Flipping the COIN

Did Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan Fail?

For over a decade, the United States has worked to end terrorism in Afghanistan. But the task is a vexing one, and nothing seems to be working. While the end goal is clear, the specifics of an ideal post-Taliban Afghanistan are slippery. In a new critique in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs, Karl Eikenberry critiques the model the government is using. Is counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine inadequate? The doctrine, whose stated goals are to protect civilians, eliminate insurgents and build government, is meant as a suggestion, not a step-by-step guide. Maybe that's where the government went wrong.