"How to Surge the Taliban" in the NYT

How to Surge the Taliban

The New York Times, March 12, 2009, Opinion Section

by Max Boot, Frederick Kagan, and Kimberly Kagan



“DONT worry, we are not going to lose this war.”

These were the parting words to us from Brig. Gen. Sher Muhammad Zazai, commander of the 205th Corps of the Afghan National Army in Kandahar. He was echoing the sentiments of a group of village elders we had met days before in Khost Province, who assured us that they would never allow the Taliban to come back.

It is odd that the Afghans felt it necessary to reassure American visitors that all was far from lost. It reflected the fact that even in a country where electricity and running water are scarce, word of the defeatist hysteria now gripping some in the American political elite has spread.

No one in Afghanistan — from the American commander, Gen. David McKiernan, to those village elders — underestimates the difficulties that lie ahead. But no one we spoke to on an eight-day journey (arranged for us by Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the military’s Central Command) that took us from Kunar Province on the Pakistan border to Farah Province near the Iranian frontier doubted that we can succeed, or that we must do so.....


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Additional Off-site Authors: 
Max Boot, Frederick Kagan