Why We Need More Troops in Afghanistan - Frederick W. Kagan, Washington Post opinion.
... I recently returned from second trip to Afghanistan. Having studied the demographics and potential effects of a surge in Iraq as well as here, I think those who resist sending more troops must answer a question: Why would counterinsurgency in Afghanistan be easier? It seems pretty hard. Afghanistan is significantly larger and more populous than Iraq, for example. Its compartmentalized terrain hinders the movement of forces and resources. The fragmented nature of Afghan society keeps "ink spots" of security success from spreading. The enemy's attacks are not as spectacular as they were in Iraq, but its operations are sophisticated and effective.
US Army doctrine calls for one counterinsurgent for every 50 people. The Afghan insurgency is confined to the Pashtun and some mixed areas of the country - perhaps 16 million people requiring about 320,000 counterinsurgent troops. US, international and Afghan forces will total around 275,000 by the end of this year, or roughly 45,000 below the doctrinal norm. In reality, most of the Afghan police are ineffective at best, and several thousand coalition forces are legally prevented from fighting. The actual gap between the forces we have in Afghanistan and what doctrine recommends is significantly higher...
More at The Washington Post.
How Many Troops for Afghanistan? - Washington Post opinions. Ed Rogers, Scott Keeter, Dennis Kucinich, Meghan O'Sullivan and Andrew Natsios debate the politics of sending more troops to Afghanistan.