Rebuilding Afghanistan: Counterinsurgency and Reconstruction in Operation Enduring Freedom   [open pdf - 1MB]

International efforts at the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan are confronted by a paradox in their strategy for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM that has crippled their ability to locate and defeat the enemy and establish stability. In their narrowly focused pursuit of the strategy of attrition, coalition military forces have neglected the fundamental principle that guides small wars: that the protection of the population and the elimination of the influence of the insurgent forces are paramount to gathering the necessary intelligence to locate the threat. The disregard for the control of the population has eliminated the coalition's primary source of intelligence directly impinging on its ability to locate or separate the insurgent from the population and trapping it in an operational quagmire. Additionally, international aid efforts have focused on short-term relief rather than long-term reconstruction, establishing the foundation for continued dependence and instability rather than self-sufficiency. The purpose of this thesis is not to limit or narrowly define the threat in Afghanistan as an insurgency, but to illustrate how the situation when framed in terms of an insurgency can be effectively managed and the threats eliminated to produce a stable and self-sustaining country on the world stage.

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