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USMC Rethinking Coin in Helmand Province Afghanistan

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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Governmental changes in Helmand province Afghanistan over the past century have created an environment of instability and dissatisfaction among the population. Helmand is generally considered a fringe society within the political structure of the Afghan state and has warranted limited attention and involvement from multiple central governments in Kabul. The central governments of Afghanistan have historically resided in Kabul, which is over 700 miles away from the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah. The physical and cultural disconnect enabled the Taliban to continue to fight a successful insurgency in Helmand province well into 2010. Their capacity to deny the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan GIRoA the ability to provide governance for the people of Helmand, defined their success as an insurgency. Not until the summer of 2010 and the introduction of the United States Marines and their brand of counter insurgency COIN did the people of Helmand province fully embrace the GIRoA and deny the Taliban the opportunity to conduct operations which plagued their society. The Marines were able to transition the people of Helmand from providing sanctuary to the Taliban into active participants of governance provided by the GIRoA by personally interacting with the general population, pursuing the Taliban relentlessly, and reinforcing local governmental actions and capabilities.

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