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Essay The International Security Assistance Force

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The last eight years in Afghanistan has produced some success, but the year 2010 will be different because the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) leadership has learned from previous mistakes and now understands how to defeat the insurgents. The United States and its NATO allies, have a vested interest in ensuring the Afghan people are safe from harm so they can rebuild their country’s infrastructure, government, and economy. However, after years of turmoil in their nation from terrorist attacks and the fear of ISAF departing prior to defeating the insurgents, the Afghan people are hesitant about supporting either side. For ISAF, earning their trust will be a challenge, but it can and will be done. However, some things must change. As ISAF develops new operational approaches for Afghanistan in the ISAF Commander’s Counterinsurgency Guidance (ICCG), the most relevant contextual factors that apply are doctrine, conflict resolution, and civil-military relations. In regard to developing strategies in Afghanistan, Sun Tzu and David Galula’s theories are the most applicable.
First of all, doctrine is guidelines commanders use for employing forces to achieve national objectives. In reference to the war in Afghanistan, the doctrine has been primarily focusing on capturing and/or defeating the insurgents. ISAF forces have been chasing insurgents throughout numerous villages around the region in hopes of dismantling the terrorist networks. This is not working and it is time to take a different approach which means drastically changing the doctrine.
The new guidance redefines the mission. Protecting the Afghan people is the new mission priority, while fighting and capturing the insurgents is secondary. T...


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...people and its government. Last Galula item focuses on “testing the new authorities and organizing self defense units.” McChrystal’s strategy most related to the last item is, “hold all officials accountable and help Afghan people secure their areas.” By holding them accountable the system is determining if they are worthy of the positions. As far as Galula’s idea to organize self defense units, McChrystal was right on target with the same concept just a different participant.
The year 2010 will be the beginning for the Afghan people to establish their government, economy, and way of life. The doctrine, conflict resolution, and civil-military resolution contextual factors are the most relevant for applying the strategies in Afghanistan. General McChrystal’s ideas outlined in the ICCG are most closely related to the two theorists Sun Tzu and David Galula.


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