SOLLIMS Sampler Volume 10, Issue 1 - Page 19

Transitional Public Security – Work By, With, and Through Local Power- holders and Local Justice Systems [Afghanistan] (Lesson #2681) Observation: The U.S./Coalition (ISAF) failed to restore civil security and public order (“transitional public security”) in the aftermath of successful military operations in Afghanistan that ousted the Taliban from the central government in fall 2001. ISAF failed at the restoration of civil security and public order because of not working by, with, and through (BWT) the local power-holders and the local/traditional systems of law and order. Moreover, ISAF failed because there was no peace agreement reached among the power-holders (warlords) and factions (including the Taliban). Discussion: No “peace agreement” was established upfront to “legitimize” the presence/basing of foreign forces in Afghanistan in 2002. Moreover, the U.S./Coalition did not deploy a large enough force from the outset to restore security. ISAF deployed in January 2002, and by summer had 5,000 troops from 19 countries. ISAF’s responsibility was limited to providing security in the capital, where it conducted routine patrols with local police. ISAF’s purpose was to provide “breathing space” during which the Afghans could create their own security forces. In October 2003, the UN Security Council, responding to requests from President Karzai, expanded ISAF’s authorized area of operations to include all of Afghanistan ... (Miller and Perito, p. 4.) NATO was slow to generate the forces needed for such significant expansion. Arguably, generation of the “right-size” force was an impossible task to begin with: … the forces required to conduct COIN properly, based on the ratio of 1 soldier or policeman per 50 civilians, requires a force which is simply enormous and beyond the means of most NATO states. In the case of Afghanistan, which had a population of 28.4 million, this required a NATO ISAF force of 568,000 … (Kuhar, p. 32.) [Note: By 2009, the force had reached only 110,000 personnel.] Local “buy-in” with the power-holders/warlords was huge, but was not accomplished: In developing the military-political campaign for Afghanistan, what matters most is engagement with locals – and conducting this engagement within their own cultural frame of reference. In order to engage within that frame, military commanders and governmental administrators need to garner local allies/forces. Moreover, in order to engage successfully, military commanders and governmental administrators need a means to understand the social systems of the various communities and tribes, and also a way to understand and predict how military initiatives may affect those social systems. (See “Planning Considerations” reference.) Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 18 of 36