Necessary for Success

Senior defense analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who visited Afghanistan in November, maintains that airpower is “no substitute for more force on ground,” primarily because air strikes inevitably lead to unavoidable collateral damage since, as he told reporters earlier this month, in this type environment “you cannot separate” women and children from hostile forces. However, he acknowledged the coalition “could not have succeeded against Taliban in 2006 without constant support of precision airpower and [intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance] assets.” (Briefing slides and transcript.)