Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Pramod Kantha (Committee Chair), Donna Schlagheck (Committee Member), Vaughn Shannon (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


As the United States moved closer to ending its military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, intense debate on the relevance and success of the United States' counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy in the country continues. Many observers have been quick to declare the strategy a failure without fully analyzing the critical components of COIN doctrine that are necessary for a campaign to succeed, and the extent to which those components were in place in Afghanistan. This study examines the case of Afghanistan by determining whether the U.S.'s counterinsurgency strategy was successful in achieving the four main objectives identified by FM 3-24 as necessary for COIN's success. This study also looks at whether or not the United States' COIN strategy was successful in generating and maintaining the public support needed to carry out a prolonged counterinsurgency operation. By utilizing a mix of deductive logic based on contemporary COIN theory and currently available scholarly resources, government documents, and U.S. and ISAF military field reports, this study seeks to answer whether the counterinsurgency strategy devised by Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal was successful in achieving the four main objectives needed for the success of this strategy in Afghanistan.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.