— The drop in enemy-initiated attacks in Afghanistan over the first nine months of 2012 compared to the first nine months of 2011, according to the Pentagon’s latest report on progress there. “EIAs are now disproportionately occurring outside of populated areas," it adds, "and the security of many of Afghanistan’s largest cities increased substantially during the reporting period.”
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Oh, I missed this from the New York Times. I know it has "time" in it but it's different.

WASHINGTON — As President Obama considers how quickly to withdraw the remaining 68,000 American troops in Afghanistanand turn over the war to Afghan security forces, a bleak new Pentagon report has found that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently without air or other military support from the United States and NATO partners.

Imagine that -- one brigade!  That's about -- 3 per cent! What a coincidence. 3%  3%   3%



Here's that pesky little feller -- 


Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan, December 2012

The Taliban remain vested in Southern Afghanistan, and enjoy the support of the Haqqani Taliban Network, which is focused on the east of the country and Kabul. -- p.18

Taliban leadership intended to reclaim lost territory, in particular in RC-S and RC-SW, during the 2012 fighting season and to reassert influence over the population. The execution of high profile attacks in Kabul along with other major urban centers remains an enduring aim for insurgents. --p. 19

The insurgency has also retained its capability to carry out attacks at roughly the same level as last year.--p.19

the overall number of attacks in RC-SW increased relative to the same period one year prior, --p. 20

the insurgency remains adaptable with a regenerative capacity. It retains the capability to emplace  substantial numbers of improvised explosive devices and conduct high-profile attacks.--p. 21

Insurgent operations are not limited to direct attacks on ANSF and ISAF personnel. The violence statistics, cited above, are not sufficient to measure the balance of insurgent and Afghan government influence. The insurgency continues to exert its influence in Afghanistan through alternate methods, including kidnappings, intimidation tactics, and robust assassination efforts.--P. 21

Insurgents have increased efforts to co-opt government officials and ANSF members in some areas. Insurgents continue to seize on areas where the Afghan government has failed to provide sufficient governance, rule of law, conflict resolution, and economic opportunities. The insurgency may likely continue to expand its soft power techniques as a result of its diminished operational capability and to conserve diminishing resources. It will retain an opportunistic propaganda and media campaign to exploit key events that inaccurately portray the security situation. --p.21


Cherry-picking a Pentagon report with a favorable THREE PERCENT STAT, and not even linking to the report, indicates a pro-Pentagon stance. But wait, there's more from the Washington Times. A new Pentagon report on Afghanistan says so-called “insider attacks” still pose a challenge, enemy attacks have increased slightly since last year and the Taliban will try to reclaim lost territory as coalition forces withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.


Actually the Taliban will do more than TRY to reclaim lost territory. They are doing it. Who would stop them?


1. Over fifty top-level Afghan officials have been killed this year.

2. Attacks overall are down because of increased security -- by Taliban, who control most of the country

.3. According to FM-34, Legitimacy Is the Main Objective1-113. The primary objective of any COIN operation is to foster development of effective governance by a legitimate government. 

4. Reporting a drop in drop in enemy-initiated attacks is irrelevant. FM 3-24:  Assessment requires determining why and when progress is being achieved . . . Traditionally, commanders use discrete quantitative and qualitative measurements . . . However, the complex nature of COIN operations makes progress diffic ult to measure. Subjective assessment at all levels is essential to understand the diverse and complex nature of COIN problems [including]  Dislocated civilians . . .Human movement andreligious attendance. . .Presence/activity of businesses. . .Level of agricultural activity. . etc. 

So the bland statistical measurements that are a staple of the military -- "The drop in enemy-initiated attacks is down 3%" -- andother meaningless military statistics don't amount to a hill of beans. The focus ought to be on the well-being of the citizens.


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