Best Defense

Quote of the day: COIN worked in Afghanistan — at least tactically

Carter Malkesian, interviewed by Octavian Manea in Small Wars Journal: “To say that counterinsurgency didn’t work is not a fair assessment. If you look at a variety of places in Iraq and Afghanistan you can see that counterinsurgency tactics — particularly the ones related to the use of military force, patrolling, advising, and small projects ...

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Carter Malkesian, interviewed by Octavian Manea in Small Wars Journal:

“To say that counterinsurgency didn’t work is not a fair assessment. If you look at a variety of places in Iraq and Afghanistan you can see that counterinsurgency tactics — particularly the ones related to the use of military force, patrolling, advising, and small projects — worked in pushing insurgents out of a specific area. From a tactical perspective, counterinsurgency worked.

“The argument that counterinsurgency didn’t work has more weight from a strategic perspective. The Afghan surge ended with the government in control of more territory than any time since 2005 and in possession of large and competent security forces. As a result, the government may yet succeed. Nevertheless, the Afghan surge did not end with Afghanistan stabilized or the government ready to stand on its own. On top of that, counterinsurgency was expensive and demanded thousands for troops, facts that will always darken its story in Afghanistan.”

U.S. Army

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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