The White House is dropping strong hints that the number of American troops in Afghanistan after 2014 may fall below 10,000, possibly even below 5,000. Unnamed White House officials suggested to the press that lower levels of U.S. support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will be sufficient to contain future Taliban threats.
If America's experience in Iraq offers any single, unambiguous lesson, it is the folly of just walking away. The United States must not repeat this mistake in Afghanistan. Isolation and disengagement have severely damaged American credibility and security, as can be seen most dramatically in Ukraine today.
The death of First Vice President Marshal Qasim Fahim will have an even bigger impact on the aftermath of the forthcoming presidential election than on its outcome. This article now updated with information about the nomination of Mohammad Yunus Qanooni to fill his position.
Candidates for Afghanistan’s 2014 elections will declare their intent to run by October 6. The most prominent candidates, Zalmai Rassoul & Abdullah Abdullah, represent the two main factions that will decide the 2014 election: the Karzai-Establishment & anti-Karzai opposition.
Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf is the latest name to have been floated as President Hamid Karzai’s favored contender for the 2014 Afghan Presidential Elections.
By Frederick Kagan and Kimberly Kagan
President Obama’s decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise. Removing troops and capabilities before Afghanistan’s next presidential election, scheduled for April 2014, further exacerbates the danger that Afghanistan might collapse into renewed ethnic civil war.
Three thousand troops are not sufficient to keep even a single U.S. military base in Afghanistan after 2014. This report, released with AEI's Critical Threats Project, describes how to calculate the force requirements for keeping one base in Afghanistan after 2014.
Leaving a bare-bones U.S. presence will risk a return of the Taliban—and civil war.
A suicide bombing in Kabul on December 6 targeted the head of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS), Asadullah Khalid, in an event that has rattled Afghan elites and rekindled controversy between Afghanistan and Pakistan.