There's some other stuff about aid effectiveness and corruption, which is worth reading if only to say "who cares how much money Oxfam is spending on security when the Afghans are going to waste some significant chunk of what they DO get through corruption?"
Second, to be effective, [ISAF] must eliminate as many national caveats and restrictions on troops as possible, and add a substantial number of additional US combat brigades. Experts differ, but this could mean anywhere from three to nine brigades above the 21,000 additional forces that President Obama approved in the spring of 2009.
Third, it must create a larger and more effective mix of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many experts believe this means roughly doubling the targets from 134,000 men for the army to 240,000, and from 82,000 to 160,000 for the police by 2014. Equally important, member nations must provide the trainers, mentors and money to make this force effective. They must put them in the lead as soon as possible to show the Afghan people that security has an Afghan face, that it can last, and that every step is being taken to limit civilian casualties.
Anyway, worth a look.
UPDATE: Today's Times includes a letter from Cordesman disputing the 45K number the paper assessed as his recommendation in the headline. I like to pretend like he was made aware of the whole deal by this post. Let me have my moment!
August 12, 2009
US Army Manpower
Afghanistan, military manpower, figures and speculation
Sir, You claim in a news story that my article for your Comment section (“More troops, fewer caveats. Let’s get serious”, Aug 10) called for 45,000 more US troops in Afghanistan, and you speculate whether I might be speaking for General McChrystal. As the disclaimer to my piece made clear, the views I expressed were completely my own. They in no sense reflect the views of General McChrystal.
Moreover, while I referred to a range of three to nine brigades, I deliberately did not make any estimate of manpower. There are many types of brigades and many ways they can be deployed. The lower end of the range in my article could easily amount to a quarter of the total you suggest.
Anthony H. Cordesman, Washington