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Spurred on by this paper (.pdf), the gang at Small Wars Journal ran a great workshop a few weeks back examining whether or not tribal engagement would work as a strategy for Afghanistan. (I moderated one of the discussion groups.) The participants in the workshop included scholars, intelligence analysts, and military officers -- including a lot of Special Forces officers. The verdict?
Translation? Most of the attendees agreed an "engagement" strategy was necessary in Afghanistan, but almost all of the participants had in mind something very different from what Jim Gant argued for in his influential paper. (And in fact rejected his approach more or less explicitly -- something that surprised me.) Most of the participants favored, instead, a kind of "community engagement" strategy. Anyway, you can read the full workshop report for yourself and access other media here. The report itself is short and worth a read, and Ben Fitzgerald's band of Aussie ninjas at Noetic Group get the kudos for putting it together.