NATO’s Wide-Open Afghanistan Planning

NATO’s Wide-Open Afghanistan Planning

This Reuters piece gives the impression that the NATO alliance is putting the final touches on its post-2014 Afghanistan plan:

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who took over as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe in May, said NATO was at an advanced stage of working on a detailed operations plan, or "O" plan, for the post-2014 mission.

"The ‘O’ plan is very mature, minus a few key pieces (of) which the elephant in the room is the actual numbers and types of forces to be put into the ‘O’ plan," Breedlove told a group of reporters at NATO’s operational headquarters in Mons, Belgium.

"We are still waiting (for) some details from some of the nations in order to absolutely finalize this but we are hoping to deliver this ‘O’ plan in the latter fall and I think we are within striking distance," he said.

Reading between the lines, it’s not hard to see that in fact the alliance’s entire post-2014 strategy in Afghanistan remains up in the air. As Breedlove suggests, the number of forces from key members — and the United States, in particular — remains unresolved. And as long as that element is missing, it’s very hard to see how the organization can have a meaningful strategy.