West repeating mistakes of the past in Afghanistan says ex-commander

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Major-General Andrew Mackay, who led British troops in southern Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 and who resigned his post in September, said earlier this week that the armed forces engaged in the fight for Afghanistan had failed to understand the culture and motivations of the Afghan people and had failed to adapt to modern conflict.

Mackay, writing in an article coauthored by Royal Navy Commander Steve Tatham and published by the British Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) Defense Academy, called for fresh thinking on the battlefield and highlighted a need for more focus on "behaviorist" strategy when dealing with the complex structure of Afghan society.

He added that the military "consistently failed" to understand the motivations of local Afghans which was undermining Western efforts while strengthening the resistance, saying that Western efforts had to focus on understanding the culture, economy and psychology of the Taliban if allied forces were to be truly successful in battle.

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