Small Wars Journal

The Pentagon Has a New Acronym for Afghanistan. Can it Win the War?

The Pentagon Has a New Acronym for Afghanistan. Can it Win the War? by Aaron Mehta - Defense News

The Trump administration’s Afghanistan strategy has a new acronym, one which the Pentagon’s top officials say will lay the groundwork for a stable Afghanistan in the future.

Appearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis described the strategy as “R4+S,” which stands for “regionalize, realign, reinforce, reconcile and sustain.”

Both Mattis and Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, sought to draw a line between U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy and that of the Obama administration, with Dunford flatly stating that the U.S. drawdown was “too far and too fast” to allow for success.

But senators expressed skepticism that the strategy truly would change anything on the ground after 16 years of ongoing conflict…

During the hearing, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., pushed Mattis on whether he would be “honest with the American people” about troop numbers, to which Mattis replied: “No ma'am, if it involves telling the enemy something that will help them.”

However, Mattis said that “in any terms of honesty with this committee, in private, at any time, we will get as specific as you wish. No reservations at all in private. In talking with the American people, we will tell them we are adding the troops. We’ll give approximate numbers. We’re not hiding this. But I’d rather not say the specific capabilities, the specific numbers.”

Read on.



Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:33pm

Respectfully, this statement defies logic.

"The goal, both Mattis and Dunford said, was to force the Taliban to the table by convincing them that there is no way the group can militarily defeat American-backed Afghan forces."

The Taliban only have one "R". Resist.

If not for eternity, at least until the next administration.

This one too:

"The fourth “R” is reconcile, which Mattis cast as bringing groups outside the Afghan government into the system."

"Reconcile" should be first followed by "Recognize". Recognize these groups do not want to be part of this system. It is an artificial, antagonistic and fraudulent system according to them. They simply will not accept it. The majority of the insurgency are Pashtun and tribal. That is their system and has to exist on it's own without active interference. Incentives and disincentives, but not aggregation of relevant variables.

I'll be back after I think of some more "R" words and make a slide.