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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Bad End to Good War"

An excerpt of the book "The Good War" by Jack Fairweather is provided at the link below. In this excerpt he addresses the U.S. withdrawal, U.S. strategy, negotiations with the Taliban, drone strikes over Pakistan, U.S. public support for the Afghan War, how attempts to nation-build fail, and the difficulties of establishing a strong central government in Afghanistan. Read "Afghanistan: Coming to the Bad End of the Good War", by Jack Fairweather, War on the Rocks, December 16, 2014.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Report - US Policy in Afghanistan after 2014

A new report has been published that examines United States policy in Afghanistan after 2014. The report poses (and answers six key questions) and should be helpful to senior civilian and military leaders in the preparation of policy and strategy recommendations. The report covers subjects such as critical national interests in Afghanistan, overall U.S. strategy, the conditions shaping U.S. involvement in Afghanistan now, the new national interests that were not met by our earlier strategies, and the risks and challenges that will exist in the future. The report, U.S. Policy and Strategy Toward Afghanistan after 2014, was authored by Dr. Larry P. Goodson and Professor Thomas H. Johnson, and published by the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the U.S. Army War College. It can be downloaded at the link below (62 pages, 1 MB, Adobe Acrobat PDF).

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Perspective on Afghanistan's Future

An expat who teaches school in Kabul provides his perspective on the future of Afghanistan. Read "Afghanistan: Reaching In and Reaching Out", National Geographic News Watch, February 21, 2014.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Afghanistan: Strong Military but Weak Government - What Should be Done After the Drawdown of Troops

The Council on Foreign Relations Center for Preventive Action has released a Council Special Report entitled "Afghanistan After the Drawdown" (Council Special Report No. 67, November 2013). The report outlines the composition, role, and rationale for the ten thousand U.S. troops that will be stationed in Afghanistan beyond December 2014. The authors recommend a number of steps the United States can and should take to advance its interests during the transition that Afghanistan will undergo through the April elections, transition of all security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces, and the diminishing of foreign aid by international donor nations. Both authors are associated with the RAND Corporation. Seth Jones has a lot of experience with Afghanistan and Keith Crane has worked in the public policy area for years. You can learn more about the publication (view online or download) at this link.

3,000 Troop Option in Afghanistan

The White House is considering several options for a continued US military presence in Afghanistan. One option (sometimes referred to as the Biden option) would leave 3,000 US troops in Afghanistan. The specific locations would be the sprawling Bagram Air Field north of Kabul and Kabul itself. Read more in "U.S. examines Afghanistan option that would leave behind 3,000 troops", The Washington Post, February 23, 2014.

McChrystal: Afghanistan Needs a Continued US Presence

Retired General Stan McChrystal says that Afghanistan needs a continued United States military presence to provide a degree of confidence that the west will not walk away entirely as we did in 1989. He points to the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq as a possible outcome in Afghanistan if we adopt the 'zero option'. Read more in "Iraq repeat: US pullout in Afghanistan?", DEFCON Hill Blog, February 21, 2014.

Good War Gone Bad

A pessimistic editorial on the future of Afghanistan is provided in a February 18, 2014 opinion provided by The Post and Courier entitled "The good war gone bad".

Monday, February 24, 2014

Post-2014 Afghanistan? Civil War, Taliban Takeover, Internal Strife?

There is a lot of speculation on the what Afghanistan looks like after the year 2014. Much is riding on the outcome of the Afghan presidential elections and the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan. Some predict a fracturing of the government, society, and Afghan National Security Forces along ethnic lines. Many see the Taliban gaining ground in Pashtun areas of Afghanistan (south and east). A recent column in a Canadian newspaper, noting the withdrawal of the last of the Canadian combat troops, examines what a post-2014 Afghanistan might look like. Read "What's next for Afghanistan", Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2014.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

U.S. Legacy in Afghanistan is in Doubt

Many observers are contemplating the Afghanistan that will be left behind in the post-2014 era. The observations are mixed - from downright pessimistic (the sky is falling) to very optimistic (we have established a democracy with security forces that have beaten the Taliban). Some think that the United States is is not going to fare well in the history books. Philip Ewing - a longtime observer of the military - shares his insight with us in "U.S. facing a no-win legacy in Afghanistan", Politico, February 18, 2014.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Does Post-2014 Afghanistan Look Like

A contributor to the Geopolitical Monitor, Marc Simms, provides his comments on what he thinks post-2014 Afghanistan looks like in a recent article posted online. He cites the lack of a security agreement, money to fund the $4 billion budget of the Afghan National Security Forces drying up (if no security agreement), the possible split of the Afghan army over ethnic lines, the competition for the opium trade, recruiting and retention problems of the Afghan army and police, and lack of spare parts and maintenance capability for vehicles and aircraft as a few of the many issues of concern. Read his article "What Will a Post-NATO Afghanistan Look Like?", Geopolitical Monitor, February 16, 2014.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Taliban Takeover Post-2014: Not So Much

