Retooling the Nationbuilding Strategy in Afghanistan
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The United States began the war on terror October 7, 2001, by attacking Taliban and al Qaeda targets throughout Afghanistan. Special Operations Forces embedded with indigenous Northern Alliance fighters and followed by a small conventional force of coalition units defeated the enemy in 2 months and forced its retreat along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Once major combat operations ended, however, we faced a crucial question What next While intricate preparation had ensured the destruction of the enemy, the short timeline between 911 and 107 precluded adequate postconflict planning, often referred to as stability and support operations. It quickly became apparent, however, that a major effort to rebuild Afghanistan was necessary to ensure that it would never again lapse into a terrorist breeding ground or sanctuary. Even President George W. Bush, who campaigned against military involvement in peripheral operations and reiterated his opposition to nationbuilding prior to launching Operation Enduring Freedom, changed his opinion soon after major fighting ended. Thus, the United States embarked on a concerted nationbuilding effort.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics