In Afghanistan Nato/ISAF faces challenges that go far beyond the normal limits of counter-insurgency and military strategy. It must carry out the equivalent of armed nation building, and simultaneously defeat the Taleban and al-Qaeda. It must change its strategy and tactics after years in which member countries, particularly the United States, failed to react to the seriousness of the emerging insurgency. The nations of the alliance lacked a unity of purpose, failed to provide enough troops and placed serious national caveats and limits on their use. They let the enemy take the initiative for more than half a decade.

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