Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [October 6, 2009]   [open pdf - 892KB]

"Upon taking office, the Obama Administration faced a deteriorating security environment in Afghanistan, despite a build-up of U.S. forces there in preceding years, including an expanding militant presence in some areas, increasing numbers of civilian and military deaths, Afghan and international disillusionment with corruption in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and the infiltration of Taliban militants from safe havens in Pakistan. […]. The strategy emphasized non-military steps such as increasing the resources devoted to economic development, building Afghan governance primarily at the local level, reforming the Afghan government, expanding and reforming the Afghan security forces, and trying to improve Pakistan's efforts to curb militant activity on its soil. Still, the Administration decided that more innovative counter-insurgency tactics that limit civilian casualties and holds territory cleared of insurgents was needed to promote those goals, and in May 2009, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, was replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. […]. In response to an anticipated request by McChrystal for about 40,000 additional U.S. combat forces needed for that strategy, President Obama said on September 20, 2009, he would first decide on whether the United States 'has the strategy right' before deciding on 'resources,' and a series of high level meetings to again review strategy began September 30. The Administration has developed about 50 'metrics' to measure U.S. progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan. U.S. strategy has been complicated by the August 20, 2009, presidential election, which has been marred by widespread fraud allegations."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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