You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

New Afghan Plan: "McChrystal for the City, Biden for the Country"?

Per some informed leaking to the NYT, it seems where Obama is headed. The critical question is whether you can be "Biden" in the countryside--i.e., conduct counterterrorism operations in low-population areas--without the substantial troop presence that gives you the human intelligence generally needed to strike furtive terrorists.

If I'm Obama, the other thing I worry about is the intangible effect of Taliban gains in the countryside. Robert Gates, among others, has warned that substantial Taliban gains within the country--even short of toppling Kabul--would "empower" al Qaeda. And even if we start out protecting population centers, there will be a lot of pressure to expand and push outward as the Islamists expand their reach and use the remote areas as stanging ground for attacks on the urban areas.