COIN Exchange: Zimbabwe and Afghanistan
Br. Will sent me this link to a Small Wars Journal interview with Peter Godwin, a man who both fought in and covered the Rhodesian Bush War. They discuss COIN and what lessons can be learned for Afghanistan. Godwin is very articulate and sharp. Highly recommended.
The difficulty I continue to see–and Godwin’s account only magnifies it–is the necessity of a central government in an counterinsurgency. In the Rhodesian case the state was of course on the wrong side of history, attempting to hold back the inevitable end of white colonial rule. In Afghanistan, it’s not clear the government really represents the people or will ever really gain control. But I do agree with Godwin on the importance of amnesties, buying off (where possible) insurgents, and training local militia forces. Zimbabwe is also a pretty decent analogy for Afghanistan as a state.