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What Does 'Securing the People' Mean in Afghanistan?

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009

The U.S. is determined to implement a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and one of the most important concepts of counterinsurgency is securing the people: Insurgents and counterinsurgents alike must appeal to the people they're fighting amongst in order to deny the other popular support.

But what does it mean to "secure the people" of Afghanistan? Some of the U.S. government's best thinkers about defense policy and counterinsurgency, many of whom cut their teeth on the urban battlefields of Iraq, have finally begun to consider this question. But although Iraq is vastly different from Afghanistan, there seems to be no end to "importing" lessons from Baghdad to Kabul: tribal militias, awakenings, and, most worryingly, a focus on cities. ...

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