COIN Revisited. Lessons of the classical literature on counterinsurgery and its applicability to the Afghan hybrid insurgery
MetadataShow full item record
- Security in Practice 
Prior to the US-led intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, little attention had been paid to counterinsurgency (COIN) in the USA and Europe, despite the considerable literature and experiences with this form of conflict since 1945. The limited focus that existed was primarily military in nature, despite the insistence of the classic literature on the political and civilian primacy of COIN. Experiences in Afghanistan since 2001 and in particular in Iraq since 2003 have put the focus on COIN. Combined with a renewed reading of the classics on COIN, this has resulted in a new and updated COIN Doctrine within the US Military: the FM 3-24. This report shows that the conflict in Afghanistan, although far more complex and thus to a degree qualitatively different from the insurgencies of the mid-20th century, can still be informed by the lessons and recommendations from the classic era. Greater attention to these lessons in the earlier phases of the conflict would probably have put the COIN Coalition in a better position than today. However, the situation in Afghanistan is grave, but not hopeless. Applying some of the lessons from the classical literature reviewed in this report, in particular Unity of Effort, might help to make the situation more manageable for the Afghan government, and improve the prospects of the Afghan people in the long run.
PublisherNorsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt
SeriesSecurity in Practice;13 - 2008