A Plan Unveiled for Afghan Transition
In a prime-time address to the nation last night, President Obama announced that 10,000 troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of this year and 23,000 by September 2012. ISW analysts responded to the decision throughout the media – Click here to read what they are saying.
Upcoming Event- Afghanistan in 2011 and Beyond: Counterinsurgency, Transition and Drawdown
Also in response to the President’s withdrawal decision, ISW will host Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman and General Jack Keane at The Newseum on June 30th from 2-3pm to hear their perspective on the effect of these decisions on the counterinsurgency strategy and the plan to transition to Afghan responsibility in 2014. Join us as these prominent congressional and military leaders discuss the future of our engagement in Afghanistan in the years ahead. Click here to RSVP.
Click here to watch: This event will be livestreamed from The Newseum.
Kimberly and Frederick Kagan published an editorial in The Weekly Standard earlier this week arguing that the success of our counter-terrorism efforts in Pakistan cannot be separated from our counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. They say the counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy has pushed al Qaeda out of the mountainous eastern province of Paktya where they dug in and attempted to reconstitute their forces at Shah-i-Kot Valley. From there al-Qaeda regrouped across the border in Pakistan in places familiar to them like Waziristan. They suggest that the COIN strategy and the continued presence of U.S. forces is precisely what is keeping al- Qaeda from crossing back into Afghanistan. Some in Congress and the administration are suggesting we change the strategy in Afghanistan from counterinsurgency to piecemeal counter-terrorism operations. This, say Kim and Fred Kagan, is a big mistake, and it is fallacious to attribute credit to counter-terrorism operations in a vacuum. They say this argument “…demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the relationship between our efforts in Afghanistan and our successes in Pakistan” Read their full Op-Ed here.
On Tuesday June 22, ISW was pleased to host Captain Pete Pagano, commander of USS Kearsarge Amphibious Group (KSG ARG), and Colonel Mark Desens, commander of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Beginning in March 2011, the ARG/MEU took part in Operation Odyssey Dawn to help enforce the UN-mandated Libyan no-fly zone and to protect the Libyan populace. The mission included the rescue on March 22 of a U.S. Air Force F-15 pilot who had ejected from his plane after an equipment malfunction.
We were pleased to have with us the Harrier pilot who provided air support for the downed airman, who, after ejecting from his plane, was pursued by enemy combatants hot on his heels, and the Osprey pilot who flew in to pick him up. Look for more of their story in the latest Marine Corps Times.
Meanwhile, tensions have been escalating in Iraq. Read the latest ISW Factsheet here.