US can't with Afghan war with Soviet-style 'defend the cities' strategy: Expert

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Toronto, Oct. 29 (ANI): The American approach to "defend the cities" in Afghanistan and let the Taliban control the rural areas appears to be more of a delaying-the-defeat tactic than a victory strategy.

The "defend the cities" option is gaining favour in Washington as President Barack Obama nears a decision on whether to send tens of thousands of extra American soldiers to Afghanistan.

Even before his decision, NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, had ordered a temporary pullback of troops from remote and vulnerable outposts, The Globe and the Mail reports.

"The Biden approach would effectively abandon large swaths of territory to the Taliban, sending a signal to the Afghan government and people that the United States isn't serious about reconstruction," said Professor Mark Sedra, a researcher for International Governance Innovation.

"Just defending the cities would be not quite as extreme but it would still abandon Afghanistan's mostly rural population," he added.Defending the cities" was the strategy that failed the Soviets in 1980, an old US State Department review itself had found.

A review of the Soviet effort to subjugate Afghanistan read: "The Soviets and their Kabul allies are able to exercise effective control over only a small fraction of Afghanistan. Except for sweep operations, they rarely venture away from their own bases, parts of the cities, and the major highways. At night, even these are not safe for them.

"Most of the country's rural areas remain beyond Soviet and regime control," it concluded in 1985. (ANI)

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