Who to Believe?: Is There Progress in Afghanistan?

On Meet the Press this weekend, General David Petraeus described the Afghanistan strategy as the following:

“Oil spot is a term in counterinsurgency literature that denotes a peaceful area, a secure area,” Petraeus said in the interview conducted last week. “What you’re always trying to do is extend that, push that out.” CNN

If there has been progress in Afghanistan, a map that plots incidents of insurgency violence should be decreasing, especially around secure areas. Unfortunately for us all, this isn’t the case. A map plotting instances of violence through the release of the Wikileaks documents shows a very different picture:

The scope of insurgency activity is expanding

You’ll notice the yellow key, denoting enemy insurgency activities, has expanded to a pretty solid ring. There seems to be one only big oil spot, in the center of the country around Kabul.

I just don’t see these oil spots. It’s fine in theory, but then again, so is communism.

Petraeus also cites Marjah as an oil spot experiencing improvements. Conflicting on-the-ground testimonies here and here. My gut tells me that after nine years, the conflict zones can’t be expanding and going well at the same time.

***Yeah I know, the picture goes into the submenu. I want it bigger. I don’t care.

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