"Following two high-level policy reviews on Afghanistan in 2009, the Obama Administration says it is pursuing a fully resourced, integrated military-civilian strategy that will pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan security leadership beginning in July 2011. The policy is intended to address what the Obama Administration considered to be a security environment that was deteriorating despite a gradual increase in U.S. forces there during 2006-2008. Some of the deterioration has been attributed to Afghan disillusionment with insufficient, ineffective, and corrupt Afghan governance, and the relative safe haven in parts of Pakistan enjoyed by Afghan militants. [...] A major issue during the Karzai visit to Washington D.C. is the effort to persuade insurgent fighters and leaders to end their fight and join the political process. The effort was also the focus of an international meeting on Afghanistan held in London on January 28, 2010.There is not universal international support for Karzai's vision of reconciling with high-level insurgent figures, potentially including Taliban leader Mullah Umar. However, Karzai says he plans to pursue this initiative at a 'peace jirga' to convene in Kabul planned on/about May 20. As U.S. strategy unfolds, a greater sense of U.S. official optimism has started to take hold, with comments to this effect by Gen. McChrystal, Secretary of Defense Gates, and CENTCOM [Central Command] commander Gen. David Petraeus. Their comments have coincided with the partial success of 'Operation Moshtarak' to stabilize Marjah, and successful arrests of and strikes on key Afghan militants in Pakistan. A more extensive operation--although characterized more by political engagement than actual combat--is planned for June 2010 in the major province of Qandahar. Including FY2009, the United States has provided over $40 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, of which about $21 billion has been to equip and train Afghan forces."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588