Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

Experiencies, Strategies and Outlook - developing an interdepartmental approach to Counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan

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Between April 2011 to March 2013, ISPK was commissioned to study the performance of Germany's involvement in Afghanistan and gauge possible avenues for an improved approach towards counterinsurgency (COIN). ISPK partnered with reknown US think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS) during the project to gain further international exposure for our ideas and discuss intermediary as well as final results. Four international research conferences and workshops were held to debate possible avenues for an interdepartmental approach.

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Secretary of Defense Dr. Thomas de Maizière has adressed ISPK researchers and their international partners during our fourth workshop at CNAS in Washington, D.C. 


The Situation in 2008

The precarious security situation in Afghanistan has led to a change in strategy after 2008. In 2009, the strategic focus of both military and civilian efforts in the country shifted towards an interdepartmental approach to quell the insurgency. This new COIN strategy aimed especially at supporting and strengthening the military and administrative capacities of the Afghan government as the core mission of NATO forces deployed in the country.

ISPK Research

This new approach warrants counterinsurgency (COIN) as an integral - but not necessarily exclusively military - aspect of stabilization missions under UNSC Chapter VII mandates.

These COIN stabilization missions will thus be a core aspect of interdepartmental efforts in German foreign and security policy - within varying international coalitions. Hence, several departments of the German government must consider adding COIN capabilities into their portfolio: This not only includes Germany's Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), but also the Departments of State, Interior and Development Cooperation. Developing COIN expertise and qualified staff able to cooperate with other departments both domestically and internationally is consequently necessary.

ISPK has developed a comprehensive and detailed report about how to acquire these desired capabilities. Four international research conferences in Hamburg, Germany and Washington, D.C. as well as field research in Afghanistan have significantly added towards the breadth and depth of the policy advice provided.


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