Nation building and counter-insurgency

The BBC had this to say in the aftermath of the Nimrod aeroplane crash in Afghanistan:

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said: “A lot of people hoped that it would be a peace-keeping, nation-building mission instead it is an active, counter-insurgency campaign.”

The implication, left hanging, is that counter-insurgency activities cannot be a part of a nation-building mission.  

The problem is, sometimes nation-building missions are more difficult than we would hope.  There will always be groups opposed to a nationa-building mission’s success, and sometimes they be well enough backed, and well enough organised to present a formidable opposition.  

At this point, nation building missions have to take stock and retrench somewhat, moving more into ‘nation-defending’ missions which try to preserve what little there is of a fragile government, while its opponents are defeated.  These kinds of missions are, of course, likely to require a far greater use of counter-insurgency tactics.