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Quantitative analysis of US military strategy in Afghanistan under the Obama administration
Material posted: Publication date: 11-11-2014
The modern system of international relations is characterized by considerable dynamism. The consequence of this state of the international environment is a high likelihood of armed conflicts in various parts of the world.

Quite often, the conflict within a single country caused by internal contradictions, for example, economic difficulties, political crisis or degradation of social institutions. One of the main forms of conflict – civil war, which later may lead to a crisis of statehood and the insolvency of the state itself [1]. The consequences of the crisis in the country can go beyond its limits and start to have a negative impact on the system of international relations. In the worst variant of development of the crisis situation can cause disproportionate changes at the regional and global levels [2].

Afghanistan is one of the most obvious examples of “crisis States”[3]. The situation in this country and further prospects of its development are actively discussed in the expert community. In particular, great attention is paid to the planned 2014 withdrawal of a significant part of the contingent of coalition troops from the country. Negative scenarios for the future of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (hereinafter IRA) stem from fears of a sharp deterioration in the military-political situation within the state, which can lead to final loss of Afghanistan of its statehood in the case of the arrival of the Taliban to power. Further development of such a scenario may lead to destabilization of the Central Asian region. The grounds for the extension of such hypotheses are contradictory results in the country for all time of the military campaign reached the troops of the international coalition led by the United States. Facts prove that the effectiveness of the strategy of the international coalition led by the United States in Afghanistan can be questioned.

So, the military campaign in Afghanistan has become the longest in the history of the United States (more than 13 years, counting from October 2001). Although many efforts have been made and spent huge amounts of money (campaign cost US at 1trn. dollars) in resolving the situation in the country, to settle the conflict fails. Moreover, during the military campaign of the Afghan conflict has become pronounced lines of asymmetrical warfare[4]. Existing evidence suggests the situation has worsened. The number of dead coalition soldiers in the country during the 12 years of war is more than 3,300 persons[5]. In 2013, i.e. nine months from bullets and mines have killed about 150 soldiers[6] (at this rate the number of casualties by the end of 2013 could reach more than 200 people, higher than that of, for example, in 2005-2006[7]). The number of civilian casualties compared to 2012 increased by 16%.[8] Coalition forces still do not have full control over all districts and provinces of Afghanistan, and in Eastern and South-Eastern territories of their influence gradually faded away by the armed opposition[9]. The Taliban influence gradually spread into Northern areas of the country[10]. Government forces suffer losses (in 2012 killed about 3,000 police officers and soldiers[11]), and, despite the achieved by the winter of 2013 the population of 350 thousand people, their readiness, according to some experts, remains low and highly inflated NATO.[12] Indeed, one can speak about the tactical successes of the Afghan forces, which have become more effectively deal with the armed opposition, as evidenced by the increase in the number of operations that the Afghan national army (hereinafter ANA) exercises self. Despite this, there is concern that after the withdrawal of almost all International security assistance force (hereinafter – ISAF) from Afghanistan and gradual transfer of responsibility for enforcement to local authorities, which has continued since 2011, the situation in Afghanistan and the region may deteriorate. Relations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who criticized the actions and effectiveness of NATO forces[13], is very difficult. The absence of a bilateral security agreement increases the likelihood that Washington implements the option of a complete withdrawal of troops.[14]the Experts say about the inevitability of the collapse of the situation in Afghanistan and, as a consequence, the destabilization of neighboring Central Asian countries.

Thus, the aim of the study is to analyze the efficiency of combat operations of ISAF and ANA in Afghanistan from the point of view of data on the current results of the military campaign of the coalition forces.

The object of study is the military strategy of the international coalition led by the United States in Afghanistan, adopted under the Obama administration.

The author proposes to investigate the armed conflict in Afghanistan through quantitative methods of analysis. The study was undertaken in two stages.

Quantitative event analysis of the fighting in Afghanistan

In the first stage, the methodology used for quantitative event analysis, involving the collection and processing of information about individual situations illustrating in comprehensive form the General state of Affairs.[15] the Advantage of this method is its effective use for studying military conflicts, when you need comparison of many different events, that subsequently are aggregated, counted and described, for example, in terms of quantity or the number of participants. Event analysis is a preparatory stage in conducting the research and aimed at assessing the current situation in Afghanistan in the form of specific figures.

To describe the fighting in Afghanistan, the authors detected several blocks characteristics the following parameters:

  1. Attacks against coalition forces;
  2. Rebel attacks against the civilian population;
  3. Rebel attacks against officials;
  4. The operation of the coalition and Afghan forces.

Thus was formed the database in the form of a matrix of dimension 2600 26, where the first number is the number of observations by days, the second - the total number of daily fixed characteristics.

Below are the quantitative indicators and curves that define the key dimensions of the fighting in Afghanistan in the period from 2009 to 2013 (to end October).

Military action of the Taliban

During the period from January 2009 to October-November 2013 following dynamics is observed the fighting from both sides:

  

Fig. 1. The attacks of the Taliban against coalition forces during the period from January 2009 to September 2013.

