Bill Roggio continues to follow events in Pakistan.
The Taliban takeover of the Northwest Frontier Province continues virtually unopposed. In North Waziristan, the Pakistani government is suing for peace after five days of fighting that resulted in at least 50 soldiers killed; unofficial estimates are over 100). In South Waziristan, the Taliban are showing off a captured military base, parading captured soldiers in front of the media, and bragging about beheadings. In the settled district of Swat, the local Taliban are conducting public floggings while the bomb religious statues. In Mohmand, the Taliban are conducting public beheadings.
Suppose for the sake of argument, the US were to transfer every troop, every private security contractor and every piece of equipment to Afghanistan to watch developments in Pakistan from the other side of the border? What would be the single most valuable asset they possess? And what would be the single greatest thing they would lack?
Their greatest single asset would be experience as embodied in the personnel sent there. Someone once explained that air forces are not about airplanes. They are about the human expertise behind the flying assets. That's true across the board. What men being transferred across theaters would bring is competence born of actual experience.
But what would be the single greatest thing they would lack? Experience in Afghanistan. Language capability, human networks, local knowledge, a million little things. All the experience peculiar to Iraq will be left behind in the withdrawal. A dead loss. Thrown away after having been acquired at such great cost. And new knowledge would have to be acquired at a new cost. But running close second in the sweepstakes for "greatest liability" would be the lack of strategic consensus in Washington DC to guide actions in Afghanistan. Time will remedy the first shortcoming. But will anything remedy the second?