The Taliban have been confidently proclaiming that they will be resurgent in the post-2014 era in Afghanistan. Their information operations machinery works well in the rural countryside of Afghanistan but not that well in the well-educated urban areas. The likelihood of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is not strong. They will probably gain more territory in the remote areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan (especially among the Pashtuns). Some factors that will influence how well the Afghan government and security forces perform in post-2014 are the results of the Afghan election in 2014, the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement, and the commitment of the international community to continue to fund the Afghan government and military. Jason H. Campbell, an associate policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, provides his thoughts on a possible Taliban takeover in "Take Two for the Taliban?", U.S. News and World Report, February 11, 2014.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Comparison of 1989 and 2014 in Afghanistan

As we ease into 2014 observers of the Afghan conflict are looking at the post-2014 era in Afghanistan when ISAF will remove most of its troops. Up in the air is whether the new Afghan president will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which will allow NATO to leave up to 16,000 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to conduct Security Force Assistance and counter-terrorism operations against remnants of al-Qaeda. Many are comparing the post-2014 era with 1989 when the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. The Afghan communist regime supported by the Soviets survived about four years before it was toppled. Some observers point out that the present Afghan police are corrupt and ineffective and that the Afghan National Army (although more capable) could easily divide along ethnic lines and ties to warlords and power brokers. Read more in "Withdrawing from Afghanistan - 1989 and 2014",, February 14, 2014.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Odierno Says U.S. Needs to stay in Afghanistan

In a Council of Foreign Affairs event the chief of staff for the Army, General Odierno, said it is important to keep a U.S. presence in Afghanistan.  Read more in "Odierno: Important that US troops stay in Afghanistan", DEFCON Hill Blog, February 12, 2014.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Afghanistan - "As Good As it is Going to Get"

The commandant of the United States Marine Corps spends a lot of time in Helmand and Nimroz provinces which make up Regional Command Southwest. He was recently interviewed and asked his perspective on Afghanistan. He says that Afghanistan is "as good as it is going to get". Read more in a Breaking Defense blog post dated February 11, 2014.

End Game in Afghanistan - A Canadian's View

A commentator, Scott Taylor, for a Canadian newspaper provides us his outlook on possible outcomes of the Afghan War. He looks at the eleven candidates running in the 2014 Afghan election and comes to the conclusion that things look dismal. He observes that the main objective of the International Security Force Afghanistan (ISAF) is to make the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) as capable as possible so that they can support whoever gets elected in April (or May, or June, . . . depending on the schedule of election runoffs). His concluding sentence is revealing - "We just need the Afghan army to hold the airfields until the last NATO plane has departed". Read the story in "West hopes for best of worst in Afghanistan", The Chronicle Herald, February 9, 2014.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Afghanistan Through a Western Lens Looks Like Failure

Most observers look at the outcome in Afghanistan as a failure. The government is ineffective and corrupt, the Taliban remain strong and entrenched in their support zones, the Afghan Army can conduct battalion (kandak), brigade, and corps level operations to clear an area of Taliban but don't know how to hold an area. The Afghan police is corrupt as well as the judiciary system, aid dollars are squandered and/or sitting in Dubai bank accounts, and provincial governors are consorting with the Taliban. Karzai has turned on the United States, releasing hardened Taliban fighters, accusing the U.S. of crimes against Afghan civilians, and is increasing his verbal assaults against the United States. Many predict that the Afghan election will be fraudulent and the outcome may be a president even worse than Karzai elected as President. However some think there is a lot of positive trends in place and accuse us of looking at Afghanistan from a western viewpoint. Read "To See the Progress in Afghanistan Stop Viewing the Country Through a Western Lens", The Daily Beast, February 11, 2014.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Report: Taliban to Regain Territory and Influence Post-2014

A recent report states that the Taliban will increase its influence in rural areas of Afghanistan and regain territory in the east and south of the country once foreign forces have completely withdrawn from the country. The report says the country has been undermined by endemic corruption and the opium drug industry. The report was written for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute by a former intelligence adviser and defense official (Ian Dudgeon). See "Taliban will move in as global forces withdraw from Afghanistan, warns report", The Sydney Morning Herald, February 5, 2014.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Case for Optimism in Afghanistan

Sharif Azami, a Program Officer for the Fetzer Institute, writes "Afghanistan Can Use a Strong Dose of Morale Optimism", on The Huffington Post, January 23, 2014. He believes that the United States would be wrong to walk away from Afghanistan on the basis that President Karzai does not want to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement. He feels that Afghanistan has made too much progress and that there is a lot to lose if the international community cuts aid and military assistance to Afghanistan. He has an optimistic outlook (not shared by this blogger) on the future of Afghanistan if only the international community will stay on task.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Post-2014 10K Force to be SOF Heavy

The residual force to remain in Afghanistan post-2014 (if the Bilateral Security Agreement is signed) will be very special operations heavy. Learn more in "Special ops key in Afghanistan presence, local members say", The Tampa Tribune, January 30, 2014.