The change in command of US forces in Afghanistan is been seen by Indian observers as the possible beginning of a smarter strategy in dealing with the Taliban.
“The US did not visualize the degree of difficulty in combating the Taliban,” says one Indian Army COIN (Counter Insurgency) expert.
“They’re obviously looking to make hard changes in the way they fight their war, “he explains, adding, “General McKiernan’s strategies might have worked in Iraq, but you need to fight and win against the Taliban, even in terms of perception. The US needs an endgame where it wins the information war, the battle of perceptions. Its exit strategy requires an Afghan populace that no longer lends support to the Taliban. So the psychological warfare aspect is very important.”
“McChrystal is a special operations expert. His appointment indicates a change of focus towards fighting a smarter, surgical and less indiscriminate war, where operational casualties and collateral damage is minimized with the use of appropriate firepower. It shouldn’t be like trying to kill an ant with a sledge hammer. He seems like a man with the experience that has led him to understand the nuts and bolts of fighting a COIN campaign. Giving him command also indicates a heightened effort towards containing the systematic expansion of the Taliban, that we’ve seen so far,” he analyzes for StratPost.