Stalemate in Afghanistan

By the way, there is a still a war going on in Afghanistan, by most accounts, it is not going that well; and we probably need to increase our troop levels. On Thursday General John Nicholson, commanding general of NATO forces in Afghanistan, told congress “I believe we are in a stalemate.”: nato-shortfall-troops-afghanistan-us-general

Also: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/u-general-calls-more-troops-003147055.html

And: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/09/top-us-general-says-afghanistan-war-at-stalemate-more-troops-needed.html

I have no reason to quibble with that assessment. Victory is certainly not just around the corner.

Some data from these articles:

  1. NATO has 13,300 troops in Afghanstan, about half of them American (8,400)
  2. Afghan losses in the first ten months of 2016 were 6,785 killed, an increase of a third over 2015.
  3. There were 11,500 civilians killed or injured in 2016, the most since the UN began keeping records in 2009 (nearly 3,500 killed and nearly 8,000 wounded).
  4. Afghan government forces control no more than two-thirds of national territory (60% according to another article).
  5. “We have roughly a two-to-one ratio of contractors to soldiers,” said Nicholson.
    1. So, this works out to be 17,000 contractors, 8,400 American troops and 4,900 other NATO troops.
  6. Cost of the 16 year war so far: around 2,000 American lives and $117 billion.

Needless to say, General Johnson has recommended that we increase troop levels there. He has asked for several thousand more. We did have around 100,000 troops there in 2011, now we have less than 10,000.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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