“Historically, the average time for a counter-insurgency campaign to be conducted with a successful outcome has been 14 years.” He doesn’t say how he arrived at this number, but given his unwillingness and that of his colleagues to consider the influence of the jihad ideology in making this counter-insurgency so persistent, it is likely that he just averaged together a smorgasbord of counter-insurgencies and arrived at this number.
Now why did he think that comparing Afghanistan to counter-insurgencies of a huge variety of types and circumstances would be more illuminating of the Afghan situation than a sober, realistic study of the ideology of Islamic supremacism? It is testimony to the thickness of the fog of political correctness that envelops us all.
[…] SPIEGEL: The tribal areas are located in Pakistan. How can the problem be solved in Afghanistan if it is being caused in another country?
McKiernan: The militant tribal groups that operate with impunity in the tribal areas are a problem for Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. The causes of the insurgency are extremely complex. Historically, the average time for a counter-insurgency campaign to be conducted with a successful outcome has been 14 years.
SPIEGEL: So we still have seven more years to go?
McKiernan: No, I didn’t say that. A counter-insurgency takes a long time, longer than we thought. We also need additional military capability — regardless whether it comes from Europe, the US or Afghanistan.
SPIEGEL: For a year now, the Americans have been working closely together with ISAF peacekeeping troops down a list of high-ranking Taliban commanders, who are either being targeted for assassination in commando deployments or arrested. But isn’t the supply of jihadists endless?
McKiernan: We have had some effect by targeting Taliban leadership inside Afghanistan. In some cases they were killed. In other cases we captured them. This has had some effect, but there is a manpower pool and while I will not say that it is inexhaustible, we also can’t see the bottom of the pool yet….