What Happened to COIN in Afghanistan?

December 21st, 2010

In 2010, population-centric counterinsurgency doctrine — in which as much emphasis is placed on swaying the population as on fighting the enemy — was supposedly the guiding concept for U.S. strategy in southern Afghanistan. The Kandahar offensive, a series of counterinsurgency operations in restive Taliban strongholds, was to be the centerpiece of this approach. NATO’s [...]

MIssed Opportunities in Kandahar

November 9th, 2010

The following is excerpted  from Anand Gopal’s paper released by the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, “The Battle for Afghanistan: Militancy and Conflict in Kandahar.” The paper is available here.
The Victor’s Hubris and the Failure of Reconciliation
Just as Kandahar was falling, fissures appeared in the Taliban movement. As most of the [...]

Private Security Companies Undermine Afghan Security

October 28th, 2010

Pul-i-Charkhi, Afghanistan — In a wood-paneled office here in the dusty fringes of Kabul, Hajji Shirin Dil feverishly works the phones. He shouts orders into one receiver as he dials another phone, while aides wait patiently to speak to him.

He could be Wall Street day trader, if not for the sleepy gunmen [...]