This paper shows the different strategies and techniques the counterinsurgency doctrine can use to be successful in Afghanistan. Recent attempts to revive the counterinsurgency techniques for use in Afghanistan have been symbolized by a determination to pick up lessons from history. Particular emphases have been given to intelligence preparation and deployment planning of the battlefield, through joint interagency execution, planning and coordination and through the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. In addition, the paper seeks to provide reasons why it is unethical to recruit from the universities, social scientists and scholars for the US military??™s ???Human Terrain Systems??? (HTS) project who will later be used in counterinsurgency. The human terrain system used by the United States army has been a controversial project among academicians, as the American Anthropological Association released their annual report denouncing the HTS in the year 2010, which shows the implications and dangers it has on anthropologists and social scientists.
The term counterinsurgency is an integrated set of security, political, social and economic measures intended to prevent and end the recurrence of armed violence, maintain and create stable social, political and economic structures and resolve the fundamental causes of an insurgency in order to prolong and establish the conditions necessary for lasting stability. The human terrain system is a program by the United States which embeds anthropologists and other social scientists with combat brigades currently in Afghanistan and Iraq assisting tacticians in the field understand local tradition and cultures in order to ease military endeavors in the areas. The human terrain system used by the United States army has been a controversial project among academicians, as the American Anthropological Association released their annual report denouncing the HTS in the year 2010. The Human terrain system has had various implications in that, as the military contractors are working in a war setting, HTS anthropologists work in situations which are difficult for them to differentiate themselves from military personnel and place themselves as anthropologists. However, these places on them a significant constrain on their ability to fulfill ethical responsibilities as anthropologists to disclose what they are doing and who they are.
The human terrain system anthropologists are also charged with the responsibility for relation of negotiating among various groups including both U.S military units that employ them and the local units in which they are embedded. In addition, HTS anthropologists work in war zones under harsh conditions that make it difficult communicate without coercion. Anthropologists are members of HTS team and thus they provide counsel and information to the military field commanders of the United States. This poses a serious risk that the information provided by the Human Terrain System anthropologists could be useful in making decisions about selecting and identifying particular populations as targets of the United States operations either in the long or short term. In light of these points, the association board members concluded that the human terrain program creates conditions which placed the anthropologists in positions that could violate the AAA code of ethics and that the use of anthropologists poses a danger to individuals other anthropologists study and the anthropologists.
The counterinsurgency doctrine can achieve a successful result in Afghanistan because they undertake intelligence preparation and deployment planning of the battlefield to develop an understanding of the environment they are operating, to drive deployment training and planning deployment training is always detailed and mostly focuses on the host nation, insurgents in the AO and its persons. COIN can achieve success in Afghanistan because preparation for deployment always begins with intelligence preparation in the battlefield. This is a systematic, uninterrupted process of analyzing the environment and threat in a specific geographical area. This is usually accomplished through three steps; define the operation environment, describing the consequences of the environment, evaluating the threat and determining the threat courses of action. The operational environment mainly consists of the sea, land, air, space, land and associated friendly, adversary, and neutral systems that are essential to particular joint operations. COIN can be successful because at the operational, and tactical, defining the operational environment involves defining the AO of a unit and finally establish an area of interest. Describing the effects of the operational environment is another step that involves developing an understanding of the environment where the operation will take place and is critical to the success of the operation. The US army determines the threat course of action which helps them to understand insurgent tactics and strategies, so they may be effectively countered. The determination of threat courses of action mainly focuses on two levels of analysis. The very first one is determining the whole strategy, or combination of strategies, chosen by an insurgent to achieve its set goals. The second one is determine the tactical courses of action used to support the strategy.
