Being the longest ongoing war in American history, from 2001 to today, the war in Afghanistan has caused the United States military to face very tough strategies, military operations, and congressional issues. As the 111th Congress convenes and the Obama administration takes office, the war in Afghanistan had been going for eight years. Because most people had been open-minded about this war, Congress started to require greater national attention to Afghanistan. This was smart because not many people realize how important this war is and how much it can affect America, and we can then, as citizens of the United States of America, bring awareness to this tragic war.

          The war in Afghanistan started as a retaliation of the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Its main mission was to stabilize and reconstruct Afghanistan. The mission has proven difficult because it must take place while combat operations against Taliban insurgents continue. Recent assessments of the situation in Afghanistan point to a rise in the overall level of violence due to increased Taliban military operations and an increase in terrorist-related activities (p.i). This causes a huge problem for the United States Military. Not only do we have to practically control Afghanistan alone, we have to face many other issues in the way.

            American military is working with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the efforts in Afghanistan. NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is seen as a test of the allies’ military capabilities and their political will to undertake a complex mission in a distant land and to sustain that commitment. NATO is seeking to be “global” in its geographic reach and in the development of non-member partner states that can assist in treating an agreed mission. This change in overall mission initially reflected a NATO consensus that the principle dangers to allied security lie distant from the treaty area and require new political tools and military capabilities to combat them (p.2).

            Both of these outlooks of backgrounds of the war in Afghanistan show just the beginning of how strategies, military operations, and congressional issues are all connected in some way and make everyone’s job harder.



            American Army overseas works in a tradition called the Unity of Command. The Unity of Command, originated during the Civil War, requires the placement of all forces operating in a specific theatre to achieve a distinct objective under a single commander (p.34). The Unity of Command has a Supreme War Council, led by the United States, France, Italy, and the British Empire. The Supreme War Council then branched of to lead a few groups of people that had power to take action in the following; The general-in-chief of the Western front was Foch. He had use of the French Army, British Imperial Forces, and the American Expeditionary Force. The general-in-chief of the Italian Front was Diaz. He had use of the Italian Army, British Corps, and the French Corps. The general-in-chief of Balkana was Milne. He had use of the British Forces, Greek Army, and French Corps. And the general-in-chief of the Middle-East was Allenby. He had use of the British Imperial Forces and the Arab Legion. This system of uses of armies brought conflict with other countries and later contributed to the making of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which are not the current organization collaborating in Afghanistan.


            One thing that I learned in this book is that the Unity of Command for NATO is not an easy concept to understand. NATO was created in 1949 to give allied nations command of a theater that equated to the American control of strategy formulation and could be done in a multilateral forum. This meant that NATO had to be comprised of permanent military representatives of each member of the council. Power of NATO goes in the following order. The Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and the North Atlantic Council (NAC) gave all of the orders, and anything underneath them in their order had to be responsive to those said orders. The commander-in-chief- of Europe (CINCEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR), responds directly to SECDEF and the NAC. CINCEUR and SACEUR had orders over the US European Command (EUCOM), and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). And Finally, EUCOM and SHAPE had orders over the US Forces of Europe and the NATO forces (p.39). These Unity of Commands and power over others gave NATO a secure way for allied nations to help each other out without one nation gaining too much power over another nation and is the current force fighting in Afghanistan.



            One of the biggest battles in Afghanistan besides the obvious “war” is the drug war. The NATO allies are struggling to combat Afghanistan’s poppy crop. Some reports suggest Afghanistan supplied up to 90% of the world’s opium in 2007 (p.9). Poppy farmers are heavily concentrated in the south of the country and the crop is a major factor in the economic life and stability of the country. The drug trade is also a major source of funding for the insurgency as the Taliban drew an estimated 40%, or close to $100 million, of their funds annually from this industry (p.86). NATO forces were not authorized to help counter the narcotic industry in Afghanistan, but nevertheless they helped combat it to help improve the lives of the local Afghans.


            Another important mission in Afghanistan was the integration of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). ISAF was created in 2001 by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1386, and led by the United States. In 2003, The United Nations, at the request of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, asked for NATO to participate in ISAF missions, bringing NATO to take command of ISAF activities in Afghanistan (p.5). ISAF’s main purpose in Afghanistan is to train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and assist in rebuilding key government institutions and is also involved in the present war with insurgent groups (p.47).




Ussery, Easton H. 2010. War in Afghanistan: Strategy, Military Operations and Congressional Issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers Inc.