Gun-Shy European Troops Help Lose Afghanistan
The Taliban are taking advantage of the unwillingness of many NATO contingents to fight. Groups of Taliban gunmen are being sent to the vicinity of Kabul, where many of these less warlike NATO operate, and have launched attacks. They got lucky and killed ten French troops in one of these operations, in an action that highlighted the degree to which these troops, and their leaders, were unprepared for combat. By attacking, and inflicting losses, on these troops, the Taliban stir up political controversy back in Europe, leading, the Taliban hope, to withdrawal of the NATO troops from Afghanistan. _StrategyPageAs we saw in Spain after the Madrid train terror attacks, Europeans are afraid of conflict, and are unwilling to stand up for themselves or their allies if it involves any risk. Paradoxically, this quasi-cowardly stance creates far more risk to Europeans in the long run than if they had merely utilised the basic "tit for tat" strategy suggested by game theory.
The people of Afghanistan don’t realize that NATO has no overarching counterinsurgency strategy, or that many of the 70,000 troops cannot fire their weapons except in self defense. All they see is a degrading security situation, and since America is capable of anything if it can land a man on the moon, then there must be an ulterior motive, or so the Afghan people think. _CTCombining the Euro tendency to retreat at the sign of any danger with the Afghan impressions that the US is responsible for all the troops in Afghanistan--whether or not they perform up to US standards--the PR battle is being lost in the primitive tribal country.
Pakistan's intelligence services continue to assist the Taliban and al-qaida in the border areas, which keeps the Taliban supplied with weapons and a safe haven. Of Iraq and Afghanistan, Afghanistan is the one that most strongly resembles the 60's war in Vietnam.