Numerous, Capable, and Well-Funded Rebels: Insurgent Military Effectiveness and Deadly Attacks in Afghanistan
Terrorism and Political Violence
abstract
Why do some of Afghanistan's provinces experience more deadly attacks on counterinsurgents than others? We argue that provinces with more militarily effective insurgents will be deadlier for the forces of the counterinsurgency. We posit that insurgent military effectiveness is an interactive function of the rebel group's size, the quality of its recruits, and the group's operational budget. More militarily effective insurgents should, in turn, produce more deadly violence against Coalition forces. We model this relationship at the provincial level in Afghanistan using negative binomial regressions. Ultimately, we find that in provinces where the insurgency is more militarily effective, deadly attacks against counterinsurgent forces occur more often. Based on this finding, we conclude with directions for future research and policy recommendations for both the current operations in Afghanistan and for future counterinsurgency campaigns.