Security Watch: Afghanistan, India and the U.S. -

Security Watch: Afghanistan, India and the U.S.

Our summary of December’s Intelligence Security Diary


The Intelligence Security Diary is a monthly compendium of open-source intelligence on global security matters distributed by Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. Its findings rely on freely available information gleaned from public, unclassified sources. Each month, summarizes these findings.


Colonel Ian Hope of the U.S. Army War College and a former battalion commander with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry criticizes the command structure used by international military forces in Afghanistan in a recently-released paper for the Strategic Studies Institute. Hope argues that the unprecedented splitting of “control of the ground fight… between several unified or ‘supreme’ commanders in charge of U.S. Central Comman, the North Atlantic Treat Organization, and U.S. Special Operations Command” has been a mistake. In its place, the U.S. should put a single “supreme commander” in charge of the Operation Enduring Freedom Joint Operations Area, a move which would be consistent with the time-tested principle of “unity of command.”


Bill Lind, one of the pre-eminent theorists behind the concept of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), considers the terrorist attacks against Mumbai one of the few instances in which operational goals were successfully met through the application of 4GW. In fact, given their overarching aims, the attacks “border[ed] on brilliant,” Lind concludes. Lind gleans a six-step logical process behind the massive assault: (1) The U.S. has pressured Pakistan to focus on al Qaeda and the Taliban; (2) Pakistan must therefore shift its energies away from India if it is to successfully combat domestic militants; (3) To prevent that shift from happening, al Qaeda and the Taliban need to increase hostilities between India and Pakistan, so that Pakistan is unable to focus on its domestic security situation; (4) An attack against India’s most important city would likely renew those hostilities; (5) Pakistan must be blamed for the attack for it to succeed, a phenomenon which appears to be happening already; and (6) If India pins the blame on Pakistan and ratchets up the tension between the two, the pressure on Pakistan to confront al Qaeda and the Taliban will subside.


According to a report in the Washington Post, the U.S. military is expanding its focus on what the Pentagon terms “irregular warfare”—that is, combat against insurgents and terrorists. A recently-approved policy directive puts it on equal footing with traditional warfare, meaning the Pentagon will need to shift part of its attention to developing tactics for working with foreign militaries and other combat forces, conventional or not, as well as its approach to shoring up unstable governments and battling hostile ones. Among the policy’s goals is shifting the burden of actual combat from the U.S. military to foreign militaries and security forces, though it also aims to make the American military more effective when does have to face militants and extremists on its own.


Security Watch: Afghanistan, India and the U.S.

  1. Not only is the unity of command an issue, I would suggest there has been a violation or subversion of the first principle of war “selection and maintenance of the aim”. The invasion of Afghanistan was executed as a direct result of 9/11 specifically for Western security reasons in order to destroy or at least neutralize Al Qaeda and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a base for training terrorist operatives and providing sanctuary to them. It has turned into a guerrilla operation against the Taliban and a nation building exercise that appears to have little chance of working due to sanctuary in Pakistan and a civilian population that is, with a few exceptions, at best indifferent, at worst hostile and with those in authority corrupt. A distracted early response due to the Iraq adventure ensured that a knock out blow would not happen. The situation is now almost irretrievable. Get out, let Afghanistan return to the warlords, if Al Qaeda and terror camps return bomb them and finally make sure that anyone associated with these camps (supporter/trainer/graduate/attendee) never sets foot in a Western country again.

    • Dave, your comment is a masterpiece of succinct analysis and minimalist recommendations on the situation in Afghanistan. Sadly, as you say, there doesn’t seem much room for optimism. Though your analysis does leave out the regional context, in particular the growing possibility of an Islamist takeover of nuclear-armed Pakistan. If that happens, or looks about to happen, presumably we will not be able to leave the region, no matter how much of a quagmire it becomes.
      You may find Gwynne Dyer’s take on Afghanistan interesting, if you haven’t seen it; it’s not that different from yours.

