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28 September 2009

Hotel Coolidge got a room for Bob -- and the Wi-Fi too!

Click image, bigger, pretty colors.

Built in 1849, directly across Main Street from the railroad station, the Hotel Coolidge (named for U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, born in Vermont) has the Wi-Fi! If you're reading this post, that's proof. I'm in Room 201.

Such train station hotels were called drummers' hotels -- hotels for travelling salesmen, commercial travellers.

It's a bit past midnight, and about every 20 minutes I can hear a freight train go past, I can hear the excruciatingly beautiful train whistle wailing in the night. Does everybody think this is beautiful music, or just me?

The Amtrak Montrealer passenger train also stops in White River Junction. It's jam-packed in ski season as New Yorkers head for the Canadian ski resorts, but this is the region's most popular moment, the exploding of the leaves of the Autumn forests of New England. Quite frankly, I'm damn lucky I got a room. This is the second time I've stayed here, and I just love the crap out of this hotel and this town.

This is the only forest on Earth that explodes every Autumn in these spectacular colors, red, brown, yellow. From Ontario, through Quebec and the Maritimes, from Ohio, Pennsylvania, northern New York State, these trees have evolved a trick. As winter nears, the trees, desperate for energy and food so they can survive the bleak, harsh winter, dye their leaves as color filters, anticipating which sunlight frequencies will give them the most energy for a final month of photosynthesis, turning sunlight into storable food energy, into sugars.

I hope I got that reasonably right. But in these northern latitudes, and in the comparable latitudes of the southern hemisphere, there are lots of trees and forests, but only this one in North America does the spectacular color changes.

I got a late start Sunday afternoon, but things worked out wonderfully. My nephew and niece-in-law invited me for Chinese takeout dinner at their modest 2-storey colonial house about 5 miles north of White River Junction, and delayed their two daughters' bedtime just so Unkie Monkie (that's me) could dine with them -- and deliver a wooden rocking cradle for their dollies. I carried each of them upstairs. (The big one weighs 40 pounds, and I suspect mom and dad are soon going to break the tragic news to her that in future, she walks upstairs to bed, the days of being belovedly carried upstairs are coming to a close.)

It's raining and chilly. And wonderful and perfect in Vermont (named by the first wave of European settlers, the French: Green Mountain).

My nieces are Anya and Nori, and they knew instantly what the wooden rocking cradle was, and liked it a lot. The next time I see it, it will have a doll in it.

One of the most common and most brilliant of the color trees is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), and I guess you all know what this tree will make from the Autumn sunlight: maple syrup, and Vermont has managed to convince the world that they make the most delicious maple syrup, as the French have made their name synonymous with the finest wine, the Scots are whom you buy the finest (and only) Scotch from. They'll tap the sugar maples for their delicious sap in midwinter when the trees have lost every leaf and the forests are bare in the snow.

I should sleep soon, but I'm happy and excited and on an Adventure. Tomorrow I cross the Connecticut River into New Hampshire ("Live Free or Die" is their motto on the auto licence plates -- a grim choice) and drive about 3 hours northeast to the Presidential Mountains to ride the steam train to the top of Mount Washington.

This will put me in the region -- U.S. Route 3 -- where Betty and Barney Hill believed they encountered flying saucer aliens one night in September 1961. Before you start laughing, read the book about their experience, "The Interrupted Journey," by John G. Fuller, who also wrote "Incident at Exeter" -- look, I don't know what The Truth about all this crap is, I'm just an ordiunary guy with a holiday condo on Planet Vleeptron in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy, but it just may possibly be that I'm meandering through a region of Planet Earth that Alien Sentients love to visit, I guess to see the forest blaze into color every September, and then they stop at a diner and have the Indian Pudding or the Pumpkin Pie, and pour maple syrup on their pancakes.

You tell me. Leave a Comment.

27 September 2009

And out comes a man from Mars And you try to run but he's got a gun And he shoots you dead and he eats your head You eat Cadillacs Mercurys & Subaru

Click for larger


Betty and Barney Hill were an American married couple who rose to fame after they claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials on September 19–20, 1961.

The couple's story, commonly called the Hill Abduction, and occasionally the Zeta Reticuli Incident, was that they were victims of a UFO abduction. Theirs was the first widely-publicized claim of alien abduction, adapted into the best-selling 1966 book The Interrupted Journey and a television movie.

The Hills lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Barney (1923–1969) was employed by the U.S. Postal Service, while Betty (1919–2004) was a social worker. Active in a Unitarian congregation, the Hills were also members of the NAACP and community leaders, and Barney sat on a local board of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

They were a mixed race couple at a time in America when that was unusual: Barney was of Ethiopian ancestry, and Betty was Caucasian.

The evening of 19 September 1961, the Hills were driving back to Portsmouth from a vacation in upstate New York, Ontario, and Quebec. Since it was late at night, and because the summer tourist season was over, there were few other cars on the road as they traveled south. South of Groveton, New Hampshire, they are said to have observed a bright point of light in the sky. Initially, they thought that they were observing a shooting star, only it fell upward and stopped near the gibbous moon. While Barney navigated U.S. Route 3, Betty reasoned that she was observing a communication satellite and urged Barney to stop the car for a closer look and to walk their dog, Delsey. Worried about the presence of bears, Barney removed a pistol that he had hidden away in the trunk of the car.

* * *

Okay, I'm a week late, but this section of U.S. Route 3 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is where I'm heading.

I'll be gone for a few days. I'm having a major nervous system collapse as our move from the old house to the new house nears, and rather than end up in a psychiatric hospital, S.W.M.B.O. and I have decided that the very best thing for me to do is Run Away From Home. So later today I am running away from home.

Notice the postage stamp and coin. The Old Man of the Mountain was the state symbol of New Hampshire -- until the mammoth man's face profile collapsed and fell off and landed as rubble in the visitor's parking lot at the foot of Cannon Mountain. So even though the Old Man of the Mountain carried a Guarantee that it would always be there forever -- it's Not There Anymore!

(But the 25-cent coins the US minted for New Hampshire -- just in time -- will keep the image around for millenia.)


Anyway I've always wanted to drive Route 3 at night around the anniversary of B&B's Close Encounter. Every year on the September 19-20 anniversary there's a gathering of ... well ... dozens of human beings. And cars. Maybe a few dogs, too.

I'll let you know what I see or whom I encounter. I'm bringing the camera.

Mainly I want to ride the steam cog railroad to the top of Mount Washington before the season closes. And it closes soon. The top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, is the Guiness Record Book champ of Worst Winter Weather on Earth, and that includes Antarctica.

I'll bring the laptop so there's a chance I'll be able to post to Vleeptron if I end up in a motel what got the free Wi-Fi. (Or charges me extra for the Wi-Fi, the lousy bastards.) No promises. Que sera sera.

I also want to see if I can make it to St. Albans, Vermont, just south of the Canadian Border. Imagine how surprised the St. Albans residents were during the US Civil War when the town was raided and attacked by a company of Confederate soldiers. With any lucky they'll have a little museum in town, and maybe a souvenir t-shirt, too.

My other fave thing is the 7-minute auto ferry that crosses Lake Champlain east-west (or vice-versa), and is waiting for me and my car 24/7/365. If I get there at 4 a.m., another ferry will take me across the lake in a few minutes.

When I finally come home, it'll be to my New Home, and I'll feel a lot better.

Unless I encounter Aliens from
Zeta Reticuli, or Hoon, or Mollyringwald, or Capella.

* * *

(or watch the video)

recorded by Blondie (1980)
written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein

Toe to toe
Dancing very close
Barely breathing
Almost comatose
Wall to wall
People hypnotized
And they're stepping lightly
Hang each night in Rapture

Back to back
Spineless movement
And a wild attack

Face to face
Sadly solitude
And it's finger popping
Twenty-four hour shopping in Rapture

Fab Five Freddie told me everybody's high
DJ's spinnin' are savin' my mind
Flash is fast, Flash is cool
Francois sez fas, Flashe' no do
And you don't stop, sure shot
Go out to the parking lot

And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun

And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars
You go out at night, eatin' cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercurys and Subarus

And you don't stop, you keep on eatin' cars
Then, when there's no more cars
You go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet
Face to face, dance cheek to cheek
One to one, man to man
Dance toe to toe

Don't move too slow, 'cause the man from Mars
Is through with cars, he's eatin' bars
Yeah, wall to wall, door to door, hall to hall
He's gonna eat 'em all

Rapture, be pure
Take a tour, through the sewer
Don't strain your brain, paint a train
You'll be singin' in the rain
I said don't stop, to punk rock

Well now you see what you wanna be
Just have your party on TV
'Cause the man from Mars won't eat up bars when the TV's on

And now he's gone back up to space
Where he won't have a hassle with the human race
And you hip-hop, and you don't stop
Just blast off, sure shot
'Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin' cars and eatin' bars
And now he only eats guitars, get up!

26 September 2009

When this old world starts getting me down / And people are just too much for me to face / I climb way up to the top of the stairs

Click image for larger.
......Sound: ON
right-click: OPEN IN NEW TAB

by Gerry Goffin and Carole King
first recording by The Drifters 1962

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space

On the roof, it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below can't bother me

Let me tell you now
When I come home feelin' tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet
up on the roof

I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat-race noise down in the street
up on the roof

On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let's go up on the roof
up on the roof

At night the stars put on a show for free
And darling you can share it all with me
I keep a-tellin' you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I've found a paradise that's trouble proof
up on the roof

And if this world starts getting you down
There's room enough for two
Up on the roof
Up on the roo-oo-oof

Oh come on baby
up on the roof
Oh come on honey
up on the roof
Everything is all right
up on the roof

25 September 2009

i'm not bald

Click image for larger.

67% of Japanese men stand while urinating: survey

33% of Japanese men sit while urinating: survey

KITAKYUSHU — About one in three Japanese men tend to sit on the toilet seat when urinating at home, according to results of a survey by toilet maker Toto Ltd. The Internet survey conducted in May, covering 500 men in their 20s to 60s whose homes have Western-style toilets, found that 33.4% said they prefer to sit, citing ‘‘ease of posture’’ and ‘‘to make cleaning easier’’ as the main reasons.

The figure was 9.7% higher than in Toto’s last survey in 2004. Takuji Yano of Toto’s public relations department said, ‘‘It seems that people are tending to be more conscious about the bathrooms in their home, such as equipping washlet attachments to the toilet and trying to keep them cleaner.’’

© 2009 Kyodo News. All rights reserved.

  • benhur at 01:27 PM JST - 25th September

    i hear they also use the bidet and dryer..

  • biglittleman at 01:36 PM JST - 25th September

    Which came first? The interest in sitting down while they urinated or the man bags(purses).

  • dolphingirl at 01:51 PM JST - 25th September

    This is hilarious! Thanks for all the humourous posts! Well, I don't care if a guy sits or stands as long his aim is good! And I wish I could be a man for a day so I would have the option. LOL!!

  • M51T at 01:52 PM JST - 25th September

    It is well known that standing up develops eye/hand co-ordination and if war breaks out, I'll be in the 66% that survive.

  • presto345 at 02:05 PM JST - 25th September

    At the time man was created there were no ceramic or concrete, if you like, facilities for disposal of human waste. Man, meaning humans too, could relieve themselves in the ample space in nature, even benefiting the earth. Initial plans from the gods did not include the scenario for human populations to explode and crowding together in narrow spaces. Certainly not in asphalt-concrete creations we call cities nowadays. Men, as well as women, prefer to squat when fulfilling certain natural urgencies. Men, of course, have the advantage of standing up while relieving themselves, but he has the choice to squat if that suits him and it is totally irrelevant what his peers think of that. The average 'pot' in Japanese homes nowadays is designed to sit on, not to stand in front, aim and hope it will land in the right place, so the 33% are making the right choice to sit, get 'it' in the right place and save himself or his family from constantly cleaning the surroundings.

  • Wakarimasen at 02:13 PM JST - 25th September

    Sometimes sit, sometimes stand. Depends. So what? Doesn't make me a girl.

  • IvanCoughalot at 02:22 PM JST - 25th September

    My Mrs. tried to tell me that this was the correct way for married men to have a wee shortly after the ring went on her finger. She got very short shrift. Everey now and then I have a crafty splash on the floor to remind her who's boss.

    That said, when wearing light-coloured Chinos at work, I do sit for a number one in order to avoid the dot of shame that often occurs from the inadequacy of shakage when in a public place. You don't want to be seen to be giving it too much of a post-mictural jostle, lest the limp-wristed bloke at the next stone gets the wrong idea. But it's a fine line between a cavalier flourish of the bellend and walking about for the next 20 minutes with a circle of urine mid-thigh.

  • armadello at 02:32 PM JST - 25th September

    They must have learned this from growing up under the watchful eye and monthly tutorials of "shimajiro". That little male tiger is always "sitting" on the toilet taking a whizz... go figure.

  • dishdash at 02:38 PM JST - 25th September

    This is headline news?

  • moonbeams at 03:24 PM JST - 25th September

    sitting down sounds very reasonable. better than cleaning up the pee all over the sides & floor when you miss your target.

    It's against our nature.

  • scoobydoo at 03:46 PM JST - 25th September

    Earth shattering news brought to you by JT. Come on JT, surely there are far more important things in the world and Japan than this.

  • SiouxGirl at 04:14 PM JST - 25th September

    I actually am not sure whether my better half sits or stands 100% of the time or 30% or whatever because ... I don't care. He has his own bathroom, so I can have the fluffy seat cover. It's a must. It goes with the fluffy rug. I'm not even going to ask him if he sits or stands. He can get into a yoga position if he wants. The matching fluffies are more important to me, I have a variety of colors.

  • Monoflow at 04:28 PM JST - 25th September

    I sit at home and stand in public... Done since I was a child, it's comfortable, so what?...

  • presto345 at 04:31 PM JST - 25th September

    I actually am not sure whether my better half sits or stands 100% of the time or 30% or whatever because ... I don't care. He has his own bathroom, so I can have the fluffy seat cover. It's a must. It goes with the fluffy rug. I'm not even going to ask him if he sits or stands. He can get into a yoga position if he wants. The matching fluffies are more important to me, I have a variety of colors.

    Evidence of the perfect couple.

  • stirfry at 05:06 PM JST - 25th September

    you gotta be a real retard to miss the bowl with regularity...even the smallest ones i've seen are more than wide enough to corral even the most aggressive whizzing

24 September 2009

"She" by H. Rider Haggard -- Chapter IV and V

Click image for larger.


That day three months we were on the ocean, bound for Zanzibar.



How different is the scene that I have now to tell from that which has just been told! Gone are the quiet college rooms, gone the wind-swayed English elms, the cawing rooks, and the familiar volumes on the shelves, and in their place there rises a vision of the great calm ocean gleaming in shaded silver lights beneath the beams of the full African moon. A gentle breeze fills the huge sail of our dhow, and draws us through the water that ripples musically against her sides. Most of the men are sleeping forward, for it is near midnight, but a stout swarthy Arab, Mahomed by name, stands at the tiller, lazily steering by the stars. Three miles or more to our starboard is a low dim line. It is the Eastern shore of Central Africa. We are running to the southward, before the North East Monsoon, between the mainland and the reef that for hundreds of miles fringes this perilous coast. The night is quiet, so quiet that a whisper can be heard fore and aft the dhow; so quiet that a faint booming sound rolls across the water to us from the distant land.

The Arab at the tiller holds up his hand, and says one word:—"Simba (lion)!"

We all sit up and listen. Then it comes again, a slow, majestic sound, that thrills us to the marrow.

"To-morrow by ten o'clock," I say, "we ought, if the Captain is not out in his reckoning, which I think very probable, to make this mysterious rock with a man's head, and begin our shooting."

"And begin our search for the ruined city and the Fire of Life," corrected Leo, taking his pipe from his mouth, and laughing a little.

"Nonsense!" I answered. "You were airing your Arabic with that man at the tiller this afternoon. What did he tell you? He has been trading (slave-trading, probably) up and down these latitudes for half of his iniquitous life, and once landed on this very 'man' rock. Did he ever hear anything of the ruined city or the caves?"

"No," answered Leo. "He says that the country is all swamp behind, and full of snakes, especially pythons, and game, and that no man lives there. But then there is a belt of swamp all along the East African coast, so that does not go for much."

"Yes," I said, "it does—it goes for malaria. You see what sort of an opinion these gentry have of the country. Not one of them will go with us. They think that we are mad, and upon my word I believe that they are right. If ever we see old England again I shall be astonished. However, it does not greatly matter to me at my age, but I am anxious for you, Leo, and for Job. It's a Tom Fool's business, my boy."

"All right, Uncle Horace. So far as I am concerned, I am willing to take my chance. Look! What is that cloud?" and he pointed to a dark blotch upon the starry sky, some miles astern of us.

"Go and ask the man at the tiller," I said.

He rose, stretched his arms, and went. Presently he returned.

"He says it is a squall, but it will pass far on one side of us."

Just then Job came up, looking very stout and English in his shooting-suit of brown flannel, and with a sort of perplexed appearance upon his honest round face that had been very common with him since he got into these strange waters.

"Please, sir," he said, touching his sun hat, which was stuck on to the back of his head in a somewhat ludicrous fashion, "as we have got all those guns and things in the whale-boat astern, to say nothing of the provisions in the lockers, I think it would be best if I got down and slept in her. I don't like the looks" (here he dropped his voice to a portentous whisper) "of these black gentry; they have such a wonderful thievish way about them. Supposing now that some of them were to slip into the boat at night and cut the cable, and make off with her? That would be a pretty go, that would."

The whale-boat, I may explain, was one specially built for us at Dundee, in Scotland. We had brought it with us, as we knew that this coast was a network of creeks, and that we might require something to navigate them with. She was a beautiful boat, thirty-feet in length, with a centre-board for sailing, copper-bottomed to keep the worm out of her, and full of water-tight compartments. The Captain of the dhow had told us that when we reached the rock, which he knew, and which appeared to be identical with the one described upon the sherd and by Leo's father, he would probably not be able to run up to it on account of the shallows and breakers. Therefore we had employed three hours that very morning, whilst we were totally becalmed, the wind having dropped at sunrise, in transferring most of our goods and chattels to the whale-boat, and placing the guns, ammunition, and preserved provisions in the water-tight lockers specially prepared for them, so that when we did sight the fabled rock we should have nothing to do but step into the boat, and run her ashore. Another reason that induced us to take this precautionary step was that Arab captains are apt to run past the point that they are making, either from carelessness or owing to a mistake in its identity. Now, as sailors know, it is quite impossible for a dhow which is only rigged to run before the monsoon to beat back against it. Therefore we got our boat ready to row for the rock at any moment.

"Well, Job," I said, "perhaps it would be as well. There are lots of blankets there, only be careful to keep out of the moon, or it may turn your head or blind you."

"Lord, sir! I don't think it would much matter if it did; it is that turned already with the sight of these blackamoors and their filthy, thieving ways. They are only fit for muck, they are; and they smell bad enough for it already."

Job, it will be perceived, was no admirer of the manners and customs of our dark-skinned brothers.

Accordingly we hauled up the boat by the tow-rope till it was right under the stern of the dhow, and Job bundled into her with all the grace of a falling sack of potatoes. Then we returned and sat down on the deck again, and smoked and talked in little gusts and jerks. The night was so lovely, and our brains were so full of suppressed excitement of one sort and another, that we did not feel inclined to turn in. For nearly an hour we sat thus, and then, I think, we both dozed off. At least I have a faint recollection of Leo sleepily explaining that the head was not a bad place to hit a buffalo, if you could catch him exactly between the horns, or send your bullet down his throat, or some nonsense of the sort.

Then I remember no more; till suddenly—a frightful roar of wind, a shriek of terror from the awakening crew, and a whip-like sting of water in our faces. Some of the men ran to let go the haulyards and lower the sail, but the parrel jammed and the yard would not come down. I sprang to my feet and hung on to a rope. The sky aft was dark as pitch, but the moon still shone brightly ahead of us and lit up the blackness. Beneath its sheen a huge white-topped breaker, twenty feet high or more, was rushing on to us. It was on the break—the moon shone on its crest and tipped its foam with light. On it rushed beneath the inky sky, driven by the awful squall behind it. Suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, I saw the black shape of the whale-boat cast high into the air on the crest of the breaking wave. Then—a shock of water, a wild rush of boiling foam, and I was clinging for my life to the shroud, ay, swept straight out from it like a flag in a gale.

