Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

More U.S. troops for Afghanistan


President Barack Obama is sending 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to fight a growing insurgency, but will they make a difference?

America and its allies have far fewer boots on the ground in Afghanistan than Iraq, although the former is larger, more populous and features more challenging terrain.

As two former U.S. soldiers pointed out in Foreign Policy magazine, military strategists generally believe a successful counter-insurgency strategy requires 20-25 troops for every 1,000 civilians.

This “force ratio” was outlined by Rand Corp military analyst James Quinlivan in an influential study in the 1990s that has become one of the standard works on the subject.