Can you defeat an insurgency? - Macleans.ca

Can you defeat an insurgency?

by

Good question.

Here is what Canadian Press wrote a year ago when Jack Layton suggested you couldn’t.

… the historical portrait Layton paints is far fuzzier in reality.

The British did in fact defeat an Afghan insurgency in the Second Afghan War in 1880 – and the battle ended in Kandahar, where Canadian troops are currently located. And Alexander’s trek through Asia did not stall in Afghanistan. It ended in India, after his troops had already marched through Afghanistan and founded the cities of Herat and Kandahar. The latter was named after him.

Layton’s remarks drew scorn from some military experts.

A British ex-special forces officer who fought alongside the mujahedeen in the 1980s and now runs a security company called the comments erroneous. Alan Bell also called them unhelpful to the Afghan government, and to the morale of Canadian soldiers and their families.

And Canadian military analyst John Thompson added: “I don’t talk about social policy. (Layton) shouldn’t talk about military history or strategy. I don’t know much about social policy, and it’s clear he doesn’t know much about military history or strategy.”