Small Wars Journal

Afghanistan

A Game as Old as Empire: The Return of Proxy Wars in Afghanistan

History is repeating itself in Afghanistan. Proxy wars and great power politics is returning to the country. It is putting Afghanistan once again at the center stage of regional and global rivalries over influence for a variety of geostrategic interests and the quest for resources. This time, unlike the past, there are many players including almost all of Afghanistan's neighbors - with the prominent players being Pakistan, Iran, China and India.

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Losing a Winnable War

The Afghan government and its allies are winning battles in Afghanistan but not the war. The Afghan war started as the “good war” and as President Obama termed it later as “war of necessity” and was won in less than two months. Quickly the success of the Afghan war was termed as an international model for fighting global terrorism. It was hailed as a model of international cooperation but what has happened since then? Why is it now at worst a “lost war” and at best a “forgotten war”? Is this war winnable? Who is the enemy we are fighting? What are the costs of inaction and withdrawal and what are the costs of winning? What does victory look like? And finally, how we can achieve victory? Do we have the right means both on the Afghan side and on the side of the international community to win it and how long would it take to win this war?

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Afghan-Born Soldier Returns Home to be Advisor with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade

Now based at the New Kabul Compound in the middle of the country's capital city, SGT Zabi Abraham is one of the most impactful advisors within the brigade's 5th Battalion. Often, he is at the battalion commander's side, translating conversations between him and senior Afghan leaders.

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How Do We Win Information Warfare in Afghanistan?

When General Abdul Raziq, the Provincial Police Chief of Kandahar Province, was assassinated the effective physiological warfare carried out by the Taliban and their backers in Pakistan prevented a moment in which all Afghans, government officials and the civil populace alike, could have united in their sorrow and grief over losing two national heroes. Instead, people quickly overlooked the damning brutality of the attack, giving credence to the counter claim, and with it, their implicit support to the Taliban.

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Modern Voting Systems Did More Harm Than Good In Afghanistan's Recent Elections

In an attempt to prevent the widespread fraud that has marred previous votes, the authorities introduced computerized voter lists at each of the country's 4,900 polling stations. At the very last minute, they launched a biometric voter-verification system. But instead of helping transparency, the new systems added to the chaos and ultimately undermined the credibility of the vote.

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What We Can Learn About 21st Century Wars From The Byzantines

General John “Mick” Nicholson, the outgoing commander of US forces in Afghanistan, recently created some controversy by stating that US strategy in Afghanistan is working. If he had been a senior commander of the Byzantine Empire, his comments would have made nary a public ripple. He would have been stating a plain fact of the new strategic normal.

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