Another interesting article pertaining to the relative strength of Afghan tribes is up at SWJ titled, “The Tea Fallacy”. The author, Michael Miklaucic highlights a couple of points that definitely have some validity.
1. Locals know sooner or later we're leaving Afghanistan. That has to weigh heavily on a person sitting on the proverbial fence. Looking back at historic references, it would be interesting to determine what counterinsurgent nation political entities were telling their constituencies. Were they telling their populace the same thing Americans are being told, out in 2 years? Did the folks at home during the many COIN conflicts over the last two centuries even care or truly understand (by and large) what was going on? Would it have been different if communications and media were the same as they are now?
2. First impressions. I'm not 100% on this one, but I think it bears mention. Are we already too far into this to truly change the average Afghan’s opinion?
3. Do the tribes really matter? According to Mr. Miklaucic and LCol JJ Malevich they're overrated. According to MAJ Jim Gant, they're imperative. I'm yet to experience an Afghanistan deployment, and AfPak is not my primary research/reading region, so I’d enjoy comments from those more enlightened than I. Instinct tells me that MAJ Gant is a lot closer to “right” than the other two, but my instincts have failed me once or twice in Vegas before as well.
Comments, as always, are welcome and encouraged.