Graduate Program

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David H. Carwell

Thesis Committee Member

Jeffrey S. Ashley

Thesis Committee Member

Ryan C. Hendrickson


After pursuing military actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States adopted a counterinsurgency policy to properly address these conflicts. After implementing this new strategy, it appears that the United States has been able to succeed against the insurgency, while losing more and more ground in Afghanistan. Upon examination, it was determined that the ethnic fractionalization in Afghanistan presented a unique challenge to the counterinsurgency effort that had not been present in Iraq.

The effects of this ethnic fractionalization were then analyzed on local counterinsurgency tactics and the overall nation building strategy in Afghanistan. Local counterinsurgency tactics had largely not been tailored to work in Afghanistan's multi-ethnic climate. The nation building strategy that has been pursued in Afghanistan has not been successful in uniting the country under the power of the central Afghan government. A more proficient implementation of local counterinsurgency and more effective governmental institutions are important to bringing Afghanistan's fractured ethnicities together into one nation and ending the ongoing insurgency.