We were pooped.

The wave passed. It seemed to me that I was under water for minutes—really it was seconds. I looked forward. The blast had torn out the great sail, and high in the air it was fluttering away to leeward like a huge wounded bird. Then for a moment there was comparative calm, and in it I heard Job's voice yelling wildly, "Come here to the boat."

Bewildered and half-drowned as I was, I had the sense to rush aft. I felt the dhow sinking under me—she was full of water. Under her counter the whale-boat was tossing furiously, and I saw the Arab Mahomed, who had been steering, leap into her. I gave one desperate pull at the tow-rope to bring the boat alongside. Wildly I sprang also, Job caught me by the arm and I rolled into the bottom of the boat. Down went the dhow bodily, and as she did so Mahomed drew his curved knife and severed the fibre-rope by which we were fast to her, and in another second we were driving before the storm over the place where the dhow had been.

"Great God!" I shrieked, "where is Leo? Leo! Leo!"

"He's gone, sir, God help him!" roared Job into my ear; and such was the fury of the squall that his voice sounded like a whisper.

I wrung my hands in agony. Leo was drowned, and I was left alive to mourn him.

"Look out," yelled Job; "here comes another."

I turned; a second huge wave was overtaking us. I half hoped that it would drown me. With a curious fascination I watched its awful advent. The moon was nearly hidden now by the wreaths of the rushing storm, but a little light still caught the crest of the devouring breaker. There was something dark on it—a piece of wreckage. It was on us now, and the boat was nearly full of water. But she was built in air-tight compartments—Heaven bless the man who invented them!—and lifted up through it like a swan. Through the foam and turmoil I saw the black thing on the wave hurrying right at me. I put out my right arm to ward it from me, and my hand closed on another arm, the wrist of which my fingers gripped like a vice. I am a very strong man, and had something to hold to, but my arm was nearly torn from its socket by the strain and weight of the floating body. Had the rush lasted another two seconds I might either have let go or gone with it. But it passed, leaving us up to our knees in water.

"Bail out! bail out!" shouted Job, suiting the action to the word.

But I could not bail just then, for as the moon went out and left us in total darkness, one faint, flying ray of light lit upon the face of the man I had gripped, who was now half lying, half floating in the bottom of the boat.

It was Leo. Leo brought back by the wave—back, dead or alive, from the very jaws of Death.

"Bail out! bail out!" yelled Job, "or we shall founder."

I seized a large tin bowl with a handle to it, which was fixed under one of the seats, and the three of us bailed away for dear life. The furious tempest drove over and round us, flinging the boat this way and that, the wind and the storm wreaths and the sheets of stinging spray blinded and bewildered us, but through it all we worked like demons with the wild exhilaration of despair, for even despair can exhilarate. One minute! three minutes! six minutes! The boat began to lighten, and no fresh wave swamped us. Five minutes more, and she was fairly clear. Then, suddenly, above the awful shriekings of the hurricane came a duller, deeper roar. Great Heavens! It was the voice of breakers!

At that moment the moon began to shine forth again—this time behind the path of the squall. Out far across the torn bosom of the ocean shot the ragged arrows of her light, and there, half a mile ahead of us, was a white line of foam, then a little space of open-mouthed blackness, and then another line of white. It was the breakers, and their roar grew clearer and yet more clear as we sped down upon them like a swallow. There they were, boiling up in snowy spouts of spray, smiting and gnashing together like the gleaming teeth of hell.

"Take the tiller, Mahomed!" I roared in Arabic. "We must try and shoot them." At the same moment I seized an oar, and got it out, motioning to Job to do likewise.

Mahomed clambered aft, and got hold of the tiller, and with some difficulty Job, who had sometimes pulled a tub upon the homely Cam, got out his oar. In another minute the boat's head was straight on to the ever-nearing foam, towards which she plunged and tore with the speed of a racehorse. Just in front of us the first line of breakers seemed a little thinner than to the right or left—there was a cap of rather deeper water. I turned and pointed to it.

"Steer for your life, Mahomed!" I yelled. He was a skilful steersman, and well acquainted with the dangers of this most perilous coast, and I saw him grip the tiller, bend his heavy frame forward, and stare at the foaming terror till his big round eyes looked as though they would start out of his head. The send of the sea was driving the boat's head round to starboard. If we struck the line of breakers fifty yards to starboard of the gap we must sink. It was a great field of twisting, spouting waves. Mahomed planted his foot against the seat before him, and, glancing at him, I saw his brown toes spread out like a hand with the weight he put upon them as he took the strain of the tiller. She came round a bit, but not enough. I roared to Job to back water, whilst I dragged and laboured at my oar. She answered now, and none too soon.

Heavens, we were in them! And then followed a couple of minutes of heart-breaking excitement such as I cannot hope to describe. All that I remember is a shrieking sea of foam, out of which the billows rose here, there, and everywhere like avenging ghosts from their ocean grave. Once we were turned right round, but either by chance, or through Mahomed's skilful steering, the boat's head came straight again before a breaker filled us. One more—a monster. We were through it or over it—more through than over—and then, with a wild yell of exultation from the Arab, we shot out into the comparative smooth water of the mouth of sea between the teeth-like lines of gnashing waves.

But we were nearly full of water again, and not more than half a mile ahead was the second line of breakers. Again we set to and bailed furiously. Fortunately the storm had now quite gone by, and the moon shone brightly, revealing a rocky headland running half a mile or more out into the sea, of which this second line of breakers appeared to be a continuation. At any rate, they boiled around its foot. Probably the ridge that formed the headland ran out into the ocean, only at a lower level, and made the reef also. This headland was terminated by a curious peak that seemed not to be more than a mile away from us. Just as we got the boat pretty clear for the second time, Leo, to my immense relief, opened his eyes and remarked that the clothes had tumbled off the bed, and that he supposed it was time to get up for chapel. I told him to shut his eyes and keep quiet, which he did without in the slightest degree realizing the position. As for myself, his reference to chapel made me reflect, with a sort of sick longing, on my comfortable rooms at Cambridge. Why had I been such a fool as to leave them? This is a reflection that has several times recurred to me since, and with an ever-increasing force.

But now again we were drifting down on the breakers, though with lessened speed, for the wind had fallen, and only the current or the tide (it afterwards turned out to be the tide) was driving us.

Another minute, and with a sort of howl to Allah from the Arab, a pious ejaculation from myself, and something that was not pious from Job, we were in them. And then the whole scene, down to our final escape, repeated itself, only not quite so violently. Mahomed's skilful steering and the air-tight compartments saved our lives. In five minutes we were through, and drifting—for we were too exhausted to do anything to help ourselves except keep her head straight—with the most startling rapidity round the headland which I have described.

Round we went with the tide, until we got well under the lee of the point, and then suddenly the speed slackened, we ceased to make way, and finally appeared to be in dead water. The storm had entirely passed, leaving a clean-washed sky behind it; the headland intercepted the heavy sea that had been occasioned by the squall, and the tide, which had been running so fiercely up the river (for we were now in the mouth of a river), was sluggish before it turned, so we floated quietly, and before the moon went down managed to bail out the boat thoroughly and get her a little ship-shape. Leo was sleeping profoundly, and on the whole I thought it wise not to wake him. It was true he was sleeping in wet clothes, but the night was now so warm that I thought (and so did Job) that they were not likely to injure a man of his unusually vigorous constitution. Besides, we had no dry ones at hand.

Presently the moon went down, and left us floating on the waters, now only heaving like some troubled woman's breast, with leisure to reflect upon all that we had gone through and all that we had escaped. Job stationed himself at the bow, Mahomed kept his post at the tiller, and I sat on a seat in the middle of the boat close to where Leo was lying.

The moon went slowly down in chastened loveliness; she departed like some sweet bride into her chamber, and long veil-like shadows crept up the sky through which the stars peeped shyly out. Soon, however, they too began to pale before a splendour in the east, and then the quivering footsteps of the dawn came rushing across the new-born blue, and shook the high stars from their places. Quieter and yet more quiet grew the sea, quiet as the soft mist that brooded on her bosom, and covered up her troubling, as the illusive wreaths of sleep brood upon a pain-racked mind, causing it to forget its sorrow. From the east to the west sped the angels of the Dawn, from sea to sea, from mountain-top to mountain-top, scattering light with both their hands. On they sped out of the darkness, perfect, glorious, like spirits of the just breaking from the tomb; on, over the quiet sea, over the low coastline, and the swamps beyond, and the mountains above them; over those who slept in peace and those who woke in sorrow; over the evil and the good; over the living and the dead; over the wide world and all that breathes or has breathed thereon.

It was a wonderfully beautiful sight, and yet sad, perhaps, from the very excess of its beauty. The arising sun; the setting sun! There we have the symbol and the type of humanity, and all things with which humanity has to do. The symbol and the type, yes, and the earthly beginning, and the end also. And on that morning this came home to me with a peculiar force. The sun that rose to-day for us had set last night for eighteen of our fellow-voyagers!—had set everlastingly for eighteen whom we knew!

The dhow had gone down with them, they were tossing about among the rocks and seaweed, so much human drift on the great ocean of Death! And we four were saved. But one day a sunrise will come when we shall be among those who are lost, and then others will watch those glorious rays, and grow sad in the midst of beauty, and dream of Death in the full glow of arising Life!

For this is the lot of man.



At length the heralds and forerunners of the royal sun had done their work, and, searching out the shadows, had caused them to flee away. Then up he came in glory from his ocean-bed, and flooded the earth with warmth and light. I sat there in the boat listening to the gentle lapping of the water and watched him rise, till presently the slight drift of the boat brought the odd-shaped rock, or peak, at the end of the promontory which we had weathered with so much peril, between me and the majestic sight, and blotted it from my view. I still continued, however, to stare at the rock, absently enough, till presently it became edged with the fire of the growing light behind it, and then I started, as well I might, for I perceived that the top of the peak, which was about eighty feet high by one hundred and fifty feet thick at its base, was shaped like a negro's head and face, whereon was stamped a most fiendish and terrifying expression. There was no doubt about it; there were the thick lips, the fat cheeks, and the squat nose standing out with startling clearness against the flaming background. There, too, was the round skull, washed into shape perhaps by thousands of years of wind and weather, and, to complete the resemblance, there was a scrubby growth of weeds or lichen upon it, which against the sun looked for all the world like the wool on a colossal negro's head. It certainly was very odd; so odd that now I believe it is not a mere freak of nature but a gigantic monument fashioned, like the well-known Egyptian Sphinx, by a forgotten people out of a pile of rock that lent itself to their design, perhaps as an emblem of warning and defiance to any enemies who approached the harbour. Unfortunately we were never able to ascertain whether or not this was the case, inasmuch as the rock was difficult of access both from the land and the waterside, and we had other things to attend to. Myself, considering the matter by the light of what we afterwards saw, I believe that it was fashioned by man, but whether or not this is so, there it stands, and sullenly stares from age to age out across the changing sea—there it stood two thousand years and more ago, when Amenartas, the Egyptian princess, and the wife of Leo's remote ancestor Kallikrates, gazed upon its devilish face—and there I have no doubt it will still stand when as many centuries as are numbered between her day and our own are added to the year that bore us to oblivion.

"What do you think of that, Job?" I asked of our retainer, who was sitting on the edge of the boat, trying to get as much sunshine as possible, and generally looking uncommonly wretched, and I pointed to the fiery and demonical head.

"Oh Lord, sir," answered Job, who now perceived the object for the first time, "I think that the old geneleman must have been sitting for his portrait on them rocks."

I laughed, and the laugh woke up Leo.

"Hullo," he said, "what's the matter with me? I am all stiff—where is the dhow? Give me some brandy, please."

"You may be thankful that you are not stiffer, my boy," I answered. "The dhow is sunk, everybody on board her is drowned with the exception of us four, and your own life was only saved by a miracle"; and whilst Job, now that it was light enough, searched about in a locker for the brandy for which Leo asked, I told him the history of our night's adventure.

"Great Heavens!" he said faintly; "and to think that we should have been chosen to live through it!"

By this time the brandy was forthcoming, and we all had a good pull at it, and thankful enough we were for it. Also the sun was beginning to get strength, and warm our chilled bones, for we had been wet through for five hours or more.

"Why," said Leo, with a gasp as he put down the brandy bottle, "there is the head the writing talks of, the 'rock carven like the head of an Ethiopian.'"

"Yes," I said, "there it is."

"Well, then," he answered, "the whole thing is true."

"I don't see at all that that follows," I answered. "We knew this head was here: your father saw it. Very likely it is not the same head that the writing talks of; or if it is, it proves nothing."

Leo smiled at me in a superior way. "You are an unbelieving Jew, Uncle Horace," he said. "Those who live will see."

"Exactly so," I answered, "and now perhaps you will observe that we are drifting across a sandbank into the mouth of the river. Get hold of your oar, Job, and we will row in and see if we can find a place to land."

The river mouth which we were entering did not appear to be a very wide one, though as yet the long banks of steaming mist that clung about its shores had not lifted sufficiently to enable us to see its exact measure. There was, as is the case with nearly every East African river, a considerable bar at the mouth, which, no doubt, when the wind was on shore and the tide running out, was absolutely impassable even for a boat drawing only a few inches. But as things were it was manageable enough, and we did not ship a cupful of water. In twenty minutes we were well across it, with but slight assistance from ourselves, and being carried by a strong though somewhat variable breeze well up the harbour. By this time the mist was being sucked up by the sun, which was getting uncomfortably hot, and we saw that the mouth of the little estuary was here about half a mile across, and that the banks were very marshy, and crowded with crocodiles lying about on the mud like logs. About a mile ahead of us, however, was what appeared to be a strip of firm land, and for this we steered. In another quarter of an hour we were there, and making the boat fast to a beautiful tree with broad shining leaves, and flowers of the magnolia species, only they were rose-coloured and not white,[*] which hung over the water, we disembarked. This done we undressed, washed ourselves, and spread our clothes, together with the contents of the boat, in the sun to dry, which they very quickly did. Then, taking shelter from the sun under some trees, we made a hearty breakfast off a "Paysandu" potted tongue, of which we had brought a good quantity with us, congratulating ourselves loudly on our good fortune in having loaded and provisioned the boat on the previous day before the hurricane destroyed the dhow. By the time that we had finished our meal our clothes were quite dry, and we hastened to get into them, feeling not a little refreshed. Indeed, with the exception of weariness and a few bruises, none of us were the worse for the terrifying adventure which had been fatal to all our companions. Leo, it is true, had been half-drowned, but that is no great matter to a vigorous young athlete of five-and-twenty.

     [*] There is a known species of magnolia with pink flowers.
It is indigenous in Sikkim, and known as Magnolia

After breakfast we started to look about us. We were on a strip of dry land about two hundred yards broad by five hundred long, bordered on one side by the river, and on the other three by endless desolate swamps, that stretched as far as the eye could reach. This strip of land was raised about twenty-five feet above the plain of the surrounding swamps and the river level: indeed it had every appearance of having been made by the hand of man.

"This place has been a wharf," said Leo, dogmatically.

"Nonsense," I answered. "Who would be stupid enough to build a wharf in the middle of these dreadful marshes in a country inhabited by savages—that is, if it is inhabited at all?"

"Perhaps it was not always marsh, and perhaps the people were not always savage," he said drily, looking down the steep bank, for we were standing by the river. "Look there," he went on, pointing to a spot where the hurricane of the previous night had torn up one of the magnolia trees by the roots, which had grown on the extreme edge of the bank just where it sloped down to the water, and lifted a large cake of earth with them. "Is not that stonework? If not, it is very like it."

"Nonsense," I said again, but we clambered down to the spot, and got between the upturned roots and the bank.

"Well?" he said.

But I did not answer this time. I only whistled. For there, laid bare by the removal of the earth, was an undoubted facing of solid stone laid in large blocks and bound together with brown cement, so hard that I could make no impression on it with the file in my shooting-knife. Nor was this all; seeing something projecting through the soil at the bottom of the bared patch of walling, I removed the loose earth with my hands, and revealed a huge stone ring, a foot or more in diameter, and about three inches thick. This fairly staggered me.

"Looks rather like a wharf where good-sized vessels have been moored, does it not, Uncle Horace?" said Leo, with an excited grin.

I tried to say "Nonsense" again, but the word stuck in my throat—the ring spoke for itself. In some past age vessels had been moored there, and this stone wall was undoubtedly the remnant of a solidly constructed wharf. Probably the city to which it had belonged lay buried beneath the swamp behind it.

"Begins to look as though there were something in the story after all, Uncle Horace," said the exultant Leo; and reflecting on the mysterious negro's head and the equally mysterious stonework, I made no direct reply.

"A country like Africa," I said, "is sure to be full of the relics of long dead and forgotten civilisations. Nobody knows the age of the Egyptian civilisation, and very likely it had offshoots. Then there were the Babylonians and the Phœnicians, and the Persians, and all manner of people, all more or less civilised, to say nothing of the Jews whom everybody 'wants' nowadays. It is possible that they, or any one of them, may have had colonies or trading stations about here. Remember those buried Persian cities that the consul showed us at Kilwa."[*]

[*] Near Kilwa, on the East Coast of Africa, about 400 miles south of Zanzibar, is a cliff which has been recently washed by the waves. On the top of this cliff are Persian tombs known to be at least seven centuries old by the dates still legible upon them. Beneath these tombs is a layer of débris representing a city. Farther down the cliff is a second layer representing an older city, and farther down still a third layer, the remains of yet another city of vast and unknown antiquity. Beneath the bottom city were recently found some specimens of glazed earthenware, such as are occasionally to be met with on that coast to this day. I believe that they are now in the possession of Sir John Kirk.—Editor.

"Quite so," said Leo, "but that is not what you said before."

"Well, what is to be done now?" I asked, turning the conversation.

As no answer was forthcoming we walked to the edge of the swamp, and looked over it. It was apparently boundless, and vast flocks of every sort of waterfowl flew from its recesses, till it was sometimes difficult to see the sky. Now that the sun was getting high it drew thin sickly looking clouds of poisonous vapour from the surface of the marsh and from the scummy pools of stagnant water.

"Two things are clear to me," I said, addressing my three companions, who stared at this spectacle in dismay: "first, that we can't go across there" (I pointed to the swamp), "and, secondly, that if we stop here we shall certainly die of fever."

"That's as clear as a haystack, sir," said Job.

"Very well, then; there are two alternatives before us. One is to 'bout ship, and try and run for some port in the whale-boat, which would be a sufficiently risky proceeding, and the other to sail or row on up the river, and see where we come to."

"I don't know what you are going to do," said Leo, setting his mouth, "but I am going up that river."

Job turned up the whites of his eyes and groaned, and the Arab murmured "Allah," and groaned also. As for me, I remarked sweetly that as we seemed to be between the devil and the deep sea, it did not much matter where we went. But in reality I was as anxious to proceed as Leo. The colossal negro's head and the stone wharf had excited my curiosity to an extent of which I was secretly ashamed, and I was prepared to gratify it at any cost. Accordingly, having carefully fitted the mast, restowed the boat, and got out our rifles, we embarked. Fortunately the wind was blowing on shore from the ocean, so we were able to hoist the sail. Indeed, we afterwards found out that as a general rule the wind set on shore from daybreak for some hours, and off shore again at sunset, and the explanation that I offer of this is, that when the earth is cooled by the dew and the night the hot air rises, and the draught rushes in from the sea till the sun has once more heated it through. At least that appeared to be the rule here.

Taking advantage of this favouring wind, we sailed merrily up the river for three or four hours. Once we came across a school of hippopotami, which rose, and bellowed dreadfully at us within ten or a dozen fathoms of the boat, much to Job's alarm, and, I will confess, to my own. These were the first hippopotami that we had ever seen, and, to judge by their insatiable curiosity, I should judge that we were the first white men that they had ever seen. Upon my word, I once or twice thought that they were coming into the boat to gratify it. Leo wanted to fire at them, but I dissuaded him, fearing the consequences. Also, we saw hundreds of crocodiles basking on the muddy banks, and thousands upon thousands of water-fowl. Some of these we shot, and among them was a wild goose, which, in addition to the sharp-curved spurs on its wings, had a spur about three-quarters of an inch long growing from the skull just between the eyes. We never shot another like it, so I do not know if it was a "sport" or a distinct species. In the latter case this incident may interest naturalists. Job named it the Unicorn Goose.

