Numerous historical examples have demonstrated that attempting to go to war in Afghanistan isn’t really the best plan, what with the tricky geography and all, yet here we are, eight years into just that very scenario. Along with the landscape-oriented issues, The Wall Street Journal has noted yet another reason that this war is dragging on without a clear end in sight: Afghanistan happens to be the place a relatively large percentage of angry young men call home at the moment. — KA

The Wall Street Journal:

How can a politically divided population of today 33 million provide enough fighters to resist the NATO countries, which have a combined population of nearly one billion? How can the Afghans challenge such military behemoths? Or, to put it differently, why do Russia and NATO win easily against mini-powers such as Georgia or Serbia, but find it hard to defeat mini-powers such as Chechnya or Afghanistan? What do the Afghans have that both the other mini-powers and the big powers are lacking? The answer is in the dynamics of a rapidly growing population.

Decade after decade, the women of Afghanistan have been averaging three to four sons each. This means even if an Afghan family loses two or more boys on the battlefield—”disposable sons”—it still has one or two male offsprings at home to carry the family into the next generation. Russian soldiers in 1979, however, were likely to be only sons. Statistically, that is also true for American soldiers in 2009, and is true as well for the soldiers of Serbia and Georgia that have quickly shrinking and ageing populations.

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