“Where’s The Other Guy? They Left Months Ago”: Challenges of Fighting A Counter Insurgency

Edwin Den Harder


Ed Den Harder graduated from West Point in 2009, commissioned as an Armor Officer, and was assigned to 2d Cavalry Regiment. He deployed to Afghanistan for a year as a Platoon Leader and an Executive Officer. His next assignment was with 1-77th Armor, where he was a tank company commander. He deployed to Africa, where his unit was responsible for fixed site security. In this interview, he describes his experiences conducting counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan. As a platoon leader, he was operating in RC South, where he was responsible for partnering with various Afghan police and military units to interdict supplies and personnel coming from Pakistan. Additionally, part of his duties involved key leader engagements with local leaders to assess the success of coalition efforts and to gather intelligence. As a troop executive officer, he was primarily in charge of logistics planning for the troop and coordinating with subordinates who were operating across multiple locations. One of the challenges he faced was when his mounted platoon’s mission changed, and he found himself operating dismounted in a village, which presented both challenges and opportunities.


conflicts Afghanistan War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Counterinsurgency West Point History
interviewer Nick Kramer
date 06 April 2021


name Edwin Den Harder
institution USMA
graduation year 2009
service Armor
unit L Troop & Reconnaissance Troop, 2d Cavalry Regiment; A Company, 1-77th Armor
specialty Counter Insurgency Operations
service dates 2009