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Thread: German literature on COIN in Afghanistan

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    Default German literature on COIN in Afghanistan

    Currently writing a dissertation on the evolution of COIN in Afghanistan and I'm looking for articles about the German experience of COIN from their first deployment to now. Having difficulty finding a lot of stuff in English, so if anyone knows of any good articles or even books that cover the German approach to COIN. Also I was wondering what serving German military personnel thought about the American presence in their areas, did they see it as undermining their hard work or were they glad to see them.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-01-2011 at 09:53 PM. Reason: Moved to RFI thread for greater prominence, PM to author

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    Default German literature on COIN

    Created for TDB's quest, a spin-off from the commentary thread on 'What do the coalition forces think of germany´s army?':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=13351
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-01-2011 at 09:55 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    You could contact the MGFA with your request:

    http://www.mgfa-potsdam.de/

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    http://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/B...chrichten.html is somewhat dated, but might have something
    interesting.

    Marco seliger had some interesting pieces in German in "The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" and "Loyal".
    Maybe he can point you to English versions of these articles.
    His contact info can be found at http://www.reservistenverband.de/php....php?menu=0415

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    Fuchs and UWEW, thanks to the both of you, sent of emails.

    I'm as much interested in personal experiences. I'm friendly with a few people who've just come back from the most recent Op Herrick and I'm hoping to get a chance to speak to them, no idea if they'll be in my home town the same time as I am. I'd quite like to know what anyone who's served in Afghan has thought about the grand strategy and how it translates on the ground. So if anyone wants to share their experiences or knows of any good articles, please go ahead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDB View Post
    Fuchs and UWEW, thanks to the both of you, sent of emails.

    I'm as much interested in personal experiences. I'm friendly with a few people who've just come back from the most recent Op Herrick and I'm hoping to get a chance to speak to them, no idea if they'll be in my home town the same time as I am. I'd quite like to know what anyone who's served in Afghan has thought about the grand strategy and how it translates on the ground. So if anyone wants to share their experiences or knows of any good articles, please go ahead.
    When you find out what the Afghanistan Grand Strategy is please be sure to let me know.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    When you find out what the Afghanistan Grand Strategy is please be sure to let me know.
    http://www.isaf.nato.int/mission.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    It reads:

    Mission
    In support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ISAF 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 (ANSF), 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.
    That I read as the military mission. I would like to see the political Grand strategy... if they have one.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Sure. They want to wait till the mission is accomplished.

    A Grand Strategy doesn't need to be good or at least sane to exist.


    The German government clung to this paper mission of ISAF for years. Their strategy is indeed to sit it out and let 4k troops rot in AFG.

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    But with the presence of german troops being so incredibly unpopular with German public (or for the vast majority of contributing nations) can the German government afford to play that game? Are the constrains on the mission only there to help politicians sleep at night as opposed to a comprehensive strategy they see working to a greater effect than the cliché "gunho" US approach (by which I mean, conducting large scale combat operations). Two questions really. As for the grand strategy, I was refering to the ISAF mandate and how McChrystal and Patraeus (sp, on my phone so can't google while I type) have set out to conduct COIN.

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    The German politicians want a low intensity mission in AFG, not a glorious victory. A low intensity and thus low profile keeps the domestic resistance low and allows to play the ####ty foreign policy game of maintaining a "reputation of reliability" or whatever they're playing.

    It begun with the quest for a permanent UNSC seat, and then it was set on autopilot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    It begun with the quest for a permanent UNSC seat, and then it was set on autopilot.
    True. But things seem to be changing. To my bewilderment some politicians
    called for counterstrikes after the attack on General Kneip. Will we see calls
    for "Vergeltungsaktionen" if the sitiuation deteriorates any further?

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    Well, there's not much in the news, so some morons crawl out of their holes and open their mouths. It can't be helped.

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    And here was me thinking it was the 21st century and governments didn't send young men to die in some corner of a foreign field just to prove they could still play the foreign policy game......
    Are the ROE really that strict, reading an article about the situation in Kunduz circa 2007 the standard operating procedure was to withdraw if they came under fire. Is the fear that combat would either result in the deaths of German soldiers or Afghan civilians making the battle for hearts and minds that little bit harder? Pretty frustrating for the men on the ground under fire if they can't return fire. Is this down to the German constitution preventing the deployment of German troops on combat missions (correct me if this is wrong, I was informed by a lecturer, he can exaggerate from time to time), that the German population just don't have a taste for it, the shadow the of the Second World War still looming. The most recent generation of young soldiers obviously have no memory of this and are just try to do their job and stay alive, if their having their hands tied by politicians that’s tantamount to negligence. Not that i'm naive to think that would stop them.

