ISW Senior Research Analyst Jeffrey Dressler discusses the possibility of French withdrawal from Afghanistan following the deadly shooting.
Conditions in Afghanistan are worse today than they were when the Soviets withdrew, even if the insurgency is weaker. No actors share a compelling vision for the future of Afghanistan. No faction is strong enough to exert full control over the country. As the U.S. and NATO prepare for a drawdown, they must be clear-eyed about the likely outcome.
The Trump Administration is attempting to deny jihadists a safe haven in Afghanistan while pursuing a negotiated end to the war there. There is also a brewing political storm surrounding the U.S. partner government in Kabul. Is the U.S. plan for Afghanistan at risk?
The U.S. and Afghanistan have an opportunity to advance their strategic goal of negotiating an acceptable settlement with the Taliban. Large numbers of rank-and-file militants expressed their support for peace during unprecedented joint celebrations amidst a nationwide ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr on June 15 - 17.
Vice President Nouri al-Maliki–seeking to regain the premiership–is likely leveraging his influence over the judicial process to marginalize political rivals ahead of the legislative and provincial elections, slated for May 12, 2018. Maliki previously influenced Iraq’s judiciary and ostensibly independent bodies to eliminate rival candidates and politicians during his two terms as Prime Minister (2006-2014).
Afghanistan remains a safe haven for terrorist plots against the U.S. homeland. The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham’s (ISIS) affiliate in Afghanistan and an American ISIS member in Pakistan coordinated an attack attempt in the U.S. in early 2016. ISIS seized at least one district in northwestern Afghanistan in early November, and is assembling new foreign fighter units. ISIS will use this safe haven to conduct new attacks abroad.
In his December 2009 speech at West Point, President Obama set July 2011 as the beginning of a process of transition in Afghanistan, where geographic or functional responsibilities are to be handed over from the international coalition to the host nation. As policymakers in NATO capitals and practitioners in Afghanistan think about transition, they can take a lesson from the Iraq experience.
"In May, 2007 I deployed to Iraq to become the Commanding General responsible for accelerating the growth of the Iraq
President Obama announced on July 6 that the U.S. will maintain 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of January 2017 instead of the planned drawdown to 5,500. He then stated that the only way to achieve a full drawdown of forces is to reach a peaceful political settlement between Taliban militants and the Afghan government.