Turning in Circles in Afghanistan
Gates' comments imply a growing level of security in Afghanistan. That is a patent falsehood.
- Insurgent attacks are at an all-time high in Afghanistan. March 2011 saw 68 percent more insurgent-initiated attacks than March 2010.
- In fact, every March since at least 2006 has been more violent than the last. The same is true for every February, and it looks like attacks are on track to make that true for every April as well, according to the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office's (ANSO) figures.
- Looking at the entire first quarter of the year, insurgent attacks have skyrocketed by a horrendous 51 percent compared to the prior year. ANSO reports that in the first quarter of this year, insurgent attacks averaged "35 per day, surpassing even the August 2009 summer peak during Presidenial elections."
- The number of insurgent-initiated attacks in the first quarter of 2011 was more than twice the level of insurgent-initiated attacks in the first quarter of 2009, when President Obama took office and started launching his repeated escalations of the military campaign. That strategy has obviously failed.
Rolling into places like Marjah with lots of troops and TV cameras hasn't done a thing to increase security nation-wide for Afghans or blunt the growth in insurgent-initiated attacks. We're not "turning a corner." We're turning in circles. It's time to make a U-turn and get those troops home.