Jan. 10, 2018
Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan, 2001–2014
For years, the British enjoyed a reputation of counterinsurgency excellence. Their campaigns—Malaya, Kenya, Oman, Northern Ireland—were hailed as successes in this difficult form of war. Afghanistan, however, turned out to be painful for the British. They committed a peak of over 9,500 troops, eventually drawing down to a few hundred by the end of 2014. They faced numerous battlefield reverses. Eventual successes were overshadowed by the arrival of 20,000 U.S. Marines. Britain’s counterinsurgency reputation came out of the campaign tarnished.