February 18, 2010
Iraq Lessons Can Guide Afghan Surge
Nagl & Reiss, Financial Times
As US forces fight to clear Taliban militia from the town of Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province, commanders need to look again at what we learnt in Iraq. A key cause of success in that country came when Sunni tribes flipped and decided to fight against hardcore al-Qaeda militants. Afghanistan is not Iraq, but the US and its allies would be foolish to ignore the lessons of the "Sunni Awakening" that took place in Iraq's al-Anbar province in 2006 and 2007. Properly applied, these lessons could help us use the increased military resources of the Afghan surge to accelerate a political victory in Afghanistan.
First, the US must fight the insurgency from the bottom up. Well into 2006, US efforts to engage tribal factions in Iraq were primarily top-down: military commanders and...
TAGGED: United States, Iraq, Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Marjah, Helmand