I’m in the middle of writing another one of my “Afghanistan for dummies” backgrounders for this week’s issue, so a couple of quick ripoffs will have to suffice:
- Andrew Exum may have stumbled a bit as a newbie pundit, but he sure knows how to whip up an interesting conversation. (I’m just a little confused whether it’s about how America can bail out of the morass or how to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.)
- Meanwhile, McChrystal tells Yochi Dreazen the Taleban have gained the upper hand and are threatening Kandahar. As per orders from CNAS, ISAF will redeploy from “sparsely populated areas” to those mythical “areas with larger concentrations of Afghan civilians”.
- You think the Brits are rubbish at COIN? Think again. “What the Americans will find in Helmand is a British COIN machine; a little creaky perhaps, but one that is fit for purpose and getting the job done”, Theo Farrell and Stuart Gordon write in an excellent article in the RUSI Journal. It’ll cost ya 4 quid but it’s worth it, go splurge. (h/t Péter)
- Oh, and that Mehsud fella. In case you, too, feel the American glee over his death is a turn-off, check out the always dependable Reuters Pakistan blog for good links and cool-headed analysis. Feel free to use the comments section below to explain to me how exactly this guy, assassinated by the CIA in a friendly country, was an enemy of the U.S. Next up, Kim Jong-il?