Jul 29, 2007

25 July, 2007 – At the invitation of Captain Dan Helmer, Director of Studies, and Nate Fick, author of “One Bullet Away”, the Director of CAPS Mr. Hekmat Karzai delivered a presentation to the students of Counterinsurgency Academy in Kabul. Over 100 students were in attendance:  one half of which were Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan National Army (ANA) and the other half were US army and ISAF personnel with ranks ranging from Captain to Colonel.

Mr. Karzai’s presentation covered three issues:

Firstly, he focused on the theoretical aspect of counterinsurgency and outlined the key players in the effort.  Mr. Karzai drew on lessons from previous insurgencies including the Malay Emergency, and stated that the centre of gravity is always the population. Improving the conditions of the populace is the key priority with a mix of political, educational, social, economic and lastly military measures.

Second, Mr. Karzai identified each of the insurgent group (Taliban, Hizb I Isalmi Gulbaddin, Al Qaeda and other groups) in details. An important factor that was highlighted was the fact that insurgents in Afghanistan have become a learning organization and have adopted tactics that have been successful in other theaters.  In this regard, examples of Improvised Explosive Devises and suicide terrorism were shared with the students.  In particular, the history, trends and strategies of suicide terrorism were discussed.

In conclusion, various recommendations were offer to the ANA, ANP and Coalition Forces which included strategic and operational measures in various fields. Mr. Karzai advised the Coalition Forces to be knowledgeable on local cultural, religion and tribal code of conduct. Specifically, the detention of innocent people, searching houses without permission of the locals and accidents and ‘friendly fires’ are all things that backfire and should be avoided at any cost.

After the presentation, many students asked questions ranging from the role of police in counterinsurgency to suicide terrorism.  Mr. Karzai was accompanied by two of CAPS’ research analysts Kamran Sartor and Halim Kousary.