In the current age of information, both the internet and 24/7 news agencies have created an open window into the policies and strategies of the American way. This has been very detrimental to the strategy of advancing in places like the Afghan region. Reason being, it has enabled the enemy as to when and where the next mission will take the American forces.
ForeignPolicy – Strategic Withdrawl
It is tempting to note these and other examples of strategic withdrawal by guerrilla forces now that reports are pouring in from Marja, in Helmand Province, where many of the Taliban fighters holed up in the town appear to have fled before the U.S. Marines arrived. Of course, in the name of counterinsurgency strategy, the American commander, General Stanley McChrystal, deliberately encouraged the Taliban to withdraw by publicly signaling his plans. If the bulk of the Taliban pulled out before the Marines arrived, the thinking went, that would reduce casualties and damage to civilian property during the seizure of Marjah, and it would allow U.S. and Afghan forces to establish control of the Helmand River Valley, open transport routes, and facilitate the deployment of Afghan and international civilians to provide previously absent government services—an approach referred to as the unpacking of “government in a box.” If they succeeded, the Taliban would find it impossible to return.
Routing the Taliban from Marjah, where they had established a vicious and increasingly unchallenged shadow government, was undoubtedly necessary. I’m no military strategist, but it remains unclear to me why surging U.S. forces continue to invest their efforts and their numbers so heavily in Helmand. The axis of Taliban power, guerrilla infiltration, and money flows in southern Afghanistan lies somewhat to the East, along the routes between Kandahar and the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Karachi, which serve as sanctuaries for senior Taliban leadership. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and a historical seat of power. From their birth in 1994, the Taliban have relied upon their ability to move freely between Kandahar, Baluchistan and Karachi. The Times recently carried a good piece about just how porous the border remains between Kandahar Province, in Afghanistan, and Baluchistan Province, in Pakistan. It is true, of course, that U.S. forces cannot operate in large numbers in Pakistan, and are dependent on Pakistan’s fitful, ambivalent cooperation against the Taliban. Yet that still raises the question of why the thousands of U.S. Marines available in southern Afghanistan are concentrated largely to the west of Kandahar, rather than reinforcing struggling Canadian troops in the province itself. . . . MORE
As stated further in the article, “The Taliban are weak and vicious, but they are not dumb.” True as that statement is, they are smart enough to pay attention to the announced strategy of American forces. And, while it appears that the American forces are taking large areas, the Taliban has one thing the American forces don’t. The ability to move from place to place quickly.
We are not talking about the ability to move small teams quickly – that is one thing American forces are well known for. We are talking about moving a whole force. The American fighting force is very large and complex, while the Taliban force is small and more rogue. They lack the complexity of an elite force, but their ability to perform a strategic withdrawl is far easier than that of another force.