Magazine August 30, 2010, Issue

Eleventh-Hour Counterinsurgency

American soldiers arrive at the site of a blast in Kandahar, Afghanistan, August 8, 2010. (Ahmad Nadeem/Reuters)
We must quickly prepare the Kabul government to win its own war

The Obama Surge began in July of 2009 with the entry of a Marine brigade into southern Helmand Province. For three years, a British brigade had struggled in Helmand, meeting fierce resistance in every district. The surge was meant to firmly establish Coalition control in this province and elsewhere, with the goal of eventually handing the country over to the Afghan army.

The surge has one more year to produce results, and then Obama has promised to begin withdrawing our troops. So how is the Helmand campaign going, and what does it portend about other areas?

Having just returned from my third

Bing WestMr. West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine, is a military historian. He has written ten books about our wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the latest of which is The Last Platoon: A Novel of the Afghanistan War.

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