This story has been in the news lately: US Troops Outnumber Taliban 12-1
First of all, US troops don’t outnumber the Taliban 12-1, it’s all NATO and Afghan forces combined that, according to this report, outnumber the Taliban fighters 12-1.
Secondly, as far as I can tell it’s just counting active Taliban militants, not any of the support network. So if they want to provide a meaningful number, it would be better to only count NATO and Afghan combatants.
Third, as the story does point out, two-thirds of the NATO/Afghan number are Afghan military and police, many of which are woefully under-trained and ill-equipped.
Finally, they’re probably not interested in a meaningful number, anyway. They’re probably looking to spread the idea that there are already so many troops in Afghanistan that it’s pointless to send more just because the military wants them.
For all the talk about “the Surge” in Iraq, it was the shift of tactics and the increasing capabilities and use of the Iraqi forces that made the largest difference.
As long as the Taliban types can keep running into Pakistan to rest and re-arm, things are going to be really tough no matter what the ratio is.