“The situation in Afghanistan is “extremely serious,” Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis wrote, but he expressed confidence that “the coalition, working with the Afghan people, will ultimately win.”
Adm. Stavridis, the new NATO commander and former commander of US Southern Command, is at least not pulling punches. He laid out what he sees as the keys to success in Afghanistan, and none of them are easy. Stopping collateral damage, balancing civil and military activities, and training the Afghan forces–all of these are pretty traditional counterinsurgency tasks made all the much harder by the geography and political economy of Afghanistan. And then there’s owning the information war:
— Effective strategic communication. Messages must be well defined and communicated to the citizens of Afghanistan as well as to the 42 nations that make up the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force there, Stavridis said. Meanwhile, he cited the need for a truthful, realistic antidote to negative Taliban messaging.