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Winning Paktika: Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

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"We can win the war without killing a single person." Just days prior to deploying to combat in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Piatt, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," announced this visionary statement in front of an assembly of 800 infantrymen and their families. Naturally, none of the soldiers listening to the Colonel's rhetoric thought "We can win the war without killing a single person." Just days prior to deploying to combat in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Piatt, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," announced this visionary statement in front of an assembly of 800 infantrymen and their families. Naturally, none of the soldiers listening to the Colonel's rhetoric thought it was possible to actually win the war without killing a single person. That hardly sounded like "war" at all. In fact, that simple concept was the very antithesis of the previous 10 months they had all spent training to explicitly kill people with speed and violence. Destroying the enemy was the fundamental focus of every infantryman. It was, of course, the very reason the infantry existed in the first place. The Colonel, an infantryman himself no less, challenged his battalion's conventional thinking that day and throughout the ensuing campaign. His striking pronouncement was the theoretical extreme of counterinsurgency doctrine. It emphasizes the importance of nation-building instead of man-hunting, construction instead of destruction, and dropping schools and wells into villages instead of artillery shells. That was his vision and that is what he led his infantrymen to do. This is the story of the Wolfhounds in 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company through the eyes of a young platoon leader. He details their adventures on the frontier in a little-known dangerous place called Paktika Province, centrally located along Afghanistan's volatile border with Pakistan. It is the story of ordinary men, cast into a treacherous and unfamiliar world with the mission to destroy the enemy's sanctuary, not just the enemy. It is the story of triumph and failure, elation and frustration through a hard-fought struggle with their identity as infantrymen, evolving from trained tactical killers to strategic nation builders in their quest to win Paktika.


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"We can win the war without killing a single person." Just days prior to deploying to combat in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Piatt, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," announced this visionary statement in front of an assembly of 800 infantrymen and their families. Naturally, none of the soldiers listening to the Colonel's rhetoric thought "We can win the war without killing a single person." Just days prior to deploying to combat in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Piatt, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," announced this visionary statement in front of an assembly of 800 infantrymen and their families. Naturally, none of the soldiers listening to the Colonel's rhetoric thought it was possible to actually win the war without killing a single person. That hardly sounded like "war" at all. In fact, that simple concept was the very antithesis of the previous 10 months they had all spent training to explicitly kill people with speed and violence. Destroying the enemy was the fundamental focus of every infantryman. It was, of course, the very reason the infantry existed in the first place. The Colonel, an infantryman himself no less, challenged his battalion's conventional thinking that day and throughout the ensuing campaign. His striking pronouncement was the theoretical extreme of counterinsurgency doctrine. It emphasizes the importance of nation-building instead of man-hunting, construction instead of destruction, and dropping schools and wells into villages instead of artillery shells. That was his vision and that is what he led his infantrymen to do. This is the story of the Wolfhounds in 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company through the eyes of a young platoon leader. He details their adventures on the frontier in a little-known dangerous place called Paktika Province, centrally located along Afghanistan's volatile border with Pakistan. It is the story of ordinary men, cast into a treacherous and unfamiliar world with the mission to destroy the enemy's sanctuary, not just the enemy. It is the story of triumph and failure, elation and frustration through a hard-fought struggle with their identity as infantrymen, evolving from trained tactical killers to strategic nation builders in their quest to win Paktika.

35 review for Winning Paktika: Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

  1. 5 out of 5

    Josh Mengers

    Great narrative about a deployment of an infantry platoon leader to the Afghan-Pakistan border region. Has some excellent lessons learned about how the US is currently fight asymmetric wars and against unseen insergencies. Great character development provides insights into the difficult realities of deployments on the the soldiers and their families, and tough decisions they face and the motivations for a new doctirine in war fighting. Very insightful and fun to read. Excellent book, Rob!

  2. 5 out of 5

    William Ashton

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Sneideman

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill Izard

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

  7. 5 out of 5

    امان خاطر

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  9. 5 out of 5

    Artem Agushin

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barrett

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jane Sagalovich

  14. 5 out of 5

    Farzana Marie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danial

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liam

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deon Zilk

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anik

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lj

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Effler

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lavachery

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Henson

  24. 4 out of 5

    عبادالله عاجزيار

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Evgen First

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  28. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla

  29. 4 out of 5

    Booksearcher

  30. 4 out of 5

    Waheed.habibigmail.com

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tate Harris

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

  33. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Payne

  34. 5 out of 5

    Greg Dovey

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kate

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