Data Points – Afghanistan Offensive
YankeeJim | February 13, 2010 at 09:47 amby
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Reading the MSNBC story, “Booby traps greet Marines in Afghan offensive” I pulled out some interesting data points, as I call them. Here they are posted and next I will share my analysis.
“President Hamid Karzai called on Afghan and international troops "to exercise absolute caution to avoid harming civilians," including avoiding airstrikes in areas where civilians are at risk. In a statement, he also called on insurgent fighters to renounce violence and reintegrate into civilian life.”
“Marine commanders had said they expected between 400 to 1,000 insurgents — including more than 100 foreign fighters — to be holed up in Marjah. The town of 80,000 people, about 360 miles southwest of Kabul, is the linchpin of the militants' logistical and opium-smuggling network.”
“Once Marjah is secured, NATO hopes to rush in aid and restore public services in a bid to win support among the estimated 125,000 people who live in the town and surrounding villages. The Afghans' ability to restore those services is crucial to the success of the operation and to prevent the Taliban from returning.”
“The elders are telling people to stay behind the front doors and keep them bolted," Carter said. "Once people feel more secure and they realize there is government present on the ground, they will come out and tell us where the IEDs are."
1. Karzai calls for insurgent fighters to reintegrate.
2. Marine commander estimates 400 – 1,000 insurgents including 100 foreign fighters
3. Restore public services to 125,000 people
4. When people are safe they will tell where the IEDs are
Observe numbers often don’t add up, and there is a wide swing in the size estimates. Are there 80,000 villagers or 125,000, for instance? Are there 400 enemies or 1,000? This is like the US Department of Homeland Security estimating illegal immigrants with a rounding error of plus or minus 50%.
Karzai’s call of the insurgents to reintegrate translates to “go back inside and pretend to be good guys.” To the insurgents is means, hide and live to fight again.
Observe that 400-1,000 thugs can control a population of 125,000. Why and how? It is because the local leadership is going with the flow. They are with the Taliban when they are in town, and will warm to the Marine Corps when they are in charge.
The notion that villagers will come out to tell where the IED’s are is an indictment of the villagers themselves.