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    Maybe I can help you out with my 2008 BA dissertation 'Politics over Firepower: Assessing Germany's Role in Counterinsurgency Efforts in Afghanistan, 2002-2007'. Just need an address I can send it to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m2r View Post
    Maybe I can help you out with my 2008 BA dissertation 'Politics over Firepower: Assessing Germany's Role in Counterinsurgency Efforts in Afghanistan, 2002-2007'. Just need an address I can send it to.
    PM sent, thanks very much.

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    Default German approach to COIN

    I'm not an academic, but I have extensive street level COIN and CT experience in CENTCOM as a US Soldier. I am currently attached to a German unit in Afghanistan.

    I have also been a first hand observer of many of the dynamics and events discussed in this Spiegel article, and can attest to the truthfulness and accuracy of its content.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...766857,00.html

    I have made a lot of mental observations. Feel free to email me if I can help with anything.



    Quote Originally Posted by TDB View Post
    Currently writing a dissertation on the evolution of COIN in Afghanistan and I'm looking for articles about the German experience of COIN from their first deployment to now. Having difficulty finding a lot of stuff in English, so if anyone knows of any good articles or even books that cover the German approach to COIN. Also I was wondering what serving German military personnel thought about the American presence in their areas, did they see it as undermining their hard work or were they glad to see them.
    Last edited by Alsultani; 06-10-2011 at 12:57 PM. Reason: adding additional thoughts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alsultani View Post
    I'm not an academic, but I have extensive street level COIN and CT experience in CENTCOM as a US Soldier. I am currently attached to a German unit in Afghanistan.

    I have also been a first hand observer of many of the dynamics and events discussed in this Spiegel article, and can attest to the truthfulness and accuracy of its content.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...766857,00.html

    I have made a lot of mental observations. Feel free to email me if I can help with anything.
    The propaganda war is being lost it would seem. The first part of that article is truly shocking, you can't fight against public opinion like that. Actually speechless. Thanks for the offer, I will probably contact you as and when questions emerge in my mind. If anything I would prefer the opinion of someone on the ground, more often than not it gives you a better understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDB View Post
    The propaganda war is being lost it would seem. The first part of that article is truly shocking, you can't fight against public opinion like that. Actually speechless. Thanks for the offer, I will probably contact you as and when questions emerge in my mind. If anything I would prefer the opinion of someone on the ground, more often than not it gives you a better understanding.
    Sadly (Italian) ex-comrades who have done tours in Afghanistan tell similar stories about wild running rumours with similar massage. The biggest problem of ISAF is that it is foreign. Even the best intent and the sweetest candy can not change that fact and for most in doubt the interpretation is always against you. It is maybe even against you in 'no doubt' situations.

    As the article states the political elite protected and financed by those foreigners does also play the blame game for quite some time now. At least the Western population won't have to fear a bloody political overtake when a Day X kicks off in Afghanistan.
    Last edited by Firn; 06-10-2011 at 09:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Sadly (Italian) ex-comrades who have done tours in Afghanistan tell similar stories about wild running rumours with similar massage. The biggest problem of ISAF is that it is foreign. Even the best intent and the sweetest candy can not change that fact and for most in doubt the interpretation is always against you. It is maybe even against you in 'no doubt' situations.

    As the article states the political elite protected and financed by those foreigners does also play the blame game for quite some time now. At least the Western population won't have to fear a bloody political overtake when a Day X kicks off in Afghanistan.
    Too true, Karzai is playing a dangerous game though. He fails to realise that he holds no real power over the weak state. I dare say that the ANA and ANP are only loyal to their paymasters (though I use the world loyal with my tongue placed firmly in my cheek) and from what I've read they very rarely get paid on time. I forsee a military coup, if not before ISAF leave. The question will be, what will ISAF do. Will they rally to the defense of Karzai or will they see it as an opportunity to get a fresh face in power. If he continues to play the blame game he runs the risk of annoying the very people he's relying on to stay in power.

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