About midday the sun grew intensely hot, and the stench drawn up by it from the marshes which the river drains was something too awful, and caused us instantly to swallow precautionary doses of quinine. Shortly afterwards the breeze died away altogether, and as rowing our heavy boat against stream in the heat was out of the question, we were thankful enough to get under the shade of a group of trees—a species of willow—that grew by the edge of the river, and lie there and gasp till at length the approach of sunset put a period to our miseries. Seeing what appeared to be an open space of water straight ahead of us, we determined to row there before settling what to do for the night. Just as we were about to loosen the boat, however, a beautiful waterbuck, with great horns curving forward, and a white stripe across the rump, came down to the river to drink, without perceiving us hidden away within fifty yards under the willows. Leo was the first to catch sight of it, and, being an ardent sportsman, thirsting for the blood of big game, about which he had been dreaming for months, he instantly stiffened all over, and pointed like a setter dog. Seeing what was the matter, I handed him his express rifle, at the same time taking my own.

"Now then," I whispered, "mind you don't miss."

"Miss!" he whispered back contemptuously; "I could not miss it if I tried."

He lifted the rifle, and the roan-coloured buck, having drunk his fill, raised his head and looked out across the river. He was standing right against the sunset sky on a little eminence, or ridge of ground, which ran across the swamp, evidently a favourite path for game, and there was something very beautiful about him. Indeed, I do not think that if I live to a hundred I shall ever forget that desolate and yet most fascinating scene; it is stamped upon my memory. To the right and left were wide stretches of lonely death-breeding swamp, unbroken and unrelieved so far as the eye could reach, except here and there by ponds of black and peaty water that, mirror-like, flashed up the red rays of the setting sun. Behind us and before stretched the vista of the sluggish river, ending in glimpses of a reed-fringed lagoon, on the surface of which the long lights of the evening played as the faint breeze stirred the shadows. To the west loomed the huge red ball of the sinking sun, now vanishing down the vapoury horizon, and filling the great heaven, high across whose arch the cranes and wildfowl streamed in line, square, and triangle, with flashes of flying gold and the lurid stain of blood. And then ourselves—three modern Englishmen in a modern English boat—seeming to jar upon and look out of tone with that measureless desolation; and in front of us the noble buck limned out upon a background of ruddy sky.

Bang! Away he goes with a mighty bound. Leo has missed him. Bang! right under him again. Now for a shot. I must have one, though he is going like an arrow, and a hundred yards away and more. By Jove! over and over and over! "Well, I think I've wiped your eye there, Master Leo," I say, struggling against the ungenerous exultation that in such a supreme moment of one's existence will rise in the best-mannered sportsman's breast.

"Confound you, yes," growled Leo; and then, with that quick smile that is one of his charms lighting up his handsome face like a ray of light, "I beg your pardon, old fellow. I congratulate you; it was a lovely shot, and mine were vile."

We got out of the boat and ran to the buck, which was shot through the spine and stone dead. It took us a quarter of an hour or more to clean it and cut off as much of the best meat as we could carry, and, having packed this away, we had barely light enough to row up into the lagoon-like space, into which, there being a hollow in the swamp, the river here expanded. Just as the light vanished we cast anchor about thirty fathoms from the edge of the lake. We did not dare to go ashore, not knowing if we should find dry ground to camp on, and greatly fearing the poisonous exhalations from the marsh, from which we thought we should be freer on the water. So we lighted a lantern, and made our evening meal off another potted tongue in the best fashion that we could, and then prepared to go to sleep, only, however, to find that sleep was impossible. For, whether they were attracted by the lantern, or by the unaccustomed smell of a white man for which they had been waiting for the last thousand years or so, I know not; but certainly we were presently attacked by tens of thousands of the most blood-thirsty, pertinacious, and huge mosquitoes that I ever saw or read of. In clouds they came, and pinged and buzzed and bit till we were nearly mad. Tobacco smoke only seemed to stir them into a merrier and more active life, till at length we were driven to covering ourselves with blankets, head and all, and sitting to slowly stew and continually scratch and swear beneath them. And as we sat, suddenly rolling out like thunder through the silence came the deep roar of a lion, and then of a second lion, moving among the reeds within sixty yards of us.

"I say," said Leo, sticking his head out from under his blanket, "lucky we ain't on the bank, eh, Avuncular?" (Leo sometimes addressed me in this disrespectful way.) "Curse it! a mosquito has bitten me on the nose," and the head vanished again.

Shortly after this the moon came up, and notwithstanding every variety of roar that echoed over the water to us from the lions on the banks, we began, thinking ourselves perfectly secure, to gradually doze off.

I do not quite know what it was that made me poke my head out of the friendly shelter of the blanket, perhaps because I found that the mosquitoes were biting right through it. Anyhow, as I did so I heard Job whisper, in a frightened voice—

"Oh, my stars, look there!"

Instantly we all of us looked, and this was what we saw in the moonlight. Near the shore were two wide and ever-widening circles of concentric rings rippling away across the surface of the water, and in the heart and centre of the circles were two dark moving objects.

"What is it?" asked I.

"It is those damned lions, sir," answered Job, in a tone which was an odd mixture of a sense of personal injury, habitual respect, and acknowledged fear, "and they are swimming here to heat us," he added, nervously picking up an "h" in his agitation.

I looked again: there was no doubt about it; I could catch the glare of their ferocious eyes. Attracted either by the smell of the newly killed waterbuck meat or of ourselves, the hungry beasts were actually storming our position.

Leo already had his rifle in his hand. I called to him to wait till they were nearer, and meanwhile grabbed my own. Some fifteen feet from us the water shallowed on a bank to the depth of about fifteen inches, and presently the first of them—it was the lioness—got on to it, shook herself, and roared. At that moment Leo fired, the bullet went right down her open mouth and out at the back of her neck, and down she dropped, with a splash, dead. The other lion—a full-grown male—was some two paces behind her. At this second he got his forepaws on to the bank, when a strange thing happened. There was a rush and disturbance of the water, such as one sees in a pond in England when a pike takes a little fish, only a thousand times fiercer and larger, and suddenly the lion gave a most terrific snarling roar and sprang forward on to the bank, dragging something black with him.

"Allah!" shouted Mahomed, "a crocodile has got him by the leg!" and sure enough he had. We could see the long snout with its gleaming lines of teeth and the reptile body behind it.

And then followed an extraordinary scene indeed. The lion managed to get well on to the bank, the crocodile half standing and half swimming, still nipping his hind leg. He roared till the air quivered with the sound, and then, with a savage, shrieking snarl, turned round and clawed hold of the crocodile's head. The crocodile shifted his grip, having, as we afterwards discovered, had one of his eyes torn out, and slightly turned over; instantly the lion got him by the throat and held on, and then over and over they rolled upon the bank struggling hideously. It was impossible to follow their movements, but when next we got a clear view the tables had turned, for the crocodile, whose head seemed to be a mass of gore, had got the lion's body in his iron jaws just above the hips, and was squeezing him and shaking him to and fro. For his part, the tortured brute, roaring in agony, was clawing and biting madly at his enemy's scaly head, and fixing his great hind claws in the crocodile's, comparatively speaking, soft throat, ripping it open as one would rip a glove.

Then, all of a sudden, the end came. The lion's head fell forward on the crocodile's back, and with an awful groan he died, and the crocodile, after standing for a minute motionless, slowly rolled over on to his side, his jaws still fixed across the carcase of the lion, which, we afterwards found, he had bitten almost in halves.

This duel to the death was a wonderful and a shocking sight, and one that I suppose few men have seen — and thus it ended.

When it was all over, leaving Mahomed to keep a look out, we managed to spend the rest of the night as quietly as the mosquitoes would allow.

23 September 2009

General Stanley McChrystal's report and recommendations to President Obana on the war in Afghanistan

The word "women" occurs once in this document. This may reasonably reflect the US and NATO military force's concern for and attention to the women and girls of Afghanistan, their current status, their future prospects.

U.S. General (4 stars) Stanley A. McChrystal is the commander of US and NATO ally military forces in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration, which inherited the war in Afghanistan from the administration of George W. Bush, commissioned this report on the current state and future evolution of the war in Afghanistan from General McChrystal.

The Obama administration is widely believed to be on the verge of sending somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 more U.S. combat troops to Afghanistan. This is the crucial document on which Obama, acting as commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, will base any decision to escalate combat operations in Afghanistan.

[ This post originally cited a figure of 60,000 U.S. combat troops; The New York Times reports the figure the Department of Defense will request to beef up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is 40,000. ]

Numerous sections of General McChrystal's report to President Obama have been redacted [not released to the public], presumably for reasons of military security and secrecy. In an on-going war, many things need properly to be kept secret from the adversary.

But the history of redaction is also a history of keeping embarrassing or potentially inflammatory details from the American and world public. Recently, President Obama chose to withold from the American and world media new photographs of the treatment (torture, abuse) of detainees from the Asian war theaters for their potential to inflame the Islamic world as did the images from the U.S.-controlled Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

From the standpoint of communicating information in the English language, this report is classic militarese -- glorying in un-clear, vague, ill-defined, and extraneously "coded" gibberish written by very poor writers -- the hallmark of very poor thinkers.

But gobbledygook, gibberish, or plain speaking, these are the words (and military acronyms -- see the glossary at the end) which are likely to convince President Obama to put 40,000 of my neighbor's sons and daughters into the heart of the world's most ferocious war.

Vleeptron urges you to take time to read this report carefully, and then entreats you to Leave A Comment of your thoughts about it and the Afghan and Iraq wars in general. The more people who read this could become people with well-informed opinions and wishes about what the United States should do with its war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Having reached our conclusions, we could (as I am doing) communicate them to President Obama and to our members of Congress and our senators.

Technical Note: This document, downloaded from The Washington Post website, contains large numbers of typographical and spelling errors of the sort typically associated with a printed hardcopy being optically scanned to be translated into computer text. Such technology is typically about 90 - 95 percent reliable.

-- Bob Merkin

* * * * * * *

COMISAF Initial Assessment
(Unclassified) -- Searchable Document

Monday, September 21, 2009; 12:30 AM

The Department of Defense on Sunday evening released a declassified version of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's assessment of the war in Afghanistan. The [Washngton] Post agreed to publish this version, which includes minor deletions of material that officials said could compromise future operations, rather than a copy of the document marked "confidential."

Commander's Initial Assessment

30 August 2009

NATO International Security Assistance Force
Afghanistan U.S. Forces, Afghanistan

Table of Contents

Initial Assessment
Commander's Summary
Initial Assessment Annexes
Military Plans
Command and Control, and Command Relationships
USG Integrated Civil-Military Campaign Plan
Strategic Communication
Civilian Casualties, Collateral Damage, and Escalation of Force
Detainee Operations, Rule of Law, and Afghan Corrections
Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) Growth and Acceleration


On 26 June, 2009, the United States Secretary of Defense directed Commander, United States Central Command (CDRUSCENTCOM), to provide a multidisciplinary assessment of the situation in Afghanistan. On 02 July, 2009, Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) / U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), received direction from CDRUSCENTCOM to complete the overall review.

On 01 July, 2009, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO Secretary General also issued a similar directive.

COMISAF subsequently issued an order to the ISAF staff and component commands to conduct a comprehensive review to assess the overall situation, review plans and ongoing efforts, and identify revisions to operational, tactical and strategic guidance.

The following assessment is a report of COMISAF's findings and conclusions. In summary, this assessment sought to answer the following questions:

Can ISAF achieve the mission?

If so, how should ISAF go about achieving the mission? What is required to achieve the mission?

The assessment draws on both internallSAF components, to include Regional Commands, and external agencies such as GIRoA ministries, International Governmental Organizations and Nongovernmental Organizations. It also draws on existing ISAF and USFOR-A plans and policy guidance, relevant reports and studies, and the consultation of external experts and advisors.

Commander's Summary

The stakes in Afghanistan are high. NATO's Comprehensive Strategic Political Military Plan and President Obama's strategy to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda and prevent their return to Afghanistan have laid out a clear path of what we must do. Stability in Afghanistan is an imperative; if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban - or has insufficient capability to counter transnational terrorists - Afghanistan could again become a base for terrorism, with obvious implications for regional stability.

The situation in Afghanistan is serious; neither success nor failure can be taken for granted. Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall situation is deteriorating. We face not only a resilient and growing insurgency; there is also a crisis of confidence among Afghans -- in both their government and the international community - that undermines our credibility and emboldens the insurgents. Further, a perception that our resolve is uncertain makes Afghans reluctant to align with us against the insurgents.

Success is achievable, but it will not be attained simply by trying harder or "doubling down" on the previous strategy. Additional resources are required, but focusing on force or resource requirements misses the point entirely. The key take away from this assessment is the urgent need for a significant change to our strategy and the way that we think and operate.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (lSAF) requires a new strategy that is credible to, and sustainable by, the Afghans. This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign that earns the support of the Afghan people and provides them with a secure environment.

To execute the strategy, we must grow and improve the effectiveness of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and elevate the importance of governance. We must also prioritize resources to those areas where the population is threatened, gain the initiative from the insurgency, and signal unwavering commitment to see it through to success. Finally, we must redefine the nature of the fight, clearly understand the impacts and importance of time, and change our operational culture.

Redefining the Fight

This is a different kind of fight. We must conduct classic counterinsurgency operations in an environment that is uniquely complex. Three regional insurgencies have intersected with a dynamic blend of local power struggles in a country damaged by 30 years of conflict. This makes for a situation that defies simple solutions or quick fixes. Success demands a comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign.

Our strategy cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces; our objective must be the population. In the struggle to gain the support ofthe people, every action we take must enable this effort. The population also represents a powerful actor that can and must be leveraged in this complex system. Gaining their support will require a better understanding of the people's choices and needs. However, progress is hindered by the dual threat of a resilient insurgency and a crisis of confidence in the government and the international coalition. To win their support, we must protect the people from both of these threats.

Many describe the conflict in Afghanistan as a war of ideas, which I believe to be true. However, this is a 'deeds-based' information environment where perceptions derive from actions, such as how we interact with the population and how quickly things improve. The key to changing perceptions lies in changing the underlying truths. We must never confuse the situation as it stands with the one we desire, lest we risk our credibility.

The Criticality of time

The impact of time on our effort in Afghanistan has been underappreciated and we require a new way of thinking about it.

First, the fight is not an annual cyclical campaign of kinetics driven by an insurgent "fighting season." Rather, it is a year-round struggle, often conducted with little apparent violence, to win the support ofthe people. Protecting the population from insurgent coercion and intimidation demands a persistent presence and focus that cannot be interrupted without risking serious setback.

Second, and more importantly, we face both a short and long-term fight. The long-term fight will require patience and commitment, but I believe the short-term fight will be decisive. Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) -- while Afghan security capacity matures -- risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.

Change the Operational Culture

As formidable as the threat may be, we make the problem harder. ISAF is a conventional force that is poorly configured for COIN, inexperienced in local languages and culture, and struggling with challenges inherent to coalition warfare. These intrinsic disadvantages are exacerbated by our current operational culture and how we operate.

Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us -- physically and psychologically -- from the people we seek to protect. In addition, we run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.

Accomplishing the mission demands a renewed emphasis on the basics through a dramatic change in how we operate, with specific focus in two principle areas:

Change the operational culture to connect with the people. I believe we must interact more closely with the population and focus on operations that bring stability, while shielding them from insurgent violence, corruption, and coercion.

Improve unity of effort and command. We must significantly modify organizational structures to achieve better unity of effort. We will continue to realign relationships to improve coordination within ISAF and the international community.

The New Strategy: Focus on the Population

Getting these basics right is necessary for success, but it is not enough. To accomplish the mission and defeat the insurgency we also require a properly resourced strategy built on four main pillars:

Improve effectiveness through greater partnering with ANSF. We will increase the size and accelerate the growth of the ANSF, with a radically improved partnership at every level., to improve effectiveness and prepare them to take the lead in security operations.

Prioritize responsive and accountable governance. We must assist in improving governance at all levels through both formal and traditional mechanisms.

Gain the Initiative. Our first imperative, in a series of operational stages, is to gain the initiative and reverse the insurgency's momentum.

Focus Resources. We will prioritize available resources to those critical areas where vulnerable populations are most threatened.

These concepts are not new. However, implemented aggressively, they wilt be revolutionary to our effectiveness. We must do things dramatically differently -- even uncomfortably differently -- to change how we operate, and also how we think. Our every action must reflect this change of mindset: how we traverse the country, how we use force, and how we partner with the Afghans. Conventional wisdom is not sacred; security may not come from the barrel of a gun. Better force protection may be counterintuitive; it might come from less armor and less distance from the population.

The Basis of Assessment: Analysis and Experience

My conclusions were informed through a rigorous multi-disciplinary assessment by a team of accomplished military personnel and civilians and my personal experience and core beliefs. Central to my analysis is a belief that we must respect the complexities of the operational environment and design our strategic approach accordingly. As we analyzed the situation, I became increasingly convinced of several themes: that the objective is the will of the people, our conventional warfare culture is part ofthe problem, the Afghans must ultimately defeat the insurgency, we cannot succeed without significantly improved unity of effort, and finally, that protecting the people means shielding them from aI/threats.

A Strategy for Success: Balancing Resources and Risk

Our campaign in Afghanistan has been historically under-resourced and remains so today. Almost every aspect of our collective effort and associated resourcing has lagged a growing insurgency - historically a recipe for failure in COIN. Success will require a discrete "jump" to gain the initiative, demonstrate progress in the short term, and secure long-term support.

Resources will not win this war, but under-resourdng could lose it. Resourcing communicates commitment, but we must also balance force levels to enable effective ANSF partnering and provide population security, while avoiding perceptions of coalition dominance. Ideally, the ANSF must lead this fight, but they will not have enough capability in the near-term given the insurgency's growth rate. In the interim, coalition forces must provide a bridge capability to protect critical segments of the population. The status quo will lead to failure if we wait for the ANSF to grow.

The new strategy will improve effectiveness through better application of existing assets, but it also requires additional resources. Broadly speaking, we require more Civilian and military resources, more ANSF, and more ISR and other enablers. At the same time, we will find offsets as we reprogram other assets and improve effiCiency. Overall, JSAF requires an increase in the total coalition force capability and end-strength, This 'properly resourced' requirement will define the minimum force levels to accomplish the mission with an acceptable level of risk.

Unique Moment in Time

This is an important -~ and likely decisive ~~ period of this war. Afghans are frustrated and weary after eight years without evidence of the progress they anticipated. Patience is understandably short, both in Afghanistan and in our own countries. Time matters; we must act now to reverse the negative trends and demonstrate progress.

I do not underestimate the enormous challenges in executing this new strategy; however, we have a key advantage: the majority of Afghans do not want a return of the Taliban. During consultations with Afghan Defense Minister Wardak, I found some of his writings insightful:

'Victory is within our grasp# provided that we recommit ourselves based on lessons learned and provided that we fUlfill the requirements needed to make success inevitable... I reject the myth advanced in the media that Afghanistan is a 'graveyard of empires' and that the U.S. and NA TO effort is destined to fail. Afghans have never seen you as occupiers, even though this has been the major focus of the enemy's propaganda campaign. Unlike the Russians, who imposed a government with an alien ideology# you enabled us to write a democratic constitution and choose our own government. Unlike the Russians, who destroyed our country, you came to rebuild. n

Given that this conflict and country are his to win ~- not mine -- Minister Wardak's assessment was part of my calculus. While the situation is serious, success is still achievable. This starts with redefining both the fight itself and what we need for the fight. It is then sustained through a fundamentally new way of doing business. Finally, it wilt be realized when our new operational culture connects with the powerful will of the Afghan people.

Initial Assessment

The situation in Afghanistan is serious. The mission is achievable. but success demands a fundamentally new approach -- one that is properly resourced and supported by better unity of effort.

Important progress has been made, yet many indicators suggest the overall situation is deteriorating despite considerable effort by ISAF. The threat has grown steadily but subtly, and unchecked by commensurate counter-action, its severity now surpasses the capabilities of the current strategy. We cannot succeed simply by trying harder; ISAF must now adopt a fundamentally new approach. The entire culture -- how ISAF understands the environment and defines the fight. how it interacts with the Afghan people and government. and how it operates both on the ground and within the coalition1- must change profoundly.

