NATO, COIN and Afghanistan

Gates Faults NATO Force in Southern Afghanistan - Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times

In an unusual public criticism, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he believes NATO forces currently deployed in southern Afghanistan do not know how to combat a guerrilla insurgency, a deficiency that could be contributing to the rising violence in the fight against the Taliban.

"I'm worried we're deploying [military advisors] that are not properly trained and I'm worried we have some military forces that don't know how to do counterinsurgency operations," Gates said in an interview.

Gates' criticism comes as the Bush administration has decided to send 3,200 U.S. Marines to southern Afghanistan on a temporary mission to help quell the rising number of attacks. It also comes amid growing friction among allied commanders over the Afghan security situation...

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You should be following the spectacularly disastrous British efforts thus far in this area. Gates apparently has been.

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2008/01/14/our-deal-with-mullah-abdul-sal...

Is he saying what I think he's saying? Is he saying that Britain has no experience of COIN? Or is he saying that other NATO allies are not supplying troops because they do not have appropriately trained units?

Helmand is the heart of the Afghan insurgency. If your going to try COIN there then the Taleban are going to try and stop you, that means a lot of fighting. I seem to recall that Anbar got very kinetic at the start of the surge.

Gates is a smart guy, I don't know about Spiegel though, has he misunderstood the speech? I'd like to see a transcript of that one.