The Fight for the Village: Southern Afghanistan 2010
ARMY COMBINED ARMS CENTER FORT LEAVENWORTH KS MILITARY REVIEW
Pagination or Media Count:
AFTER NINE YEARS of war in Afghanistan, a predominant societal structure--the Afghan village--continues to challenge counterinsurgency strategists and practitioners who seek to gain and maintain influence among Afghanistans rural population. The Afghan village is difficult to understand, complicated to engage, and a challenge to meaningfully influence. In the past year, the militarys most studied and experienced U.S. special operations forces and Afghan partners achieved considerable--though reversible--successes in the complex human and physical environments of select villages. This essay offers observations from Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan CFSOCC-A village stability operations conducted in southern Afghanistan in 2010. Five detailed observations were consistent among ten separate teams living in southern Afghan villages. They illuminate the role of the village in protecting the Afghan population. Afghanistans rural villages contain the very population that both the insurgents and counterinsurgents seek to influence, inspire, or intimidate. A rural-based insurgency is underway in Afghanistan. Approximately 70 percent of Afghanistans population of 32 million resides in rural areas or villages, well outside of urban population centers. In southern Afghanistan, most live in agrarian village clusters sustained by seasonal crops fed by flood irrigation. Even major southern Afghanistan cities like Qalat and Tarin Kowt are more village-like than urban, retaining their rural features even in densely populated areas. The future of Afghanistan may not be won in the villages, but history teaches us that it will not be won without them.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare