Parallels with the Past: How the Soviets Lost in Afghanistan, How the Americans are Losing

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Authors
Johnson, Thomas H.
Goodson, Larry
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2011-04
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April 2011
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Abstract
On May 20, 2010, General Stanley McChrystal, then the American commander in Afghanistan, referred to the operation in Marjah, Helmand - an operation earlier touted as a potential turning point for U.S. Afghan counterinsurgency (COIN) - as a "bleeding ulcer." Immediately, we were reminded of a similar expression from an earlier Afghan War. On February 1986, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev speaking to the 27th General Congress of the Communist Party posited that the Soviet war in Afghanistan had become a "bleeding wound." Was McChrystal's comment just an unfortunate choice of words or a harbinger that the United States faced a Soviet-style disaster in Afghanistan?
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Foreign Policy Research Institute E-Notes
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Parallels with the Past: How the Soviets Lost in Afghanistan, How the Americans are Losing. Foreign Policy Research Institute E-Notes, (Philadelphia: FPRI), April 2011.
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This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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