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Afghan War News > COIN > Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

Counterinsurgency operations are oriented toward sufficiently securing the environment to allow national institutions to be effective in maintaining law and order. This page provides a listing of news reports, publications, websites, books, and documents about counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.

Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

Websites about COIN in Afghanistan

NATO Counterinsurgency Library.

Counterinsurgency Info by COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT)

COIN Common Sense. Monthly newsletter by CAAT. (link deactivated)

COIN Training Center - Afghanistan on Facebook

Counterinsurgency - SecurityInfoNet

Counterinsurgency and Air Power. Special Forces Training.

COIN Training Center - Afghanistan (CTC-A)

Military Publications on COIN

FM 3-24, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies. Headquarters, Department of the Army, May 2014.

FM 3-24.2, Tactics in Counterinsurgency, 21 April 2009

NATO, Allied Joint Publication for Counterinsurgency (COIN), AJP-3.4.4, February 2011.

Joint Publication 3-24, Counterinsurgency, 22 November 2013.

NATO Pubs related to COIN

AJP 3.2, Allied Joint Doctrine for Land Operations. This document provides the underpinning for the COIN campaign theme and its relationship to the conduct of operations across the full range of military activities.

AJP 3.4, Non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operations. NA5CRO describes considerations for conducting various types of complex operations, including countering insurgency.

Papers and Publications on Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
(listed in chronological order)


February 5, 2018. "The Case for Counter Insurgency 'Light' in Afghanistan', Real Clear Defense, by Charles Barham. A retired U.S. Army Colonel with extensive experience in Afghanistan argues that the government of Afghanistan needs to conduct a COIN campaign to recapture the human terrain.


April 16, 2016. "No COIN Left in Afghanistan - Or The Elephant in the Room That No One is Talking About", Small Wars Journal. A very informative article by Franz J. Marty on the failure of ISAF (and later Resolute Support) to help the ANDSF understand how to defeat an insurgency.

March 29, 2016. "Economic Development in Counterinsurgency: Building a Stable Second Pillar", by COL Patrick H. Donely, Joint Force Quarterly 81 (2nd Quarter, April 2016).

February 11, 2016. "Stability Operations: Lessons from Afghanistan", by Charles Barham, Small Wars Journal. Once the NATO forces drew down in 2013 the Afghans were in charge of their COIN campaign. While they conducted "clear" and "hold" operations - they failed at the "build" aspect.


November 2015. "'The People are Revolting': An Anatomy of Authoritarian Counterinsurgency", The Journal of Strategic Studies, 2015, by David H. Ucko (National Defense University).

February 20, 2015. Learning How Not to Scare People: The Paradox of Counterinsurgency,  By Lillian Figg-Franzoi. Posted on E-International Relations.


November 25, 2014. "Adapting Army Aviation for Irregular Warfare", Small Wars Journal, by Robert T. Ault. Aviator discusses the pre-deployment training and deployment of an aviation assault battalion in Wardak and Logar provinces in support of the 173rd ABCT.

October 2014. Rethinking Victory in Counterinsurgency, United States Army War College Press, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Paper by Colonel Michael C. Griffin  argues that "success" should replace "victory" when talking about a desirable endstate for counterinsurgency. monograph.pdf

July 22, 2014. The Incompatibility of COIN Warfare and Nation-Building in Iraq and Afghanistan,  by Ibrahim Gabr, E-International Relations.

March 21, 2014. "Understanding the Sea: The Practical Application of Census Operations as a Primary Tool for the Platoon-Level Counterinsurgent", Small Wars Journal, by Patrick C. Brien.

Munsing, Evan. "Reading Lawrence in Afghanistan: The Seven Pillars of Counter-COIN Wisdom", Small Wars Journal, March 10, 2014. The author suggests that Lawrence would have advised a different COIN approach in Afghanistan. . . .

Miles, Renanah. "The (Many) Hurdles to U.S. Stabilization Operations". Posted on the Lawfare Blog, February 2, 2014. An end result of a successful counterinsurgency campaign is the establishment of security and the stabilization of a region or country. Civilian organizations play a major role in assisting militaries in this mission; however the U.S. State Department and other governmental agencies put forth a weak effort in the Afghan and Iraq Wars.


Walsh, Dr. James Igoe. The Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns, United States Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, September 2013.

Eikenberry, Karl W., "The Limits of Counterinsurgency Doctrine in Afghanistan: The Other Side of COIN", Foreign Affairs, September - October 2013. . . . -doctrine-in-afghanistan

Petraeus, David. H., "Reflections on the Counter-Insurgency Era", RUSI Journal, August 2013, Vol. 158, No.4, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Long, Austin. For Afghan and Other Local Defense Forces, History Holds Warnings, RAND Corporation, Summer 2013. . . . defense-forces.html

Knoke, David. "It Takes a Network: The Rise and Fall of Social Network Analysis in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine", Connections, Volume 33, Issue 1, July 2013, International Network for Social Network Analysis.

