So What Does My Book Say About Afghanistan? – part 7

Incoming Students, 30 July 2010 (photo by William A. Lawrence II)

Continuing the discussion on Afghanistan drawn from fragments of text from pages 264-266 of America’s Modern Wars (2015). “Part 6” of this discussion was my blog post “Dueling Surges.”



There are five final lessons or observations that we wish to make about this war [Afghanistan].

First, it is clear that the new government did not establish control of the country-side in 2002 through 2004.  The Northern Alliance and other armed groups totaled only around 60,000 people, at best. U.S. and international commitment remained at lower levels, below 30,000 troops. The Afghan National Army was slowly developing, also reporting only 8,000 operational troops in December 2004 and the Afghan police forces had less than 30,000 police in 2004, almost all of them raised that year. Both the Afghan Army and Afghan police were newly raised and poorly trained. Part of the reason the reported level of violence against these forces were low up through 2004 was that there was not a whole lot of forces in the countryside to commit violence against. As the Secretary General of the United Nations noted in August 2005: “From 2002 to 2004, powerful commanders and their militias, dominated the security environment. Narcotics trade and related criminal activities also expanded rapidly. More recent, there have been troubling indications that remnants of the Taliban and other extremist groups are organizing.”

In 2005 the Afghan police expanded to over 50,000, and their losses went from 9 in 2003, to 92 to 2004 to 138 in 2005. In 2006 the Afghan police continued to develop and expand and their losses grew to 412 in that year. We see the losses ore than doubled in 2007 (925 killed) and have continued at even higher levels since then. It is clear that police force presence led to increased police force losses, indicating that significant parts of the country were never under control of the central government.


(to be continued) 

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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