Petraeus' Iraq Strategy Is Ill-Suited to Afghanistan

Counterinsurgency expert may need to learn a few new tricks to quell Taliban rebellion
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2008 2:55 PM CDT
Having spearheaded the troop surge in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus can turn his attentions to Afghanistan%u2014though replicating that success won't come easily, if at all, Michael Evans writes.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Gen. David Petraeus faces an uphill battle in replicating the successes of the Iraq surge in Afghanistan, Michael Evans writes in the Times of London, “because the economic, social and political conditions are so different.” Afghanistan doesn’t have nearly the natural, fertile resources, and neither the US nor NATO allies can provide much in the way of troop reinforcements.

Opium drives the Afghan economy, complicating efforts to institute the rule of law, and lack of infrastructure works against the efforts of coalition troops. And Petraeus’ strategy must be backed by a diplomatic campaign to encourage Pakistan to stem the cross-border flood of Taliban fighters. "Even with King David in charge,” Evans concludes, “this Iraqi-style approach is unlikely to bear fruit in Afghanistan for many years. There is too much to put right and too many obstacles in the way.”