Ucko, David H., "The Five Fallacies of Clear-Hold-Build", RUSI Journal, June 2013, Vol. 158, No. 3. Royal United Services Institute.

Metz, Steven. "Strategic Horizons: U.S. Counterinsurgency Still Fighting the Last War", World Politics Review, May 8, 2013. . . the-last-war

Harrison, Stuart. "The Other Side of the COIN", RUSI Defense Systems,  January 29, 2013. Royal United Services Institute.

Springer, Nathan Ray MAJ, Stabilizing the Debate Between Population and Enemy-Centric Counterinsurgency Demands a Balanced Approach, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 2013. . . /. . . ArtOfWar_StabilizingTheDebate.pdf


McBride, Keally and Annick T.R. Wibben. "The Gendering of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan:, Humanity, Summer 2012.

Muggleton, Paul and Bruce Oswald. Counterinsurgency and Certain Legal Aspects: A Snapshot of Afganistan, Social Science Research Network, July 24, 2012.

Murray, Michael. "Counterinsurgency and Community Policing in Afghanistan", Small Wars Journal, January 1, 2012.
(link no longer works)


Green, Robert L. MAJ, Key Considerations for Irregular Security Forces in Counterinsurgency, thesis, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 2011. . . . / . . . IrregSecForces.pdf

Johnson, Richard B. MAJ, The Biggest Stick: The Employment of Artillery Units in Counterinsurgency, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 2011. . . /. . . /ArtOfWar_BiggestStick.pdf

Nagl, John., "How the US learned counterinsurgency", RUSI Analysis, September 2011. Royal United Services Institute.

Springer, Nathan. "Stabilizing the Debate between Population-Centric and Enemy-Centric Counterinsurgency", Small Wars Journal, August 13, 2011. . . . counterinsurgency

Coombs, Howard G. Afghanistan 2010-2011: Counterinsurgency through Whole of Government,  Canadian Military Journal, Volume 13, Number 3, August 2011.

Kenney, Edward. Historical Counterinsurgency and Afghanistan,  Afghanistan Study Group, July 7, 2011. . . . and-afghanistan/

Lister, Charles R., Cultural awareness and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, e-International Relations, March 11, 2011.

Moyar, Dr. Mark. "Development in Afghanistan's Counterinsurgency", Small Wars Journal, March 1, 2011.

Oliker, Olga. Building Afghanistan's Security Forces in Wartime: The Soviet Experience, RAND Corporation, 2011.

Paganini, John LTC, Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned, US Army Counterinsurgency Center, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 16 November 2011. . . . lessonslearned . . . .pdf

Paul, Christopher. Counterinsurgency Scorecard: Afghanistan in Early 2011 Relative to the Insurgencies of the Past 30 Years, RAND Corporation, 2011.


CSIP, Population-Centric Counterinsurgency: A False Idol?, Combat Studies Institute Press, US Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 2010. . . . / . . . Population-CentricCounterinsurgency.pdf

Meyerle, Jerry, Megan Katt, and Jim Gavrilis. Counterinsurgency on the Ground in Afghanistan: How different units adapted to local conditions, CNA Analysis & Solutions, November 2010.
(link deactivated)

COMISAF, COMISAF's Counterinsurgency Guidance, ISAF, 1 August 2010. Posted on the Washington Post website.

Jones, Seth G. Transitioning to Afghan-Led Counterinsurgency,  RAND, May 10, 2010. Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Springer, Nathan. "Many Paths up the Mountain: Population-Centric COIN in Afghanistan", Small Wars Journal, May 25, 2010.

Slaughter, Sean R., Expanding the Qawm: Culturally Savvy Counterinsurgency and Nation-Building in Afghanistan, SAMS CGSC, Fort Leavenworth, KS, May 21, 2010.

ANA CAAT, ANA Counterinsurgency Capabilities Report, Collection and Analysis Team (CAAT), Afghan National Army Lessons Learned Center, May 8, 2010. Posted on Small Wars Journal website.

Litchfield, John D., Unconventional Counterinsurgency: Leveraging Traditional Social Networks and Irregular Forces in Remote and Ungoverned Areas, SAMS CGSC, Fort Leavenworth, KS, May 21, 2010.

Henriksen, Thomas H., Afghanistan, Counterinsurgency, and the Indirect Approach, JSOU Report 10-3, Joint Special Operations University, Hulbert Field, Florida, April 2010.

Springer, Nathan. "Implementing a Population-Centric COIN Strategy", Small Wars Journal, March 1, 2010.