As announced by President Obama in his March 27, 2009 speech outlining the new U.S. Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the mission in Afghanistan has been historically under-resourced, resulting in a culture of poverty that has plagued ISAF's efforts to date. ISAF requires a properly-resourced force and capability level to correct this deficiency. Success is not ensured by additional forces alone, but continued underresourcing will likely cause failure.

Nonetheless, it must be made clear: new resources are not the crux. To succeed, ISAF requires a new approach - with a significant magnitude of change -- in addition to a proper level of resourcing. ISAF must restore confidence in the near-term through renewed commitment, intellectual energy, and visible progress.

This assessment prescribes two fundamental changes. First, ISAF must improve execution and the understanding of the basics of COIN -- those essential elements common to any counterinsurgency strategy. Second, ISAF requires a new strategy to counter a growing threat. Both of these reforms are required to reverse the negative trends in Afghanistan and achieve success.

ISAF is not adequately executing the basics of counterinsurgency warfare. In particular, there are two fundamental elements where ISAF must improve: change the operational culture of ISAF to focus on protecting the Afghan people, understanding their environment, and building relationships with them, and; transform ISAF processes to be more operationally efficient and effective. creating more coherent unity of command within ISAF, and fostering stronger unity of effort across the international community.

1 "coalition" hereafter refers to ISAF's coalition of troop and resources contributing nations

Simultaneous to improving on these basic principles, ISAF must also adopt a profoundly new strategy with four fundamental pillars: develop a significantly more effective and larger ANSF with radically expanded coalition force partnering at every echelon; prioritize responsive and accountable governance -- that the Afghan people find acceptable -- to be on par with, and integral to, delivering security; gain the initiative and reverse the insurgency's momentum as the first imperative in a series of temporal stages, and; prioritize available resources to those critical areas where the population is most threatened.

There is nothing new about these principles of counterinsurgency and organizational efficacy. Rather, they represent profoundly renewed attention to pursuing the basic tenet of protecting the population, speclflcallv adapted for this diverse force and unique conflict, and targeted to work through the most challenging obstacles that have hindered previous efforts.

ISAF's new strategy is consistent with the NATO Comprehensive Strategic Political Military Plan and supports the implementation of President Obama's strategy to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda and prevent their return to Afghanistan. ISAF's new approach will be nested within an integrated and properly-resourced civilianmilitary counterinsurgency strategy.

This will be enormously difficult. To execute this strategy, ISAF must use existing assets in innovative and unconventional ways, but ISAF will also require additional resources, forces and possibly even new authorities. All steps are imperative and time is of the essence. Patience will see the mission through; but to have that chance, real progress must be demonstrated in the near future.

I. Describing the Mission

ISAF's mission statement is: "ISAF, in support of GIRoA, conducts operations in Afghanistan to reduce the capability and will of the insurgency, support the growth in capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (AN SF}, and facilitate improvements in governance and socio-economic development, in order to provide a secure environment for sustainable stability that is observable to the population."

Accomplishing this mission requires defeating the insurgency, which this paper defines as a condition where the insurgency no longer threatens the viability of the state.

GIRoA must sufficiently control its territory to support regional stability and prevent its use for international terrorism. Accomplishing this mission also requires a better understanding of the nature of the conflict, a change in the basic operational culture, concepts and tactics, and a corresponding change in strategy.

NATO source documents" have been consulted and the new strategy remains consistent with the NATO comprehensive approach. Existing UN mandates will continue to provide a framework for ISAF's effort. The international military forces, their civilian counterparts, and international organizations are a key component of ISAF's shared mission to support the people of Afghanistan. It is crucial that ISAF preserve, bolster, and help focus this diverse partnership.

II. Nature of the Conflict

While not a war in the conventional sense, the conflict in Afghanistan demands a similar focus and an equal level of effort, and the consequences of failure are just as grave. The fight also demands an improved and evolved level of understanding.

The conflict in Afghanistan is often described as a war of ideas and perceptions; this is true and demands important consideration. However, perceptions are generally derived from actions and real conditions, for example by the provision or a lack of security, governance, and economic opportunity. Thus the key to changing perceptions is to change the fundamental underlying truths. To be effective, the counterinsurgent cannot risk credibility by substituting the situation they desire for reality.

Redefining the Fight

The conflict in Afghanistan can be viewed as a set of related insurgencies, each of which is a complex system with multiple actors and a vast set of interconnecting relationships among those actors. The most important implication of this view is that no element of the conflict can be viewed in isolation - a change anywhere will affect everything else. This view implies that the system must be understood holistically, and while such understanding is not predictive, it will help to recognize general causal relationships.

The new strategy redefines the nature of the fight. It is not a cvclical, kinetic campaign based on a set "fighting season." Rather it is a continuous, year-long effort to help GIRoA win the support of the people and counter insurgent coercion and intimidation.

There are five principal actors in this conflict: the Afghan population, GIRoA, ISAF, the insurgency, and the external'players'. It is important to begin with an understanding of each of these actors, starting with the most important: the people.

2 A list of references is included as Annex I.

The people of Afghanistan represent many things in this conflict -- an audience, an actor, and a source of leverage - but above all, they are the objective. The population can also be a source of strength and intelligence and provide resistance to the insurgency. Alternatively, they can often change sides and provide tacit or real support to the insurgents. Communities make deliberate choices to resist, support, or allow insurgent influence. The reasons for these choices must be better understood.

GIRoA and ISAF have both failed to focus on this objective. The weakness of state institutions, malign actions of power-brokers, widespread corruption and abuse of power by various officials, and ISAF's own errors, have given Afghans little reason to support their government. These problems have alienated large segments of the Afghan population. They do not trust GIRoA to provide their essential needs, such as security, justice, and basic services. This crisis of confidence, coupled with a distinct lack of economic and educational opportunity, has created fertile ground for the insurgency.

ISAF's center of gravity is the will and ability to provide for the needs of the population "by, with, and through" the Afghan government. A foreign army alone cannot beat an insurgency; the insurgency in Afghanistan requires an Afghan solution. This is their war and, in the end, ISAF's competency will prove less decisive than GIRoA's; eventual success requires capable Afghan governance capabilities and security forces. While these institutions are still developing, ISAF and the international community must provide substantial assistance to Afghanistan until the Afghan people make the decision to support their government and are capable of providing for their own security.

An isolating geography and a natural aversion to foreign intervention further works against ISAF. Historical grievances reinforce connections to tribal or ethnic identity and can diminish the appeal of a centralized state. All ethnicities, particularly the Pashtuns, have traditionally sought a degree of independence from the central government, particularly when it is not seen as acting in the best interests of the population. These and otherfactors result in elements of the population tolerating the insurgency and calling to push out foreigners.

Nonetheless, the Afghan people also expect appropriate governance, the delivery of basic services, and the provision of justice. The popular myth that Afghans do not want governance is overplayed - while Afghan society is rooted in tribal structures and ethnic identities, Afghans do have a sense of national identity.

However, these generalizations risk oversimplifying this uniquely compJicated environment. The complex social landscape of Afghanistan is in many ways much more difficult to understand than Afghanistan's enemies. Insurgent groups have been the focus of U.S. and allied intelligence for many years; however, ISAF has not sufflclentlv studied Afghanistan's peoples whose needs, identities and grievances vary from province to province and from valley to valley. This complex environment is challenging to understand, particularly for foreigners. For this strategy to succeed, ISAF leaders

must redouble efforts to understand the social and political dynamics of areas all regions of the country and take action that meets the needs of the people, and insist that GIRoA officials do the same.

Finally, either side can succeed in this conflict: GIRoA by securing the support ofthe people and the insurgents by controlling them. While this multi-faceted model of the fight is centered on the people, it is not symmetrical: the insurgents can also succeed more simply by preventing GIRoA from achieving their goals before the international community becomes exhausted.

Two Main Threats: Insurgency and Crisis in Confidence

The ISAF mission faces two principal threats and is also subject to the influence of external actors.

The first threat is the existence of organized and determined insurgent groups working to expel international forces, separate the Afghan people from GIRoA, and gain control of the population.

The second threat, of a very different kind, is the crisis of popular confidence that springs from the weakness of GIRoA institutions, the unpunished abuse of power by corrupt officials and power-brokers, a widespread sense of political disenfranchisement, and a longstanding lack of economic opportunity. ISAF errors have further compounded the problem. These factors generate recruits for the insurgent groups, elevate local conflicts and power-broker disputes to a national level, degrade the people's security and quality-at-life, and undermine international will.

Addressing the external actors will enable success; however, insufficiently addressing either principle threat will result in failure.

Insurgent Groups

Most insurgent fighters are Afghans. They are directed by a small number of Afghan senior leaders based in Pakistan that work through an alternative political infrastructure in Afghanistan. They are aided by foreign fighters, elements of some intelligence agencies, and international funding, resources, and training. Foreign fighters provide materiel, expertise, and ideological commitment.

The insurgents wage a "silent war" of fear, intimidation, and persuasion throughout the year -- not just during the warmer weather "fighting season" -- to gain control over the population. These efforts make possible, in many places, a Taliban "shadow government" that actively seeks to control the population and displace the national government and traditional power structures. Insurgent military operations attract more attention than this silent war but are only a supporting effort. Violent attacks are designed to weaken the government by demonstrating its inability to provide security, to fuel recruiting and financing efforts, to provoke reactions from ISAF that further alienate the population, and also to undermine public and political support for the ISAF mission in coalition capitals.

The major insurgent groups in order of their threat to the mission are: the Quetta Shura Taliban (05T), the Haqqani Network (HQN), and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG). These groups coordinate activities loosely, often achieving significant unity of purpose and even some unity of effort, but they do not share a formal command-and-control structure. They also do not have a single overarching strategy or campaign plan. Each individual group, however, has a specific strategy, develops annual plans, and allocates resources accordingly. Each group has its own methods of developing and executing these plans and each has adapted over time. Despite the best efforts of GIRoA and ISAF, the insurgents currently have the initiative.

Insurgent Strategy and campaign Design

The insurgents have two primary objectives: controlling the Afghan people and breaking the coalition's will. Their aim is to expel international forces and influences and to supplant GIRoA. At the operational level, the Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Omar announces his guidance and intent for the coming year REDACTION.

The key geographical objectives of the major insurgent groups are Kandahar City and Khowst Province. The O5T has been working to control Kandahar and its approaches for several years and there are indications that their influence over the city and neighboring districts is significant and growing. HQN aims to regain eventually full control of its traditional base in Khowst, Paktia, and Paktika. HQN controls some ofthe key terrain around Khowst and can influence the population in the region. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's HiG maintains militant bases in Nangarhar, Nuristan, and Kunar, as well as Pakistan, but he also sustains political connections through HiG networks and aims to negotiate a major role in a future Taliban government. He does not currently have geographical objectives as is the case with the other groups.

All three insurgent groups require resources - mainly money and manpower. The O5T derives funding from the narcotics trade and external donors. HQN similarly draws resources principally from Pakistan, Gulf Arab networks, and from its close association with al Qaeda and other Pakistan-based insurgent groups. HiG seeks control of mineral wealth and smuggling routes in the east.

Insurgent Lines of Operation

The O5T's main efforts focus on the governance line of operations. Security and information operations support these efforts. IsAF's tendency to measure the enemy predominantly by kinetic events masks the true extent of insurgent activity and prevents an accurate assessment of the insurgents' intentions, progress, and level of control of the population.

Governance. The QST has a governing structure in Afghanistan under the rubric of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They appoint shadow governors for most provinces, review their performance, and replace them periodically. They established a body to receive complaints against their own "officials" and to act on them. They install "shari'a" courts to deliver swift and enforced justice in contested and controlled areas. They levy taxes and conscript fighters and laborers. They claim to provide security against a corrupt government, ISAF forces, criminality, and local power brokers. They also claim to protect Afghan and Muslim identity against foreign encroachment. In short, the QST provides major elements of governance and a national and religious narrative. HQN and HiG co-exist with, but do not necessarily accept, the O5T governing framework and have yet to develop competing governing structures.

In/ormation. Major insurgent groups outperform GIRoA and ISAF at information operations. Information operations drive many insurgent operations as they work to shape the cultural and religious narrative. They have carefully analyzed their audience and target products accordingly. They use their Pashtun identity, physical proximity to the population, and violent intimidation to deliver immediate and enduring messages with which ISAF and GIRoA have been unable to compete. They leverage this advantage by projecting the inevitability of their victory, a key source of their strength.

Security. Major insurgent groups use violence, coercion and intimidation against civilians to control the population. They seek to inflict casualties on IS~F forces to break the will of individuallSAF countries and the coalition as a whole. They also use military activities to shape ISAF actions by denying freedom of movement, denying access to the population, and defending important terrain. The insurgents use the psychological effects of IEDs and the coalition force's preoccupation with force protection to reinforce the garrison posture and mentality. The major insurgent groups target GIRoA and ANSF to dissuade cooperation with the government and to show that GIRoA is ineffective. The insurgents control or contest a significant portion of the country, although it is difficult to assess precisely how much due to a lack of ISAF presence .... REDACTION.

Social/Economic. The QST and other insurgent groups have deliberate social strategies that exacerbate the breakdown in Afghan social cohesion. They empower radical mullahs to replace local leaders, undermine or eliminate local elders and mullahs who do not support them, and consistentlv support weaker, disenfranchised, or threatened tribes or groups. They erode traditional social structures and capitalize on vast unemployment by empowering the young and disenfranchised through cash payments, weapons, and prestige.

Insurgent Enablers and Vulnerabilities

Criminal networks. Criminality creates a pool of manpower, resources, and capabilities for insurgents and contributes to a pervasive sense of insecurity among the people. Extensive smuggling diverts major revenue from GIRoA. Criminality exacerbates the fragmentation of Afghan society and increases its susceptibility to insurgent penetration. A number of Afghan Government officials, at all levels, are reported to be complicit in these activities, further undermining GIRoA credibility.

Narcotics and Financing. The most significant aspect of the production and sale of opium and other narcotics is the corrosive and destabilizing impact on corruption within GIRoA. Narcotics activity also funds insurgent groups, however the importance of this funding must be understood within the overall context of insurgent financing, some of which comes from other sources. Insurgent groups also receive substantial income from foreign donors as well as from other criminal activities within Afghanistan such as smuggling and kidnapping for ransom. Some insurgent groups 'tax' the local population through check points, demanding protection money, and other methods. Eliminating insurgent access to narco-profits -- even if possible, and while disruptive -- would not destroy their ability to operate so long as other funding sources remained intact.

Insurgent Vulnerabilities. The insurgents have important and exploitable shortcomings; they are not invulnerable. Command and control frictions and divergent goals hamper insurgent planning and restrict coordination of operations .... REDACTION ... Insurgent excesses can alienate the people. Moreover, the core elements of the insurgency have previously held power in Afghanistan and failed. Popular enthusiasm for them appears limited, as does their ability to spread viably beyond Pashtun areas. GIRoA and ISAF have an opportunity to exploit the insurgent's inability to mobilize public support.

In summary, ISAF confronts a loose federation of insurgent groups that are sophisticated, organized, adaptive, determined, and nuanced across all lines of operations, with many enablers, but not without vulnerability. These groups are dangerous and, if not effectively countered, could exhaust the coalition and prevent GIRoA from being able to govern the state of Afghanistan.

Crisis of Confidence in GIRoA and ISAF Actions

The Afghan government has made progress, yet serious problems remain. The people's lack of trust in their government results from two key factors. First, some GIRoA officials have given preferential treatment to certain individuals, tribes, and groups or worse, abused their power at the expense ofthe people. Second, the Afghan government has been unable to provide sufficient security, justice, and basic services to the people. Although the capacity and integrity of some Afghan institutions have improved and the number of competent officials has grown, this progress has been insufficient to counter the issues that undermine legitimacy. These problems contribute to the Afghan Government's inability to gain the support of the Afghan population. ISAF errors also compound the problem.

GIRoA State Weakness. There is little connection between the central government and the local populations, particularly in rural areas. The top-down approach to developing government capacity has failed to provide services that reach local communities. GIRoA has not developed the means to collect revenue and distribute resources. Sub-national officials vary in competency and capability and most provincial and district governments are seriously undermanned and under-resourced.

The Afghan Government has not integrated or supported traditional community governance structures - historically an important component of Afghan civil society-leaving communities vulnerable to being undermined by insurgent groups and powerbrokers. The breakdown of social cohesion at the community level has increased instability, made Afghans feel unsafe, and fueled the insurgency.

Tolerance oj Corruption and Abuse of Power. Widespread corruption and abuse of power exacerbate the popular crisis of confidence in the government and reinforce a culture of impunity. Local Afghan communities are unable to hold local officials accountable through either direct elections or judicial processes, especially when those individuals are protected by senior government officials. Further, the public perceives that ISAF is complicit in these matters, and that there is no appetite or capacity - either among the internationals or within GIRoA - to correct the situation. The resulting public anger and alienation undermine ISAF's ability to accomplish its mission. The QST's establishment of ombudsmen to investigate abuse of power in its own cadres and remove those found guilty capitalizes on this GIRoA weakness and attracts popular support for their shadow government.

Afghan power brokers and factional leaders. Some local and regional power brokers were allies early in the conflict and now help control their own areas. Many are current or former members of GIRoA whose financial independence and loyal armed followers give them autonomy from GIRoA, further hindering efforts to build a coherent Afghan state. In most cases. their interests are not aligned with either the interests of the Afghan people or GIRoA, leading to conflicts that offer opportunities for insurgent groups to exploit. Finally, some ofthese power brokers hold positions in the ANSF, particularly the ANP, and have been major agents of corruption and illicit trafficking. ISAF's relationship with these individuals can be problematic. Some are forces of stability in certain areas, but many others are polarizing and predatory.

There are no clear lines separating insurgent groups, criminal networks (including the narcotics networks), and corrupt GIRoA officials. Malign actors within GIRoA support insurgent groups directly, support criminal networks that are linked to insurgents, and support corruption that helps feed the insurgency.

ISAF Shortcomings. Afghan social, political. economic, and cultural affairs are complex and poorly understood. ISAF does not sufficiently appreciate the dynamics in local communities, nor how the insurgency, corruption, incompetent officials, power-brokers, and criminality all combine to affect the Afghan population. A focus by ISAF intelligence on kinetic targeting and a failure to bring together what is known about the political and social realm have hindered IsAF's comprehension of the critical aspects of Afghan society.

ISAF's attitudes and actions have reinforced the Afghan people's frustrations with the shortcomings of their government. Civilian casualties and collateral damage to homes and property resulting from an over-reliance on firepower and force protection have severely damaged ISAF's legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people. Further, poor unity of effort among ISAF, UNAMA, and the rest ofthe international community undermines their collective effectiveness, while failure to deliver on promises further alienates the people. Problematic contracting processes and insufficient oversight also reinforce the perception of corruption within ISAF and the international community.

In summary, the absence of personal and economic security, along with the erosion of public confidence in the government, and a perceived lack of respect for Afghan culture pose as great a challenge to IsAF's success as the insurgent threat. Protecting the population is more than preventing insurgent violence and intimidation. It also means that ISAF can no longer ignore or tacitly accept abuse of power, corruption, or marginalization.

External Influences

Pakistan. Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's lSI. AI Qaeda and associated movements (AQAM) based in Pakistan channel foreign fighters, suicide bombers, and technical assistance into Afghanistan, and offer ideological motivation, training, and financial support. AI Qaeda's links with HUN have grown, suggesting that expanded HQN control could create a favorable environment for AQAM to re-establish safe-havens in Afghanistan. Additionally, the ISAF mission in Afghanistan is reliant on ground supply routes through Pakistan that remain vulnerable to these threats.

Stability in Pakistan is essential, not only in its own right, but also to enable progress in Afghanistan. While the existence of safe havens in Pakistan does not guarantee ISAF failure, Afghanistan does require Pakistani cooperation and action against violent militancy, particularly against those groups active in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the insurgency in Afghanistan is predominantly Afghan. By defending the population, improving sub-national governance, and giving disenfranchised rural communities a voice in their government, GIRoA - with support from IsAF - can strengthen Afghanistan against both domestic and foreign insurgent penetration. Reintegrating communities and individuals into the political system can help reduce the insurgency's virulence to a point where it is no longer an existential threat to GIRoA.

India. Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.

Iran. Iran plays an ambiguous role in Afghanistan, providing developmental assistance and political support to GIRoA while the Iranian Qods Force is reportedly training fighters for certain Taliban groups and providing other forms of military assistance to insurgents. Iran's current policies and actions do not pose a short-term threat to the mission, but Iran has the capability to threaten the mission in the future. Pakistan may see Iranian economic and political initiatives as threats to their strategic interests, and may continue to address these issues in ways that are counterproductive to the ISAF effort.

