NATO Estimate: Taliban Just as Strong Today as a Year Ago

Massive Escalation Has Done Nothing to Size of Insurgency

What does NATO have to show for a 40,000 troop escalation and a year of record death tolls? Absolutely nothing, according to the military alliance’s most recent estimates.

NATO officials have confirmed that the alliance’s estimate for the size of the Taliban is 25,000 fighters, exactly the same number as a year ago. They insist that the estimates are “rough,” but the real story is that these “rough” estimates haven’t changed one bit.

The claim once again flies in the face of the Obama Administration’s claims that measurable progress is being made in the war, despite the ever rising levels of violence. If violence isn’t dropping and the insurgency isn’t getting smaller, how can there be progress?

The level reflects that even after a year in which NATO troops killed an enormous number of Taliban and Taliban-suspects, the organization was able to replace them. Indeed, with public sentiment against the NATO occupation getting worse and worse, it may be a wonder that the insurgency isn’t larger still.

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.