  2. Re “the U.S. military is expanding its focus on what the Pentagon terms “irregular warfare” – any time the Pentagon talks about an expansion of ‘irregular’ warfare, the rest of us should be really worried.
    Re “Pentagon will need to shift part of its attention to developing tactics for working with foreign militaries and other combat forces, conventional or not, as well as its approach to shoring up unstable governments [puppet governments, you mean] and battling hostile ones [you mean the elected ones the U.S. doesn’t like, like Hamas.].
    Re Dave’s comment: I agree with your analysis. I don’t agree with your solution. I don’t think that most people in Afghanistan want the Taliban back. The problem is that the real war isn’t in Afghanistan. It’s in Pakistan and Iran and Saudi Arabia – funders, supporters and mega-exporters of terrorism, especially terrorism and rabid fundamentalism in the name of Islam. Iran winds up Hamas. Pakistan shelters the Taliban and exports terrorists to India. Saudi Arabia is primarily responsible for providing international financial support and recruiters to the Wahhabi ideology that drives most Islamic terrorists, especially derivatives of al Qaeda.
    Marnie Tunay Fakirs Canada

    • Marnie. I won’t comment on your cynical remarks about the US Military/Government. I will agree that Wahhabi doctrine, massively supported by Saudi Arabian financial donations, has had a long lasting (at least last 30 years) detrimental impact on the tribal areas of Pakistan and beyond. The Saudi funded Madrassahs are a breeding ground for Taliban and other radical Islamic groups. To be fair, the Pak Government and Army has never fully controlled the NWFP and with the advent of Zia and the 1977 coup, radical Islam has been allowed to flourish, encouraged by the ISI. As for my solution – I admit it is not benign, but it is cost-effective and relatively narrow in scope and focused. I fear that banning the return or entry of those affiliated with terrorist camps in any way will not pass muster with the most vocal extreme liberal voices in Western countries who do not mind having those affiliated with groups bent on the destruction of our civilization amongst us.

      • Dave, the last sentence in your comment is unfortunate. It paints you as a conspiracy paranoiac by repeating Rush Limbaugh-style right-wing talking points that set up a straw-man cartoon of “extreme liberals” who invite the destruction of our civilization, etc. etc…. This sort of “liberal” exists only in the imaginations of far-right propagandists. This is an example of the right wing hearing its own propaganda narratives of supposed domestic enemies echoing off the walls of the media cave and taking the echoes as evidence of its enemies’ nature and existence. Calm down. We have enough problems facing us without adding more by conjuring up ghosts inspired by partisan paranoia spread by lying demagogues like the Rush L’s of the world. Speaking as a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party of Canada, I assure you unequivocally that I, and everyone I know, are most certainly in favour of banning anyone connected with terrorist training camps from coming to any Western country.

        • Canadian Liberals would grant citizenship to the devil himself if he promised to vote for them.

          • Canadian Conservatives have and they still could only get a minority.

      • Cdn In Europe. Sorry you took umbrage with the last sentence. Maybe I should have used something else other than “extreme small l liberal”. I have never watched Rush Limbaugh, although I’m familiar with his rant and don’t subscribe to most of what he expounds. That said, the fact remains that Canadian Immigration Law, Immigration Review Boards, Federal Courts and even the Supreme Court have made it easy for anyone claiming refugee status to enter and remain in Canada, even when the evidence strongly supports a high probability and even proof that they have been/are associated with groups espousing violence against the West or anyone that does not subsribe to their brand of violent and uncompromising politics by force. The magic word is “don’t send me away I might be tortured”! That is the part of the reason why we have the bulk of the Khadar family and their ilk. Even the weakest claim of possible torture is mostly accepted in 98% of the cases. These people lie much of the time and organizations like Amnesty International are front and center in making sure they are not deported, regardless of the consequences to our society. The CBSA, Immigration, CISIS and the RCMP have not got a clue as to where many failed applicants even are in Canada – not all would-be terrorists. Deportees are even lost in the USA! By the way I have read Gwynn Dyer’s book and believe it is well done. I espeacially like it that he puts the boot to the myth that these wars are about oil! Oil, like drugs, goes where the money is, embargo or not. There are too many ways to get it via 3rd parties, refined, etc.

        • Dave’s comments on canadian judiciary remind me of the decades long trial process of the defunct ‘Khalistan’ members, accused in bombing Air India’s ‘Kanishka’. the final verdict by canadian court was infact was mocking the victims families .Even when the evidence strongly supports a high probability and even proof that the accused have been (taking from dave) involved candian court given them acean chit…