Martin C. Evans

Long Island perspective from the Pakistan border

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2009 at 11:28 pm

One of the best insights I’ve ever gotten about the situation in Afghanistan came from a 20-year-old Army National Guard soldier who was stationed there for most of 2008.

Tajua Wiwczar, who is with the 69th Infrantry Regiment, noted that at one point while he was stationed on the Pakistan border, he was with a platoon responsible for monitoring a vast stretch of mountain passes and rugged terrain that is a Taliban hiding ground. Their team of about two dozen soldiers was spread too thin.

“We just couldn’t do it,” he said about a week before President Obama ordered more troops there. “It’s very, very rugged, very mountainous. So having more troops in Afghanistan, it would make a big difference.”

But isn’t it reasonable to ask what difference it would have made if his platoon had another 11 soldiers to cover hundreds of square miles of steep mountainsides and hidden valleys? Eleven soldiers to a 25-man platoon would be roughly proportional to the 30,000 troops being added to the 70,000 currently in Afghanistan.

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