Counterinsurgency can achieve a successful result in Afghanistan through the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. The operations are necessary for addressing the issues that drive the insurgency. However, to achieve success, a number of factors are essential for ISR operations in the COIN environment. Information requirements and intelligent gaps determined during IPB may range from the location of the insurgent leaders to the local perceptions of insurgents by the populace to the political parties of HN. It is also crucial, for the collection occurring at all echelons. The fact that all the units report and collect information combined with the insurgents localized nature means that intelligence flow in COIN is more of bottom up than top-bottom. Pushing assets of intelligence collection down to the level of tactics benefits all the echelons. The Counterinsurgency??™s advantage includes ensuring reports go through the proper channel to reach audiences of the higher- echelon, improving the tactical unit capability collection, and getting collectors to the insurgents location. Additionally, it is important that the operators and analysts give feedback to the collectors to synchronize efforts of ISR.
Counterinsurgency can achieve a successful result in Afghanistan because operations and intelligence have a dynamic relationship in all operations. Operations are driven by intelligence, and intelligence is established by successful operations. It is also beneficial to fuse raw intelligence into products that support operations of counterinsurgency.
Different strategies can be used in Counterinsurgency to achieve successful results in Afghanistan. One of the most successful strategic approaches is achieving a long-term firmness, sought to solve the conflict in all dimensions. In this approach counterinsurgency is not all about defeating the armed enemy; but its primary objective is centered on creating lasting stability in a region or state. There involves actions of suppressed insurgents, long-term solutions to both the causes, and symptoms of the insurgents which comprise of fundamental elements. This strategy mainly achieves three objectives when successful; subversion and violence is brought to a manageable level by the local forces; it builds economic, political and socials institutions to address the structural problems fomenting instability and it finally transforms the mistrust, prejudices, and hatreds that sparked the conflict. The strategy addresses and solves the root causes of insurgency (McBride, 2006).
The counterinsurgency can use a predominantly military approach to achieve successful results in Afghanistan. This strategy mainly involves defeating the insurgents physically. For the US army to achieve success, this approach requires the extreme use of force and the willingness to apply extreme measures against the general population and the insurgents. Unfortunately, the strategy results into authoritarian and repressive regimes, which are mainly, installed by the military coup. The insurgents are usually crushed, or reduced to criminal levels. However, the ultimate paradox of military history is achieving success in counterinsurgency. A successful COIN is causing espouse of the enemy or meeting the demands of the enemy, without giving in to their strategies. However, this should not mean that insurgents must be tolerated, nor should their means be legitimized. But the insurgents actions should never be hide the beliefs and structures that nurture them. For counterinsurgency to succeed, conflict must be resolved, and violence has to come to an end. The key objective of counterinsurgency strategy is lasting stability, but they are not maintained and imposed by repression and force. Stability must provide the structure to address peacefully issues that may continue to grow; it is important that the structures be understood, institutionalized, and accepted fully by the population; who mostly feel that they benefit from the structures.
The achievement of strategic objectives is best done through joint interagency execution, planning and coordination, which includes nongovernmental organizations and allies. For counterinsurgency operations to be successful, they must have the ???inter-everything??™ nature. The joint forces mainly refer to joint, multinational and multi-agency force and include the appropriate balance and integration of conventional and Special Forces. This definition mainly leaves out private, voluntary and nongovernmental organizations, which must be, part of a joint effort with a mutual purpose. They are a reality in Afghanistan, and they must be an integrated part of the joint operation. All these international institutions bring much needed expertise, energy, and resources, but they also bring totally different working styles, goals and assumptions.
Collaborative, joint operations with a shared objective are very pertinent to the success of the future and on going counterinsurgency operations because of the following reasons; inefficient use of scarce resources, sending mixed signals to the host country population and political leadership, situational awareness, and the chance that a discordant and dysfunctional joint process can reverse or impede gains made. However, situational awareness is essential in any counterinsurgency operation, and a working partnership significantly helps in the achievement of this. The collaborative, joint insurgency operation must start early enough if it is to be effective on the ground. Stovepipe, parallel efforts are counter-productive. Coordination, planning, and cooperation should take place prior to the initiation of hostilities. Counterinsurgency success is faced by some obstacles for instance a part of the population may actively support the insurgent.
