A Failing Mission in Afghanistan: Salvation is Possible
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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Waging a campaign with successive phases as in a conventional war is not the approach that can win in Afghanistan. Rather, a more comprehensive course of action operating on simultaneous, multiple lines of operations, will set the conditions for success and serve as a model for future similar theatres. Early successes were followed by a force buildup and a plan to conduct more conventional warfare operations to eliminate the fleeting Taliban. Victims of their early success, coalition troops did not realize that the cities were not the main challenge. Later, as they shifted to the rural areas but with insufficient forces, their efforts stalled and the insurgency gained momentum. Using some of David Kilcullens 28 Articles of Counterinsurgency, recommendations for changes in policy guidance, military strategy, socioeconomic strategy, and strategic communications, are proposed to enable mission success. Based upon the current situation and recommended adjustments to the forces in theatre, success is within reach. It is a matter of unity of effort, a change in tactics to focus on the people, and communicating the right message to those supporting back home.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics