Showing posts with label 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2014. Show all posts

Sunday, January 26, 2014

10K or Nothing: Proposed Troop Levels

Recent news reports reveal that General Dunford, the commander of ISAF, has recommended that the troop levels to remain in Afghanistan post December 2014 be at 10,000. He believes that is the appropriate number to adequately support and protect the Security Force Assistance mission and the counter-terrorism mission going beyond 2014. Any number less than 10,000 really would not be effective and then the option would be to pull out altogether. Read more in "US military wants 10,000 troops or none in post-2104 Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes, January 22, 2014.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Taliban Confident of Victory Post-2014

A Taliban spokesman recently stated that the Taliban control much of the Afghan countryside and that foreign troops were scared to leave their bases. He further stated that the Taliban are confident they will be victorious once the foreign military forces depart Afghanistan. Read more in "Afghanistan Taliban 'confident of victory' over Nato", BBC News Asia, January 16, 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Keeping Troops in Afghanistan

The New York Times has published an opinion piece by Graeme Smith entitled "Grabbing the Wolf's Tail". The writer provides his perspective on the current situation in Afghanistan and concludes the war is not going as well as ISAF would have us believe. He does says that a small force needs to stay on to provide advice, assistance, medical support, air support and funding.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What Does 2014 Look Like for Afghanistan?

M. Farshid Hakinyar, the Founding Director of the Afghanistan Organization for Strategic Studies in Kabul has wrote a piece that looks at the transition of security of Afghanistan from ISAF led security to ANSF led security and provides insight on the Bilateral Security Agreement and upcoming April elections. He also examines issues related to governance; citing corruption and the drug trade as serious issues. He highlights problems that occurred in 2013 but also provides examples of progress that has been made in the past year. Read more in "Afghanistan 2013: Security Transition - Analysis", Eurasia Review, January 11, 2014.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Prospects for an Afghan 2014

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has published an "Expert Roundup" entitled the "Prospects for Afghanistan in 2014" dated December 18, 2013. The "experts" are well-renowned in their field and all have considerable experience with Afghanistan. They include Graeme Smit (International Crisis Group), Seth Jones (RAND Corporation), Nader Nadery (Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit), Clare Lockhart (Institute for State Effectiveness),  and Daniel Markey (Council on Foreign Relations). These five experts weigh in on a variety of topics to include the drop-off in aid, Afghan elections in 2014, inability of the ANSF to secure the country, a looming economic downturn, and the continued meddling of Pakistan with its support of Afghan insurgent groups. You can read the article at the below link:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Afghans Worried about 2014

The Afghans have a lot to be worried about. The year 2014 brings a lot of uncertainty about the elections, economy, security, Bilateral Security Agreement, Taliban threats to disrupt and discredit the elections, and more. Read "Facing Big Changes, Anxious Afghans Hope For the Best in 2014", NPR Parallels, December 27, 2013.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Report - Afghanistan in Transition by World Bank (March 2013)

The World Bank has published a comprehensive document entitled "Afghanistan in Transition". The book explores the ramifications of the withdrawal of ISAF by 2014 on the economic and development fabric of Afghanistan. This book explores the relationship "between conflict, aid and development and how international responses to post-conflict state building and reconstruction may both help and hinder a countries transition out of conflict towards a more stable future". The book is available in print copy or downloaded as a PDF document at the links below.

Afghanistan in Transition
World Bank
March 2013

The book is available for purchase in print copy at the World Bank.

Or you can download the book as a Adobe Acrobat PDF file at

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Afghanistan: Year in Review (Video by NATO Channel TV)

The year 2012 has seen some ups and downs in Afghanistan. Corruption still is a huge problem, the Taliban have not gone away (and unfortunately neither has Karzai), and the population is still supporting the insurgency in many areas of the country. However, the Afghan security forces have become more competent, Afghan forces are in the lead for security in many areas of the country, and the U.S. forces have finally realized that the Afghans need to do the fighting rather than U.S. units in a counterinsurgency war. NATO has produced a video by NATO Channel TV that has been posted on that summarizes some of the progress made in Afghanistan in 2012. You can view the video "Afghanistan: 2012 Year in Review" at the link below.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Troop Levels in Afghanistan to Steadily Decrease

Reportedly there is now a "schedule" for the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan over the next 20 months. According to one recent news report ("Decision on Afghan Troop Levels Calculates Political and Military Interests"), The New York Times, February 13, 2013) only 34,000 troops will be in Afghanistan at the beginning of 2014.

As of February 2013 there are 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Many of these troops will remain in-country through the 2013 fighting season (April-October). In November (the start of the so-called "non-fighting season") we would start to see a big movement of troops out of country to get to the desired February 2014 level. The timeline below may be the troop levels over the couple of years.

Projected Troop Level Timeline

66,000 - February 2013
60,500 - May 2013
52,000 - November 2013
32,000 - February 2014
 9,000 - December 2014

Monday, February 18, 2013

2014 Afghan Elections

The Afghan presidential elections are just over one year away - to take place on April 5, 2014. The good news is that Karzai goes away. The bad news is Karzai is doing some strong maneuvering to get one of his loyal cronies elected so he can continue to benefit from the corruption that is running rampart in Afghanistan. Presidential elections were held in 2009 and were considered by many to be full of fraud. Many feel that Karzai would not have won the election without stuffing ballot boxes. Read more about the Afghan elections in "Official Stresses Importance of 2014 Afghan Elections", American Forces Press Service, February 11, 2013.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Gen Dempsey and His Thoughts on the Afghan Mission

General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently provided his views on how Afghanistan will look in 2014. He stated that the mission will dictate how many troops are in Afghanistan over the next few years.

Well, . . . okay. I sorta think that the number of troops that Obama determines will be in Afghanistan will dictate the mission. In other words he says "You can have no more than 10,000 troops in country by December 2014 and I want to see a steady decline getting to that number over the next 20 months". So I would bet that the ISAF planners have developed plans for 6,000, 8,000, and 10,000 U.S. forces in country - and once they get the word from Obama they launch into fine-tuning that respective plan. They are going to form the mission around the number of troops. That's just how it works.

Currently there are 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan (as of Jan 2013) with several more thousand from other Troop Contributing Nations (TCN). The missions of these troops over the next year or more are to keep the pressure on al-Qaida, train up the Afghan Army and police, and withdraw ISAF forces. The withdrawal of ISAF forces includes that equipment that will be returning to the respective ISAF countries - an immense amount considering it has been building up for the last decade.

Other than the special ops guys going after select targets and SOJTF-A working its ANASF, commando, and VSO programs there will be a significant decrease in U.S. military forces conducting combat operations. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are slowly taking the lead in more and more areas of the country. In fact, many of the U.S. brigade combat teams (BCTs), called Security Force Assistance Brigades or SFABs, now deploying into country don't have the operational forces available to do more than provide Quick Reaction Forces (QRF), logistics, force protection, and combat enablers (fires, CAS, MEDEVAC, intel support, etc.) to their SFAATs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

U.S. Committment After 2014

In a very short but concise piece Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, writes about what our endgame in Afghanistan should be as we transition towards 2014 and beyond. He states that the presence of international forces will be a stabilizing influence in Afghanistan that will help avert a possible civil war, provide the ability to base and stage forces that can hit al Qaeda targets, and continue our training and assistance mission with the Afghan National Security Forces. Read his article in "Some Troops Will Stay Past 2104", The New York Times, April 3, 2012.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is Civil War in Afghanistan Inevitable after 2014?

Nipa Banerjee teaches international development at the University of Ottawa and spent three years in Afghanistan as the head of Canada's development program in Kabul. She has published an opinion article int The Ottawa Citizen (March 2, 2012) entitled "Taliban wait to take power from a failed Afghan government". She believes that our success in countering the insurgency in Afghanistan is overstated and that our progress is not as great as we think. She cites leading Afghan politicians who hold a dismal view of the future of Afghanistan. These Afghans complain about the lack of reforms in the Afghan government in the areas of corruption, election procedures, legal apparatus, and government ministries.