Sunday 23 Sep 2018 | 14:21 | SYDNEY
Sunday 23 Sep 2018 | 14:21 | SYDNEY

Afghanistan: The big push

By

Sam Roggeveen

@SamRoggeveen

3 July 2009 11:50

I hope to have some expert commentary for you next week about what this major US offensive in Afghanistan really means in strategic terms. One observation I would make is that the Marines' strategy seems to be very much in line with the new wave of counter-insurgency thinking popularised by David Kilcullen and his Small Wars Journal colleagues, which emphasises the protection of civilians rather than pursuit of the enemy. From the Washington Post:

"We're doing this very differently," Nicholson said to his senior officers a few hours before the mission began. "We're going to be with the people. We're not going to drive to work. We're going to walk to work...Our focus is not the Taliban," Nicholson told his officers. "Our focus must be on getting this government back up on its feet."

This is clearly a nation-building strategy, but is that really what Obama asked for? His statement in March after a two-month review of Afghanistan strategy seemed to have precisely the opposite emphasis: go after AQ and the Taliban. What gives?