Andrew Exum is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and author of the influential counterinsurgency blog Abu Muqawama. He just returned from a month in Afghanistan, where he took part in recently appointed U.S. and Coalition commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal's 60-day review of strategy and operations. He graciously agreed to talk with WPR Managing Editor Judah Grunstein about his impressions from his trip...
The full audio file is available as a WPR podcast here.
... what makes you feel optimistic about the possibility of a successful outcome?
... the U.S. Army's officer corps has undergone a tremendously difficult but ultimately rewarding learning process over the past few years, and there is a keen understanding of the operating environment in Afghanistan. Whether or not we're going to be able to translate our operational prowess into strategic success is very much a question that is yet to be answered. But there was reason for being encouraged.
... what isolated snapshot would make you feel pessimistic about the outcome?
One word: Kandahar... Our intelligence and the way that we gather intelligence continues to be focused on the enemy....