Mapping Failure in Afghanistan

The Wall Street Journal scores some classified United Nations maps of Afghanistan showing the deterioration of security in the north and west without notable improvements in security in the south and east during 2010. Joshua Foust properly notes that he told you so.

I’m not going to embed the images of the maps, since I’m not sure what’s fair use here and I’d rather not tempt a lawsuit. But if you click through, you’ll see something striking that escapes comment in the Journal story. Among the changes from the March 2010 map to the October 2010 map is that there are now(ish) more high-risk areas surrounding Kabul. That fits with a longstanding insurgent strategy, as assessed by ISAF and explained to me over the past two years, of infiltration and resupply from the Pakistani tribal areas in the east to the areas near the capitol city, where they lie in wait for the moment to do something big. The Times reports that the Haqqani network, which has targeted Kabul for large complex attacks, has been suppressed by ISAF for the past several months, so it can hardly be said that the coalition is inattentive to an insurgent strategy that it has understood for years. Yet the UN still records the deterioration in strategically significant areas.

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