Thursday, February 2, 2012

2013 US-Afghanistan Deadline

The decision by the Obama Administration to move US forces into an 'advise and assist' role in Afghanistan in 2013 is the right call. I strongly disagreed/disagree with the Administration's artificial 2015 deadline for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan (and their idiotic decision to announce that deadline to the Taliban - unsurprisingly leading to Taliban elated morale and increased Pakistani support for the Taliban). However, under the current albeit flawed policy, to have any chance of success, Afghan security forces will have to be relatively self-sufficient by the time US forces depart. This will require forcing Afghan forces to embrace the hard learning curve of military operations. The thinking with this 2013 deadline therefore being, that in confronting the Taliban/other anti-government forces (and protecting civilian communities) with less American support, Afghan forces will face the necessity for better command leadership, more nuanced strategy and a better, integrated force structure. I.E - different units fighting together under better leaders and in pursuit of the clear strategic objective to secure and hold civilian areas. If the US were to leave Afghanistan in 2015 without functioning Afghan security forces, the Taliban would be able to rapidly re-consolidate their position in the South and East of the country. Short of changing the withdrawal date (which as I have said we should), the US had no choice in making this latest decision.

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