Russia/Central Asia. Afghanistan's northern neighbors have enduring interests in, and influence over, particular segments of Afghanistan. They pursue objectives that are not necessarily congruent to ISAF's mission. ISAF's Northern Distribution Network and logistical hubs are dependent upon support from Russian and Central Asian States, giving them the potential to act as either spoilers or positive influences.

III. Getting the Basics Right

ISAF is not adequately executing the basics of COIN doctrine. Thus the first major recommendation of this assessment is to change and focus on that which ISAF has the most control of: ISAF. The coalition must hold itself accountable before it can attempt to do so with others. Specifically, ISAF will focus on two major changes to improve execution of COIN fundamentals and enhance organizational alignment and efficacy:

ISAF will change its operating culture to pursue a counterinsurgency approach that puts the Afghan people first. While the insurgency can afford to lose fighters and leaders, it cannot afford to lose control of the population.

IsAF will change the way it does business to improve unity of command within ISAF, seek to improve unity of effort with the international community, and to use resources more effectively.

New Operational Culture: Population-centric COIN.

ISAF must operate differently. Preoccupied with force protection, IsAF has operated in a manner that distances itself, both physically and psychologically, from the people they seek to protect. The Afghan people have paid the price, and the mission has been put at risk. ISAF, with the ANSF, must shift its approach to bring security and normalcy to the people and shield them from insurgent violence, corruption and coercion, ultimately enabling GIRoA to gain the trust and confidence of the people while reducing the influence of insurgents. Hard-earned credibility and face-to-face relationships, rather than close combat, will achieve success. This requires enabling Afghan counterparts to meet the needs of the people at the community level through dynamic partnership, engaged leadership, de-centralized decision making, and a fundamental shift in priorities.

Improve Understanding. ISAF - military and civilian personnel alike - must acquire a far better understanding of Afghanistan and its people. ISAF personnel must be seen as guests of the Afghan people and their government, not an occupying army. Key personnel in ISAF must receive training in local languages. Tour lengths should be long enough to build continuity and ownership of success. AIlISAF personnel must show respect for local cultures and customs and demonstrate intellectual curiosity about the people of Afghanistan. The United States should fully implement - and encourage other nations to emulate - the "Afghan Hands" program that recruits and maintains a cadre of military and civilian practitioners and outside experts with deep knowledge of Afghanistan.

Build Relationships. In order to be successful as counterinsurgents, ISAF must alter its operational culture to focus on building personal relationships with its Afghan partners and the protected population. To gain accurate information and intelligence about the local environment, ISAF must spend as much time as possible with the people and as little time as possible in armored vehicles or behind the walls of forward operating bases. ISAF personnel must seek out, understand, and act to address the needs and grievances of the people in their local environment. Strong personal relationships forged between security forces and local populations will be a key to success.

Project Confidence. Creating a perception of security is imperative if the local population is to "buy-in" and invest in the institutions of governance and step forward with local solutions. When ISAF forces travel through even the most secure areas of Afghanistan firmly ensconced in armored vehicles with body armor and turrets manned, they convey a sense of high risk and fear to the population. ISAF cannot expect unarmed Afghans to feel secure before heavily armed ISAF forces do. ISAF cannot succeed if it is unwilling to share risk, at least equally, with the people.

In fact, once the risk is shared, effective force protection will come from the people, and the overall risk can actually be reduced by operating differently. The more coalition forces are seen and known by the local population, the more their threat will be reduced. Adjusting force protection measures to local conditions sends a powerful message of confidence and normalcy to the population. Subordinate commanders must have greater freedom with respect to setting force protection measures they employ in order to help close the gap between security forces and the people they protect. Arguably, giving leaders greater flexibility to adjust force protection measures could expose military personnel and civilians to greater risk in the near term; however, historical experiences in counterinsurgency warfare, coupled with the above rnltlgatlon, suggests that accepting some risk in the short term will ultimately save lives in the long run.

Decentralize. To be effective, commanders and their civilian partners must have authorities to use resources f1exibly·- and on their own initiative -- as opportunities arise, while maintaining appropriate accountability measures. fSAF must strike the right balance between control and initiative, but err on the side of initiative. Mistakes will inevitably be made, but a culture of excessive bureaucracy designed with the best of intentions will be far more costly in blood and treasure.

Re-integration and Reconciliation. Insurgencies of this nature typically conclude through military operations and political efforts driving some degree of host-nation reconciliation with elements of the insurgency. In the Afghan conflict, reconciliation may involve GIRoA-led, high-level political settlements. This is not within the domain of ISAF's responsibilities, but ISAF must be in a position to support appropriate Afghan reconciliation policies.

Reintegration is a normal component of counterinsurgency warfare. It is qualitatively different from reconciliation and is a critical part of the new strategy. As coalition operations proceed, insurgents will have three choices: fight, flee, or reintegrate. ISAF must identify opportunities to reintegrate former mid- to low-level insurgent fighters into normal society by offering them a way out. To do so, ISAF requires a credible program to offer eligible insurgents reasonable incentives to stop fighting and return to normalcy, possibly including the provision of employment and protection. Such a program will require resources and focus, as appropriate, on people's future rather than past behavior. ISAF's soldiers will be required to think about COIN operations differently, in that there are now three outcomes instead oftwo: enemy may be killed, captured, or reintegrated.

In executing a reintegration program ISAF will necessarily assume decentralized authorities, in coordination with GIRoA, for ISAF field commanders to support the reintegration of fighters and low-level leaders. Local leaders are critical figures in any reintegration efforts and must be free to make the decisions that bind their entire community.

Economic Support to Counterinsurgency. ISAF has an important asymmetric advantage; it can aid the local economy, along with its civilian counterparts, in ways that the insurgents cannot. local development can change incentive structures and increase stability in communities. Economic opportunity, especially job creation, is a critical part of reintegrating the foot-soldier into normal life. Economic support to counterinsurgency is distinct from and cannot substitute for longer-term development initiatives. With some coordination it can lay the groundwork for, and complement, those longer-term efforts and show that the Afghan government is active at the local level. ISAF must increase the flexibility and responsiveness of funding programs to enable commanders and their civilian partners to make immediate economic and quality of life improvements in accordance with Afghan priorities.

Improve Unity of Effort and Command

ISAF's subordinate headquarters must stop fighting separate campaigns. Under the existing structure, some components are not effectively organized and multiple headquarters fail to achieve either unity of command or unity of effort.

The establishment of an intermediate operational headquarters is the first step toward rectifying these problems. This new headquarters will enable the ISAF headquarters to focus on strategic and operational matters and enhance coordination with GIRoA, UNAMA, and the international community. The intermediate headquarters will synchronize operational activities and local civil-military coordination and ensure a shared understanding of the mission throughout the force. The intermediate headquarters must be supported with increased information collection and analysis capabilities to improve significantly ISAF's understanding ofthe political. cultural, social, and economic dynamics.

The intermediate headquarters will also provide command and control for all ANSF mentor teams, enabling CSTC-A and the new NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTMA) to focus on ANSF institution-building, force generation, force sustainment, and leader development. Command relationships must be clarified so that battle space owners at every echelon can synchronize operations in accordance with ISAF priorities, with effective control of all operations in their area of operations, to include theater wide forces, SOF, and mentoring teams. Mechanisms must be established at all echelons to integrate information from ISAF, ANsF, GIRoA, and other actors. Additional changes are required to address the myriad of other command and control challenges and parochial interests that have emerged over time. ISAF must continue to confront these challenges internally and in partnership with NATO and national capitals.

IV.A Strategy for Success

Success will be achieved when GIRoA has earned the support of the powerful Afghan people and effectively controls its own territory. This will not come easily or quickly. It is realistic to expect that Afghan and coalition casualties will increase until GIRoA and ISAF regain the initiative.

ISAF's strategy to defeat the insurgency and achieve this end state, based on an indepth analysis of the nature of the conflict, includes four major pillars:

ISAF will become radically more integrated and partnered with the ANsF to enable a more rapid expansion of their capacity and responsibility for security.

ISAF will place support to responsive and accountable governance, including subnational and community governance, on par with security.

ISAF's operations will focus first on gaining the inltiatlve and reversing the momentum ofthe insurgency.

ISAF will prioritize available resources to those critical areas where the population is most threatened.

1.Increase partnership with the ANSF to increase size and capabilities

Radically Expanded and Embedded Partnering. Success will require trust-based, expanded partnering with the ANSF with assigned relationships at all echelons to improve effectiveness of the ANSF. Neither the ANA nor the ANP is sufflclentlv effective. ISAF must place far more emphasis on ANSF development in every aspect of daily operations. ISAF will integrate headquarters and enablers with ANA units to execute a full partnership, with the shared goal of working together to bring security to the Afghan people. ISAF units will physically co-locate with the ANSF, establish the same battle-rhythm, and plan and execute operations together. This initiative will increase ANSF force quality and accelerate their ownership of Afghanistan's security.

Accelerated Growth. The Afghan National Army (ANA) must accelerate growth to the present target strength of 134,000 by Fall 20101 with the institutional flexibility to continue that growth to a new target ceiling of 240,000. The target strength of the Afghan National Police (ANP) must be raised to 160,000. This will require additional mentors, trainers, partners and funds through an expanded participation by GIRoA, the support of IsAF, and the resources oftroop contributing and donor nations.

The ANP suffers from a lack oftraining, leaders, resources, equipment, and mentoring. Effective policing is inhibited by the absence of a working system of justice or dispute resolution; poor pay has also encouraged corruption. Substantial reform with appropriate resources -- and possibly even new authorities -- are critically important and must not be delayed.

GIRoA and IsAF will evaluate the utility of using locally-based security initiatives such as the Afghan Public Protection Program (AP3), where appropriate conditions exist, to create village-level indigenous security in partnership with GIRoA and focal shuras.

Detainee Operations. Effective detainee operations are essential to success. The ability to remove insurgents from the battlefield is critical to effective protection of the population. Further, the precision demanded in effective counterinsurgency operations must be intelligence-driven; detainee operations are a critical part of this. Getting the right information and evidence from those detained in military operations is also necessary to support rule of law and reintegration programs and help ensure that only insurgents are detained and civilians are not unduly affected.

Detainee operations are both complex and politically sensitive. There are strategic vulnerabilities in a non-Afghan system. By contrast, an Afghan system reinforces their sense of sovereignty and responsibility. As always, the detention process must be effective in providing key intelligence and avoid 'catch and release' approaches that endanger coalition and ANSF forces. It is therefore imperative to evolve to a more holistic model centered on an Afghan-run system. This will require a comprehensive system that addresses the entire "life-cycle" and extends from point of capture to eventual reintegration or prosecution.

ISAF has completed a full review of current detainee pollcles and practices with recommendations for substantial revisions to complement ISAF's revised strategy. Key elements of a new detention policy should include transferring responsibility for Jongterm detention of insurgents to GIRoA, establishing procedures with GIRoA for ISAF access to detainees for interrogation within the bounds of national caveats, application of counter-radicalization and disengagement practices, and training of ISAF forces to better collect intelligence for continued operations and evidence for prosecution in the Afghan judicial system. Afghanistan must develop detention capabilities and operations that respect the Afghan people. A failure to address GIRoA incapacity in this area presents a serious risk to the mission.

2.Facilitating Afghan governance and mitigating the effects of malign actors

Success requires a stronger Afghan government that is seen by the Afghan people as working in their interests. Success does not require perfection - an improvement in governance that addresses the worst of to day's high level abuse of power, low-level corruption, and bureaucratic incapacltv will suffice.

Learning from and leveraging the elections. The recent Presidential and Provincial Council elections were far from perfect. From a security standpoint, they were generally executed smoothly and without major physical disruption, although the credibility of the election results remains an open question. The country-wide spike in violence against IsAF and ANsF, with three to four times the average number of attacks, underscores the widespread reach of insurgent influence, particularly in the south and the east and in select areas of the north and west. However, the relatively low number of effective attacks against polling centers offers some evidence that insurgents were targeting ISAF and ANSF, not the voters. The Afghans' ability to plan and execute the elections, along with the close partnering between ISAF and ANSF, and the mass deployment of security forces were notable achievements nonetheless. The elections were also an opportunity, and a forcing function, that will help to improve future coordination within the ANSF and expand ISAF's partnership with GIRoA and the international community.

Supporting local governance. Elements of Afghan society, particularly rural populations, have been excluded from the political process. ISAF must support UNAMA and the international community in sub-national governance reform by working directly with local communities, starting by assessing Afghan civilian needs by population center and developing partnerships to act on them. By empowering local communities, GIRoA, supported by ISAF, can encourage them to support the. poUtical system. District elections and the civilian resources deployed to Provincial Reconstruction Teams, District Support Teams, and ISAF task forces will also help build legitimate governance structures at the sub-national levels.

Efforts are underway that may address some of these issues, including those that have been cultivated through the National Solidarity Program and the Afghan Social Outreach Program. These structures will enable improvements at the community level to link communities with the national government over time. In addition, GIRoA's proposed sub-national governance policy aims to give greater authority and responsibility to the elected councils and to clarify their relationships with governors and individual line ministries. The U.S. Government Integrated Civil~Military Campaign Plan also provides a basis for improving sub-national governance at every level- provided it is appropriately staffed and resourced. Similar coordinated action is also required from other partner governments. Similarly, the request for support from the Ministry of Finance for civilian technical assistance must be welcomed and met. Indeed, ISAF and the international community must support the acceleration of these efforts, while recognizing that additional legislative initiatives may be required.

Negative Influencers. ISAF must understand and address underlying factors that encourage malign behavior and undermine governance. The narco- and illicit economy and the extortion associated with large-scale developmental projects undermine the economy in Afghanistan. GIRoA cannot fund its operations because of its inability to raise revenue, a situation made worse by the illicit economy. Poorly paid officials may resort to petty corruption, contributing to the people's crisis in confidence. The international community must appropriately supplement revenues until these problems are addressed. ISAF must also change its concept ofthe "border fight" ... REDACTION ... to expanding GIRoA's revenue base through improved border control and customs collection.

Discerning Support. ISAF must develop a discerning approach that rewards competent Afghan governance and leadership, recognizes the distinction between incapacity and predatory behavior, and leverages ISAF's influence to address both challenges. ISAF and its partners must develop appropriate measures to reduce the incentives for corrupt actors that impede the mission, work around them if necessary, and develop actionable evidence of their malfeasance. Improving information collection and analysis will provide better understanding of the motivations, practices, and effects of corruption.

Transparency and Accountability. ISAF must work with UNAMA and the international community to build public finance mechanisms that enable GIRoA to create credible programs and allocate resources according to the needs of the Afghan people. The international community must address its own corrupt or counter-productive practices, including reducing the amount of development money that goes toward overhead and intermediaries rather than the Afghan people. A recent OXFAM report indicates that a significant percentage of such funding is diverted. ISAF must pay particular attention to how development projects are contracted and to whom. Too often these projects enrich power-brokers, corrupt officials, or international contractors and serve only limited segments ofthe population. Improving ISAF's knowledge of the environment and sharing this information with UNAMA and the international community will help mitigate such harmful practices.

ISAF will provide economic support to counterinsurgency operations to help provide a bridge to critical developmental projects in priority areas that UN agencies and the international community cannot reach, while working closely with UNAMA to help set conditions for NGOs to enter stabilized areas.

Rule of Law. Finally, ISAF must work with its civilian and international counterparts to enable justice sector reform and locate resources for formal and informal justice systems that offer swift and fair resolution of disputes, particularly at the local level. The provision of local justice, to include such initiatives as mobile courts, will be a critical enhancement of Afghan capacity in the eyes of the people', ISAF must work with GIRoA to develop a clear mandate and boundaries for local informal justice systems.

3.Gain the Initiative and Evolve In Stages

ISAF's new strategy will include three stages. These stages will unfold at different rates and times in different geographic areas of Afghanistan. Most importantly, they will be led increasingly by the Afghan people and their government.

Gain the Initiative. First, ISAF must re-focus its operations to gain the initiative in seriously threatened, populated areas by working directly with GIRoA institutions and people in local communities to gain their support and to diminish insurgent access and influence. This stage is clearly decisive to the overall effort. It will require sufficient resources to gain the initiative and definitively check the insurgency. A failure to reverse the momentum of the insurgency will not only preclude success in Afghanistan, it will result in a loss of public and political support outside Afghanistan.

In this stage, IsAF will take a new approach to integrate fully with the ANSF through extensive partnering. This will enable improved effectiveness and a more rapid growth of ANSF capability. Together with UNAMA and the international community, ISAF will work with all levels of GIRoA to expand substantially responsive and accountable governance that focuses on the needs of the people. Finally, there must be full international community support and commitment to the full range of civil-military capabilities concentrated in the priority areas.

Strategic Consolidation. As ISAF and ANSF capabilities grow over the next 12-24 months and the insurgency diminishes in critical areas, ISAF will begin a second stage - a strategic consolidation. As ANSF and GIRoA increasingly take the lead for security operations and as new civilian and military capacity arrives, security operations will expand to wider areas while consolidating initial gains. These efforts will increase the space in which the population feels protected and served by their government, and insulate them from a return of insurgent influence. Meanwhile, ANSF and ISAF must have the capability to respond flexibly to insurgent adaptation and retain the initiative.

Sustained Security. When the insurgent groups no longer pose an existential threat to GIRoA, ISAF will move into a third stage of sustained security to ensure achieved gains are durable as ISAF forces begin to draw down. As ANSF demonstrate the capability to defeat remaining pockets of insurgents on their own, ISAF will transition to a train, advise, and assist role. UNAMA and the international community will have increased freedom of action to continue to help develop the Afghan state and meet the needs of the Afghan people.

In all of these stages, the insurgents will adapt, possibly moving their operations to different areas. This risk is mitigated by the fact that the insurgents are weakened when forced to relocate from their traditional areas; the burden of migration, renewed recruiting, and re-establishing a stronghold will incur a cost to the insurgents. ISAF must have the capability to respond to these adaptations.

4.Prioritize Allocation of Resources to Threatened Populations.

In a country as large and complex as Afghanistan, ISAF cannot be strong everywhere. ISAF must focus its full range of civilian and military resources where they will have the greatest effect on the people. This will generally be in those specific geographical areas that represent key terrain. For the counterinsurgent, the key terrain is generally where the population lives and works. This is also where the insurgents are typically focused; thus, it is here where the population is threatened by the enemy and that the two sides inevitably meet. ISAF will initially focus on critical high-population areas that are contested or controlled by insurgents, not because the enemy is present, but because it is here that the population is threatened by the insurgency.

The geographical deployment of forces may not be static; ISAF must retain the operational flexibility to adapt to changes in the environment. Based on current assessments, ISAF prioritizes the effort in Afghanistan into three categories to guide the allocation of resources. These priorities will evolve over time as conditions on the ground change: REDACTION

V. Assessments: Measuring Progress

ISAF must develop effective assessment architectures, in concert with civilian partners and home nations, to measure the effects of the strategy, assess progress toward key objectives, and make necessary adjustments. ISAF must identify and refine appropriate indicators to assess progress, clarifying the difference between operational measures of effectiveness critical to practitioners on the ground and strategic measures more appropriate to national capitals. Because the mission depends on GIRoA, ISAF must also develop clear metrics to assess progress in governance.

VI. Resources and Risk

Proper resourcing will be critical. The campaign in Afghanistan has been historically under-resourced and remains so today ISAF is operating in a culture of poverty.

Consequently, ISAF requires more forces. This increase partially reflects previously validated, yet un-sourced, requirements. This also stems from the new mix of capabilities essential to execute the new strategy. Some efficiency will be gained through better use of ISAF's existing resources, eliminating redundancy, and the leveraging of ANSF growth, increases in GIRoA capacity, international community resources, and the population itself. Nonetheless, ISAF requires capabilities and resources well in excess of these efficiency gains. The greater resources will not be sufficient to achieve success, but will enable implementation of the new strategy. Conversely, inadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced.

A 'properly-resourced' strategy provides the means deemed necessary to accomplish the mission with appropriate and acceptable risk. In the case of Afghanistan, this level of resourcing is less than the amount that is required to secure the whole country. By comparison, a 'fully-resourced' strategy could achieve low risk, but this would be excessive in the final analysis. Some areas are more consequential for the survival of GIRoA than others.

