Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

Unity of Effort: Key to Success in Afghanistan

Christopher J. Lamb, Martin Cinnamond

October 2009

Institute for National Strategic Studies


The Barack Obama administration is debating alternatives to the population-centric counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan that it unveiled in March 2009. The reevaluation is prompted by the recent submission of supporting civil and military campaign plans that indicate substantial additional resources are required for success. The resource issue is important, but as General Stanley McChrystal, USA, the new commander of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)forces in Afghanistan, argues, the need to pursue an “indirect” strategy that is sustainable for the Afghans and implemented with unified purpose is more important.1 Lack of progress in Afghanistan to date is due more to international donors and forces working at cross purposes, and unilaterally instead of with Afghans, than to insufficient resources.