War Gaming Afghanistan
The US Department of Defense modeled the outcomes of the two most likely Afghanistan options available to President Obama this month. The Washington Post reported that these two scenarios were the deployment of 44,000 troops to help the Afghan government gain control of the country, or a more modest 10,000-15,000 troop increase dubbed “counter-terrorism plus.”
General Stanley McChrystal drew criticism from members of the administration for publicly espousing favor for a large deployment earlier this month. McChrystal said that he would need at least 44,000 troops to force the Taliban out of populated areas and secure those areas until Afghan forces could take over. Both of the possible troop levels in the war game exercise were based on plans recommended by Gen. McChrystal. The 10,000-15,000 troop increase option would not include plans to force out Taliban shadow governments operating in Southern and Western Afghanistan. McChrystal also included an option that called for 80,000 troops, but this is not getting serious consideration.