The determination of what constitutes 'properly-resourced' will be based on forcedensity doctrine applied with best military judgment of factors such as terrain, location and accessibility of the population, intensity of the threats, the effects of ISR capabilities and other enablers, logistical constraints, and historical experience. As always, assessment of risk will necessarily include subjective professional judgment. Underresourcing COIN is perilous because the insurgent has the advantage of mobility whereas security forces become relatively fixed after securing an area. Force density doctrine is based in historical analysis and suggests that a certain presence of security forces is required to achieve a critical threshold that overmatches the insurgents ability to leverage their mobility. In short, a 'properly-resourced' strategy places enough things, in enough places, for enough time. All three are mandatory.

A 'properly-resourced' strategy is imperative. Resourcing coalition forces below this level will leave critical areas of Afghanistan open to insurgent influence while the ANSF grows. Thus, the first stage ofthe strategy will be unachievable, leaving GIRoA and IsAF unable to execute the decisive second stage. In addition, the international community is unlikely to have the access necessary to facilitate effective Afghan governance in contested areas. Failure to provide adequate resources also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs, and ultimately, a critical loss of political support. Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure.

Civilian Capacity. ISAF cannot succeed without a corresponding cadre of civilian experts to support the change in strategy and capitalize on the expansion and acceleration of counterinsurgency efforts. Effective civilian capabilities and resourcing mechanisms are critical to achieving demonstrable progress. The relative level of civilian resources must be balanced with security forces, lest gains in security outpace civilian capacity for governance and economic improvements. In particular, ensuring alignment of resources for immediate and rapid expansion into newly secured areas will require integrated civil-military planning teams that establish mechanisms for rapid response.

In addition, extensive work is required to ensure international and host nation partners are engaged and fully integrated.

ISAF's efforts in Afghanistan must be directed through its Afghan counterparts to enable them to succeed in the long-term. Working within Afghan constructs, fostering Afghan solutions, and building Afghan capacity is essential. Particular focus is required at the community level where the insurgency draws its strength through coercion and exploitation of the people's dissatisfaction with their government and local conditions. Focusing on the community can drive a wedge between the insurgents and the people, giving them the freedom and incentive to support the Afghan government.

Some of the additional civilian experts will partner with ISAF task forces or serve on Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Others will work with new District Support Teams as necessary to support this strategy. As necessary, ISAF must facilitate performance of civil-military functions wherever civilian capacity is lacking. the arrival of the civilians is delayed, or the authorities that the civilians bring prove insufficient. ISAF will welcome the introduction of any new civilian funding streams, but must be prepared to make up the difference using military funding as necessary.

Risks. No strategy can guarantee success. A number of risks outside of ISAF's control could undermine the mission, to include a loss of coalition political will, insufficient ability and political will on GIRoA's part to win the support of its people and to control its territory, failure to provide effective civilian capabilities by ISAF's partners, significant improvements or adaptations by insurgent groups, and actions of external actors such as Pakistan and Iran.


The situation in Afghanistan is serious. The mission can be accomplished, but this will require two fundamental changes. First, ISAF must focus on getting the basics right to achieve a new, population-centric operational culture and better unity of effort.

Second, ISAF must also adopt a new strategy, one that is properly resourced, to radically increase partnership with the ANSF, emphasize governance, prioritize resources where the population is threatened, and gain the initiative from the insurgency. This will entail significant near-term cost and risk; however, the long-term risk of not executing this strategy is greater. The U.S. Strategy and NATO mission for Afghanistan both call for a committed and comprehensive approach to the strategic threat of an unsecure and unstable Afghanistan. Through proper resourcing, rigorous implementation, and sustained political will, this refocused strategy offers ISAF the best prospect for success in this important mission.

Annex A: Military Plans


ISAF 05, Plans and Strategy, conducted an analysis of the current campaign plan', supporting plans, and orders to determine whether the strategy and means provided are adequate to accomplish the desired endstate. Many elements ... REDACTION ... are deemed to be adequate; however, there are gaps in the operational design.


A multidisciplinary Joint Operational Planning Group (JOPG) was formed to conduct a thorough assessment of the ISAF counterinsurgency campaign strategy. The JOPG conducted a detailed analysis of both the ISAF OPLAN2 and OPORD3¿ Previous versions of these orders were also analyzed to ascertain the rationale for successive versions. Analysis was also conducted ... REDACTION ... to confirm that the ISAF OPLAN and OPORD followed the guiding principles contained in the higher headquarters frameworks. The JOPG also reviewed the Afghanistan National Development Strategy and the UNAMA mandate. Other documents were also consulted and analyzed, including the draft U.S. Government Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign Plan for Support to Afghanistan. These efforts were complemented by an analysis ofthe seasonal, agricultural, and narcotic cycles as they relate to the historic operational cycle of insurgent forces to ensure that the subsequent recommendations were situated within a real world timeline. There was significant linkage to three other work efforts being conducted under the Initial Assessment:

1.The "Troops to Task" Working Group determining the resource requirements and allocation of forces and capabilities.

2.The Initial Assessment Working Group tasked with examining the overarching strategy.

3.The ANSF Expansion Working Group tasked with determining the feasibility for rapid growth of GIRoA security capacity.

Key Findings

a. REDACTION ... This OPLAN explicitly states that it serves as the campaign plan for ISAF. Contained within this OPLAN is a clear mission and intent, supported by four Lines of Operation (LoO): Security (lead responsibility), Governance (supporting effort), Development (supporting effort), and Strategic Communications (supporting effort). Associated with these LoO are ten effects. These effects are broadly phrased and are not linked with Decisive Points (DP}/Decisive Conditions (DC). This missing element of operational design is crucial, as it should be used to generate associated actions (tasks and purposes) for the OPORD. Similarly, Measures of Effectiveness


(MOE)/Measures of Performance (MOP) should inform assessments, demonstrating progress along the various loO. Without this linkage, it is exceptionally difficult to provide accurate advice to the commander to inform optimal decisions on forces, resources, and tasks to continue on the projected path to achieve the desired endstate.

b. REDACTION .. The OPORD contains much detail but does not explicitly link the Regional Commands (RC) operations under a coherent, single, nationwide strategy. This is one of the critical deficiencies of the existing OPORD. The following observations are provided:

i.The mission and intent contained in the OPORD are broadly phrased, covering all lines of operation contained in the OPLANJ but it provides insufficient guidance for Regional Commanders to achieve unity of effort.

ii.The Shape/Clear/Hold/Build construct REDACTION ... provides the rudimentary elements of an operational framework that forms the basis for the tasks contained in the OPORD.

iii.The OPORD is exceptionally detailed and complex. Within the Main Body alone, 47 tasks are directed toward the Regional Commands and ISAF Special Operations Forces (SOF). There are an additional 50 tasks found throughout the OPORD annexes. There is no clear prioritization of the tasks within the OPORD.

c.OPLAN and OPORD Development. Analysis of the successive versions of

... REDACTION -- the OPORD indicate that each refinement sought to generate increased synchronization and clarity of tasks. The various staffs that generated these modifications were attempting to refine inherited products to produce improved linkages. Viewed independently, both the OPLAN and the OPORD are good products; however, the linkage from higher strategy down to speclflc tasks remains tenuous. Specifically, prioritization and synchronization have become unclear. Substance exists in both the OPLAN and the OPORD. however they are now overly complex, necessitating revision and alignment.

d.Prioritization. The lack of clear prioritization of tasks in the OPORD has allowed each of the five subordinate RCs to develop OPORDs with a slightly different emphasis. Some flexibility appears to be a key part of the OPORD design, allowing for sufficient variance between RCs to align toward the specific threats faced in their region. While minor variations were anticipated, a deeper examination shows a lack of coherence within the Security loO between RCs. The OPORD allows RCs to determine their prioritization and focus within this "lead effort" loO, with emphasis on protecting the population, growing security capacity, and/or combating insurgents (or other Enemies of Afghanistan). The diversity of Troop Contributing Nations (TCN) further increases variance and differences of interpretation across the force. The multiplicity of priorities (e.g. Focus Areas, Action Districts, Priority Action Districts, and Focused District Development) seemingly makes "everything" important.

e. Synchronization. Although the OPORo' attempts to generate synchronization, the variation in interpretation and prioritization of effort hinders development of the necessary synergy. Synchronization across the theater should provide a greater opportunity for the generation of collective effects across allloO, but is not currently achieved. The lack of prioritization makes synchronization exceptionally difficult.

f. Assessments. The campaign assessment construct uses a methodology to measure effectiveness of operations along the LoO described in the OPLAN. The current assessment provides a broad measure of progress that requires substantial interpretation to determine interrelationships among the various aspects within the LoO. The current campaign design does not utilize decisive points or milestones within the broad effects; accordingly, it is difficult to assess progress along a LaO. This does not assist the Commander in evaluating where changes in strategy or main effort may be required.

g. Supporting Plans and Annexes.

i. Counternarcotics (CN). It is clear that CN efforts were not fully integrated into the counterinsurgency campaign; efforts were collaborative but not centrally coordinated. Substantial intelligence points directly at the Afghanistan narcotics industry as a significant economic enabler for the insurgency. The ISAF mandate, with its clear security focus and individual TCN caveats, coupled with the ubiquitous nature of the narcotics problem, clearly limited CN efforts by ISAF forces. CN engagement has increased significantly since the Budapest Summit which called upon NATO and TCN to grant sufficient legal authority to increase ISAF assistance to GIRoA to execute the Afghan National Drug Control Strategy. With the clarification of legal authorities, Annex RR - Counter Narcotics was integrated .... REDACTION. The Res are currently developing supporting plans to address the 2010 opium poppy season. Though CN efforts are improving.. they must be fully integrated into the overall plan.

ii. ISAF and ANSF Partnering and Mentoring. Partnering continues to evolve. Efforts to formalize the partnership between ISAF and ANSF can be traced to June 2008. It took until Nov 2008 to develop the framework for the plan and issue the fragmentary order" (FRAGO) directing this effort. The FRAGO sought to create a baseline for both partnering operations and reporting requirements; RCs continue to progress toward the objectives described in the FRAGa,REDACTION however they are hampered by the lack of clarity expressed in the operational design.

h. Operational Environment. Elements of the operational environment dictate the operational cycle of the insurgency. It is critical to consider the seasonal, agricultural, and narcotic cycles, as well as the religious calendar and external events like Pakistani military operations in the border area, in order to refine the campaign design. Traditionally, insurgents have used the winter months to reorganize and prepare for the "fighting" season which coincides with improving weather. Generally, ISAF forces have matched the insurgent's operational cycle each year. Without a significant change, ISAF will remain in consonance with this cycle. This winter, there is an opportunity to break our inadvertent operational synchronicity with the insurgents. The new operational design must be linked to 'real world' event cycles rather than being considered in abstract and place greater emphasis on nonkinetic operations, noting that the insurgency remains active within the population even when kinetic operations are greatly reduced during the winter.

i. Command Relationships. Although indirectly related to the analysis ofthe campaign design, command relationships are a key element to synchronization of efforts under the lines of operation provided in the ISAF OPORD and OPLAN. Within campaign design, the link between operational design and operational management is provided by operational command; accordingly a review of operational plans should also consider the relevant command relationships. The ISAF upper command and control arrangements are undergoing restructuring concurrently with the Initial Assessment. Clarification of the relationship between the evolving Four Star ISAF HQ and the new, Three Star IsAF Joint Command (JJC) will assist significantly in the synchronization of efforts across the campaign. The transition of CSTC-A/DATES to NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A) in the same timeframe as the formation of the IJC brings an opportunity to achieve a fully coordinated new operational level command structure with associated realignment of subordinate elements (e.g. Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) and Embedded Training Teams (ms). Realignment of these relationships necessitates an operational design that considers the new command lines provided to COMISAF. Efficient command and control alignment will enhance execution of the revised operational design.


a. OPLAN 38302. Retain major elements of the OPLAN as the base document that frames the ISAF Campaign Plan. The document is sufficient to complement the efforts of external agencies (e.g. GIRoA and UNAMA) along the supporting LoO of Governance and Development. Significant change may be counterproductive in the short term; specifically, the Comprehensive and Integrated Approach described in Annex W of the OPLAN is procedurally understood by critical stakeholders. The OPLAN provides the framework for the "lead effort" Security LoO to guide development of the operational design. Within the OPLAN framework, the operational design should be revised substantially to provide the benchmarks of progress to guide prioritization and synchronization of subordinate efforts.

b. Revise the OPORD. Given both the refined command relationships and anticipated direction to develop an operational design, the OPORD will require substantial revision to prioritize and synchronize the efforts across all COMISAF subordinates. The current OPORD contains elements that can be prioritized and synchronized in the short term through fragmentary orders until a new OPORD is developed and published.

c. Command Relationships. The development ofthe operational design must incorporate the anticipated command relationships under which the order will be executed.

d. Resourcing. Use the refined operational design as the basis to request additional resource capabilities that generate overmatch of insurgent forces prior to the historical operational tempo increase of insurgent operations.

Annex B: Command and Control, and Command Relationships

ISAF analysed the command relationships between military forces and civilian organizations operating in the Afghanistan Theater of Operations. To date, various initiatives have either been planned or are underway in order to improve unity of command and unity of effort within the Afghanistan Area of Operations (AoO).

Status Update

On August 4th, NATO's North Atlantic Council officially approved the creation of an intermediate three-star command between COMISAF and the Res. This new headquarters is on pace to reach Initial Operational Capability (lOC) by 12 October 09 and Full Operational Capability by 12 November 09.

Along with the creation of the ISAF Joint Command (IJC), the decision was made to create NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) to unify both NATO and U.S. forces previously operating under separate command relationship lines (Directorate for Afghan National Army Training and Equipment (NATO) and Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (U.S.)) conducting advisory roles with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) throughout Afghanistan. This new headquarters will reach IOC by 10 September 09.

Related to the creation of NTM-A is a proposal to move all of the advisory elements that reside in the Afghanistan AOO-OMLTs, POMLTs, PMTs, ETTs, OCCs, etc.under the operational control of the Regional Commands (RC) and battlespace owners (BSO). A portion of the ... REDACTION ... staff will migrate to the IJC to manage various resourcing functions related to the support of these advisory elements.

HQ ISAF issued FRAGO 408-2009 directing the establishment, in coordination with GIRoA1 if a National Military Coordination Center (NMCC) for the coordination and planning of joint military operations.

The RCs have been directed to partner with the ANSF at every level within their RC ADOs in order to gain synergy of operations and improve the capability and capacity of the ANSF.

The RCs were also tasked with further developing Operations Coordination Centers at the Regional and Provincial level to enable a comprehensive approach to planning and operating down to the tactical level and to monitor and report partner ANSF unit readiness to COMISAF.

USFOR-A has been tasked with the following:

Direct CSTC-A to focus on force generation and institutional and ministerial development;

Transfer OEF units OPCON to COMISAF and place them on the ISAF Combined Joint Statement of Requirements;

Draft C2 guidance for command and control of special operations forces will be issued soon. This FRAGO will direct the realignment of all SOF, .¿. REDACTION ... OPCON to COMISAF. OEF and ISAF SOF will be directed to enhance the coordination of their operations through the provision of SOF operations and planning staff, SOF advisors, and liaison officers to the RC HQs.

In cooperation with JFC-Brunssum, Allied Transformation Command (ATC), Joint Warfare Center, and the Joint Warfighting Center (USJFCOM), and V Corps, a training plan has been developed to support the stand up ofthe uc.

Remaining Challenges


Other challenges to unity of command lie in the variations of each troop contributing nation's Order of Battle Transfer of Authority (ORBATTOA) report. Since there is such variation in the ORBATTOA reports) it is difficult to achieve a common command authority structure throughout the theater.

Another challenge comes from U.S. sponsored, non-NATO nations that deploy forces using U.S. Global-War-on-Terrorism (GWOT) funding under U.S. Code Title X. These nations include Georgia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Mongolia, Bahrain, and others. The unique challenge created under this process specifies that Title X funding is tied to a direct command relationship with a U.S. commander.

Even if unity of effort is achieved with all international military forces in full partnership with the ANSF, unity of command remains a significant challenge because ofthe many international community and nongovernmental organizations who make significant unilateral contributions in the Governance and Development lines of Operation. In order to address this, the BSO must be fully engaged with GIRoA, UNAMA, ANSF and any civilian capacity building entities or International Organization. Engagement and coordination is critical; de-confliction by itself is insufficient. It is important that BSOs develop relationships with these organizations that help to achieve the desired end state.

One issue to be resolved is whether COMISAF has the authority to move personnel assigned to ISAF HQ under CE 13.0 over to the new Intermediate HQ CE 1.0. Current planning is based on the assumption that he has this authority; however, this issue must be resolved in writing from SHAPE prior to any personnel migration.

Annex C: USG Integrated Civil-Military- campaign Plan

The Integrated Civil-Military Campaign Plan (lCMCP) represents the collaborative planning efforts of United States Government (USG) operating in Afghanistan. It was signed by the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and General Stanley McChrystal, Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, on 15 August 2009 and forwarded to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and General David Petraeus, Commander, United States Central Command. The USG will execute this plan from a 'whole-ot-government' approach in coordination with the International Security Assistance Force (lSAF), United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA).

The ICMCP aligns USG efforts on a single objective: the people of Afghanistan. It specifies that every action must focus on securing and enabling the Afghan people to resist the insurgents and engage with GIRoA and the international community to develop effective governance.
Shifting focus to deliver results for the population requires comprehensive integration and synchronization of USG and ISAF civilianmilitary teams working across the Security, Development, and Governance Lines of Operation. The ICMCP details how this new integrated approach will be applied across 11 Counter-insurgency (COIN) Transformative Effects (see table opposite). These effects will enable tangible progress in fighting the insurgency and building stability at the local community, provincial, and national level.

11 Transformatlve Effects: Population Security

Claim the Information Initiative

Access to Justice

Expansion of Accountable and Transparent Governance Ejections and Continuity of Governance

Action Against Irteconcilables
Creating Sustainable Jobs
Agricultural Opportunity and Market Access

Countering the Nexus of Narcotics, Corruption, Insurgency and Criminality

Community and Government led Reintegration

Cross-Border Access for Commerce Not Insurgents

ICMCP implementation is supported by two significant civilian initiatives. First, U.S. Senior Civilian Representative positions have been established in RC(E) and RC(S) at each sub-regional U.S. Brigade Task Force, and in each province and district support team to coordinate activities of civilians operating under Chief of Mission authority to execute US policy and guidance, serve as the civilian counterpart to the military commander, and integrate and coordinate civ-mil efforts. The second civilian initiative, the USG Civilian Uplift, will deploy additional USG civilians throughout Afghanistan at the regional, brigade task force, provincial, and district levels.

In summary, the ICMCP describes target activities and initiatives for our personnel on the ground. By mandating an integrated, multi-level civilian chain of command for the best partnership possible with military forces, U.S. personnel will have a sound construct within which to determine what areas of the plan to implement in their respective areas.

Annex D: Strategic Communication


The information domain is a battlespace, and it is one in which ISAF must take aggressive actions to win the important battle of perception. Strategic Communication (StratCom) makes a vital contribution to the overall effort, and more specifically, to the operational center of gravity: the continued support of the Afghan population. In order to achieve success we must make better use of existing assets and bolster these with new capabilities to meet the challenges ahead. To date, the Insurgents (INS) have undermined the credibility of ISAF, the International Community (IC), and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) through effective use of the information environment} albeit without a commensurate increase in their own credibility. Whilst this is a critical problem for ISAF, the consequences for GIRoA are even starker. GIRoA and the Ie need to wrest the information initiative from the INS.


ISAF has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of StratCom objectives, policies, and capability requirements which has resulted in several key recommendations in order to achieve the mission. The command also developed a StratCom Action Plan which details those tasks and activities which must be implemented in order to put the recommendations into effect. This plan is not focused on IsAF in isolation but has been derived from a variety of other planning efforts which have set the framework for this assessment. While the primary focus was on the Afghan environment, some of the actions outlined may have a wider effect in the regional context. The planning process benefitted from the participation of StratCom experts in the 'community of interest', including HQ NATO, SHAPE, and JFC-8 as well as the visiting Initial Assessment Team.

