Washington: Having a sanctuary in Pakistan and knowing that the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul is relatively weak, the Afghan Taliban feel that it enjoys several advantages that historically correlate with insurgent success.
According to Ben Connable, the lead author of `How Insurgencies End`, which has been published by Rand Corporation in Washington, while current US counterinsurgency doctrine in Afghanistan broadly conforms to historical best practices, the Taliban enjoy advantages that historically correlate with insurgent success, according to results of 89 past and ongoing insurgencies worldwide.
The historical trends suggest that the Achilles heel for the Taliban would be the loss of their Pakistani sanctuary, while the principal American vulnerability lies in Hamid Karzai`s anocracy, or weak, pseudo-democracy.
Connable says his study cannot be predictive, but can help the US address or exploit these vulnerabilities.
"A lot of the things being done in the current [US military] plan is along the lines of successful things we`ve seen in the study. The key is if the US recognises it is working with an anocracy and recognises the limits of that kind of government, you can work on solutions to that problem," the Christian Science Monitor quotes Connable, as saying.
He says that the problem of a weak central government can be resolved through a greater focus on local governance and setting up local civil defence forces that are carefully tied down to one location.
Connable says that anocracies have won only about 15 percent of their conflicts with insurgents.
His report also reveals that indiscriminate terror attacks on civilians tend to backfire on insurgents.
The Rand study looked at 89 insurgencies dating to the 1934 start of Mao`s uprising in China. The final scoreboard: 28 wins for governments, 26 wins for insurgencies, 19 mixed results, and 16 ongoing.