US to Pump Thousands of ‘Combat Enablers’ Into Afghanistan

Is 'Civilian Surge' Just More Escalation?

Top US defense officials say that roughly 3,000 additional troops, which are classified not as combat troops but rather “combat enablers,” will be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming days.

Officials say the decision was made roughly two weeks ago, which puts it at about the same time that the Pentagon was publicly announcing that it was pulling 14,000 support troops from the nation to add 14,000 more “trigger pullers” to the conflict.

Rather, it now seems that the non-combat troops are being replaced by the combat troops, and then new non-combat troops are being added as well, effectively an escalation of the number of troops involved in the conflict under the guise of adding “non-combat” troops. This escalation comes in addition to the expected request of another 20,000 troops from Gen. McChrystal.

The US escalation on the ground comes amid growing evidence that the war is being lost, both in real terms and popular terms. But though the Obama Administration has made much of a promised “civilian surge” to bring stability to the war zone, it is now being conceded that little is going to result from it. The focus seems pretty much entirely on combat at this point, whether enabling it or engaging in it.

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.