Will COIN Work in Afghanistan? By Donald Snow:
From the article: (COIN means Counterinsurgency)
With these limitations in mind, is Afghanistan ripe for COIN success? I think the manual argues implicitly that it is not, for three reasons. First, Afghanistan is too big for this kind of operation. The manual clearly states thateffective COIN requires one counterinsurgent for every 1,000 members of the population being protected. In Afghanistan, that means a COIN force of 660,000, a number so wildly in excess to what will ever be available to be disqualifying in and of itself. Second, the doctrine argues the heart of success is the political conversion of the population, but it fails to discuss who is going to do the converting. If it leaves this to U.S. counterinsurgents, the battle is lost. As the manual itself argues, an additional criterion for success is a good government the population can be loyal to. It is not at all clear Afghanistan has or is in any danger of acquiring such a government. Finally, the doctrine entreats that COIN is slow work and that its success will require considerable perseverance. A decade’s commitment or more is often suggested for Afghanistan: is there any danger the American public will support an Afghanistan war still going on in 2018 or 2019? I doubt it.
Thanks to Joshua Faust at www.registan.net for posting a piece on this article.