WASHINGTON D.C.—Congressman Duncan Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, reiterated his call for a change in strategy in Afghanistan, shifting away from counterinsurgency operations and putting more emphasis on counterterrorism operations. 

“There cannot be a gradual drawdown of troops without a change in mission objectives,” said Congressman Hunter, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “Successfully implementing a counterinsurgency strategy is near impossible without enough Marines and soldiers to see it through.  On the other hand, counterterrorism operations linked to a more simplified set of objectives is sustainable with a significantly smaller force size. 

“For all the operational advancements over the last ten years, progress under the banner of nation building remains slow—too slow, in fact.  We continue to have every advantage over the enemy, but limitations on rules of engagement, corruption in the ranks of Afghanistan’s government and a general unwillingness to accept change continue impeding mission success.

“Counterinsurgency worked in Iraq.  There’s a chance it could work in Afghanistan, assuming we had another decade.  And a successful counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan would require double or even triple the number of soldiers and Marines.    

“Now with a drawdown soon underway, it’s necessary that we change strategy from counterinsurgency to counterterrorism, with objectives that are narrower in focus.  These objectives should consist of making sure the enemy cannot get back on its feet, strengthening the Afghan military and stabilizing Pakistan.  We can do all of this with a much smaller footprint, utilizing special operations forces, intelligence gathering capability and air assets. 

“The Afghan mission is within our national security interests.  Changing the operational strategy and mission objectives at such a critical juncture will help solidify important gains and make sure we continue moving in the right direction.”