Afghanistan has long been a crossroads of world cultures, economies, politics, and militaries. RAND's early research on Afghanistan examined the 1980s Soviet military campaign and the subsequent fundamentalist Islamic regime. Since Operation Enduring Freedom, the 2001 U.S. military effort to rout the Taliban and find Osama bin Ladin's Al Qaeda network, RAND has engaged the new Afghan government, military, and people to support reconstruction, counterinsurgency, and nation-building efforts.
At the time of the U.S. withdrawal, there are several militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan that threaten U.S. security and its interests overseas. How can we avoid the inherent risks in the drawdown?
The Army has provided the bulk of U.S. troops to Iraq and Afghanistan: over 1.5 million troop-years as of December 2011, and 54 percent of all active component troop-year deployments within the area of operations.
Lessons learned from past cases of local defense forces used in the context of counterinsurgency—in Indochina, Algeria, South Vietnam, Oman, El Salvador, Southern Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq—can be applied to the current development of the Afghan Local Police.
India and Pakistan each have a stake in influencing developments in Afghanistan and both countries engage in Afghanistan to advance their own respective geopolitical, defense, and economic objectives. However, India has far more to offer.
Public support for al-Qa'ida's transnational jihadist movement, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey, and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal is examined using a conceptual model that draws on social science and social movement theory.
Today, as withdrawal looms, the United States and its partners should work with the Afghans to define what sort of police development can be realistically envisioned for Afghanistan, and devote resources and assistance to developing that into the future.
Over the first four years following the death of a service member, recurring benefits offset more than two-thirds of the losses in estimated household earnings, on average. When combined with the lump-sum benefits the family receives, the benefits are likely sufficient to fully replace the lost earnings for several decades.
Because of disability compensation, the income of military service members who suffer serious or very serious injuries is on average about 36 percent higher four years following deployment than what would have been expected had they not been injured.
An analysis of U.S. military information operations and psychological operations in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2010 finds the efforts grew less successful over time, as disenchantment with foreign occupation grew. The most notable shortcoming was the inability to sufficiently counter the Taliban propaganda campaign against U.S. and coalition forces on the theme of civilian casualties.
While al Qaeda's capacity for large-scale attacks has been drastically reduced and the organization seriously weakened, the United States can expect to continue its battle with the terrorist group for many years to come.
This report examines how a military staff might assess freedom of movement as a strategic and tactical indicator in counterinsurgency, and specifically in Afghanistan.
Using the Battle of Wanat as a case study, the authors evaluate a range of alternative technological and corresponding tactical improvements to help small unit operations in Afghanistan, particularly when establishing and protecting combat outposts.
An overview of Soviet efforts to improve and facilitate the training and development of Afghan security forces from 1920 to 1989 can inform U.S. and allied forces' current approaches to planning and operating with Afghan forces and overcoming cultural challenges.
Security force assistance (SFA) is a central pillar of the counterinsurgency campaign being waged by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. An analysis of SFA efforts documents U.S. and international approaches to building the Afghan National Security Forces from 2001 to 2009 and provides recommendations and their implications for the U.S Army.
This book examines six case studies of insurgencies from around the world to determine the key factors in the successful transition from counterinsurgency toward stability.
A sustained focus on Afghanistan at all levels of the U.S. government is needed for the United States to make the most of its limited influence on the complex Afghan peace process.
The existing subnational government across Afghanistan is too centralized and weak to fulfill two basic requirements of legitimacy: effective service provision and representation. Opportunities for improvement are outlined for international actors hoping to strengthen local government in recently cleared areas.
Former Taliban and other insurgents provide an invaluable source of information on their previous colleagues, and can ultimately cause momentum to shift toward counterinsurgent forces. Steps can be taken to increase the likelihood of reintegrating fighters into their communities.
Iran's complex and, at times, contradictory set of cultural, religious, political, and security interests shapes its behavior in Afghanistan, to the benefit and detriment of U.S. objectives.
The U.S. military strategy should transition to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency strategy which would involve decreasing the U.S. military footprint and relying on Special Operations Forces to help Afghans conduct counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.