Key Findings


Apart from improving its own performance, (SAF needs to help ensure that GIRoA receives the necessary partnerlng, assistance, training and equipment to further develop their own capacity and improve performance. In so doing, we need to be careful that we do not continue to over promise and under deliver across the lines of operation.

ISAF needs to be able to support both the NATO strategic centre of gravity, (the maintenance of Alliance cohesion as specified in the ISAF OPLAN), as well as ensure that GIRoA is placed at the forefront of all possible endeavors with its credibility enhanced. Over the years a consistent set of problems have been identified but not adequately addressed, primarily as a result of insufficient coordination and a lack of resources. The key for StratCom is to implement a plan based on these lessons learned. ISAF is not the sole player in the StratCom area. Success also depends on improving the currently inadequate capabilities of other non-military critical players, especially in areas outside security such as the governance, reconstruction, and development arenas.


For success, the following StratCom objectives need to be accomplished in partnership with other key stakeholders:

Discredit and diminish insurgents and their extremist allies' capability to influence attitudes and behaviour in AFG.

In partnership, assist GIRoA and the populace in developing a sense of ownership and responsibility for countering violent extremism in order to advance their own security, stability, and development.

Increase effectiveness of international and GIRoA communications with the Afghan people and the Ie.

Increase AFG political and popular will to counter violent extremism and protect the operational centre of gravity, namely the support of the Afghan people.

Enhance StratCom coordination with Higher Headquarters (HHQ) and, through them, the troop contributing nations (TCN) in order to support SACEUR's strategic center of gravity which is the maintenance of Alliance cohesion.

Promote the capability of, and confidence in, the Afghan National Security Forces as a force for good in the country.

Maintain and increase international and public support for ISAF goals and polldes in AFG.


The StratCom main effort is to maintain and strengthen the Afghan population's positive perception of, and support for, GIRoA institutions and the constructive supporting role played by ISAF and the IC.


Change of Culture

There must be a fundamental change of culture in how ISAF approaches operations. StratCom should not be a separate Line of Operation, but rather an integral and fully embedded part of policy development, planning processes, and the execution of operations. Analyzing and maximizing StratCom effects must be central to the formulation of schemes of maneuver and during the execution of operations. In order to affect this paradigm shift, ISAF HQ must synchronize all stratCom stakeholders. Implicit in this change of culture is the clear recognition that modern strategic communication is about credible dialogue, not a monologue where we design our systems and resources to deliver messages to target audiences in the most effective manner. This is now a population centric campaign and no effort should be spared to ensure that the Afghan people are part ofthe conversation. Receiving, understanding, and amending behavior as a result of messages received from audiences can be an effective method of gaining genuine trust and credibility. This would improve the likellhood of the population accepting ISAF messages and changing their behavior as a result.

Win the battle of perceptions

ISAF must act to assist GIRoA in the battle of perceptions through gaining and maintaining the Afghan population's trust and confidence in GIRoA institutions. This will help establish GIRoA as a credible government. For GIRoA and ISAF to win the battle of perceptions we must demonstrably change behavior and actions on the ground - our pollcies and actions must reflect this reality. StratCom should take every opportunity to highlight the protection of civilians in accordance with the revised Tactical Directive dated 1 July 2009, which is a key StratCom tool.

Build AFG capacity and capability

Additional emphasis must be placed on assisting and building AFG capacity and capability so that they are better able to take the lead in StratCom related issues. Better linkages and a robust partnership must be forged with MOD and MOl spokespersons, allowing a supportive and complementary network to be developed. Increasing capacity requires an improved understanding of the environment, better procedures, and additional required equipment and training. The Government Media and Information Centre needs to be expanded to include regional nodes able to disseminate government briefings and releases throughout the region.

Post election engagement

ISAF's engagement with senior GIRoA members should be reassessed following the Presidential Elections, in order to promote the effective coordination of messaging.

Expand reach of messaging

ISAF must extend both the reach and propagation of its message delivery, together with determining the effectiveness ofthat message. Focus should be on identifying the optimum medium for propagation rather than just on the message alone. The following means will be evaluated:

Commercial communications systems and systems operated by ISAF and GIRoA must be further developed with the necessary protection for communications infrastructure. ISAF should partner more effectively with the Afghan commercial sector to enhance COIN effects by empowering the population through access to telecommunications and information via TV and radio.

The use of traditional communications to disseminate messages must be better exploited using both modern technology and more orthodox methods such as word of mouth. These messages should be delivered by authoritative figures within the AFG community, both rural and urban, so that they are credible. This will include religious leaders, maliks, and tribal elders.

There must be development and use of indigenous narratives to tap into the wider cultural pulse of Afghanistan.

Increased cultural expertise is required in order to enhance the development and use of StratCom messaging.

A more comprehensive and reliable system of developing metrics for Communication Measurement of Effectiveness must be developed, to inform ISAF of the perceptions and atmospherics within AFG communities.

Offensive Information Operations (10)

Offensive 10 must be used to target INS networks in order to disrupt and degrade their operational effectiveness, while also offering opportunities for lower level insurgent re· integration. ISAF should continue to develop and implement a robust and proactive capability to counter hostile information activities and propaganda. A more forceful and offensive StratCom approach must be devised whereby INS are exposed continually for their cultural and religious violations, anti-Islamic and indiscriminate use of violence and terror, and by concentrating on their vulnerabilities. These include their causing ofthe majority of civilian casualties, attacks on education, development projects, and government institutions, and flagrant contravention of the principles of the Koran. These vulnerabilities must be expressed in a manner that exploits the cultural and ideological separation of the INS from the vast majority of the Afghan population.

Agile response to incidents

ISAF, in conjunction with GIRoA, must enhance its responsiveness to incidents. Subordinate echelons must have the authority and freedom to act within an agile, transparent, and unified environment. Information must be widely shared, horizontally and vertically, including with GIRoA and the Ie. New Tactics. Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) must be produced to reflect a flatter command philosophy whereby subordinates are expected to act in accordance with the Commander's Intent to ensure a swift, effective response to achieve the information initiative against the enemy. In particular, risk mitigation measures in the event of CIVCAS must be widely understood and practiced before the incident and accomplished in a timely manner so that we are 'first with the truth:

Counter-lED 10 focus

The (-lED )0 efforts must be fully integrated into the overall StratCom strategy and structures. StratCom must focus on encouraging the population to assist in countering the scourge of IEDs. Effective messaging and offensive Information Operations (IO) are critical to this effort.

StratCom capacity

Throughout the ISAF chain of command StratCom elements must be structured and resourced appropriately, and manned at the requisite levels of expertise to achieve the desired effects. Some of these elements are known to be relatively weak in RC(N), RC{W) and RC© and will need augmenting. The inclusion of the critical capabilities provided by Information Operation Task Force (lOTF), Information Operation Advisory Task Force(lOATF), Media Monitoring, STRATCOM Information Fusion Network and CAPSTONE contracts within the StratCom structure should be supported as these will significantly enhance the Directorate's enabling, monitoring, and assessment efforts.

Unity of Command - Unity of Effort

ISAF and USFOR-A StratCom 10 and Public Affairs (PA) components must be fully integrated in order to provide unity of command and effort and enable coherent and rapid messaging. It will be necessary to promote the single ISAF "brand" to multiple internal and external stakeholders.

Refocus Media efforts

ISAF must re-focus its media efforts in the following specific areas:

Migrate to a 24/7 StratCom operation

Delegate Public Affairs (PA) release authority to the appropriate level

Create opportunities for Afghans to communicate as opposed to attempting to

always control the message

Link regional stories back to national Afghan ones

Concentrate on the youth and those pursuing further education"

Ol'ientate the message from a struggle for the 'hearts and minds' of the Afghan population to one of giving them 'trust and confidence'

Seek ways to reach the INS in Pakistan

1 70% of the Afghan population are under 22 years old.

Focus media operations and subsequent analysis on context, characterization and accuracy

Re-prioritize the policies governing practical support for media in terms of military airlift, credentialing, and embeds

Declassification Authority for ISR/WSV

There has been consistent recognition of problems in using visual imagery, particularly ISR and weapons' system video, and other operational information for StratCom purposes. Every effort must be made to identify, declassify, and exploit such material in a timely manner.

StratCom links

StratCom links to intelligence organizations must be strengthened. This will enable more effective counter-measures to hostile propaganda and provide more detailed network analysis in support of 10 targeting.

New Media

HQ ISAF must understand and adapt to the immediacy of the contemporary information environment through the employment of new/social media as well as cell phones, TV, and radio in order to promote interactive communication between Afghan and international audiences. This will involve a significant investment in technical architecture.

StratCom messengers and partners

ISAF must develop a more widely understood internal communication strategy that enables every member of ISAF to be able to clearly articulate a short narrative of what ISAF wants to achieve in Afghanistan and how it is going to do it. Every soldier must be empowered to be a StratCom messenger for ISAF.

ISAF must strengthen its partnership with relevant Ie stakeholders, both within the NATO system and internationally, to improve the flow of information and cooperation both horizontally and vertically. Specifically, in theater communication efforts to coordinate between TCNs must involve the office of the Senior Civilian Representative and HHQs in order to maximize the propagation of COMISAF's intent and help protect NATO/SHAPE's strategic center of gravity in national capitals.

NATO has had consistent problems producing trained personnel in all information disciplines. Significant investment is required to solve both a short-term problem and generate a longer term solution to producing the necessary fully-qualified personnel.

Annex E: Civilian casualties, Collateral Damage, and Escalation of Force


Civilian casualties (CIVCAS) and damage to public and private property (collateral damage), no matter how they are caused, undermine support for GIRoA, ISAF, and the international community in the eyes of the Afghan population. Although the majority of CIVCAS incidents are caused by insurgents, the Afghan people hold ISAF to a higher standard. Strict comparisons of amount of damage caused by either side are unhelpful. To protect the population from harm, ISAF must take every practical precaution to avoid CIVCAS and collateral damage.

ISAF established a CIVCAS Tracking Cell in August 2008. This step was reinforced by a revised Tactical Directive (TO) issued to all troops in theatre on 1 July 2009, which, inter alia, clearly described how and when lethal force should be used. All subordinate commanders were explicitly instructed to brief their troops (to include civilian contractors) on the TD. Further, a thorough review of ISAF and USFOR-A operating procedures and processes has been ordered.


The TD, in conjunction with COMISAF's COIN guidance and other supporting directives, describes how ISAF will both mitigate CIVCAS incidents, and change its approach to COIN and stability operations. These measures will improve the ability of ISAF to protect the population from harm.

This paper proposes recommendations to enhance the direction given in the TO.

Key Findings Training

Though it is not possible to prescribe the appropriate use of force for every situation on a complex battlefield, all troops must know, understand, comply, and train with the direction outlined in the TO. This implies a change in culture across the force. ISAF units and soldiers must be fully prepared to operate within the guidelines of the TD and other directives prior to deployment. Home-station training events must be nested within these directives. Training must continue in theater to ensure the guidance is being implemented correctly.

Recommendation: ISAF must utilize expertise resident at the Counter Insurgency Training Center-Afghanistan ("COIN Academy") and within ISAF organizations to ensure all units in theater understand and are able to apply the TO, COIN Guidance, and standing ROE. ISAF must also work together with home-station training centers and professional development schools to ensure units are properly prepared through education and pre-deployment training.

The TD and COIN Guidance will be disseminated rapidly to U.S. Combat Training Centers and to NATO and ISAF Troop Contributing Nations (TCNs) for indusion in scenario development and programs of instruction.

Troops In Contact (TIC)

The TO stresses the necessity to avoid winning tactical victories while suffering strategic defeats. Ground commanders must fully understand the delicate balance between strategic intent and tactical necessity. Commanders must prioritize operational effectiveness within their operating areas by considering the effects of their actions on the Afghan population at every stage.

Recommendation: Under the direction of Task Force Commanders, sub-unit ground commanders must plan for and rehearse a full range oftactical options to include application of force in unpopulated areas, de-escalation of force within populated ones, or even breaking contact as appropriate to accomplish the mission.


In order to minimize the risk of alienating the Afghan population, and in accordance with International law, ISAF operations must be conducted in a manner that is both proportionate and reasonable.

Recommendation: When requesting Close Air Support (CAS) ground commanders and Joint Tactical Air Controllers (JTAC) must use appropriate munitions or capabilities to achieve desired effects while minimizing the risk to the Afghan people and their property. Ground commanders must exercise similar judgment in the employment of indirect fires.

Shaping the Environment and Preconditions

The importance of cultural awareness during the conduct of operations is highlighted in the TO. Specifically, it notes that a significant amount of CIVCAS occur during Escalation of Force (EoF) procedures (14% of people killed and 22% of those wounded during the last recorded 6 months). These incidents tend to occur in units with less training experience and lower unit cohesion. Fear and uncertainty among ISAF soldiers contributes to escalation of force incidents. Furthermore, although ISAF has refined and enhanced the warnings that are issued, many Afghans do not understand them and consequently fail to comply. low literacy levels and cultural differences may explain a misunderstanding of EoF procedures and the actions that ISAF troop expect them to take.

Recommendation: Effective pre-deployment training and the development of unit cohesion are essential in honing the tactical judgment of soldiers and small unit leaders. Training scenarios at home station and combat training centers must improve. As ISAF reviews and modifies its escalation of force procedures to better fit the Afghan context, ISAF, and GIRoA must communicate those procedures more effectively to the Afghan people in appropriate media.

Press Release I Public Information

The TO also stresses the requirement to acknowledge any CIVCAS incident in the media expeditiously and accurately; timely engagement with key leaders is also a critical element. The aim is to be 'first with the known truth', based on the information available at the time. ISAF competes with insurgents (INS) information operations (10), and the INS 10 is not hampered by the need to be truthful; moreover, any statements made by the INS are rapidly disseminated, and can be persuasive to the Afghan population. As the TO notes, it is far more effective to release a factual statement with the known details early, and then a follow-on statement with additional clarification at a later stage. This procedure is more effective than simply issuing a rebuttal of an INS version of the account. Furthermore, debating the number of people killed or injured misses the point. The fact that civilians were harmed or property was damaged needs to be acknowledged and investigated, and measures must be taken for redress.

Recommendation: First, ISAF and GIRoA must aim for a consistent rather than conflicting message through appropriate media, to include word of mouth in affected local communities. Be first with the known truth; be transparent in the investigation. Second, ISAF and GIRoA should follow-up on any incident with periodic press updates regarding the progress of the investigation, procedures for redress, and measures taken to ensure appropriate accountability.

Aircraft Video Release Procedures

The advantage of photographic imagery to support any Battle Damage Assessment (BOA) is covered in the TO. This can be expanded to include aircraft weapon system imagery. The NATO Comprehensive Strategic Political Military Plan (CSPMP) for Afghanistan requires nations to establish agreed procedures for declassifying and making use of national operational imagery to reinforce NATO messages. Presently, national caveats apply to the release of aircraft BDA and weapon release imagery, and these caveats have different procedures and timelines for release. Some nations do not comply with the CSPMP.

Recommendation: Establish a standard procedure for all nations and services to attain the necessary release approval and delivery of the footage.

Honor and "Assistance"

Under the terms of the Military Technical Agreement between ISAF and GIRoA (dated 4 Jan 02), ISAF is not required to make compensation payments for any damage to civilian or governmental property. Contributing nations are responsible for damages caused by their soldiers. Some nations contribute to individual or collective compensation, a number do not, whilst others contribute in different ways. This creates an extremely unhelpful imbalance and undermines COIN Strategy. To address this, the NATO CSPMP for Afghanistan, encourages nations to fund the NATO Post Operations Emergency Relief Fund (POERF) to compensate or assist individuals and communities.

CIVCAS payments and compensation must be carefully considered against a large number of different factors. Whilst being sensitive to the affected families and communities, improper procedures and poor investigations and accountability may encourage subsequent exaggerated claims.

Recommendation: Develop and implement an equitable system of compensation for damages, whether individual or community based. ISAF TCNs must develop a common policy for compensation and redress due to injury, loss of life, and damage to property. Although compensation can never make up for such loss, appropriate measures to ensure accountability and recognition of the importance of Afghan life and property can help mitigate public anger over the incident.

Annex F: Detainee Operations, Rule of Law, and Afghan Corrections


Detention operations, while critical to successful counterinsurgency operations, also have the potential to become a strategic liability for the U.S. and ISAF. With the drawdown in Iraq and the closing of Guantanamo Bay, the focus on U.S. detention operations will turn to the U.S. Bagram Theater Internment Facility (BTIF). Because of the classification level of the BTIF and the lack of public transparency, the Afghan people see U.S. detention operations as secretive and lacking in due process. It is critical that we continue to develop and build capacity to empower the Afghan government to conduct all detentions operations in this country in accordance with i.nternational and national law. The desired endstate must be the eventual turnover of all detention operations in Afghanistan, to include the BTIF, to the Afghan government once they have developed the requisite sustainable capacity to run those systems properly.

Currently, Taliban and AI Qaeda insurgents represent more than 2,500 of the 14,500 inmates in the increasingly overcrowded Afghan Corrections System (ACS). These detainees are currently radicalizing non-insurgent inmates and worsening an already over-crowded prison system. Hardened, committed Islamists are indiscriminately mixed with petty criminals and sex offenders, and they are using the opportunity to radicalize and indoctrinate them. In effect, insurgents use the ACS as a sanctuary and base to conduct lethal operations against GIRoA and coalition forces (e.g., Serena Hotel bombing, GIRoA assassinations, governmental facility bombings).

The U.S. came to Afghanistan vowing to deny these same enemies safe haven in 2001. They have gone from inaccessible mountain hideouts to recruiting and indoctrinating hiding in the open, in the ACS. There are more insurgents per square foot in corrections facilities than anywhere else in Afghanistan. Unchecked, Tafiban/AI Qaeda leaders patiently coordinate and plan, unconcerned with interference from prison personnel or the military.

Multiple national facilities are firmly under the control of the Taliban. The Central Prisons Directorate (CPO) accepts a lack of offensive violence there as a half-win. Within the U.S. Bagram Theater Internment Facility (BTlF), due to a lack of capacity and capability, productive interrogations and detainee intelligence collection have been reduced. As a result, hundreds are held without charge or without a defined wayahead. This allows the enemy to radicalize them far beyond their pre-capture orientation. This problem can no longer be ignored.


In order to transform detention and corrections operations in theater, U.S. ForcesAfghanistan {US FOR-A) proposes the formation of a new Combined Joint Interagency Task Force, CJIATF ... REDACTION ... to work toward the long-term goal of getting the U.S. out of the detention bu siness. The priority fo r the OIA TF ... REDACTION ... in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and our interagency and international partners, will be to build the capacity of the Afghan government to take over responsibility for detention in its own country as soon as possible, to include the BTIF. The OIATF will provide two primary functions:

Assume oversight responsibilities and Title 10 support for detention and interrogation operations of all U.S.-held detainees in Afghanistan; and

Conduct Rule of law (Corrections) operations, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy, working with and advising the Ministry of Defense, the Afghan Central Prison Directorate (CPO), and associated Afghan Ministries.

The CJIATF will train and apply sound corrections management techniques and Rule of law principles in all detention systems in Afghanistan, whether currently run by the U.S. government or the Afghan government. These sound corrections management techniques ("best practices") and Rule of law principles, applicable to all detention facilities, include: adherence to international humanitarian law; due process; vocational and technical training; de-radicalization; rehabilitation; education; and classifying and segregating detainee populations (segregating hard-core insurgents from low level fighters, juveniles from adults, women from men, common criminals from insurgents, etc.).

Systemic Challenges in Detention and Corrections

The OIATF ... REDACTION ... will address 10 systemic challenges in the current U.S., Afghan military, and CPD detention and prison systems. These include:

Need for a country wide, coalition supported, corrections and detention plan to help establish unity of effort.

Need for all detainees and prisoners to be correctly classified and separated accordingly.

Need for a GIRoA and International community supported Rule of law program which allows for and codifies alternatives to incarceration.

Within U.S. Detention and Afghanistan Prison systems alike, take immediate measures to counter insurgent actions and minimize the religious radicalization process of inmates.

Need to plan and provide for Afghanistan corrections infrastructure multi-year sustainment.

Need to ensure meaningful corrections reform in both U.S. and Afghanistan detention/prison systems. These reforms include changing punishment from retribution to rehabilitation, purposeful and effective staff training, equity of pay, and improved alignment with law enforcement and legal systems, both formal and informal.

