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Unformatted text preview: Do counterterrorism and counterinsurgency go together? International Affairs 86 : 2 (2010) 333–353 © 2010 The Author(s). Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/The Royal Institute of International Affairs MICHAEL J. BOYLE * In a revealing interview with journalist Roger Cohen of the New York Times , Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband defended Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s strategy in Afghanistan by saying that the struggles against the Taleban and Al-Qaeda were ‘distinctive but related missions’. He continued: ‘What I think that you can see from the prime minister’s strategy is that we believe in serious counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency is a counterterrorist strategy.’ 1 Only a few weeks later, Gordon Brown himself made a similar argument, emphasizing that the campaign in Afghanistan was being pursued ‘not out of choice but from necessity’, because three-quarters of the terrorist plots disrupted in the UK originated in the Afghanistan–Pakistan border region. 2 For this reason, Brown argued, ‘it does not make sense to confine our defence against terrorism solely to actions inside the UK’. The view of the British government was clear: to avoid experiencing another terrorist attack in the United Kingdom of the kind suffered on 7 July 2005, it was necessary to meet the intertwined threat of the Taleban and Al-Qaeda with counterinsurgency operations in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other words, an international counterin- surgency strategy was a means towards achieving a domestic counterterrorism end because, in Brown’s words, ‘there is a line of terror, a chain of terror, that goes from Afghanistan and the border area of Pakistan right back to the streets of all our countries’. 3 On the other side of the Atlantic, however, the debate was framed differently. In September 2009, General Stanley McChrystal delivered a classified report to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates which stated that without a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy and an additional 40,000 troops for Afghanistan the mission would ‘likely result in failure’. 4 This call for additional troops to salvage a military campaign that was not going well—and the memories of Vietnam * The author would like to thank Tarak Barkawi, Duncan Bell, Rob Knake, Anthony Lang, Marc Lanteigne, Emma Leonard, Jeffrey Murer, Rashmi Singh, Caroline Soper and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments on this piece. All errors and omissions are his own. 1 Roger Cohen, ‘Britain resolves, US wavers’, New York Times , 26 Oct. 2009. 2 Prime Minister Gordon Brown, PM’s speech on foreign policy, 16 Nov. 2009, http:www.number10.gov.uk/ Page21339, accessed 27 Dec. 2009....
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This note was uploaded on 12/06/2011 for the course POL 101 taught by Professor Sekercioglu during the Fall '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.
- Fall '08
- The Crucible, Al-Qaeda, Publishing Ltd/The Royal, Ltd/The Royal Institute, Blackwell Publishing Ltd/The