The graph shows that throughout the period under review, there were several seasons when the activity of the opposition forces was at its maximum (more than 30 attacks per month):

  1. July-November 2010;
  2. June-July 2013;
  3. September 2013

In 2013 the difference in a month, there have been spurts of activity the Taliban (30 shares or more). Foreign sources also confirm the increasing activities of the Taliban in the summer of 2013[16]. This is for two reasons. First, the continued gradual reduction of coalition troops. The soldiers left the base, provinces and counties.[17], It was a certain incentive for the Taliban, bent due to a certain confusion caused by the processes of the withdrawal of troops and transfer of responsibility to the troops of Afghanistan as quickly as possible to strengthen its position and to demonstrate the combat capability. Secondly, the reduction in the number of ISAF means the increasing involvement of numerous national troops in Afghanistan fighting against the Taliban.

Military operations by coalition and Afghan forces

  

Fig. 2 the operation of the coalition and Afghan forces against the Taliban during the period from January 2009 to September 2013.

According to the schedule, the number of land transactions reached the highest values in October-November 2012, then there was some decline, but since January 2013 for several months it was possible to observe the intensification of military action by the forces of ISAF. However, activity began to gradually fall, reaching the same value as that of the attacks of the opposition forces (30 transactions a month).

It turns out that the number of shares of the Taliban approximately equal to the number of combat operations by the troops of the international coalition and government forces. From this it follows that the same values are achieved when the increase in attacks by insurgents, but as the number of operations by coalition forces. This may be due to the drawdown of ISAF, however, a significant number of Afghan troops theoretically could compensate for the insufficient activity of the coalition troops. But this has not happened and probably one of the reasons was an ineffective Afghan national forces.

The loss of coalition and government forces

According to the data collected, the losses of the coalition forces during the study period of the military campaign in Afghanistan as follows:

 

Fig. 3 Dynamics of the losses of the coalition forces (killed) for the period from January 2009 to 2013.

The graph shows that for the period from January 2009 to October-November
2013 has seen several cases where the loss of the coalition has reached 30 or more people in a month. In 2013, it is possible to allocate considerable growth of losses in the period from may to July (34 and 29 dead). The data obtained coincide almost completely with the foreign statistics (26 killed in may and 27 in June, respectively)[18].

Total losses of ISAF during the study period amounted to more than 2,300 people[19]. Recall that from October 2001 to December 2008 in the IRA were killed 1049 NATO soldiers. It turns out that for 4 years in this country died 2 times more troops than in the previous 8 years. U.S. casualties have also increased: 630 for 8 years against 1590 during the presidency of Barack Obama, i.e. military casualties in Afghanistan has increased more than 2 times. The rise in casualties can be explained due to the increase in the number of military contingent of NATO and, in particular, the USA. These figures are proof that the IRA in the United States and its allies had failed, expressed in casualties among the soldiers. Democrat Obama, criticized in his time j course. Bush in Afghanistan, in fact he began to lose much. His new approach to the crisis in Afghanistan could not provide for reducing the number of losses among the soldiers, what he wanted many American citizens voting for him. As a result, by 2013 about 70% of Americans did not support the military campaign in Afghanistan, and 50% believed that it contributed to strengthening the national security of the United States[20].

By 2013, the number of foreign troops in Afghanistan is 87 thousand people, of which 60 thousand Americans[21]. By the spring it is planned to reduce this number to 34 thousand people. The number of Afghan national forces (army and police) by the summer of 2013 is about 350 thousand people. Theoretically, therefore, the Afghan forces have already reached the amount at which they are able to provide security in the country and effectively counter the Taliban. However, it is necessary to consider not only quantitative but also qualitative aspect. By the autumn of 2013, under Afghan leadership were held up to 93% of all military operations[22].According to the data independence in the conduct of operations has led to the fact that since 2013 the level of casualties among the Afghan national forces began to increase rapidly, reaching a peak in September and 103 dead. This trend is also confirmed by the information portal http://www.foxnews.com according to which in August - early September level of losses among government forces has reached record highs amid the withdrawal of coalition forces[23]. Among the reasons are also known as: inefficient command, the low level of training of the troops, severe weather conditions and low pay of military personnel.

 

Fig. 4 the losses of the Afghan security forces, including the guards (killed) for the period from January 2009 to September 2013.

 

Maintaining law and order in the country

One of the main tasks of the coalition and government forces put the ousting of the Taliban from Afghanistan. The study, by counting the number of attacks and operations in one or another part of the country, identied the most conflict zones in Afghanistan. In most cases, such zones of instability were the provinces located in the South and East of Afghanistan. Therefore, the suppression of the armed opposition in these provinces was one of the main objectives of the ISAF and ANA.

The threshold sampling of the analyzed provinces were considered 5% level. The result were selected provinces: Ghazni, Herat, Helmand, Nangarhar, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunduz, Khost and Badakhshan (the activities of the Taliban in this Northern province has risen only since 2013). 9 two provinces are located in the North (Kunduz and Badakhshan) and one (Herat) in the West, all the rest are in the South and East of the country and form a kind of “instability” bordering Pakistan and which acts as a refuge for the Taliban.

Table 1. Province of Afghanistan, which has the highest terrorist activity

Year

Badakhshan

(North)

Herat

(West)

Ghazni

(East)

Helmand

(South)

Kabul

(East)

Kandahar

(South-East)

Host

(East)

Kunduz

(North)

Nangarhar

(East)

2009

-

5%

5%

10%

5%

12%

5%

6%

6%

2010

-

5%

6%

9%

5%

10%

5%

8%

5%

2011

-

5%

6%

10%

5%

7%

4%

3%

6%

2012

-

6%

5%

11%

3%

9%

5%

3%

6%

2013октябрь

9%

6%

7%

10%

7%

8%

5%

4%

9%


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