The HTS design approach is to place experience and expertise of regional experts and social scientists, coupled by open-source and reach-back research, in support of the units deployed engaging in military operations. Information is passed from HTS to the decision makers at the strategic, operational and tactical levels. The Human Terrain is a richly, complicated, probing, and complicated investigation of debates surrounding a critical subject. The United States attempts to recruit social scientist, scholars and anthropologists to support counterinsurgency operations in what are increasingly been seen as failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ethical and political critics argue that it is unnecessary to bring in academics in HTS. The American Anthropological Association commission released a report which found out that the Human Terrain System was a practical and ethical failure that sloppy mixed research, intelligence, and education gathering functions which had poor safeguards that it certainly contributes to the targeting of populations. The relationship of war to scholarship has become a new controversy since the invasions of 2001 in Afghanistan and 2003 in Iraq (Vine, 2009).
Although an anthropologist designed the Human Terrain System, it was ardently opposed by the social scientist group who believe that the military should not use scholars as collaborators in combat. The Human Terrain System was condemned by anthropologists because it was perceived as violation their ethical codes in three regards. The first concern was that it contravened prime directive of anthropological ethics, an analogue to medicine??™s Hippocratic Oath, stating that anthropologists should not harm communities and people they study. Anthropologist are said to be having a professional obligation, and, therefore, it was difficult to tell an anthropologist to gather intelligence information that may lead to imprisonment or death of an individual even though it is by saving another person??™s life. The Nuremberg Code was the second anthropologist??™s concern, which insisted that all research be based upon informed and free consent. The third concern was that anthropologist had a responsibility not to perform any research that might endanger other anthropologists. A number of anthropologists are concerned that their discipline be classified as a military occupation branch because the lives of civilian anthropologists working for development projects or as academics in the Middle East will be endangered (Eric, 2010).
Constructing the choice as one between national security and scholars and social scientists is wrong headed, because there is a lot of evidence that the Human Terrain Project is not only unethical but very ineffective. Information leaks from the project suggest that on some team relations between academic scholars and soldiers are toxic; that the failure to recruit a lot of anthropologists who are well trained in the Middle Eastern traditions and cultures is incapacitating; that the information technology that is expensive and promised to the HTS has not materialized, and, therefore, information collected and gathered by some specific teams is not accessible to others; and that embedded academic scholars are limited from doing serious jobs, since they lack suggestions and language skills since they talk to subjects for more than seven minutes. The Human Terrain System represents the ethical problems for academic anthropologists, since the demands of the military in occupation situations put academicians in positions that undermine fundamental ethical loyalties to the individuals they study.
It is not ethical to recruit from the universities, social scientists and scholars for the US military??™s ???Human Terrain Systems??? (HTS) project whose work will be used in the COIN process because classical ethnographic research usually takes more than a year of field work before academic scholars begin knowing how things work. According to the Human Terrain System, anthropologists are given only seven minutes for ethnography which is not enough, making it difficult for the project to hire competent and experienced social scientists. Human Terrain System is, however, desperate to hire academic anthropologists, but the ethical problems presented for social scientists working on HTS counterinsurgency operations makes it very hard to keep actual scholars in the project (Price, 2010).
Social scientists are being used as the new military weapons or tools as they are described by some proponents to assist counterinsurgency operation directly or indirectly. Providing cultural-sensitivity training in a lecture room or briefing peace keepers with the responsibility of protecting civilians and preventing violence is mutually exclusive. But when an anthropologist enters a battlefield to help soldiers at war, occupying another nation, engaged in regular, lethal, active combat operations. This is what makes this type of collaboration basically unethical for university students studying social science. Supporting counterinsurgency operations and combat military operations that are inherently violent and have caused death and harms of thousands that cross the threshold. The discipline of an anthropologist is aimed at understanding human lives and not ending or helping end them. Taking part in the Human Terrain System violates the ethical standards because it can be secretive or covert, breaching faith with individuals whom the anthropologists work by collecting information for purposes that are unfamiliar to them. Military collaboration casts suspicions on anthropologists everywhere as future spies and military operative??™s possibility foreclosing future research that could help in building better cross- cultural understanding and a more secure world (Gusterson, 2010).