Need to review and ensure the intelligence policy and procedures match the exigencies of the Government of Afghanistan and Coalition counter-insurgent activity.

Need to address the current and projected over-crowding situation.

Need to address the current shortage of knowledgeable, competent, and committed leadership within both U.S. and Afghanistan corrections systems and advisory groups.

Need to address the command and control, and unity of command over both U.S. detention and Afghan advisory efforts.

Recommendations Establish a OIATF

Establish a OIATF commanded by a General Officer, with a civilian deputy at the Ambassador level, to lead an organization of approximately 120 personnel (70 civilian, 50 military). The CJIATF will be a Major Subordinate Command under USFOR-A with a coordination relationship reporting to the U.S. Ambassador Afghanistan. The OIATF will have a Command/Control Headquarters Element and the following six lines of Operation:

The U.S. Detention Operations Brigade will provide safe, secure, legal and humane custody, care, and control of detainees at the BTIF.

The Intelligence Group will support the Task Force's mission to identify and defeat the insurgency through intelligence collection and analysis, and improve interrogations intelligence collection though operations at the Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center and Strategic Debriefing Center, including input from field detention sites after capture.

The Detention and Prisons Common Program Support Group will establish and conduct a series of programs designed to move detention/corrections operations from retribution to rehabilitation. A de-radicalization process will attack the enemy ethos center of gravity and enable successful reintegration of inmates back to the Afghan (or home origin) population.

The Engagement and Outreach Group will formulate and implement strategic communication and outreach as a proactive tool to protect and defend the truth of U.S. detention and interrogation practices, to further assist in the development of the Rule of Law within Afghanistan.

The Legal Group will identify gaps in the Rule of Law framework that are inhibiting U.S. and Afghan detention/corrections operations from completing their mission and will develop solutions through consistent engagement with GIRoA elements and the International Community.

The Afghanistan Prison Engagement Group will assist GIRoA in reforming the Central Prisons Directorate (CPD) so it can defeat the insurgency within its walls. The reformed CPD National Prison System will meet international standards, employ best correctional practices, comply with Afghan laws, and be capable of sustaining de-radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration programs.


The OIATF Concept will be developed based on three capabilities (or phases):

Capability 1- Assume the U.S. detention oversight and support responsibilities

... REDACTION to include the operation and management of the BTIF, to allow

... REDACTION focus on the operational fight. Once the JTF stands up, and the

commander and his staff are on the ground in Afghanistan, they can begin planning and further developing Capabilities 2 and 3.

Capability 2 - Conduct corrections and Rule of Law development within the Afghan National Defense Force (ANDF) detention facilities.

Capability 3 -In close coordination and cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, conduct corrections and Rule of law development within the Afghan CPO system of prisons.


The desired endstate is the turnover of all detention operations in Afghanistan, to include the BTIF, to the Afghan government once they have developed the requisite sustainable capacity to run those detention systems in accordance with international and national law. This will empower the Afghan government, enable counterinsurgency operations, and restore the faith of the Afghan people in their government's ability to apply good governance and Rule of Law with respect to corrections, detention, and justice.

Annex G: Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) Growth and Acceleration


The ANSF is currently not large enough to cope with the demands of fighting the resilient insurgency in Afghanistan. Accelerating the growth and development of both the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) is a vital part of the strategy to create the conditions for sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan. Demonstrable progress by the Afghan government and its security forces in countering the insurgency over the next 12 to 18 months is critical in order to preserve the sustained commitment and support of the international community. A key component of success will be the ability of the ANSF to assume progressively greater responsibility for security operations from the deployed international forces. The requirement to expand the ANSF (both ANA and ANP) rapidly to address the challenges ofthe insurgency will require ISAF to provide enhanced partnering, mentoring, and enabling capabilities until parallel capabilities are developed within the ANSF.

Key Findings


The ANA has a force structure of nearly 92k and, while still nascent and dependent on enablers provided by international forces, is increasingly capable of leading or conducting independent operations; however, more COIN capable Afghan Army forces are required in order to conduct sustained COIN operations in key areas of the country.

Over the past several years, the ANA has grown in capacity and capability. Late last year a decision to increase the size of the ANA to 134k was followed by a plan from the Afghan Ministry of Defense (supported by CSTC-A) to accelerate the training of 8 Kandaks in order to enhance security in key areas, mainly in Southern Afghanistan. That acceleration is currently ongoing.

The growth of the ANA to 134k needs to be brought forward from December 2011 to October 2010 in order to create sufficient ANA capacity to create conditions for rapid and sustainable progress in the current campaign; however, there is a requirement for further substantial growth (to an estimated endstrength of 240k) of COIN capable ANA troops in order to increase pressure on the insurgency in aU threatened areas in the country. Current plans provide for a start date of Oct 2009 to commence an acceleration in growth through a combination of over manning and rapid force generation of ANA infantry and combat service support units. In order to generate the required numbers of "boots on the ground," the emphasis will be on the development of maneuver units rather than enabler capabilities. The generation of previously planned and programmed enablers such as corps engineers, artillery, motorized quick reaction forces, and large support battalions will be deferred to enable a more rapid generation of maneuver forces that provide the operational capabilities required now. The forces generated during this phase will have sufficient training, capability and equipment to conduct effective COIN operations and to generate momentum. Tighter, restructured training programs will deliver an infantry-based, COIN capable, force in a shorter period of time with the capability of conducting "hold" operations with some "clear" capability while closely partnered with coalition forces. These forces will be equipped at a "minimally combat essential" level as determined by the Ministry of Defense, ISAF's operational requirements, and CSTC-A's ability to generate forces. Initially, facilities will be austere and temporary (including tented camps at the outset) in order to reduce construction timelines and cost.

Risks inherent in this approach such as inadequate training and a lack of organic enablers will be mitigated through close partnering and mentoring by Regional Commanders delivered through the ISAF Joint Command. More inexperienced leaders will be accepted into the junior officer and NCO ranks and the risk will be balanced by close partnering ANSF with coalition forces. In time, a "rebalancing" and generation of enabling capabilities must occur as part of subsequent ANA growth to ensure that the ANA can achieve a degree of self-sufficiency, sustainable capability, and capacity. The growth of the ANA beyond 134k will be tailored to meet operational conditions on the ground and to create the required effects desired in the regions.

Finally, the Afghan National Army Air Corps will continue to grow and develop at a measured pace, given the long lead times required for the acquisition of aircraft and development oftechnical skills to operate and maintain the aircraft in the inventory. In the short term, the accelerated acquisition of additional Mi-17 airframes will enable greater lift capacity for the ANSF. In parallel, dedicated training of Mi-35 aircrews will add a rotary wing attack capability in the fall of 2009. Deliveries of the first C-27 aircraft in November 2009 will dramatically increase operational capability as the first crews are trained in March 2010.


The Afghan National Police has grown to a current force structure of approximately 84k and is several years behind the ANA in its development. Due to a lack of overall strategic coherence and insufficient resources, the ANP has not been organized, trained, and equipped to operate effectively as a counter-insurgency force. Promising programs to reform and train police have proceeded too slowly due to a lack oftraining teams. To enhance the ANP's capacity and capabilities, the Focused District Development (FDD) program must be accelerated to organize, train, equip, and reform police that have not yet completed a formal program of instruction, and new police forces such as the elite Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) must be generated to prepare the ANP properly to operate in this challenging COIN environment.

The ANP must increase in size in order to provide sufficient police needed to hold areas that have been cleared of insurgents, and to increase the capacity to secure the population. This assessment recommends further growth of the ANP to a total of 160k as soon as practicable with the right mix of capabilities that better satisfies the requirements of a counter-insurgency effort. This larger number of policemen also needs to be trained more quickly in order to "thicken" security forces in the districts, provinces, and regions. The numbers of Afghan Border Police (ABP) and Afghan National Civif Order Police (ANCOP) should also be considerably increased, and consideration should be given to expanding the Afghan Public Protection Force or other similar initiatives where appropriate.

In April 2009, a decision was made to grow the ANP by 4.8K to provide security for Kabul in advance of the Afghan National elections. This action was followed by second decision to further grow the police by 10K in order to enhance security in 14 key provinces for the upcoming elections. This 14.8K police growth is proceeding and will, increase the ANP authorized strength to 96.8K while improving accountability of "non and above tashkiel" police.

Subsequent ANP growth to 160k will include doubling ANP strength at the District and Provincial levels, significantly increasing the police-to- population ratio. The growth of ANCOP will be accelerated by generating 5 national battalions in FY '10 followed by the generation of 34 new provincial battalions and 6 new regional battalions. While the number of ABP companies will remain the same, each ABP company will increase in strength by 65% to 150 men per company. Finally, the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) personnel will be absorbed into the ANP as it expands.

Over the 4 year program, special police growth will provide important niche capabilities. The national Crisis Response Unit (CRU) will provide Assault, Surveillance, and Support squadrons. Counter-Narcotics Aviation is projected to grow by over 100%. Afghan Special Narcotics forces grow by 25%. Security forces will also be provided to ensure international and non-governmental organizations' freedom of movement.

NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A)

On 12 June, 2009 the North Atlantic Council endorsed the creation of NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A) to oversee higher level training for the ANA and for development of the ANP. CSTC-A and NTM-A will co-exist as a single HQ with fully integrated staff sections under a dual-hatted commander. As approved by the North Atlantic Council, the NTM-A will stand up in mid-September to generate forces and provide institutional training for the ANA and ANP. Once the UC is operational, the three NATO tasks assigned to NTM-A associated directly with providing NATO OMLTs and POMLTs to the ANA and ANP will migrate to the Uc. At that time, NATO/ISAF will redirect responsibilities for developing fielded ANSF to the Uc. NTM-A will retain responsibility for ANSF institutional training, education, and professional development activities. OTF Phoenix and its two subordinate Brigades will be transferred to the UC when it establishes Initial Operating Capability.

Key Stakeholder Engagement

This assessment recommends that the United States Government develop an engagement strategy to garner the international support and the multi-lateral approval required for the continued growth of the ANSF to the 400k target (240K ANA, 160K ANP). This includes the actions necessary to secure greater international funding to pay a fair share of the growth and sustainment costs of the ANSF1 as well as generating the training teams required to support ANSF development. As a point of reference, the international community contributed $25M ( .... 7%) of the cost of the expansion of the ANP by 14.Bk earlier this summer. Furthermore, the European Commission requested a parallel study to recommend the character and end strength of ANP. When the EC study is completed, the findings will be reconciled to gain consensus in the international community about the way ahead.

A more cost effective way to procure capabilities for the ANSF

This initial assessment recommends that the OSD Comptroller fund CSTC-A directly, and allow CSTC-A to work directly with the appropriate contracting agency to procure required capabilities for the ANSF. The current system of executing Afghan Security Forces Funding (ASFF) must become more agile in the face of the requirement to adapt this program quickly. All procurement actions for the ANSF are handled as "pseudo" Foreign Military Sales Cases by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and the United States Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC), each of which charge considerable fees for an "Above Standard Level of Service." These fees and the direct involvement of the DSCA apply to the procurement of most capabilities, including those that are executed by local contracting authorities as well as other actions not directly related to Foreign Military Sales such as construction. Direct authority to obligate ASFF without passing actions through the DSCA or USASAC will shorten timelines and preserve more money for the speCific purpose of supporting the growth and sustainment of the ANSF.

Strengthen ANSF development through realigned C2 CSTC-A is responsible for three lines of operation: ministerial and institutional development; generation of the force; and develop the fielded force. This assessment concludes that the IJC should assume responsibility for developing the fielded force. The transfer of this mission will require the reassignment of CJTF Phoenix and its subordinate elements to the 1Jc. CSTC-A will retain the responsibility to train, advise, and educate personnel in the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior, as well as those in the institutional elements of the Army and Police [national logistlcs, medical, facilities management, detainee operations, etc.). CSTC-A will also retain responsibility to resource the fielded ANSF.

Unity of effort and coherence in police development

In an effort to streamline police development efforts and to create greater unity of effort in the development of COIN capable police, the responsibility and authority for all police training should be placed under the commander CSTC-A/NTM-A. The Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) should transfer responsibility for police training to CSTC-A. Since 2005, OSD has transferred funding to INL for developmental efforts of the ANP. CSTC-A will execute this mission and contract as appropriate for trainers with law enforcement experience to augment efforts by the IJC to develop fielded police, and to assist CSTC-A's actions for ministerial and institutional training.

Build and leverage Afghan ministerial capacity CSTC-A should take every opportunity to build and leverage ministerial capacity to shift the responsibility for the long term sustainability of a larger ANSF to the Afghan Government. One opportunity is to find an appropriate legal and accountable way to allow the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior to contract for the construction of their own facilities. Today, more than 70% of all major construction projects in support ofthe ANA are at least 10% behind schedule. In response to this situation, CSTC-A and the Army Corps of Engineers have already standardized and reduced the scope of future projects to mitigate costs and delays. Additionally, CSTC-A will investigate the feasibility and practicality of providing discreet funding for Afghan Ministries to contract for the construction of their own facilities to drive lower costs and improve project timeliness. This process will also provide an opportunity to develop Afghan ministerial capacity. There are inherent risks in this approach but CSTC-A will develop a construct for this proposal with CENTCOM and OSD to ensure proper program management and the required oversight of funding provided to the Afghan ministries.


1. Grow the ANA to a target authorization of 240k. Accelerate the growth of the currently approved COIN focused infantry force of 134K by late 2010 and generate more counter-insurgency forces consistent with operational requirements.

2. Grow and develop the ANP to a total of 160k as soon as practicable to "thicken and harden" security in the districts, provinces, regions. This total will also more than double the size of Afghan Border Police, considerably grow AN(OP and allow for expansion of the Afghan Public Protection Force where appropriate.

3. Realign and streamline the responsibilities for ANSF generation and development:

CSTC-A/NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) focuses on ANSF force generation consistent with operational requirements, develops Afghan ministerial and institutional capabilities, and resources the fielded forces.

Shift responsibility for development of fielded ANSF to the uc.

Employ enhanced partnering and mentoring to more rapidly develop Afghan forces.

4. Provide CSTC-A direct authority to obligate Afghan Security Forces Funding (ASFF) without passing actions through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency to shorten capabilities procurement timelines and avoid unnecessary fees.

5. Shift the responsibility and authority for execution of all police training from the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) to CSTC-A to enhance unity of effort in police development. CSTC-A will assume operational control of INL contracted trainers as soon as possible until January 2010 when a new contract managed by CSTC·A can begin.

Annex H: Glossary


ABP: Afghan Border Police Afghan

ACS: Afghan Corrections System

AFCENT: Air Forces Central Command

ANA: Afghan National Army

ANCOP: Afghan National Civil Order Police

ANP: Afghan National Police

ANSF: Afghan National Security Forces

AOO: Area of Operations

AP3: Afghan Public Protection Program

APPF: Afghan Public Protection Force

AQAM: AI-Qaeda and associated movements

ASFF: Afghan Security Forces Funding

ATC: Allied Transformation Command


BDA: Battle Damage Assessment

BSO: Battlespace owner

BTiF: Bagram Theater Internment Facility


C2: Command and Control

CAS: Close Air Support

CE: Crisis Establishment

CENTCOM: Central Command

CFACC: Combined Forces Air Component Commander

CFSOCC-A: Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan

CIS: Communications Infrastructure

CIVCAS: Civilian Casualties

CJIATF: Combined Joint Interagency Task Force

CJOC: Coalition Joint Operations Center

CN: Counternarcotics

COIN: Counterinsurgency

COINTE: Counterinsurgency Transformative Effects


CPO: Central Prisons Directorate

CRU: Crisis Response Unit

CSPMP: Comprehensive Strategic Political Military Plan

CSTC-A: Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan


DC: Decisive Conditions

DCOS: Deputy Chief of Staff

DoD: Department of Defense

DP: Decisive Points

DSCA: Defense Security Cooperation Agency


EoF: Escalation of Force

ETT: Embedded Training Team


FDD: Focused District Development

FlD: Foreign Internal Defense

FOC: Fully Operational Capability

FRAGO: Fragmentary Order


GIRoA: Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan


HiG: Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin

HHQ: Higher Headquarters

HQN: Haqqani Network


IC: International Community

ICMCP: Integrated Civil-Military Campaign Plan

lED: Improvised Explosive Device

IJC: ISAF Joint Command

INL: International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US Dept. of State)

INS: Insurgents

IO: Information Operations

IOATF: Information Operation Advisory Task Force

IOTF: Information Operations Task Force

ISAF: International Security Assistance Force

lSI: Inter-Services Intelligence

ISR: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance


JFC-B: Joint Force Command - Brunssum

JIDC: Joint Interrogation Detention Center

JOPG: Joint Operational Planning Group

JOPS: Joint Operations

JTAC: Joint Tactical Air Controllers


KAlA: Kabul International Airport


LaO: Lines of Operation


MARCENT: Marine Corps Central Command

MOE: Measures of Effectiveness

MOP: Measures of Performance


NAC: North Atlantic Council

NATO: North AtJantic Treaty Organization

NCO: Non-Commissioned Officer

NGO: Non-governmental organization

NSC: National Security Council (US)

NSE: National Support Element

NTM-A: NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan


OEF: Operation Enduring Freedom

OMLT: Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team

OPCOM: Operational Command

OPCON: Operational Control

OPLAN: Operational Plan

OPORD: Operational Order

OSD: Office of the Secretary of Defense (US)


PA: Public Affairs

POERF: Post Operations Emergency Fund Relief

POMLT: Police Operational Mentoring Liaison Team

PRT: Provincial Reconstruction Team


QST: Quetta Shura Taliban


RC: Regional Command

RLS: Real life support

ROE: Rules of Engagement


SICRS: State Department Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (US)

SACEUR: Supreme Allied Commander Europe

SDC: Strategic Debriefing Center

SHAPE: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

SOCCENT: Special Operations Command - Central Command

SOF: Special Operations Forces

SOP: Standard Operating Procedures

StratCom: Strategic Communications


TACOM: Tactical Command

TACON: Tactical Control

TCN: Troop Contributing Nation

TD: Tactical Directive

TIPs: Tactics, Techniques, Procedures


UNAMA: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

USASAC: United States Army Security Assistance Command

USFOR-A: US Forces - Afghanistan

USG: United States Government

USMC: US Marine Corps


WSV: Weapons Systems Video

Annex I: References

Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Reestablishment of Permanent Government Institutions (Bonn Agreement), 5 Dec 01.

Military Technical Agreement (MTA) Between the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Interim Administration of Afghanistan (31 Dec 01), 4 Jan 02; Amendment 2, 14 Mar 03.


The Bonn Agreement 2004

The Afghan Compact 2006





COMISAF Commander's Initial Guidance dated 13 June 2009

COMISAF Tactical Directive dated 01 July 2009


Bucharest Summit Declaration Apr 08

United Nations Security Council Resolutions

3'. Resolution 1383 (2001) of 6 December - endorses the Bonn Agreement as a first step towards the establishment of a broad-based, gender sensitive, multiethnicand fully representative government in Afghanistan.

Resolution 1386 (2001) of 20 December - authorizes the deployment for six months of an International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (lSAF).

Resolution 1401 (2002) of 28 March - establishes for an initial period of 12 months a United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Resolution 1413 (2002) of 23 May - extends the authorization of ISAF for an additional 6 months.

Resolution 1419 (2002) of 26 June - welcomes the results of the Emergency Loya Jirga and commends the role of UNAMA and ISAF.

Resolution 1444 (2002) of 27 November - extends the authorization of ISAF for one year beyond 20 Dec 02.

Resolution 1453 {2002} of 24 December - recognizes the Transitional Administration (TA) as the sole legitimate government of Afghanistan and welcomes the Kabul Declaration on Good-Neighbourly Relations signed by the TA and the States neighbouring Afghanistan.

h. Resolution 1471 (2003) of 28 March - extends UNAMA for another 12 months.

Resolution 1510 (2003) of 13 October - authorising expansion of the ISAF mandate outside of Kabul and its environs.

Resolution 1776 (2007) of 19 September - extends the mandate of ISAF for 12 months beyond 13 Oct 07.

Resolution 1806 (2008) of 20 March- extends UNAMA for another 12 months and designates it as the Ie lead in AFG.

Resolution 1817 (2008) of 11 June adopts a declaration on the global effort to combat drug trafficking

Resolution 1833 (2008) of 22 September- extends the mandate of ISAF for 12 months beyond 13 Oct OS.