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Afghanistan Studies

Added December 11, 2015
Type: Book
The Human Terrain System: Operationally Relevant Social Science Research in Iraq and Afghanistan. Authored by Dr. Christopher Sims.
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Investigation of the experiences and insights of social scientists that conducted research at the tactical level in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a nuanced examination of the challenges posed by those conflicts. This book explains how a military crisis catalyzed the creation of the Human Terrain System and traces its effect through interviews with former program members.
Added June 25, 2015
Type: Book
The Strategic Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Why the ANSF Will Not Hold, and the Implications for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Authored by Dr. M. Chris Mason.
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The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost almost before the first American shots were fired, not on the battlefield, but at the strategic level of war. This book explains why, and describes year-by-year, what will happen in Afghanistan from 2015 to 2019.
Added October 28, 2014
Type: Monograph
U.S. Policy and Strategy Toward Afghanistan after 2014. Authored by Dr. Larry P. Goodson, Prof. Thomas H. Johnson.
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What should the United States do about Afghanistan? After nearly 13 years and substantial U.S. national commitment, much has changed in Afghanistan, the United States, Afghanistan’s region, and the globe. This monograph answers six key questions for U.S. leaders regarding preparation of policy and strategy recommendations on Afghanistan.
Added December 26, 2012
Type: Monograph
India's Changing Afghanistan Policy: Regional and Global Implications. Authored by Dr. Harsh V. Pant.
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India's perpetually reactive foreign policy ensured that India has been reacting to the actions of other actors in Afghanistan for the last decade without developing an autonomous posture. This will have serious consequences for Indian security once Western forces depart Afghanistan in 2014.
Added May 10, 2012
Type: Book
Disjointed Ways, Disunified Means: Learning from America's Struggle to Build an Afghan Nation. Authored by Colonel Lewis G. Irwin.
Remarkably ambitious in its audacity and scope, NATO’s irregular warfare and nation-building mission in Afghanistan has struggled to meet its nonmilitary objectives by most tangible measures. This book explores shortfalls in the U.S. Government’s strategic planning processes and the mechanisms for interagency coordination of effort that have contributed to this situation, as well as reforms needed to meet emerging 21st century national security challenges.
Added March 14, 2012
Type: Monograph
Delegitimizing Al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach. Authored by Dr. Paul Kamolnick.
Preventing radicalization and recruitment to al-Qaeda’s terrorism is vital to U.S. national security. This monograph suggests a distinct “jihad-realist” approach for partially accomplishing this elusive strategic objective.
Added October 21, 2011
Type: Letort Papers
The Afghanistan Question and the Reset in U.S.-Russian Relations. Authored by Dr. Richard J. Krickus.
The ability of the United States and Russia to cooperate in Afghanistan represents a solid test of their reset in relations. Skeptics in Washington cite the value gap that separates the two sides as well as compelling evidence that the Kremlin is bent on a course of confrontation and not cooperation with the West. Russian critics claim that there is no justification for Moscow to help Washington in what many Kremlin overlords believe is a losing cause.
Added July 15, 2011
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
The Changing Face of Afghanistan, 2001-08. Authored by Colonel Deborah Hanagan.
This paper reviews the broad dimensions of the George W. Bush administration policy and strategy regarding Afghanistan and the fact that it was multilateral, encompassing extensive political, economic, and military efforts, and multinational during the entire period of the administration. It provides broad documentation of the concrete progress made in the country between 2001 and 2008 and addresses the ongoing challenges.
Added September 02, 2010
Type: "Of Interest"
Lessons Learned – 13 Months as the Senior Military Advisor to the Minister of Interior. Authored by COL Kevin J. Palgutt.
In recounting his experiences as a senior advisor to the Afghan Minister of Interior, COL Palgutt indicates that it is a shame that many senior advisors will go on to new duty assignments that will have nothing to do with the experiences that were learned during their 12+ months of senior advisor duty.
Added August 09, 2010
Type: Op-Ed
America's Flawed Afghanistan Strategy. Authored by Dr. Steven Metz.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the August 2010 newsletter.
Added July 09, 2010
Type: "Of Interest"
China's Role in the Stabilization of Afghanistan. Authored by Col Greg Kleponis.