A number of academic social scientists voiced criticisms that forward the inherently political nature of Human Terrain System as a counterinsurgency facilitator. This critic, however, connects HTS to historical instances in which anthropological field methods and hypothesis were used to subjugate native individuals in neocolonial and colonial campaigns. Identifying participants in Human Terrain System with terms such as ???techniques of power???, these critics point at the activities of HTS in the United States context involvement, in Afghanistan and Iraq, frequently described as occupation of neo-colonial wars ???in the service of empire???.
The Human Terrain System is, however, taking steps to deal with an ethical structure for its work is vital. However, of note is that the process of Human Terrain System ethics appears to have been undertaken serious after the idea of the development was initiated three years earlier. HTS have proofread and reviewed most of the ethical guidelines of relevant professional, social science association, and HTS believes to be in compliance. The over time evolution of Human Terrain System ethical process is an essential indicator of the program??™s basic preferences, which is a process that HTS should pay close attention. Despite the continuous raised questions about this project, HTS has been grasped as an essential part of the United State??™s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The program is currently on track to receive an increased budgetary support from Department of Defense. The program also expects an expanded role in other U.S. military commands, including in the Pacific Africa, and Asia. However, these developments make us conclude that HTS, and programs, are on their way to becoming a U.S. military greater fixture. The Association board members concluded that the human terrain program creates conditions which placed the anthropologists in positions that could violate the AAA code of ethics and that the use of anthropologists poses a great danger to individuals other anthropologists study and the anthropologists.
In conclusion, different strategies can be used in Counterinsurgency to achieve successful results in Afghanistan. One of the most successful strategic approaches is achieving a long-term stability, sought to work out the conflict in all aspects. The counterinsurgency doctrine can also achieve a successful result in Afghanistan because they undertake intelligence preparation and deployment planning of the battlefield to develop an understanding of the environment they are operating, to drive deployment training and planning which can be accomplished through three steps; define the operation environment, describing the consequences of the environment, evaluating the threat and determining the threat courses of action. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operation is another strategy that can be used to achieve success. The operations are important for addressing the issues that drive the insurgency. In addition, physical force and achieving a long-term stability, sought to resolve the conflict in all dimensions are two strategies that can be used for a successful counterinsurgency.
Human Terrain System anthropologists work in war zones under harsh conditions that make it difficult communicate without coercion. The American Anthropological Association commission released a report which found out that the Human Terrain System was a practical and ethical failure that sloppy mixed research, intelligence, and education gathering functions which had poor safeguards that it certainly contributes to the targeting of populations. The Human Terrain System represents the ethical problems for academic anthropologists, since the demands of the military in occupation situations put academicians in positions that undermine fundamental ethical loyalties to the individuals they study. Although an anthropologist designed the Human Terrain System, it was ardently opposed by the social scientist group who believe that the military should not use scholars as collaborators in combat. The Human Terrain System was condemned by anthropologists because it was perceived as violation their ethical codes in three regards.
Eric, D. (2010). Escorted ethnography: ethics, the human terrain system and American anthropology in conflict. Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, 22(2). Retrieved from:
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McBride, S. (2006). The interagency process in counter-insurgency warfare. Retrieved 20th May 2011 from United States army website, http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDocLocation=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA449307
Price, D. (2010). Human terrain systems dissenter resigns, tells inside story of training??™s heart of darkness. Retrieved 20th May 2011 from zero anthropology website,
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