War, Will, and Warlords

War, Will, and Warlords : Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2011

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Reflections about America's relationship with Afghanistan and insurgent groups that miilitary historians, miltary strategists, and defense advocates may consider as perspecitives for the nation to move forward within the Middle East.

Compares the reasons for and the responses to the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan since October 2001. Also examines the lack of security and the support of insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan since the 1970s that explain the rise of the Pakistan-supported Taliban. Explores the border tribal areas between the two countries and how they influence regional stability and U.S. security. Explains the implications of what happened during this 10-year period to provide candid insights on the prospects and risks associated with bringing a durable stability to this area of the world.

Counterinsurgency resources collection can be found here: https: //bookstore.gpo.gov/catalog/security-defense-law-enforcement/counterinsurgency

Counterterrorism resources collection can be found here: https: //bookstore.gpo.gov/catalog/security-defense-law-enforcement/counterterrorism
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Product details

  • Paperback | 286 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 12.7mm | 544.31g
  • United States
  • English
  • None, First ed.
  • 0160903009
  • 9780160903007

Review quote

RUSI Journal -- June/July 2012 excerpt from Reviews section
War, Will, and Warlords:

Counterinsurgency in

Afghanistan and Pakistan,


Robert M Cassidy

Marine Corps University Press, 2012


understand the Afghanistan-Pakistan nexus. Colonel Cassidy provides a number of salient points concerning uneven US involvement in the region,

the contradictions of Pakistan, andthe counter-insurgency approaches implemented by both the American andPakistani militaries. This book builds upon

a portfolio of articles and monographs that Cassidy has published in various military journals on the subject.

The book is well researched, and the author's soldier-scholar credentials are impeccable. Colonel Cassidy is a militaryprofessor at the US Naval War College

with both scholarship and experience in irregular warfare and stability operations. With a PhD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, he has served as a

special assistant to two general officers, a special operations strategist, and has published two previous books, one on peacekeeping and the other on counterinsurgency.
In terms of the growing literature on this region, Cassidy's book lies in the shallower, scholar-practitioner midfield between an academic research masterpiece like Antonio Giustozzi's Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop

Cassidy does not address this point, but offers a straightforward assessment of the struggle on both sides of the border. For the United States, Cassidy elucidates how short-term and ill-advised American policies -the support of the mujahedeen and Pakistani President Zia to name just two -created the conditions that spawned Al-Qa'ida and provided the Taliban on both sides of the Pashtun frontier with a popular support base. In essence, Washington backed undemocratic and corrupt Muslim leaders, while the middle and lower classes looked to more radical interpretations of Islam. This trend created fertile ground for Al-Qa'ida and Taliban messages.
Cassidy further demonstrates how continued US financial aid underwrites Pakistan's military expenditures against India, which destabilises the entire region. He indirectly questions the whole 'money buys loyalty' approach characterising US foreign policy in the region.

No apologist for Pakistan, the author explores its security policies and how they contradict American interests. Pakistan is Janus -with one 'face' grudgingly supporting the United States with the Pakistan Army conducting operations against the Taliban on its side of the border, while the Pakistani intelligence service 'face' promotes and supports the Afghan Taliban as a proxy against the Karzai government and India on the other side.

Cassidy fortunately is too savvy to espouse the graveyard-of-empires worldview in terms of the American intervention in Afghanistan, but he delves into US problem areas of counter-

In his discussion of counter-insurgency application, the author illustrates that both the American and Pakistani militaries struggle in these operations because of embedded institutional and structural propensities for conventional war. For the American military, this hinders success.

For legitimacy, the insurgents challenge the Afghan and Pakistani administrations in the outlying tribal regions, which are marked by little governmental presence and high levels of endemic corruption. On this theme, the author could have engaged in a more detailed assessment of the quality of Afghan forces being trained by the UnitedStates for pacification efforts - are they'shake and bake' or competent troops?

Similarly, Cassidy's sober appraisal of the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) capacity-building projects executed to date would have added greater insight

to campaign progress. These omissions leave an uneasy feeling that Coalition and Afghan government efforts may not be as positive as described in the text.

Three missing elements and one major concern round out the review.

First, the book glosses over the larger regional context of Kashmir, India, Iran, and the Tajiks and Uzbeks to the north. An additional chapter to these regional

linkages would have enhanced the book. Second, the author does not engage in an extensive critique of US command arrangements and generals like David

McKiernan, Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus. The practitioner's eye could have provided valuable insight into the positive and negative results of the command regimes of each of these leaders. These arrangements and personalities have impacted the overall theatre campaign, and deserve articulation. Perhaps Cassidy's reticence stems from the fact that he is still an active duty military officer. Third, despite the term 'warlord' in the title, the book offers only a limited discussion of the

role these power-brokers play in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Antonio Giustozzi's book be the right supplement to address this deficit.
Finally, a major concern is the chosen publisher, whose marketing capacities may limit the book's wider dissemination and therefore readership.

Overall, however, this book is a welcome addition to a growing body of literature on the topic and relevant to current US policy-making in the region as well as future military campaigns.

ar, Will, and Warlords is an important read for all scholars, policy-makers, diplomats and military practitioners seeking to furtherand an in-depth investigative history like Steve Coll's Ghost Wars. Cassidy's work is unique in that it is the only book that currently compares the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan using a deliberate and consistent analytical framework. This comparison naturally raises the larger question of whether the conflict is really a single insurgency, given the tribal nature of both countries and the arbitrariness of the borders as drawn by previous colonial powers.insurgency doctrinal execution, legitimacy and measurement of campaign progress. ?Dr Kevin D Stringer

Professor and Chair at Webster University,

Geneva campus, and a Lieutenant Colonel

in the US Army Reserve.

is an AssociateDOI: 10.1080/03071847.2012.697294
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About Defense Department

Colonel Robert M. Cassidy, USA, is a military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, a senior fellow with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, and a member of the RUSI Advisory Board. His experience and scholarship focus on strategy and irregular warfare. He has served on deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Egypt, and Grenada. He most recently served as a special assistant to the senior operational commander in Afghanistan in 2011. Colonel Cassidy has published a number of articles and two previous books on stability operations and irregular war (Peacekeeping in the Abyss: British and American Peacekeeping Doctrine and Practice after the Cold War and Counterinsurgency and the Global War on Terror: Military Culture and Irregular War). He has a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
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