Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [May 22, 2009]   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Upon taking office, the Obama Administration faced a deteriorating security environment in Afghanistan, including an expanding militant presence in some areas, increasing numbers of civilian and military deaths, growing disillusionment with corruption in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Pakistan's inability to prevent Taliban and other militant infiltration into Afghanistan. The Obama Administration conducted a 'strategic review,' the results of which were announced on March 27, 2009... [building] upon assessments completed in the latter days of the Bush Administration which led to decisions in 2008 to plan a build-up of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. [...] The review focuses not on adding U.S. troops--although at least 21,000 are being added in 2009--but rather on enhancing non-military steps. The thrust of the strategy is to increase the resources devoted to economic development and coordination among international donors, building Afghan governing structures 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. The review also backs Afghan efforts to negotiate with Taliban figures who are willing to enter the political process, and Afghan-led reconciliation talks reportedly have expanded since the strategy was announced. [...] In May 2009, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, was removed and Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was named to succeed him."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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