Congressional Briefing - June 9, 2008

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan


Seth Jones


Monday, June 9, 2008


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm


2200 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

As part of the ongoing RAND Counterinsurgency Study, a report titled Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan by Seth Jones takes an in-depth view of insurgencies and identifies the key variables that directly impact the success or failure in eradicating past and present insurgent groups. The author has just returned from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border – his third trip in the last six months. Dr. Jones identifies key challenges and roadblocks in eliminating insurgent groups from Afghanistan including:

  • Governance and infrastructure
  • Impact of a external support and sanctuary on the overall success rate for insurgent groups
  • Full appreciation of the importance of indigenous people, government, and security forces

Afghanistan and its neighbor, Pakistan, represent a central front in the U.S. war on terror. But a broadening regional insurgency orchestrated by a range of militant groups poses a rising challenge to the United States and its allies, especially since al Qa'ida remains active in plotting attacks across the globe from its base of operations here. In order to fully understand the nature of Afghanistan's insurgency, RAND Political Scientist Seth Jones has examined 90 insurgencies since World War II and conducted extensive primary interviews throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, the United States, and Europe.

About the Speaker

Seth Jones

Seth G. Jones is a Political Scientist at RAND and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He has focused on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism missions, including U.S. operations in Afghanistan, for the U.S. Department of Defense. His books include “In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan” (W.W. Norton, forthcoming), as well as “The Rise of European Security Cooperation” (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He has published a range of journal articles in International Security, The National Interest, Security Studies, Chicago Journal of International Law, International Affairs, and Survival, as well as such newspapers and magazines as The New York Times, Newsweek, Financial Times, and International Herald Tribune. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.