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Military Offensives in Afghanistan: A Double-Edged Sword
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2012 (English)In: International Area Studies Review, ISSN 2233-8659, Vol. 15, no 3, 230-248 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The current counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan has failed to defeat the insurgency and levels of violence have increased over time. Even though there are several potential factors explaining this development, it prompts the question of how effective the military offensives are at weakening the insurgents and their ability to carry out violent attacks. I propose that targeted killings of insurgents reduce their fighting capacity in the short term, which leads to fewer attacks against government targets as the insurgents shy away from costly combat. However, as a way of adapting to a temporary reduction in capacity, insurgents may instead increase their targeting of the civilian population with the purpose of undermining the legitimacy of the government and the international forces. This potential double effect of military offensives is examined using monthly data on violence in Afghanistan by each province, 2004–2009. The findings provide some support for the contention that killing insurgents can reduce their attacks against government targets, but at the same time risk leading to an increase in attacks against civilian targets. The use of force thus seems to be a double-edged sword in the struggle against the insurgents in the present war in Afghanistan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2012. Vol. 15, no 3, 230-248 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-187367DOI: 10.1177/2233865912454248OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-187367DiVA: diva2:574548
Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2012-12-05 Last updated: 2012-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Hultman, Lisa
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