Abstract: This article outlines the author’s personal experience of life in Afghanistan, supplemented by the research and views of contemporaries. It explores the recent history and ethnography; the legacy of the Mujahideen; the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaeda; the relationship with Pakistan and other challenges to security and stability in the region, including the nexus between drug cultivation, trafficking, corruption, and insecurity; kidnapping; and bribery in official transactions. The rise in size and capability of the Afghan security forces is also covered along with the role of modern technologies in combatting the nexus.
Our COIN doctrine sets out the requirement to separate insurgents and terrorists from their sources of support, physical and moral. One of those sources of support is their finance and I intend to highlight this aspect in my talk today. The nexus, the coincidence, of violence and organised criminality has become something of a feature of post-modern wars. I see no sign of it diminishing but equally I see no sign of it being recognised and tackled in a systematic manner.
Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
NATO Lisbon Summit August 2008
In counterinsurgency, short engagements and battles are not decisive except at the lowest tactical level; it is the campaign that is decisive rather than the battle. However, campaigns take time to unfold and modern societies, unlike their insurgent opponents, are impatient. The spirit of the age is one of instant gratification, and the idea that the defeat of an enemy may take years simply encourages a hostile or shallow media to equate deliberate progress with disaster. Connected to this, the broadening of the information realm...
Defending Against Asymmetric Threats - The IED
There is not a day that goes by, or so it seems, that we do not hear of yet another of our best young men and women being killed or injured in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb - in military parlance an improvised explosive device or IED. But this phenomenon is not new: it was a feature of anarchist campaigns of the nineteenth century; the British Army faced it in Northern Ireland for over thirty years and it was a formidable problem in Iraq where Iranian support provided a very high level of technical capability. The Israelis too have had to deal with it...
The Private Sector In Complex Emergencies
(SE) Iraq - 2005
My theme is all about how the private sector can expand, in the context of complex emergencies and expeditionary operations, to fill areas which at present are the preserve of the civil departments of government or major organisations like the UN, but in which these bodies are, in my view, in difficulties. In order to do this, I must first set the scene. Post modern campaigns have, to date, been characterised by expeditionary military operations at the front end, to change a regime or secure a territory, followed by some sort of PSO or COIN campaign...