Kalinovsky, Artemy. The Blind Leading the Blind: Soviet Advisors, Counter-Insurgency and Nation-Building in Afghanistan, Working Paper #60, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, January 2010.

Paul, Christopher, Colin P. Clarke, and Beth Grill. Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency, RAND Corporation, 2010.


Thompson, CPT Carl. "Winning in Afghanistan", New York Times, April 9, 2009.

U.S. Government, Counterinsurgency Guide, Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative, January 2009. Posted on USAF Air University website.


Jones, Seth G. Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, RAND Corporation, 2008.


Kilcullen, Dr. David J., Three Pillars of Counterinsurgency, remarks delivered at the U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Conference, Washington, D.C., 28 September 2006. (3 pillars are: Security, Political, and Economic).

Dyke, John R. Unconventional Counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA: June 2006.


McMichael, Scott R., "The Soviet Army, Counterinsurgency, and the Afghan War", Parameters, December 1989, pages 21-35.

Reading Lists and Bibliographies for Counterinsurgency

Irregular Warfare (IW) Bibliography, USASOC, 2 June 2011, FID content is found on pages 5-28; COIN content is found on pages 89-124.\documents\IWBibliographyUSASOC2Jun11.pdf

CAC Commander's Counterinsurgency Reading List

USAF Air University Reading List on Counterinsurgency

Counterinsurgency (COIN), DTIC Online, ADM002209, Fall 2009.

"What to Read on Fighting Insurgencies" by Foreign Affairs, July 10, 2009.

The Counterinsurgency Reading List, Abu Muqawama Blog, CNAS, October 2007.
(link deactivated)

Videos about COIN in Afghanistan

May 1, 2013. "Debate on Counterinsurgency: Gentile vs Nagl", Small Wars Journal. Video of debate at Grinnel College. Access here.

Graphics Related to Counterinsurgency in Afghanstan

Graphic - Afghanistan Stability / COIN Dynamics, PA Consulting Group, Dec 2009. . . . .Afghanistan-COIN-Dynamics . . .jpg

News Reports of about Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

December 23, 2019. "Getting Counterinsurgency Wrong", Boston Review. Professor Ethan de Mesquita believes that even a well-run counterinsurgency mission would have been doomed to fail in Afghanistan.

February 21, 2014. "Military needs to remember lessons about fighting insurgencies". Mainline Media News. John Nagl tells West Point cadets that he worries lessons of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan will be lost.

February 20, 2014. "Why Counterinsurgency Matters for MONUSCO". Small Wars Journal. The author thinks lessons learned in Afghan can be applied in future.

January 28, 2014. "Front Row Seat: Watching COIN Fail in Afghanistan", War on the Rocks. A Marine Corps officer and former advisor offers comments.

December 23, 2013. "General Says Counterinsurgency Like Immune System". Epoch Times. Stanley McChrystal likens an insurgency to a disease.

November 7, 2013. "Clear-Hold-Build-Fail? Rethinking Local-Level Counterinsurgency". War on the Rocks. The author questions the validity of "Clear, Hold, Build" and equates it to "mowing the grass".

September 13, 2013. "The Army's Learning-and-Adapting Dogma". The National Interest. Read story here.

March 13, 2013. "The COIN of the Realm . . . Is a Wooden Nickel". Read story here.

November 19, 2012. "Petraeus's COIN Gets Flipped". The American Conservative. Read story here.

November 13, 2012. "General David Petraeus's fatal flaw: not the affair, but his Afghanistan surge". The Guardian. Read story here.

October 12, 2012. "US Army Colonel Reveals Failure of COIN and Barbarism of Afghans". Front Page Magazine. Read story here. COL Harry Tunnel's letter.

August 31, 2012. "COIN's Failure in Afghanistan". The National Interest. Read story here.

June 15, 2012. "Waging COIN in Afghanistan: An Interview with Colonel Robert M. Cassidy". Small Wars Journal. Read story here.

May 31, 2012. "Ends and Means in Counterinsurgency". The National Interest. Read story here.

January February 2012. "Both Sides of the COIN: Defining War after Afghanistan", Foreign Affairs. Read story here.

June 23, 2011. "Washington Losing Patience with Counterinsurgency in Afghanstan", National Journal. Read story here.

August 2, 2010. "Petraeus issues Afghanistan COIN guidance". Stars and Stripes. Read story here.

May 12, 2010. "Counterinsurgency theory default risk". The Economist. Read the story here.

October 9, 2011. "Counterinsurgency in Afghanstan: Is it Working?" ABC News. Read the story here.

June 19, 2010. "Lawrence of Arabia, guiding US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan". Lawrence of Arabia's life and writings still give counterinsurgency experts in the US guidance on how to conduct operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Christian Science Monitor. Read the story here.

March 27, 2009. "A New Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan". By Max Boot in Commentary Magazine. Read the story here.






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