The War in Afghanistan:
Counterinsurgency Operations in Kunar and
• September 11th terrorist attack
• OEF launched October 7, 2001 as a response
• Find Osama Bin Laden and all high-ranking Al Qaeda
officials, destroy Al Qaeda organization & the Taliban
regime in Afghanistan who provides safe-haven for alQaeda.
• OEF successful but since 2006 al-Qaeda and the Taliban
have surged in northeast through insurgent/guerilla
• Coalition forces are struggling to implement COIN
strategy in the isolated populations and mountainous
regions of northeastern provinces
• McChrystal calls for 40,000 troops. Waiting on Obama…
• Examine the current war-fighting strategies
implemented by US forces in the Northeastern
provinces of Kunar and Nuristan.
• Study the military history of Afghanistan (Soviet &
British invasions) to conclude a greater modern
counterinsurgency strategy in Kunar and Nuristan
• Multiple ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajiks, Hazaras, and
• Language: Dari, Pashtu, Turkic
• Religion: Islam
• Est. Census of 2005: 29,928,987
- 84% Sunni Muslim
- 15% Shiites Muslim
• Geographic location: links Central and South Asia
with the Middle East
• Terrain: steppes, desert, and mountain land
• Capital City: Kabul
• 34 administrative provinces
British Invasion
• Britain invades in 1838 to keep the Russians from
controlling the country.
• Unable to win the hearts and minds of the population
• Unwilling to make long-term, large-scale, military
• Left Afghan’s bitter and hostile towards foreign
influence and modernization
The Soviet Invasion
• Soviet Union invades Afghanistan December 1979
• Afghan government becomes pro-soviet and
• Radical Islamic fundamentals counter by forming an
insurgent force called the Mujahideen
• Soviet strategy: depopulate remote villages in the
• US finances and arms the Mujahideen’s fighting force
• Soivet Regime begins leaving Afghanistan in 1985
• The Taliban is born!
• US must be weary of the historic strength of Afghan
insurgent groups.
US Invasion of Afghanistan
• September 11th attacks
• Osama bin Laden identified
• Bush: issues ultimatum but Afghan
government refuses to cooperate
• US initial attacks (ariel bombing and US
Special Forces) are a success!
• Battle of Tora Bora serves as major
turning point
• Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda officals
retreat across Kunar border into
Kunar and Nuristan
History of violence and unconquerable thus far
Extremely treacherous terrain: rocky and hilly
Share a River Valley system
401, 000 Afghan locals live in the valleys
Korengal Valley considered deadliest place on earth!
River Valley people are strict conservatives and rural
• US Forces must earn the trust and support of the
Enemy Syndicate
• Al-Qaeda is ring leader for multiple
“syndicate” insurgent groups
• Enemy insurgent force estimated
between 7, 000 and 11,000 fighters
• Must focus efforts on destroying alQaeda
• “Taliban” has become a generic
description for all insurgent forces
Counterinsurgency Strategy
• Major flaws in the current strategy “clear, hold, build”
• We must…
B. Limit the flow of insurgents in the region
C. Reduce civilian casualties/destruction of
D. Expand Afghan Security Force in the region
SOLUTION: Increase the number of US Troops in the
Korengal Valley
• Extremely hostile locals – deadliest region in Afghanistan
• Taliban smuggle timber out of Korengal to fund the insurgency
• Korengalis don’t support US presence or Afghan government
• We must…
A. Concentrate on insurgent forces and take the Korengalis
out of
the fight
B. Eliminate large amounts of indirect fire in the Valley
C. Decrease US casualties in the region
SOLUTION: Remove US troops from the Korengal Valley and shift
focus of the fight to the origins of the trade
-Population is Paramount•
Protect the people of Kunar and Nuristan
Stronger military presence in the region
Train the population
Remove troops in extremely hostile (untouchable)
SOLUTION: Win the hearts and minds of the people in
order to defeat the insurgency in Kunar and Nuristan
By: Shane Stinemetz