Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Afstan: How many more combat units needed?

From BruceR at Flit:
On the Kagan estimate

The Kagan husband-and-wife team have put together an estimate on how many troops would be needed for successful COIN in Afghanistan.

It's certainly worth a read. Obviously some of its figures are a little questionable -- I'm not clear on how they came up with 2 Canadian battalions currently in Kandahar, but never mind that -- but as a maximalist upper estimate it's pretty good.

In summary, the estimate states that the U.S.-led coalition still needs the following troops, on top of what's there now:

*1.5 brigades in Helmand province [which already has the largest ISAF force, some 20,000, mainly Brits and US Marines, see end of post];

*1 brigade minimum in Kandahar province;

*1 brigade in the Paktia area;

*An additional backfill brigade for the Canadians and Dutch when they leave [emphasis added].

An additional couple of brigades would also be needed for partnering with the ANA, to bring them up to speed.

The best part, though, is slide 39, describing how the worst-case would unfold...
I'd say this is an accurate assessment. Canadians should be under no illusions on this: when we leave, we will leave a hole...
Keep going, the UPDATE is particularly, er, revealing. And from an earlier post:
...I have it from someone well-informed that the US military are seriously considering three more battalions for Kandahar/Zabul [that's a brigade equivalent, at least before Stryker brigades] to operate in peripheral/Pak border areas that remain under-resourced. Moreover the US has already doubled the size of ISAF forces at Helmand with US Marines (list of units here), and the US military is also considering more battalions for areas other than Kandahar...


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