McMaster headed to Afghanistan
July 15, 2010
Army Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who developed tactics in Iraq that later became part of the counterinsurgency strategy, is headed to Afghanistan.
McMaster is expected to arrive in Afghanistan in August and serve as deputy on the staff responsible for strategic plans and policy, a senior military official said.
As a brigade commander in Tal Afar in 2005 and 2006, McMaster deployed his troops in small combat outposts throughout the city, establishing a key tenet of counterinsurgency efforts: Troops must live among the people they protect.
McMaster also successfully reached out to disenchanted Sunnis to peel them away from the insurgency, a strategy that was later adopted successfully in Anbar province. The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan is now trying to apply this approach to “reconcilable” elements of the Taliban.
In late 2005, McMaster launched Operation Restore Rights to route insurgents out of Tal Afar.
His zeal to retake the city was evident in a September 2005 news conference, in which he called insurgents “unscrupulous.”
“They are some of the worst human beings on the face of the Earth, and there is no real greater pleasure for us than to kill or capture these individuals,” he said at the time.
When McMaster’s unit left Tal Afar in early 2006, the city’s mayor wrote a letter praising U.S. troops.
“To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence for the souls of your loved ones,” the mayor wrote. “We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land.”