Army Historians Fault Early Afghan War Strategy

Forces were undermanned, and planning was shoddy
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2009 5:51 PM CST
Northern Alliance troops walk toward the site of an American bombing raid December 7, 2001 in the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The US missed out on chances to stabilize Afghanistan early in the war because it devoted too few troops and too little planning to the conflict, write Army historians in an official chronicle of the conflict. "It should have become clear” in late 2003 “that the coalition presence in Afghanistan did not provide enough resources,” says the history, a copy of which was obtained by the New York Times. The newspaper points out that 800-soldier battalions were trying to maintain order in areas the size of Vermont.

Even when military operations did go well, little strategic planning followed. "After the capture of Kabul and Kandahar, there was no major planning initiated to create long-term political, social, and economic stability," says the report. It cites the example of one officer in 2004 who had to buy books about counterinsurgency over the Internet and distribute them to his soldiers. The history, which covers 2001-'05, is still under review and is scheduled to be published by spring.

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