Today I’ve made similar comments on both the COIN Center blog and Steven Pressfield’s blog on the war – maybe I’m missing something but has anyone recently i.e. since December 2001, actually clearly articulated what we are trying to achieve in Afghanistan? Every man and his dog (maybe we should start listening to the dogs?) are presenting their theories on how to win the war BUT, if these is one lesson we think we have learned since WW2, it is don’t get into anything unless you have some idea on how you’re going to get OUT of it. So what is the endgame for Afghanistan? Please… anyone…?
- Exploit the mineral wealth of Afghanistan? Which minerals would they be?
- Prevent Pakistani nukes falling into Taliban/AQ hands?
- Return Afghanistan to its pre-1979 state?
- Save it for/from democracy?
- Prevent Iran or someone else filling the power vacuum left by the Taliban post-2001?
- Secure new markets for globalised industry?
- Something else?
Maybe I’m just dumb, or wasn’t paying attention that day the endstates were being explained…I’ve read FM 3-24 and similar publication on the subject of COIN, irregular threats and stability ops and actions and a common theme in most of the is the absolute need to identify what the root issues of the conflict are and set out to address them in your long game…are we doing that? Have we done that? Is there a cycle of ongoing review and adjustment….?
As LCOL Malevich says in the Center blog “The Taliban have a simple message “foreigners out.” And, they promise only “security” and “justice.” What is our mission, what is our compelling narrative?”
I suppose the other question that we might want to review is why does America care? When is NATO going to get its act together and get into the game; Ditto the Islamic Brotherhood – if they really do care for all Muslims, where are the aid packages, the troops and the initiatives from closer to home – would an Iranian Brigade be more effective than an SBCT…?
And some more in a similar vein here that I stumbled across while tag surfing…
Ok Simon Good point but the real politik on this is that those questions are political worm cans and make us look uncomfortably at ourselves. The same could be said of veitnam, iraq, algeria, etc…..the real reasons will pop to the surface and i think they maybe rather unpalitable – wormy.
Worms are good for the environment