Flournoy: It’s a COIN Strategy for a Counterterrorism Goal
I’ve been writing for weeks now that President Obama’s approach to Af-Pak is a counterinsurgency strategy to meet a counterterrorism objective. And — just saying! — Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy described the approach exactly like that during her press briefing today:
What we’re doing is stepping up to more fully resource a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan that is designed to first reverse Taliban gains and secure the population, particularly in the most contested areas of the south and east; second, provide the Afghan national security forces with the training and the mentoring they need to expand rapidly and to take — ultimately take the lead in providing security for their nation; and finally, to provide a secure environment that will enable governance and development efforts to take root and grow.
So this is a — it has as its goal disrupting and defeating al Qaeda and its associates, and preventing Afghanistan and Pakistan — preventing Afghanistan from returning to become a safe haven. But it is very much a counterinsurgency approach towards that end.
So please, no more about this false distinction between Obama’s counterterrorism choice and his counterinsurgency choice.