan mobile forces to react to and seize the initiative in the face of Taliban attacks; and coalition support is better to help Afghan forces in combat.
Sadly, we needed the winter to regroup. It would have been better if we had been able to launch a winter offensive to go after the Taliban and other jihadis while they hunkered down and regrouped over the winter.