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Taliban NarrativesThe Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict$
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Thomas Johnson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190840600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190840600.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2019

The United States’ Afghan Information and PSYOP Campaign and a Comparison to the Taliban’s Campaign

The United States’ Afghan Information and PSYOP Campaign and a Comparison to the Taliban’s Campaign

Chapter:
(p.217) 10 The United States’ Afghan Information and PSYOP Campaign and a Comparison to the Taliban’s Campaign
Source:
Taliban Narratives
Author(s):

Thomas H. Johnson

Matthew DuPee

Wali Shaaker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190840600.003.0010

This is one of the more important chapters in that it explicitly compares the U.S. information campaign in Afghanistan to the Taliban’s campaign. The explicit stated goals and strategic communication themes of the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom are assessed during two distinct time frames – 2001-2006 and 2007-2011. In assessing and comparing the U.S. information operation efforts versus the Taliban, a detailed analysis of different U.S. messaging techniques such as leaflets. As suggested above, these leaflets were assessed for early U.S. engagements to later in the conflict. Later U.S. IO efforts were examined using the U.S. PSYOP Book from 2009. The analyses concluded with the notion that the U.S. had to basically surrender to Taliban dominance in narratives and associated stories. The U.S. efforts basically refused to accept Afghan cultural reality, especially the Afghan peasant mental space. This had a devastating impact on U.S. and NATO rural counter-insurgency efforts. The U.S. had to concede a major portion of the Afghan battle space because the U.S. could not credibly respond to Taliban Islamic mores and troupes.

Keywords:   Operation Enduring Freedom, U.S. Strategic Communication in Afghanistan, Counter-insurgency, IO Leaflets, Gen. David Petraeus, Jihadist messages, Pashtun folk tales

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