Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two Solid Views on Afghanistan

Right on the heels of the preceding post comes this from this from C.J. Chivers at

Uphill Company B moved through the darkness, step by step gaining elevation on an Afghan ridge. For the officers and soldiers equipped with GPS units and two-way tactical radios, which gave them access to information, the picture was clear enough. Company B, which calls itself Viper, was moving south, climbing a ridge that rose more than nine thousand feet above sea level and towered over the Korangal Valley, near the border with Pakistan. Its mission was to search for arms caches and insurgents and to harass the large but elusive forces that for three years have made the valley the scene of the bitterest infantry fighting in Afghanistan. And it was not alone. In the cold night air that had settled over the valley, beyond earshot, a pair of attack helicopters was flying in wide circles. Farther out, and higher, fixed-wing attack aircraft were on station. Soldiers call these assets, and in the event the soldiers found what they were looking for, either asset was ready to race to the ridgeline and help with the killing. They were also ready to help if things developed along the more typical course of events in Afghanistan — as in, if what Company B was looking for found it instead. Read more C.J. Chivers Walks Taliban Country with the U.S. Army's Elite.

Thomas Barnett writes from the War Room Column at Esquire with seven rules for American to heed in the Afghanistan.

It's been a busy month for the United States in Afghanistan. The deadliest since we had little choice but to chase Al Qaeda and the Taliban regime there in 2001, sure, and a scary one at that — this weekend's video of twenty-three-year-old Bowe Bergdahl sent as many shivers down the collective American spine as our presence in the region is sending to Pakistan. The military's also asked for more money, better prisons, and fewer F-22s this July. But anyone who's looking at Afghanistan in terms of months — as opposed to years, or at least second terms — isn't looking at the lessons of Iraq, much less the realities of a region where nation-building is a helluva lot more important than people-killing. Read more:Seven Rules for America's (Long) Future in Afghanistan.

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