Comparative Analysis Casts Doubt on Ability to Win in Afghanistan

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Byline: Marieke van der Vaart, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The 10-year-old war in Afghanistan could end in a U.S. defeat because of a lack of crucial factors historically necessary to counterinsurgency victories, a new Rand Corp. study said.

The Rand National Defense Institute released a paper Monday that compared the military efforts in Afghanistan to other international struggles against rebels in the last 30 years.

From 1978 to 2008, only eight countries successfully fought national rebels, including Croatia, Turkey, Uganda, Peru and El Salvador. The Rand paper said that factors that all of them held in common are missing in Afghanistan, which casts doubt on the U.S. likelihood of success.

"While every insurgency may be unique, .. the

things that a government needed to do to defeat an insurgency were the same What was different was how difficult doing those things was," said Christopher Paul, a Rand expert who wrote the report.

Last year, Mr. Paul conducted a Pentagon-funded study of insurgency conflicts over the last three decades, entitled Victory Has a Thousand Fathers, and applied the findings to his new paper on Afghanistan.

Every victorious government strategy in the past 30 years accomplished most of 15 factors, such as cutting off rebels' ability to raise money, recruit fighters and maintain supply lines. …