American Military Strategies in Afghanistan

Many countries have basic principles that form the foundation of the state military doctrine. In some countries, they have philosophical connotations, rooted deeply in history. In the case of America, the core principles, on the other hand, are of immediate relevance and practicality. The American Armed Forces are guided by nine military principles: objective, offensive, mass, economy of force, maneuver, unity of command, security, surprise, and simplicity. The challenge is to find out how these principles were applied and to what extent they were transformed during the long military campaign in Afghanistan, which is only now coming to an end.

Referring to Clausewitz and his remarks on military tactics, the strategist argued about the need to conceptually narrow the representation of the enemy’s strength to a minimum number of sources (Dimitriu, 2020). However, the military strategy of the United States over the course of 20 years of warfare appears to be chaotic, which is especially noticeable in the vague perception of Pakistan in the war (Fair, 2018). Stopping the destructive activities of Pakistan, which in the context of the war was an obvious enemy of both American and Afghan society, could bring closer to the resolution of the conflict. This country has acted as the main supporter and supplier of Islamic terrorists and their weapons to foreign territories. The absence of a clear goal implies the absence of the main military principle and therefore leads to significant costs and military losses.

Uncertain goals led American military strategists to lack specifics in other basic elements of warfare. The war turned into an endless chain of chaotic military actions aimed at the momentary use of force instead of its adequate distribution. Mass, economy of strength, and team cohesion were thus misplaced in the Afghan military campaign. At the same time, the military did not achieve the main task – neither the Taliban, nor the country engaged in the preparation and expulsion of terrorists, were stopped. The number of victims exceeded both the cost of the goal and overshadowed the awareness of the goal – tactics began to dominate strategy. In this regard, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan seems to be a sign that the military forces have forgotten the purpose of their presence – to stop terrorist influence around the world.


Dimitriu, G. (2020). Clausewitz and the politics of war: A contemporary theory. Journal of Strategic Studies, 43(5), 645-685. Web.

Fair, C. C. (2018). Afghanistan in 2017: Another year of running in place. Asian Survey, 58(1), 110-119. Web.

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