As Violence Spirals, US Poised to Pour 20,000 More Troops into Southern Afghanistan

Gen. McKiernan Hopes to Break "Stalemate"

2008 was the most violent year yet of the seven year war in Afghanistan, and nowhere was this more apparent then in the nation’s south. Attacks were not only on the rise, but in many places the Taliban is setting up “shadow governments” to compete with the US-backed Karzai government.

2009 is shaping up no better, as just hours into the new year a Taliban ambush killed 20 police, again in the restive south. So when the US “surge” begins next year, it should come as no surprise that the bulk of those troops are to be deployed in the south.

Brigadier General John Nicholson, who is assigned to the southern part of Afghanistan, believes that “by introducing more US capability in here we have the potential to change the game.” General McKiernan has repeatedly called the situation a “stalemate,” but as the military hopes the surge is a game-changer, terming a situation spiraling increasingly out of their control a “stalemate” seems generous.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.