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December 25, 2005

Comments

collounsbury

Mate, you have an extra http in the link.

the aardvark

fixed, thanks

nykrindc

I heard the same report last week but have not found any evidence to back up Zawahiri's assertions. I did however, recently read this article, which I believe was recommended by Zenpundit and then by Tdaxp, on Counter Insurgency: The French experience written in 1963. The presentation (I think it is a transcript of one) analyzed the French experience in Indochina. According to the study, the researcher, Dr. Bernard Fall, looked at areas of government control, determined by whether the regions, providences etc. were paying taxes to the government or fulfilling their responsibilities as part of that government. Those which did not fit that criteria were assigned as being under enemy (insurgent) control. In this way, even before the true extent of Ho Chi Min's control was known, Fall was able to determine that the French had probably already lost the war or at least were in danger of losing it without realizing it. If we apply a similar logic to Afghanistan, and establish these same patterns, we can probably say (as Zawahiri has said) that the Taliban (i.e. insurgency) has regained control of a large part of the country (those areas that still lack central government control). Our strategy in Afghanistan has so far been based on strengthening Kabul and the major cities so that from there governmental authority can flow to the rest of the country. If this has not been achieved then much of the country is indeed outside our or Kabul's control. I haven't seen any studies or research which point in that direction, but thought the article did raise some interesting questions that need to be explored.

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