Strategy on autopilot: Resolute support and the continuing failure of Western strategy in Afghanistan

Benjamin Schreer, Thomas Waldman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Afghanistan has become the West’s ‘forgotten war’. Years of new strategies and initiatives have failed to generate strategic success. This chapter explores efforts by Western states to address the threat from terrorism and insurgency in Afghanistan since the commencement of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in 2015. Despite repeated declarations of progress, Western strategy toward Afghanistan has essentially remained on autopilot. While NATO’s efforts have had short-term positive impacts in terms of insurgent attrition, they still do little to address root causes of the conflict and might prove even counterproductive in the long-run by producing harmful effects and perverse incentives for domestic political players to continue the current conflict. Meanwhile, the renewed focus on military efforts without accompanying diplomatic and economic measures threatens to further undermine progress toward a political settlement and risks to exacerbate cycles of violence and radicalisation in the war-torn country.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTerrorism and insurgency in Asia
Subtitle of host publicationa contemporary examination of terrorist and separatist movements
EditorsBenjamin Schreer, Andrew T. H. Tan
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429031038
ISBN (Print)9781857439182
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Afghanistan
  • insurgency
  • terrorism
  • strategy
  • US military
  • NATO


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