Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
By Seth G. Jones
RAND Corporation, 2008, 144 pages
Reviewed by: Mariely Norris, Student
Taking a look at this monograph we can find a close examination of the counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan followed by the appearance of the Taliban regime in 2001. It is based on repeated trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India from (2004-2008). The author focused on the early stages of the insurgency (2002-2008) and examines how and why it began. The author also draws lessons from the broader literature on counterinsurgency warfare and provides recommendations to help the United States develop capabilities and improve performance in future counterinsurgency operations. His research focuses mainly on the U.S. military but also discusses the actions of other U.S. government agencies, countries, international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Jones is trying to get the interest of a broad audience of policymakers and academics concerned with counterinsurgency and the related issues of state-building, nation-building, and stability operations.
Based on Jones’ study, there are three questions asked in order to examine the beginning of the insurgency in Afghanistan. First, what was the nature of the insurgency? Second, what factors have contributed to the rise of insurgencies more broadly and to the insurgency in Afghanistan in particular? Third, what capabilities should the U.S. military consider developing to improve its ability to wage effective counterinsurgency operations? The core argument of Jones’ study is that the United States should focus its resources on developing capabilities that help improve the capacity of what he calls “indigenous government” and its security forces to wage counterinsurgency warfare. In Chapter Two he provides an analysis of 90 insurgencies since 1945 that indicate three variables correlated with the success (and failure) of...
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