Air Command and Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States
The United States political and military efforts in Afghanistan follow the post-World-War-II pattern of failed policies, tactical military victories with strategic losses, and Western-imposed democratic governance. The dynamic and complex conditions of Afghanistan contain valuable political and strategic lessons for military practitioners desiring to study and potentially prevent another limited armed conflict ultimately destined for failure. To develop successful political and strategic objectives, US civilian and military leadership should assess the influence of the target states political and strategic culture to inform US political decision-making and rules of war. Focusing on Afghanistan, this paper explores the history that produced the political and strategic culture in existence today, the dynamic forces exerting influence on US nation-building efforts, and the miscalculations in the current US approach to Afghan-governance.