Four months into their tour in southern Afghanistan, a Special Forces A-team still has no idea who they’re fighting.
“I can’t find them,” he continues. “This is our biggest failure.”
As Naylor points out in his story (not yet online, alas), the team has been able to help stitch together a stronger local government. Some counterinsurgents might say that’s way more important than focusing on the enemy. Major General Mike Flynn, the top U.S. intelligence officer in Afghanistan, blasted his colleagues and subordinates earlier this year for focusing too much on whacking Taliban, and not enough on learning the cultural, social, and economic lay of the land.
But ignorance about the other side — I’m pretty sure Flynn didn’t have that in mind, either.