TO DEFEAT THE TALIBAN
Fight Less, Win More
Sunday, August 12, 2007; Page B01
. . . one of my many gratifying moments at the academy came at the start of a class on targeting. I told the students to list the top three targets they would aim for if they were leading forces in Zabul province, a Taliban stronghold. When I asked a U.S. officer to share his list, he rattled off the names of three senior Taliban leaders to be captured or killed. Then I turned and asked an Afghan officer the same question. “First we must target the local councils to see how we can best help them,” he replied. “Then we must target the local mullahs to find out their needs and let them know we respect their authority.” Exactly. In counterinsurgency warfare, targeting is more about whom you bring in than whom you take out.
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No one has complete answers, but Nathaniel Fick certainly speaks with wisdom on the theme that ‘when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’