Archive for the ‘Operational’ Category

Conceptualizations of Insurgency and its Effects on the Counterinsurgency Policy Process

Adam L. Silverman. Sic Semper Tyrannis, 12 November 2009.


Given the reality that the US faces in Afghanistan; the historic lack of functional centralized government, exceedingly high number of societal elements, many of which are geographically isolated or semi-isolated, the illegitimacy of the current Afghan government, and the fact that groups we are fighting are not all insurgents makes successfully reaching the COIN end state of tethering Afghan society back to the Afghan state very, very difficult. The debate on the use of COIN really needs to be focused in on this difficult set of Afghan circumstances and whether they allow any chance for a positive counterinsurgency outcome.

Winning in Afghanistan: A Message from Ambassador Eikenberry

Karl E. Eikenberry. Embassy of the U.S.A., Kabul, 08 November 2009.

Fixing a Failed Strategy in Afghanistan

Gilles Dorronsoro. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 2009.


…the International Coalition, with its limited resources and diminishing popular support, should focus on its core interests: preventing the Taliban from retaking Afghan cities, avoiding the risk that al-Qaeda would try to reestablish sanctuaries there, pursue a more aggressive counterinsurgency strategy in the North, and reallocate its civilian aid resources to places where the insurgency is still weak.

Editor’s Comment

Some would say that Pashtunistan is already a nation which can’t yet fully establish itself as a state (although there is already considerable local governance, both Pashtun tribal and Taliban.) Presently Punjabi (Pakistani) and US/NATO military intervention prevent the establishment of a state.

Dorronsoro’s Afghan war strategy would seem to be a step in moving the Pashtunistan national cause to within a decade or so of success. Of course, the cities of Kandahar and Jalalabad would have to fall under Pashtunistan governance eventually, even if Western forces resisted for some years.

Map of Pashtunistan

From Iraq, Lessons for the Next War

Alissa J. Rubin. New York Times. 31 October 2009.

Private Military Contractors and U.S. Grand Strategy

David Isenberg. PRIO, 15 October 2009. Private Military Contractors PRIO Report-2009.pdf

Go Big or Go Deep: An Analysis of Strategy Options on Afghanistan

Daniel L. Davis. U.S. Army (unofficial and unclassified), 14 October 2009. Hosted on the Sic Semper Tyrannis Website.

In 2009 Afghanistan today, conditions on the ground are nothing like that of Iraq of early 2007 and there is little reason to believe the tactical success achieved by the Iraq surge could be repeated today in Afghanistan. There is presently no successful “Sons of Iraq”- type operation that would remove large numbers of enemy fighters from the streets, valleys and mountains. No large segment of the insurgency has indicated any interest in establishing a ceasefire with allied forces. The insurgency in Afghanistan today is spread over hundreds of thousands of square miles of inhospitable terrain and even 40,000 additional fighters would likely be insufficient to militarily stem the tide.

The key issue in Afghanistan isn’t the number of troops we send, it’s the mission that they’re given – and that’s why the military doctrine and strategy of “counterinsurgency” is totally inadequate as a guide

James Vega. The Democratic Strategist, 12 October 2009.

Developing Strategists: Translating National Strategy into Theater Strategy

Derek S. Reveron and James L. Cook. Joint Forces Quarterly, October 2009.