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.


  1. That’s about it.

    The war against the Taliban has to be won in Pakistan.

    When Cheney shows up and quietly talks to the Pakis, their reaction is like that of the officer in charge of building the second deathstar.

    When Obama talks people smile politely, and laugh their asses off afterward.

  2. I find all this talk about the Taliban and the war on the Taliban odd. I thought we went there 8 years ago to fight Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban. The entire article did not reference AQ once.

    AQ were always the outsiders, the Afghan Arab types. The Taliban are are a fairly well represented group among the dominant ethnic group in that region. They ain’t going anywhere. They own that area, and I don’t think any outside power is going to change that.

  3. Something else to add to 11 Bravo’s post — not only are we fighting the Taliban (and NOT Al-Qaeda), but let’s recall what Al-Qaeda’s PRIMARY demand was; that the US pull it’s troops out of Saudi Arabia…

    …which the US Gov’t kindly complied with.

    Some of our decision-makers don’t seem to have their heads screwed-on straight.

  4. One more thing; this wouldn’t have been as big a problem as it is, if US troops still had adequate Fire Support.

    All of the M67 and M40 RCLs, the M202 FLASH, Flamethrowers, and M551 Sheridans have been retired and replaced with NOTHING, there are no Tanks left with Rifled guns (to fire HE, HESH, WP, and APERS).

    The system also shorted the introduction of M8 Buford Light Tanks, LAV and M113 based Hydra MBRLs, machinegun-sized Autocannons (like the ASP-30 and XM307), and a would-have-been M1 Abrams-based CEV (with a 165mm Demolition Gun).

    The instantaneous mass killing these weapons are capable of would have made them mission-critical equalizers in small and remote outposts, placed far from airbases or FBs, but the (Br)asshats don’t want to fight the enemy with the CORRECT weaponry.

    That’s why US troops are in a situation like this;

  5. 11 Bravo:

    The Taliban became part of the enemy when they sheltered OBL after the 9-11 attack.

    So … do you think we should just surrender, and let these pukes have Afghanistan?

    Here is a notion for a peace treaty … we can negotiate an armistice provided the Taliban hand over all AQ members in their ranks to us in chains.

  6. While there is some validity to discussing whether our primary focus should be on fighting the Taliban or Al Qaida, the fact remains the Stan (Af & Paki) border remains very porous with a huge amount of cross border traffic. Legitimate and otherwise. The Taliban are a monster largely created by ISI that has grown beyond any control and affects life, culture, and politics on both sides of the border. Any strategy that fails to properly address this fact, on both strategic and tactical levels, made of he whole cloth of politics, culture, and military is a strategy that FAILS.

    Al Qaida? That group of outsiders (you know……besides us) should be killed and taken prisoner by the most expedient means possible. All effort must be made to shut off additional influx into the Stans by fresh Al Qaida personnel. That’s going to be very difficult given the unfortunate cultural predilictions of much of the local security forces towards slacking and corruption.

    Good points by Blacktail on the lack of organic “direct fire support” in many of our small military units. Somewhat mitigated by the MK 19s & MK 47s, and 25mm on the LAVs, but it’s still a pretty sorry situation as he notes.

    Afghan National Police: Maybe their qualtiy has changed since I left in May of “07, but a number of recent news stories makes me think it’s the SOS. I’ve never run across such a sorry ass, drug addled, ill educated, piss poorly motivated, loyalty suspected, drug trafficking group of professionals in my life. Good luck with those (how do you say assholes politely?).

    All that is tied into epidemic corruption at the local, district, provincial, and national levels. This particular elephant has been ignored by far too many since we rousted Al Qaida and the Taliban. Every bleeping penny we give these people (on both sides of the border) needs to be monitored by substantial numbers of qualified personnel using very rigorous financial tracking and accounting methods. Something else that’s been sadly lacking in the AO since day one. Otherwise we might just as well pull out the troops, pile the billions somewhere in our SW States and burn it. We’ll have far fewer casualties and we’ll get about the same positive change and effect in the Stans by burning it as by giving the money to these throwbacks with no controls in place.

    Please, Please………..no accusations of cynicism! My feelings are easily bruised! LOL!

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