War Comes to Bala Morghab: A Tragedy of Policy and Action in Three Acts
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS United States
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As challenging as conventional war is, how much more so is the ongoing operation in Afghanistan The need for concurrent stability operations, including counterinsurgency and capacity-building, adds layer upon layer of complexity to warfighting. As if the terrain and insurgents are not difficult enough, the policies that generate missions are often questionable and poorly grounded in the realities on the ground. What might seem a grand idea in the Presidential Palace and to Kabul-based planners can rapidly bog down in the realities of coalition warfare and the day-to-day friction associated with surviving and building capacity in a small province at the end of the policy and supply chain. And so, if the reader seeks a glimpse of what the majority of military operations might look like in the next 20 years, this view from Badghis Province proves a worthy example. This small operation, recounted here as a three-act play, may prove to have been one of the potential turning points in the war. The story of Badghis reacquaints the military professional of all the tribulations and friction of coalition warfare at the tactical and operational levels, gap between policy and operations, contradictions of winning hearts and minds, and challenges of day-to-day survival at an outpost of foreign policy. However, if Badghis is a story of friction and chance, it is also a story of military ingenuity and perseverance, as well as the Afghan peoples struggle for human security.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Government and Political Science