A Comprehensive Strategy: Afghanistan Force Requirements

Dr. Kimberly Kagan

From the Authors

"President Obama identified a number of questions that must be answered before he can make a considered decision about whether or not to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.  The assessment of General Stanley McChrystal, which appeared in the Washington Post on Monday, answers those questions.  The assessment does not provide an estimate of the forces actually required, which were to be submitted in a later document. 

The American people need to have a detailed explanation as soon as possible of what forces are needed, how they might be used, and why there is no alternative to pursuing the counter-insurgency strategy that General McChrystal proposes if we are to achieve the fundamental objectives President Obama announced in his March 27 speech, '…to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.'
To inform the national discussion, therefore, we have produced a report that argues for an addition of 40,000-45,000 US troops in 2010 to the 68,000 American forces that will be there by the end of this year.   The report illustrates where US, NATO, and Afghan forces are now and where additional forces are needed to accomplish the mission.  It links the US force requirements to the growth of the Afghan National Security Forces on an accelerated timeline.  It explains the methodology for assessing the adequacy of a proposed force-level.  This product, and our recommendations and assessments, are entirely our own—they do not necessarily reflect the views of General McChrystal or anyone else." - Fred and Kim Kagan



Slides 4-5 : Objectives and Strategic Framework                                            

Slides 6-11 : Governance and Legitimacy                                                             

Slides 12-17 : Afghan, US and International Forces                                             

Slide 18: International presence as an occupation

Slides 19-21 : Prioritizing efforts country-wide

Slides 22-32 : Regional Command South

Slides 27-28 : Helmand

Slides 29-32 : Kandahar

Slide 36 : Theater synergies

Slides 37-38: Force Requirements

Slide 39 : Consequences of under-resourcing

Slides 40-44: Changing to a pure counter-terrorism strategy

Slide 45 : Note on population figures

Slide 46 : Contact Information


The views, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions in this document are solely those of the authors and do not reflect on the opinions or recommendations of their institutions or of any other individual organization.

Additional Off-site Authors: 
Frederick W. Kagan