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Assessing the Campaign
After Action: Evaluating The Military Campaign

In excerpts from interviews with FRONTLINE, military commanders and soldiers on the ground assess the first months of the campaign in Afghanistan, and find it to be a success. Others are not so sure.

Waging War on Terror: An Interim Assessment

The U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan looks a lot like the American military interventions of the 1990s, argues Andrew Bacevich. He believes that the early military operations in Afghanistan suffered because they were not unconventional enough, mirroring too closely U.S. military actions taken over the last two decades.

A Flawed Masterpiece

In this article from the May/June 2002 issue of Foreign Affairs, Michael E. O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution writes that the campaign in Afghanistan "has been, for the most part, a masterpiece of military creativity and finesse." But the strategy had its flaws, not the least of which was an over-reliance on Afghan proxy forces at a critical point in the campaign -- the battle of Tora Bora -- which may have cost the U.S. its best opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and other top Al Qaeda leaders.

The Next Threat: Political Instability in Central and South Asia

Journalist Ahmed Rashid argues that although the U.S. and its allies have defeated the military threat in Afghanistan, growing political instability in the region may provide a dangerous opportunity for Al Qaeda to rebuild. He calls on Western governments to turn their attention to the emerging political crises of Central and South Asia, which he says have been ignored in favor of the U.S.'s single-track policy of hunting down Al Qaeda leaders.

related links
What Can We Learn from Operation Enduring Freedom?

"U.S. air power was undoubtedly the key factor--although not the only one--in the U.S.-led victory. ...The operation, however, revealed some potentially serious problems in the application of operational warfare. Moreover, the U.S. military is in real danger of learning some false strategic and operational lessons from the conflict." [Proceedings, Naval Institute, July, 2002]

A Winning Strategy

"How the Bush administration changed course and won the war in Afghanistan." [The Weekly Standard, Nov. 26, 2001]

Trouble at High Levels

"Mountain warfare is not the only thing slowing down the U.S. Army." [The American Prospect, April 8, 2002]

Behavior Modification

"Soon after the Afghan war began, the Air Force dramatically altered its tactics. What lay behind the change?" [The Atlantic Monthly, April 2002]

How to Win the Peace in Afghanistan

"Winning the peace in Afghanistan is not optional. It is a national necessity. Early American military victories, the current low level of fighting, and the recent completion of the loya jirga, or council of elders, all have contributed to a false sense of progress evident both in official U.S. statements and in the media. There is also, however, a growing discomfort, an as yet unarticulated perception that all is not well on the Afghan front." [The Weekly Standard, July 1, 2002]

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