The Third Way of COIN: Defeating the Taliban in Sangin by Dr. Mark Moyar, Orbis Operations.
The history of counterinsurgency in Sangin district offers a wealth of insights into the nature of the war in Afghanistan and the path that coalition forces should now follow. From 2006 to 2011, coalition forces took three distinct approaches to counterinsurgency in Sangin. The first two—the enemy-centric approach and the population-centric approach—failed to suppress the insurgents. The enemy-centric approach failed because it did not provide the population with adequate governance or deprive the insurgents of access to the population. The population-centric approach failed because the enemy's persistent military strength impeded governance and discouraged popular support for the government. Coalition forces adhered to the enemy-centric and population-centric approaches for four and a half years, from the beginning of 2006 to the summer of 2010, during which time they sustained one hundred fatalities and many times that number in wounded.
This report is © 2011, Orbis Operations LLC. It is presented here with the kind permission of the author, Dr. Moyar, for viewing by the small wars community. Any further use is subject to copyright.