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War, Will, and Warlords

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2011 

Robert M. Cassidy, PhD

This book lies at the intersection of international security studies, military strategy, and the operational art of counterinsurgency. For conventional militaries to be successful in counterinsurgency and irregular warfare, they must adapt their means and methods to meet the exigencies of a range of lethal and nonlethal actions and activities. In addition, the methods of Coalition partners should generally be collaborative, designed to adequately implement the principles and tenets of counterinsurgency in complementary ways. This book identifies best and worst practices in both counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan with the aim of crafting recommendations for more effective counterinsurgency. By analyzing this particularly complex challenge from both sides of the border, this work provides explanations for the ostensibly lamentable performances in Afghanistan and Pakistan up to 2009. A better understanding of the success or failure in how the United States, along with its partners, adapts to meet the exigencies of the dual Taliban insurgencies among the Pashtun populations on both sides of the Durand Line will point to recommendations for improv- ing performance and increase our opportunities for ultimate success.


Colonel Robert M. Cassidy, USA, is a military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, a senior fellow with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, and a member of the RUSI Advisory Board. His experience and scholarship focus on strategy and irregular warfare. He has served on deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Egypt, and Grenada. He most recently served as a special assistant to the senior operational commander in Afghanistan in 2011. Colonel Cassidy has published a number of articles and two previous books on stability operations and irregular war (Peacekeeping in the Abyss: British and American Peacekeeping Doctrine and Practice after the Cold War and Counterinsurgency and the Global War on Terror: Military Culture and Irregular War). He has a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


Chapter 1. Introduction and Historical Overview

Chapter 2. Afghanistan to 2009: The End of The Beginning?

Chapter 3. Pakistan to 2009: With Us or Against Us?

Chapter 4. The Pashtun Belt in Afghanistan, 2009–2011: Hard but Hopeful?

Chapter 5. The Pashtun Belt in Pakistan, 2009–2011: Hard and Not Hopeful

Chapter 6. The Prospects for Peace: Anarchistan or Perfidistan?

Chapter 7. Operational Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan until 2011

Key Terms and Abbreviations


6 x 9 paperback
288 pages
PDF download

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