Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stabilisation in Afghanistan: winning the population from the insurgent

It is often said that in a counter-insurgency campaign ‘the people are the prize’ and it is this mantra that perhaps best describes the driving force behind the Military Stabilisation Support Group – or MSSG. Report by Tristan Kelly.

A Grenadier Guards Battle Group foot patrol in the bazaar area of Shawzad, Helmand province, along with elements of a Military Stabilisation Support Team
Picture: SSgt Mark Jones
Crown Copyright/MOD 2010

The MSSG is based in Gibraltar Barracks, Camberley, and is led by Colonel (soon to be Brigadier) Greville Bibby. He is an expert in stabilisation who was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his work as deputy commander of both the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and Task Force Helmand in 2009.

Colonel Bibby explained why the MSSG is working in Afghanistan:

“In terms of trying to provide security to what is a very volatile and insecure situation, we are operating amongst people. We are operating in a province that is fully populated by people with both large and small communities, all very closely linked by roads, canals and rivers and the rest.

“So we are trying to secure the population because that is what it comes down to. Because an insurgent, his fighting ground, his battlefield, is the population.

“It is all about influencing the population and using the population to his own ends and therefore it is not as straight forward as killing the insurgent, it is much more complex than that, it is about outwitting and out-influencing the insurgent.”

Read the full story here

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