Monday, May 17, 2010

COIN Deficiencies

This year is to be year of the COIN for NATO and the US military in Afghanistan. The much ballyhooed Marja operation was intended to be a prototype of this model, before COIN tactics were employed in a larger, more difficult, Kandahar operation.

Unfortunately, the recent news out of Marja is not heartening: 3 months after the US drove the Taliban out of Marja, families are fleeing in the face of Taliban terrorization. Population protection is integral to successful COIN tactics. A force unable to protect the civilian population cannot win the trust of the civilian population—without trust and cooperation, counter-insurgency operations are bound to fail.

The United States and NATO forces are in a particularly difficult spot in Afghanistan—the United States effectively ignored Afghanistan from late 2002 until 2008, giving the population there good reason to distrust Western statements of long-term commitment.

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