COIN in Real Life

We’ve had a lot of discussion at Defense Tech and across other properties about counterinsurgency and how COIN theory should be applied in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The echo chamber in DC and military centers of excellence are wallpapered with treatises from think tanks and other annointed 500-pound brains.

As many of you know, Christian and I are in Afghanistan for a few weeks, embedded with ISAF forces. For the last week or so we’ve been arcing around RC-East – places like FOB Salerno and FOB Sharana and combat outposts in Paktika province. During that time we’ve had the opportunity to join the Soldiers of Task Force Rakassan as they conduct mounted patrols through the villages and along the roads (mostly unpaved and very bumpy) of the province. We’ve also walked with them as they methodically engaged the populace, establishing a presence and developing relationships with local leaders.

A write up of COIN theory versus reality as these soldiers are living it every day in Paktika province can be read here.

Watch Capt. Josh Powers as he talks to the villagers of Mest a few days ago. It’s COIN distilled to its essence:


--Ward Carroll

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