Critics contend that China is getting a free-ride on the coat tails of U.S.-coalition stabilization efforts. However, the author argues that any economic stimulus should be seen as a boon.
Added June 17, 2010
Type: Letort Papers
Endgame for the West in Afghanistan? Explaining the Decline in Support for the War in Afghanistan in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany. Authored by Mr. Charles A. Miller.
Analyses of the War in Afghanistan frequently mention the declining or shaky domestic support for the conflict in the United States and among several U.S. allies. This paper dates the beginning of this decline back to the resurgence of the Taliban in 2005-06 and suggests that the deteriorating course of the war on the ground in Afghanistan itself along with mounting casualties is the key reason behind this drop in domestic support for the war.
Added April 23, 2010
Type: Letort Papers
Shades of CORDS in the Kush: The False Hope of "Unity of Effort" in American Counterinsurgency. Authored by Mr. Henry Nuzum.
Counterinsurgency (COIN) requires an integrated military, political, and economic program best developed by teams that field both civilians and soldiers. This Paper describes the benefits that unity of command at every level would bring to the American war in Afghanistan.
Added April 16, 2010
Type: Monograph
The Construction of Liberal Democracy: The Role of Civil-Military Institutions in State and Nation-Building in West Germany and South Africa. Authored by Dr. Jack J. Porter.
West Germany’s and South Africa’s experiences remind U.S. policymakers of the tremendous obstacles and challenges that confront states as they attempt to install liberal, democratic political institutions.
Added April 14, 2010
Type: PKSOI Papers
The State-Owned Enterprise as a Vehicle for Stability. Authored by Dr. Neil Efird.
State-owned enterprises affect stability in conflict-prone environments, and decisive control of them creates positive or negative conditions. However, it is a challenge to know how and when to use these enterprises, and a good set of metrics is necessary to measure their effectiveness.
Added April 06, 2010
Type: "Of Interest"
Counternarcotics Operations in Afghanistan: The COIN of the Realm. Authored by COL Louis H. Jordan, Jr.
In this Op-Ed style document, COL Louis Jordan concedes that there will be no success for the U.S. in Afghanistan if the drug trade is not curtailed. He provides a frank discussion of the illicit narcotics industry and finishes with an alarm regarding the new trend in the Afghanistan drug war: Methaphetamines.
Added March 18, 2010
Type: Letort Papers
Lashkar-I-Taiba: The Fallacy of Subservient Proxies and the Future of Islamist Terrorism in India. Authored by Dr. Ryan Clarke.
When it comes to the analysis of Islamist terrorism, the vast majority of attention is given to the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan while the remainder goes towards Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, and “homegrown” terrorism in the West. This unbalanced approach has resulted in a critical deficit in knowledge regarding the growth of the phenomenon in India, a country which faces the challenge of having to tackle Islamist terrorists based in Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as in India itself. What is clear is that the Pakistan based Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) has taken the leading role in spreading its terrorist infrastructure well outside of its original theater, Kashmir, and throughout the whole of India. Inadequate attention has especially been given to LeT’s connections with organized criminal syndicates in India, as well as Indian terrorists themselves. This paper aims to fill this gap and to enhance American understanding of this powerful and sophisticated organization that is set to pose a major challenge to stability and American interests in South Asia and elsewhere.
Added March 04, 2010
Type: Monograph
Transnational Insurgencies and the Escalation of Regional Conflict: Lessons for Iraq and Afghanistan. Authored by Dr Idean Salehyan.
Transnational insurgencies complicate traditional counterinsurgency operations in significant ways and can lead to conflict between states. This monograph examines several transnational militant groups, assesses the prospects for conflict and cooperation over cross-border violence, and discusses current issues facing Iraq and Afghanistan.
Added November 03, 2009
Type: Monograph
A Case Study in Security Sector Reform: Learning from Security Sector Reform/Building in Afghanistan (October 2002-September 2003). Authored by Captain Jason C. Howk.
Afghanistan was America’s first attempt at conducting formalized Security Sector Reform. This case study offers readers an opportunity to learn whom the United States saw as key actors in the process, what institutions were slated for reform, and how well the United States and its partners met the typical challenges of SSR.
Added March 25, 2009
Type: Letort Papers
Provincial Reconstruction Teams: How Do We Know They Work? Authored by Dr. Carter Malkasian, Dr. Gerald Meyerle.
Provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs, along with civilian development agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, numerous nongovernmental organizations, and the Afghan government’s National Solidarity Program, are one of several organizations working on reconstruction in Afghanistan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, something of a debate has emerged over whether PRTs are needed.
Added November 07, 2008
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Unity of Command in Afghanistan: A Forsaken Principle of War. Authored by COL Ian Hope.
The author discusses the traditional importance of unity of command in American doctrine and practice from World War I until now, and how this principle has been forsaken in the evolution of military command for Afghanistan. He argues for a renewal of understanding of the importance of unity of command and recommends amending the Unified Command Plan to invest one "supreme commander" with responsibility for the current Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Joint Operations Area.
Added September 30, 2008
Type: Colloquium Report
Stability Operations and State Building: Continuities and Contingencies. Edited by Colonel Greg Kaufmann, U.S.A., Ret..
The current age of state building may be traced back at least to U.S. involvement in the various Balkan conflicts. But with the advent of the Global War on Terror and the subsequent interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military, especially the Army and the Marines Corps, has been faced with an unprecedented challenge to reestablish entire countries and rebuild their institutions.
Added December 27, 2007
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Overcoming the Obstacles to Establishing a Democratic State in Afghanistan. Authored by Colonel Dennis O. Young.
The author outlines potential solutions to the problematic and challenging situation in Afghanistan today. The difficulties facing U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan are endemic and will require a long-term commitment of time, money, and resources to overcome these obstacles in order to stabilize and democratize this nation.
Added October 25, 2007
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
The Military Strategy of Global Jihad. Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Sarah E. Zabel.
Al-Qaeda has declared war on the United States and the rest of the civilized world, but how does the organization plan to win that war? The author draws on sources from within the broader global jihad movement to explain the movement’s goals and the mechanisms it proposes to enact a revolution.
Added October 22, 2007
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Opium and Afghanistan: Reassessing U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy. Authored by Lieutenant Colonel John A. Glaze.
The author concludes that the skyrocketing opium trade in Afghanistan is threatening to destabilize the government and turn the conflict-ridden country back into a safe haven for drug traffickers and terrorists. The author also argues that the counternarcotics strategy has been ineffective in reducing opium production and needs to be modified to better help achieve stability in Afghanistan.
Added August 03, 2007
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Shaping Commitment: Resolving Canada's Strategy Gap in Afghanistan and Beyond. Authored by Colonel D. Craig Hilton.
The author concludes that Canada's current efforts in Afghanistan illustrate the need for Canada to urgently reassess the manner of its national security strategy process, particularly in light of future demands.
Added March 22, 2007
Type: Monograph
U.S. Interests in Central Asia and the Challenges to Them. Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
The author assesses U.S. interests in Central Asia and the challenges to them. He recommends policies designed to meet those challenges to American policy in this increasingly more important area of the world.
Added April 01, 2005
Type: Monograph
Afghanistan: Reconstituting a Collapsed State. Authored by LTC Raymond A. Millen.
The U.S. effort to reconstitute Afghanistan as a fully sovereign and functioning state is endangered by endemic warlordism more so than the low-level Taliban/al Qaeda insurgency. LTC Millen offers a shift in strategy that addresses the war of ideas, the counter narcotics initiative, and the incorporation of the Afghan National Army into the provincial reconstruction teams. As LTC Millen observes, all the resources are in place, they simply need a shift in focus.
Added November 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy. Authored by Dr. Stephen D. Biddle.
America's novel use of special forces, precision weapons, and indigenous allies has attracted widespread attention since its debut in Northern Afghanistan. Many think it caused the Taliban's sudden collapse. For them, this "Afghan Model" represents warfare's future, and should become the new template for US defense planning. Critics, however, see Afghanistan as an anomaly.
Added June 01, 1993
Type: Book
Afghanistan and Beyond: Reflections on the Future of Warfare. Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.
This report provides an historical analysis of lessons from one of the most important wars of the 1980s, the war in Afghanistan. After reading this study, you will better understand the nature of operations "other than war" in multiethnic states. Many fear that these wars will set the paradigm for wars in the 1990s and will exert pressure on U.S. forces to conduct peacekeeping, peace-enforcement and humanitarian assistance operations in especially dangerous areas.