Red Teaming Afghanistan: How Will the Enemy Respond?

Enemy Reactions to the U.S. Strategy and Force-Sizing Options

A consideration for the Obama administration as it debates its strategic approach and future force levels in Afghanistan.

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  • Scenario 1: The President orders all US forces out of Afghanistan, including Special Operations Forces (SOF) and classified forces.
  • Scenario 2:  The President orders US combat forces out of Afghanistan, including all trainers and forces supporting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), but not including SOF and classified forces.
  • Scenario 3: The President orders US combat forces out of Afghanistan, but trainers, SOF, classified forces, and forces assisting the ANSF remain.
  • Scenario 4:  US combat forces remain as currently deployed, with additional emphasis on expansion of the ANS.
  • Scenario 5:  US combat forces are augmented as proposed by General McChrystal and the expansion of the ANSF is accelerated.

As we evaluate the various options available to us in Afghanistan, it is essential to consider the path from the current situation to the proposed future strategy. 

What will Afghanistan and the region look like as the US and NATO withdraw forces and prepare to pursue a pure counter-terrorism strategy?  How will the various enemy groups and Pakistan react to a reinforced counter-insurgency strategy?  What would emphasizing only the training of Afghan security forces look like? 

This report seeks to address these and other critical problems.

Additional Off-site Authors: 
Frederick W. Kagan