Small Wars Journal

The Perilous Slog of Asymmetric Warfare

The Perilous Slog of Asymmetric Warfare: A Better Way Forward in Afghanistan - Nick M. Masellis, Naval Postgraduate School's Strategic Insights.

The situation on the ground in Afghanistan remains tenuous. Despite a strategy that has been under the auspices of a population-centric counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign—as presented by General McChrystal, officially sanctioned by President Obama during his historic address at West Point, and likely to be continued under the command of General Petraeus—military and political progress have been nominal relative to the resources committed. The latest operations in Helmand Province illustrate this point. Though initial reports suggest that coalition forces were effective in clearing the area—liberating villages and expunging Taliban resistance—the Taliban have been successful in what Rajiv Chandrasekaran describes as being able to wait-out the initial phases, and then strike against the "soft underbelly" of coalition operations—slowly reasserting their presence in the area by launching sporadic kinetic strikes, as well as a staunch "campaign of intimidation" toward the local population.

With such a security and political package meant to pacify the area—the hallmarks of General McChrystal's plan—the "box has come up empty." ...

Read the entire essay at NPS.