Afghan Combat - It's All About The Process

As U.S. and coalition forces mass outside of Khandahar, Afghanistan, for another major combat operation, a spokesman for NATO forces decides to try some Newspeak on Reuters' journalists.

"We would like to call it a process that is encompassing military and non-military instruments," Brigadier General Josef Blotz, the spokesman for NATO forces, told reporters this week.

Ominously, there has been a surge in attacks and political assassinations in Kandahar city recently. Residents fear more bloodshed as some 10,000 troops move into their neighbourhoods.

Most of the troops will stay in rural areas trying to cut off access routes into the city while a 3,500-strong U.S. army brigade will aim to push into Kandahar city, accompanied by almost 7,000 Afghan police.

And for those who would like to consider the former Helmund province offensive process a success, there is this note in the Reuter's article.

A report by policy think tank the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) this week found that 61 percent of 400 men interviewed in and around Marjah felt more negative about NATO forces than before the operation.

"In other words, the objective of winning 'hearts and minds' -- one of the fundamental tenets of the new counter-insurgency strategy -- was not met," ICOS said in the report.

Meanwhile, CNAS analyst Andrew Exum insists that the failure to progress in Afghanistan is due to political, not military, strategy shortfalls. Really. I'm not sure if he's referring to President Obama's decision to continue the Bush legacy or the continuing lack of a cooperative government in Kabul with which to work. But hey, let's keep rolling those military campaigns until the political leadership figures out what it wants to do in Afghanistan. Maybe we can surpass the Vietnam war record of 12 years of continuous engagement with insurgent forces using "the process."

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