On Saturday, June 14, Afghanistan held its second round, run-off presidential election since no presidential candidate was able to secure at least 50 percent of the votes in the first-round election on April 5. In that first contest, the two front-runners, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani, won 45 percent and 31.56 percent of the vote, respectively.
The Taliban’s annual summer offensive in Afghanistan in 2014 can be characterized by waves of violence across the country and, in particular, a string of attacks ringing the capital, Kabul. The attacks appear mainly to target Afghanistan’s infrastructure, particularly its airports.
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.