Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [Updated December 23, 2008]   [open pdf - 2MB]

"U.S. and outside assessments of the effort to stabilize Afghanistan are increasingly negative, to the point where some U.S. officials say they are not sure the effort is 'winning.' These assessments emphasize an expanding militant presence in some areas previously considered secure, and increased numbers of civilian and military deaths. Both the official U.S. as well as outside assessments increasingly point to Pakistan's failure to prevent Taliban and other militant infiltration into Afghanistan as a cause of the security deterioration. The Administration has recently concluded a review of U.S. strategy, and is reportedly making actionable recommendations to the incoming Obama Administration, which is expected to favor greater emphasis on Afghanistan. Steps already planned or under way, even before the U.S. transition, include adding U.S. troops to the theater, consolidating the command structure for U.S. and partner forces, planning a major expansion of the Afghan National Army, rebuilding and empowering local security and governance structures, attempting to accelerate development activities to increase support for the Afghan government, and backing Afghan efforts to persuade Taliban leaders to cease fighting. The Administration also has increased direct U.S. action against militant concentrations inside Pakistan. On the other hand, there is skepticism among some observers that adding combat troops will necessarily produce major security gains."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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