Impressions from a brief visit to Afghanistan and Bahrain
April 8, 2012
During the last week in March and the first week in April, I participated in a trip organized by the Council of Foreign Relations and Centcom to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Afghanistan, and Bahrain. The focus of the trip was Afghanistan, where we met with General Allen, Ambassador Crocker, Afghani military leaders, and personnel from regional military headquarters in the south and east of Afghanistan. All were highly competent and impressive individuals. We flew in a helicopter over the eastern border area to get some sense of the landscape and entry points of the Taliban and other hostile elements. In addition to the formal briefings, I had the opportunity to talk privately with lower ranking American officers. What follows are the personal conclusions I reached based on what I learned from this trip and from extensive direct experiences with insurgencies in other parts of the world in decades past. My last trip to Afghanistan was in 2005.