The left comes along on Afghanistan
By Christian Brose Can you guess which think tank just released these key findings in its latest report on Afghanistan? Short-term goals over the next 18 months Prevent Afghanistan from being used as a safe haven for terrorist and extremist groups with a global reach to attack the United States, its allies, and its interests ...
Can you guess which think tank just released these key findings in its latest report on Afghanistan?
Short-term goals over the next 18 months
- Prevent Afghanistan from being used as a safe haven for terrorist and extremist groups with a global reach to attack the United States, its allies, and its interests
- Prevent a security vacuum in Afghanistan from destabilizing Pakistan and the region
- Couple efforts to stabilize Afghanistan with a parallel, integrated strategy for Pakistan, with a particular focus on helping Pakistanis build a stable civilian government committed to working toward the elimination of terrorist safe havens within its territory
Intermediate policy goals over the next three to five years
- Promote a viable Afghan economy that offers realistic opportunities for the Afghan people
- Sharply curb the poppy trade in Afghanistan and the region
- Promote democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in Afghanistan and the region
- Resolve or at least reduce regional tensions, particularly between Pakistan and its neighbors, which frequently spill over into Afghanistan
Long-term policy goals over the next 10 years
- Assist in creating an Afghan state that is able to defend itself internally and externally, and that can provide for the basic needs of its own people
- Prepare for the full military withdrawal from Afghanistan alongside continued diplomatic and economic measures to promote the sustainable security of Afghanistan
These goals cannot be achieved with the current level of resources and lack of coordination…. The problem is not that the Bush administration’s effort in Afghanistan failed. The problem is that it was never given a chance to succeed.
The addition of 17,000 U.S. combat troops and military support personnel by summer 2009—bringing U.S. troops to 55,000, their highest level to date—may be sufficient to freeze the security situation in Afghanistan for a while, but it is surely not enough to turn the tide. The United States must fulfill the request of General David McKiernan, the commander of the allied International Security Assistance Force, for an additional 15,000 U.S. troops, bringing the number of U.S. forces to 70,000, or about half the level in Iraq. This increase must include troops for combat as well as mentor teams for the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police to fill critical gaps in the training effort.
Together with the 32,000 coalition troops already there, this increase will bring international forces to about 100,000—a nearly 300 percent increase over the average force level for the period from 2002 to 2007. This force level will most probably need to be sustained in the short term to intermediate term as Afghanistan’s army and police forces become more capable and ready.
This is brought to you by none other than those war-mongering neo-cons from the Center for American Progress. Considering that John Podesta was running Obama’s transition, this nice piece of cover now appearing to the president’s left is no coincidence, and I suspect it means that his policy review will almost certainly end up, as expected, escalating the U.S. role in Afghanistan. If so, the devil will be in the details, and we’ll see those soon.
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