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Backgrounder: Afghanistan

Commentary, 28 October 2014
UK Defence Policy, Afghanistan, Global Strategy and Commitments, UK, UK Defence, Europe, Central and South Asia
As Britain withdraws from Afghanistan, RUSI analyses the course and strategic objectives of the war

Britain’s Fourth Afghan War
In this article Michael Clarke, RUSI's Director-General, analyses the strategic objectives, successes and failures of British operations in Afghanistan 


Further Analysis

Wars in Peace: British Military Operations since 1991 April 2014
British operations since the end of the Cold War have spanned the full spectrum of military commitments – from limited, short and sharp demonstrations of force in Sierra Leone and Libya, through to the intense and drawn-out campaigns of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Afghan Papers: Committing Britain to War in Helmand, 2005-06  December 2011
Scholars, policymakers from government and military officers contribute to an original RUSI analysis that provides a first, trenchant insight into the decision to commit the UK to a war that may define British policy for a generation.


After Afghanistan: Lessons for NATO’s Future Wars May 2014
This article examines the key lessons to be drawn from counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, and highlights the questions that will need to be addressed if the Alliance is to be equipped to meet future challenges in a changing world

Reflections on the Counter-Insurgency Era August 2013
 In his acceptance speech – an edited version of which is presented here – General David H Petraeus (Rtd) reflects on the ‘Counter-Insurgency Era’ of the past decade and draws lessons for the future.

Britain's Afghanistan Deployment In 2006 April 2012 An insider’s account of the decision- and policy-making process in Whitehall at the time and structures and mindsets in Britain’s strategic planning.

Cross-Government Planning and the Helmand Decision, 2005–06 April 2012 An assessment of the inner workings of the inter-departmental machine within which the government elaborated its Afghan policy.

Ministerial Decision-Making in the Run-Up to the Helmand Deployment April 2012 This article revisits the dynamics behind the ministers’ failure to devise and maintain a successful strategy.

Learning the Strategic Lessons from Afghanistan April 2012 Decisions surrounding Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan continue to be the subject of heated debate among policy-making and military circles, this article examines the useful lessons for the future of Britain’s strategy-making.

A Good War Gone Wrong? October 2011 Review of Afghanistan: How the West Lost Its Way; Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign; and Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

COIN Machine: The British Military in Afghanistan June 2009
This article examines Britain’s capabilities and resources in Helmand Province, and assesses the high-level strategy and civilian-military inter-relationships that provide the overarching framework of current operations

Presentations by Key Policy Makers at RUSI


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